Hearts & Hand Grenades is a hard rock band from the Buffalo, New York area and despite the pandemic, the four-piece are still signed with heavy metal label Eclipse Records, and created their first album, Turning To Ashes, in 2020. Personally, 2020 was a big year for vocalist/bassist Stephanie, whom Eat This Music had the opportunity to chat to upon the release of her band’s aforementioned album.
“I had never really shared my thoughts and emotions before like I am doing through these songs, so I think I have made a big leap in letting other people see ME,” Stephanie reveals.
2021 started off with a bang for Stephanie, Mike (guitar & keyboard), Kenny (lead guitar) and Tom (drums), with the release of their first album. “Its been a great experience sharing all of our hard work with fans around the world and just through the writing process, we have grown as a band,” Stephanie continues. “Creatively we can anticipate each other’s style of play and can use that to write to our strengths.”
The climate in Buffalo is right in the middle of winter, and the area has a reputation for having terrible snow, but so far 2021 has been relatively mild compared to what citizens are used to. “Does that mean that the locals have stopped leaving their houses in Hooded Sweatshirts and shorts,” Stephanie quips. “Nope, we still do that even when the temperature drops significantly here. That’s just how we roll. Go Bills!”
Heart & Hand Grenades’ Turning To Ashes represents a lot of emotion-driven  songs that show the band’s diversity and drive as a collective unit. The album is fueled by the four members experimenting with different sub-genres of rock here and there and that has proved to be a great experience for them to grow musically as a band.
“We set out to discover what our sound is by creating these songs naturally without the pressure of just needing to finish something for the sake of finishing something,” Stephanie revealsa on the initial creative process of the 8-track album. “Our statement was basically ‘Here we are!’ It was a great experience putting this album together and we learned a lot through the process, which will only help us continue to grow musically.”
Although, typically, Mike and Stephanie work through the guitar and bass lines for, and once they are happy with that, Stephanie will get to work on the lyrics and melodies. From there, Stephanie and Mike bring what they have to Kenny and Tom, and then the band sort of mold their sound into whatever form the song eventually takes. The process is never an approach of telling the band this is the line and that’s it – that is not how the four members work.
“We are open to each other’s input and styles to bring each song to life. Writing this album brought us closer as a band and I can’t wait to get out on tour with these guys.” — Stephanie on the process of Turning To Ashes.
“I think there is a little bit of life experience in some of the songs on the album,” Stephanie explains on the influences of the album. “‘Nothing Left’ is a good old fashioned breakup song that I think is relatable for a lot of people.” In fact, Stephanie has been in a relationship where she hit a breaking point and had enough.
Stephanie continues, “I think a lot of people can relate to that. In a completely strange direction though, ‘The In Crowd’ is based completely off of a dream that I had about a lost traveler that wandered into the wrong bar, which happened to be a secret club of shady characters.”
“My favorite song off the album is Turning To Ashes,” Stephanie reveals. “It is about indecision and needing to make an important life-changing choice, because doing nothing is not an option.” In fact, this is the type of song that really touches on needing to do what is right for you even if that means leaving others behind. Stephanie hopes this song can inspire listeners to make themselves a priority sometimes in their own lives.
Overall, the band hope listeners find the album enjoyable and can connect with the content, whether it is with some head banging or emotional connection. Hearts & Hand Grenades might be a relatively new band, but they are just getting started, so buckle up, and enjoy the ride!
“We already have a few songs recorded for the next album and will be working hard to bring that album to life over the course of 2021,” Stephanie continues. We have about 70% of the songs finished and will be taking extra care to make that happen by the end of the year. We anticipate that the first single for that album will happen sometime in the summer.”
2021 looks to be a big year for Hearts & Hand Grenades, as they are working on putting together a tour… just as soon as it is safe to do so. “We will keep our fans updated with information on that just as soon as we can,” Stephanie concludes in our chat.