Interview with Timeshares guitarist and vocalist Jon Hernandez | Written by Brittany Moseley
Timeshares guitarist and vocalist Jon Hernandez is in the middle of a two hour and 45 minute drive from Philadelphia to his hometown of Rockland County, NY, for band practice. He and the rest of the band—bassist Mike Natoli, guitarist Jason Mosher, and drummer Eric Bedell, who all contribute vocals as well—will soon converge in Natoli’s mom’s basement for a marathon practice session.
With Hernandez and Natoli in Philly, Mosher in Brooklyn, and Bedell on Long Island, scheduling band practice takes planning. They did, however, manage to carve out some time to write and record their sophomore album—and first for SideOneDummy – Already Dead. Timeshares is known for their scrappy melodic punk, and on Already Dead, they’ve hit their stride. It wasn’t easy getting here, though. From solving personal problems to figuring out what kind of band they wanted to be, there’s a reason it took them four years to write the follow-up to 2011’s Bearable. Fortunately, it was worth the wait.
How did you and Mike end up in Philly?
Mike and I are from Rockland County, NY, and it was one of those “We can’t die here” situations [laughs]. I kept flirting with the idea of moving into Brooklyn, and then the band’s touring schedule would ramp up. I kept getting apartment after apartment in Rockland County, using all the touring as an excuse for not wanting to uproot my life. I realized—just through being a band and all the touring—I had more friends in Philadelphia than I did anywhere else. After I moved here, it became that thing where you keep seeing articles on the Internet about how the bands in Philadelphia are blowing up. It’s funny, because it’s such a small city that you read those articles, and then you go to the grocery store and everyone in that article is in the produce aisle.
What has been the biggest change since your last album?
When we did the first one, we hadn’t gotten to be in a band like that. The band was an open forum, and we didn’t know Mike and I were going to be the singers. It was like, “Write whatever you want, and it doesn’t matter what the singer thinks because there isn’t one.” It got bunched in with what people call the orgcore scene, like the punknews.org thing. I know why. I heard it too. The idea with that record, especially for me and Mike, was to take that genre—the big heavy hitters of influence like Hot Water Music and Dillinger Four—and be like, “But wouldn’t it be better if Nick Lowe wrote the melody for this song?” There are a lot of ideas on that record borrowed from Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe.
With [Already Dead] it took us so long to start writing because we didn’t want to go make a bunch of 7”s. We wanted to figure out the direction to take a new set of songs in. I think the idea with this one was to lead toward the influences we thought it was cool [to use], rather than try to breathe them into a pop punk song. It’s still a distorted guitar, melodic record in the same vein, but we learned how to sound like us. On the first one, we were really excited to be a loud, singalong punk band for the fist time, and on this one, we were like, “Oh wait, we can do whatever we want. We just have to learn how to write songs.”
So, what’s the writing process like for the band now?
It’s super collaborative. It never feels right to me to say, “I wrote this song.” Even if I write a completed song, normally what I would do is go to them and say, “I have some chords and a vocal melody. You guys do something with it,” with me in the room as well. I’ve never had that before: this band where I just like everything they do. I’m in a band with three people who are all on the same wavelength.
There was this period when the first album was getting written where all of our lives fell apart at the same time. Different things happened to all four of us that were pretty bad. It ended up being a document of this period where all of our shit fell apart. I wouldn’t want to speak for the other three, because I don’t know what they want out there. On my end, I went through a breakup. Everyone goes through breakups, but I was learning that I don’t know how to deal with adversity at all. I just learned that I was an emotional infant. [Laughs]
I think the second one acts as a natural follow-up to it. With this one, [I’m no longer] harping on the fact that I’m unhappy and don’t know what to do about it. At least 80 percent of the record is trying to figure out what the next move is. I think the record’s about not finding how to make yourself happy, but finding the ability to look for how to make yourself happy.