HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO: FIFTEEN MINUTES WITH JAY KUNDRATH
By Mike Doktorski
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Most of the songs on Cut You Out look inward from a lyrical perspective
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.
Musically, how are the songs written? Do you mix and match ideas
among you to compose, or does everyone come in with their own
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
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.
So what's the game plan for Hero Pattern over the next year or
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.
the skinny on Hero Pattern happenings, goto HeroPattern.com.