October 2004

By Mike Doktorski

Since forming in early 2001, Hero Pattern has emerged as part of a new vanguard of young, emo-inflected NJ rock acts with sights clearly set on cultivating music careers for the long haul. Led by 24 year-old singer/guitarist Jay Kundrath, Hero Pattern released their full length debut CD Cut You Out in '03. Following extensive touring in support of the disc throughout the Northeast (the band's management is based in Boston), Hero Pattern are now in pre-production for their follow-up, which they plan to begin recording in December. In a recent interview, Jay graciously answered some of NBU's questions about all things Hero.

NBU: Briefly describe how Hero Pattern met each other and got together as a band.
JK: Hero Pattern formed from the fragments of a few other New Jersey bands. Rob and I had been playing together in the same band since high school, and in early 2001, we parted ways with our drummer. Meanwhile, my brother Mike was drumming in a high school band of his own. I quickly called upon him to fill in, and the chemistry between the three of us was instant. Things began to take a new shape. The final piece of the puzzle was the addition of lead guitarist Pierre Marceau - who I had been baiting for months. I think it was worth the wait.

NBU: You guys recently shot a video for the song "Monster." How did you pick "Monster" for the video? Who came up with the concept, and who shot it?
JK: We were actually brainstorming a video concept for the song "Cut You Out" when a programmer at K-Rock Radio selected "Monster" to be featured on Matt Pinfield's weekly program "The Buzz." We took it as a sign. The concept was jointly conceived by the director Matt Schuman (who directed Val Emmich's videos for "Shock" and "Privacy Attracts a Crowd") and our manager Kristin Bredimus. For those who haven't seen the video, it depicts the stories of three couples. And each character is wearing a t-shirt that reveals some truth about them relevant to their significant other. I helped worked out some details of the stories, and the experience of seeing the concept move from scrap paper to film was incredible. Check it out at MTV.com.

NBU: Speaking of "Monster" that song seems to indicate a certain amount of self-loathing in the lyricist, or at least the potential you (or perhaps we all) have to be a "monster" at certain times. Was that song based on any particular personal experience?
JK: At the time that song was written, I was in a relationship with someone who often made me feel like a bad person. Perhaps she was right. The hook of that song was my way of processing and responding to that feeling.

NBU: Most of the songs on Cut You Out look inward from a lyrical perspective…¦Hero Pattern's songs lean towards acute, critical self-examination. Is that deliberate or just what comes naturally?
JK: I can only write about what I know. And being a self-centered 24-year-old, still figuring out my place in the world, my lyrics are usually caught up in my own emotional microcosm. But we all go through the same drama, and the end result is usually something many people can relate to.

NBU: Musically, how are the songs written? Do you mix and match ideas among you to compose, or does everyone come in with their own material?
JK: Each song is based upon an original idea by either Rob, Pete or myself. But once it's presented to the band, we develop the idea as a group, altering structures, adding, editing and eventually giving it the Hero Pattern Seal of Quality. Yes. It's a proper noun.

NBU: I know you guys aren't based in New Brunswick anymore, but the band certainly has some roots there. How do you feel the NB (or, more broadly, the NJ) local scene has evolved since you first started playing around in the late 90s?
JK: I believe that the scene has evolved in certain ways. The crowds are bigger, and the bands are better. Val Emmich, the Milwaukees, Spiraling, Readymade Breakup, Dibs... We're surrounded by so much talent that we're constantly raising the bar on each other.

NBU: So what's the game plan for Hero Pattern over the next year or so?
JK: We're currently in preproduction for our second full-length album. It will be produced by Andy Jackson of Hot Rod Circuit and Nate Albert of the Kickovers, and it will be the greatest album the world has ever heard. Or so we hope.

For the skinny on Hero Pattern happenings, goto HeroPattern.com. §

An abridged version of this interview appeared in the October 2004 issue of Night & Day Magazine.

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