Take a Trip Back to 1969 With Hiroshima Hearts’ Single and Music Video, “Smoke”

London Ontario’s, rock group Hiroshima Hearts drops their flaming single and music video “Smoke.” Consisting of Tyler Turek (guitar), Michael Del Vecchio (bass), Jenn Marino (vocals), and Mark Swan (drums), Hiroshima Hearts have worked long and tedious hours in the studio to fine-tune their craft.

While coming up with their single “Smoke,” it’s evident that these time-consuming projects are worth the while. Through scorching rock instrumentals and Jenn Marino’s striking vocals, we’re left seeing “Smoke” escape through our speakers. Not to mention the deftly edited music video taking us back to the sweltering year of 1969 through nostalgic scenes.

Kicking off “Smoke” with Mark Swan’s infectious drum patterns, bringing a high dose of energy to the song, we’re swiftly hit with Tyler Turek’s fiery electric guitar riffs and Michael Del Vecchio’s bass line giving us that vibrant rock infused melodies. Taking a turn into the music video, scenes of nostalgic cars and fashion in 1969 play out. Jenn Marino’s indulgent vocals take the video by storm and exhilarating chase scenes straight out of an old action movie.

It is also giving us haunting imagery through witchy women being tied up to posts and a devilish man around a fire. Hiroshima Hearts wanted to tie in “Smoke” with the original meaning to the culture in 1969 that effortlessly steered away from the silent generation, being sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll. Which we can hear and see through psychedelic editing effects, steamy scenes of couples, and the overall striking element of high energy rock.

Be sure to listen to "Smoke" here.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Hiroshima Hearts! We’re really getting down with the energy and nostalgia in your single and music video for “Smoke”. How did the band come across this old-fashioned path that exudes rock at its prime?

JENN MARINO: We like to think our sound is a mix of 70s and 90s rock. But our influences are so much broader than that. I love metal and dirty blues. Mike grew up on punk rock - skate punk to be more specific. Tyler’s favorite band is probably Run the Jewels. Mark has a degree in Jazz from Western University.

Although we all come from different musical styles, the main goal of our music is to create pure energy. It's all about going after that original feeling of Rock & Roll. From Little Richard to Black Sabbath, rock music is about making you feel something deep down and letting it all out at the moment! 

While we try to focus on grit, and the old school sounds of Rock & Roll, in the end, it's all about the live show. It’s about flying hair, stomping, moving bodies, and sweaty leather and denim… You know, just having a really great time!  We want you to party with us and forget when or where you are while we are on stage.  We try our hardest to translate that feeling into our recorded music. 

Within your music video for “Smoke”, Hiroshima Hearts had help when editing from 331arts. How did that process go with 331arts, and did you have to converse about what sort of theme/atmosphere you wanted to deliver?

TYLER TUREK: We are lucky that 331arts is run by our bassist Mike. He has made videos for us in the past including our very first music video from 2015 and a more recent video featuring London, Ontario legend Bev “The Dancing Cowboy” Camp.

We are really happy with the video he came up with, but it wasn’t our original plan. We had really stepped up our investment in audio production for this single and wanted to do the same for our artwork and video. We had just begun the process of shopping for a local artist and videographer to help us finalize our vision when COVID hit. The combination of not being able to gather to shoot and the loss of all band revenue from live performances, the bulk of our and most bands income, meant we had to replan.

We had a band video chat at the end of March when it became clear the pandemic wasn’t going anywhere. We talked about everything from canceling shows, to songwriting, to what we were going to do with the single we had in the can. The idea for the video sort of just evolved naturally out of that conversation. Mike mentioned the idea of cutting up old public domain footage. Jenn, being a huge horror & VHS fan, suggested finding some old horror movies. Being that it was a driving song, the old car commercials and a public service film about not stealing cars made natural fits. 

We’ve heard that Hiroshima Hearts’ songwriting process usually begins with Jenn Marino and Michael Del Vecchio’s lyric writing. Could you expand on where the band goes from there, and where the tone of the song is established during the process?

JENN MARINO: We have a very democratic process for songwriting. Everyone has an equal say and an equal opportunity to bring song ideas. The process can be very different depending on who brings the song idea to the table. Mike and I definitely tend to start more with lyrics and basic melodies, where Mark and Tyler are perhaps more riff focussed. Once it gets into the band room, however, everything is fair game.

This specific song started as a demo our drummer Mark Swan brought to the band after discussing our old school dirty Rock N Roll sound. We loved this punk rock cowbell type of riff and built the lyrics around that. We wanted a song that captured the feeling of freedom you get on the open road with the music cranked.

Side note:  “Punk Rock Cowbell” was actually our place holder for the song until we decided on the name “Smoke” after production.

Seeing as Hiroshima Hearts started back with the founding two members Tyler Turek and Michael Del Vecchio, how has the band's original sound changed over the years with the addition of Jenn Marino and Mark Swan?

MICHAEL DEL VECCHIO: Over the 8-year span of Hiroshima Hearts our sound has slowly but consistently gravitated toward faster and heavier music. We started out in 2012 somewhere between blues rock and indie rock. In the very beginning, the wasn’t really a plan to form a band as much as a desire to get together and jam. Our early music really reflects that. Its fun and spontaneous, but perhaps lacks a cohesive vision. As we started to play live with more frequency, we wanted to write songs with more energy. We wanted to play Rock & Roll you can dance to. The addition of Jenn in 2015 was a big first step in that direction. Our first song was a fantastic singer (and person) but she was a blues singer, through and through. Jenn was a Rock & Roll singer. One song into our first practice with Jenn (technically an audition, but she was really auditioning us I think), and the feeling was just so natural. When Mark joined the band there was a similar feeling. He had seen us play several times in the past and knew what we were about. He has a really deep understanding of the inner workings of music and really helped us articulate exactly what we wanted to sound like. What can we expect to see from you throughout 2020?

MICHAEL DEL VECCHIO: It’s so hard to say at this point. We had a super busy summer planned that kicked off with an opening slot for Buckcherry at the London Music Hall, went on to several (well paying) festival gigs in June and July, and a couple short 3-4 day runs throughout Ontario in August. Obviously, that has all either been canceled or postponed. We are looking into some live streaming options, though that option does seem much better for acoustic and/or solo artists. The difficulties with production and the risks still associated with gathering also make it difficult for bands with multiple members. So, on a live music front, weather online or in person, we are sort of in a holding pattern waiting to see what happens through the summer and into fall. Although we are able to gather, we are still writing both individually and collectively. We hope to be able to get into a studio again before the end of 2020 to record our next single.