As often as bands continue to envelop themselves in a style familiar to them and their fanbase, some take a different path that feels more natural. Hundredth is one of the bands on the latter road, shedding their skin from the blistering hardcore and surrounding themselves with an aura of a more lush, well thought out style of shoegaze rock. Still embedded in their sound and ideas are the lyrical concepts of pursuing a higher freedom and ridding oneself of inner turmoil. Topics like this were evident in Free, Revolt and pummeled through the old time favorite “Let Go.”
Now, Hundredth went with their gut and wrote without any thought. As much as a band is a business, a band is a musical passion and artistic vision for the ones involved. RARE will be released on June 16th via Hopeless Records and finds the South Carolina quartet pursuing a love interest of sonic atmospheres that were never embraced on previous releases. The album opens with a driving drum beat in “Vertigo” and dances with the thematic layering of music that shine on RARE. Vocalist Chadwick Johnsons sounds ethereal, at times almost whispering through songs as if not to disturb the blooming and pensive melodies. “White Squall” has a bit more of a booming drum tone, effective in showcasing how central the drums are to the mix of the record, further evidenced by the opening spurts of “Chandelier” and the gripping emotion of “Neurotic.”
Hundredth went all in on their new form of music, sticking true to form and challenging listeners with every song. “Shy Vein” is an experimental triumph of synthesizers and drums uniting to produce a sound that none would expect from this band four years ago. For RARE, Hundredth took many positives from their old sound and redefined how to make music that speaks with the same intensity and builds upon a fluent message. Rich with distorted guitars, pulsing drums and an overall rhythm section built for the summer months, Hundredth have achieved a new height in sound.
New Noise Magazine is pleased to have vocalist/guitarist Chadwick Johnson shed light on Hundredth’s new release, RARE. Listen to the record below and read an in depth analysis on how the South Carolina act managed to effectively create this new record, including “Departure,” arguably one of the more impressive tunes across RARE.
Alex wrote the music for this tune at home. Legend says he had a surf video on loop for two days. I think that’s what kind of adds the surfy feel in the verses. Overall it’s a pretty groovin’ track. Alex pretty much rips a tasteful solo in the bridge, which we laughed about. It was the second song I started to record vocals for. The patterns in the verse kept popping up in my head when we were jamming it instrumental in the studio. I spent a little more time on the chorus melody & eventually decided to put the patterns as a call & response to the guitars. When I finished the song, it just felt like a solid opening song to set the tone of the record. We had a joke surrounding this song that the intro drums sounded similar to “Love Shack” by B-52’s.
Alex wrote the instrumental for this song in what we will refer to from here on out as “surf week.” Basically a week of him tweaking out on coffee with surf videos on loop. He got a couple solid instrumentals that made the cut for the record. Like most of the songs, I wrote the melodies and lyrics in the studio. I engineered all the vocals for this record in a separate wing of the studio, while Sam Pura (who produced the record) was doing the music on the other side. So there were a lot of vocal days where I wouldn’t even really see anyone for most of the day. I would be locked in the other side for like 12 hours. For “Neurotic,” I can barely remember writing it. I think it was just a tunnel vision scenario where I started with one part of the song and then 6 hours later had it close to done and showed the guys.
We had about a week at home after the studio & I had some vocals to finish up, so that’s when I added some of the buried “screams” in the bridge. I just kept hearing it every time I listened to the song. Once the vocals were done, we all agreed it was a solid “first taste of the new sound” song.
Alex wrote the instrumental during “surf week.” He was listening to a lot of Dinosaur Jr. at the time, so the demo was pretty fuzzed out and dirty compared to what it became at the studio. He sent me this song with a vocal over the bridge, (“white out/side shore”) and I was way into it. The vision for the song was to craft different rhythms around the same simple lead. The whole first half of the song is soft & building and then the second half is all heavy guitars over that same simple lead. I wrote the chorus for this song first & then took a little while decided how the verses should be. It turned out a lot different than any other songs on the record. The song felt like a storm to me so lyrically it hinges on that a bit. Funny thing is when we went to record drums for it, it was raining super heavily outside. You can actually hear that in the beginning of the song through the room mics. Alex had the idea to name it after the Jeff Bridges movie, & so we did. We had a running joke surrounding this song that the instrumental sounded like it could be on one of those commercials trying to get you to go on vacation to Florida.
This instrumental was also written by Alex during “surf week”. Alex can’t remember writing it, so it must have been tunnel vision. We jammed it in the studio & it felt weird in a good way. It felt like something completely different than all of the other songs. When we jammed it, I was playing a 12 string. We liked how that sounded so we tracked one side of the rhythms with the 12 string. It took me a while to figure out the melodies for this one. I was stuck for a while on this one and then went to a keyboard to figure out where the melody should be for the chorus. I ended up writing the rest of the melodies on the keyboard for this one. When I initially wrote the lower melody going into the bridge, I was really pumped. The whole song just goes on a tangent & that’s one of my favorite parts of the record. We referred to this song as the “Home Depot” song in the studio, because we thought it sounded like the background music in of those commercials. Weird reference, I know. Hopefully that doesn’t ruin the song for anyone.
I wrote this song at home & then Alex came down for a week and we rewrote the bridge and the intro to the song. It’s in a kind of weird tuning. It’s in E Standard with the bottom string tuned down to C. One day I was trying to learn “Neon” by John Mayer and just left it in that tuning and started working on a song. This is the only song I tracked vocals on before we headed into the studio. I wanted to paint the picture for what I had planned vocally for the rest of the guys, so I kind of word vomited some quick takes over the whole song at home before we flew out. Just melodies I heard. I remember the chorus melody and lyrics came out randomly in one of those takes & I decided to keep it just like that. I ended up tidying it up at the studio, but it stayed pretty similar to that initial run through I did at home.
We were about 10 demos in and I wanted there to be a faster, darker song so I wrote the chorus for this song. I was listening to a lot of Metz at the time. Alex came down one day we finished the rest of it. The rhythms on the chorus are busy, so we decided to make the verses be simple with a lot of space. This makes the song kind of tighten up and then release. It’s got a wild type of energy to it. The bass is riding one-note pretty much in the verses and I knew this would leave a lot of room for the vocals when I went to write those. I wrote the melodies & lyrics one day in the studio. I can’t remember much from that day now, but I know I wrote both “Grey” & “Disarray.” I was in a kind of doom & gloom mood that day & I think that comes out in both songs but each in a different way. Must have been the gummies.
The very first writing sessions for this record went down at my house over a couple of days in July 2016. We had an entire summer off from tour, so around July we finally started writing for the record. Alex & I wrote 4 songs over those couple days. Two of them didn’t make the final cut & the other two were combined to form what is now “Down.” The intro to the song was always interesting to me. It comes in full where you don’t really expect it. I was stuck at one point on melodies, so Lee & I were playing around on the Ableton Push to come up with a starting point. We all thought the last riff in the song sounded a little like Incubus, which we like. We sang tons of “cock rock” melodies and vocals over it as a joke until we didn’t even know if we should keep it or not because of how terrible we made it sound. I had to go track something serious over it for us to actually to decide. I’m glad we kept it. I think it’s a cool way the end the song.
We wrote “Grey” on our first day in the studio. We were setting up our gear to jam & I was toying with that intro guitar riff finding tones and what not. We decided to jam on it and a couple hours later we had the instrumental for “Grey”. It sounded a lot heavier than any of the other material, so we almost scrapped it about a week later but we decided to keep it around. We didn’t know if it would make the final cut though. It wasn’t until I wrote the lyrics & melodies that we all actually got pumped on it and thought it would fit on the record. It sounded like it had potential, but we just weren’t sure. I ended up recording the final vocals for this one at home in that weeklong break before Europe. The choruses have a “choir” type feel to them, which was the vision. I wanted it to sound like a dark sounding choir. I felt like it worked well with the lyrics. The lyrics to this one are pretty heavy. It’s pretty much like an exposé of modern society, I guess. It’s one of my favorites on the record.
I think it was Week 3 & we had been listening through the 16 or so songs we had pre-production for at the time. I kept feeling like there was one area of the spectrum we hadn’t explored. So I went in the other wing and started messing with some stuff on Ableton & about 8 hours later I had this song instrumentally. I didn’t even know if the other guys were going to like it, because it was pretty electronic. The drums were sampled, it was super synth-heavy in verse 2 and the bridge & there weren’t many guitars on it overall. Everyone seemed to be into the instrumental, so the next I started to work on some vocals for it to see if they would fit. I wrote the chorus first & was pretty pumped on it. Then I filled the verses and decided to go with a vocoder type feel on the bridge. I figured if we were going there; let’s fully go there. “Shy Vein” was definitely a turning point in the record for us. When I showed everyone that song, we realized that it would be the riskiest move on the record. We liked how it sounded. We liked how it felt. I think that was the moment we decided to just go fully into it and not really care or be concerned with what happens.
Alex wrote the demo for this one about 2 weeks out from us going into the studio. The demo was pretty dancey, but once we jammed it in a room it had more of a rocky feel. We are all pumped on the drums in this song. They were unlike any groove we’ve ever had. When I went to write vocals to this song, I started with the bridge. “you’re crystal clear / chandelier” was the first thing to come to my mind. So I tracked that & it felt right so I wrote the rest of the song around that. The melodies are kind of dark on this song. At times while I was writing it, it almost reminded me of Him or something. I think it’s a cool upbeat song to put towards the end of the record. Keeps the record moving & is stylistically different than the other tracks.
“Youth” is a weird one. Alex & I wrote it at my house one day. The structure of the song is different because there are kind of two choruses. The guitars are phrased in a weird polyrhythm in the verses. It gives a really wide-open vibe to the chorus. I sat on this song for a long time before I knew what to do with the vocals. I tried a bunch of things and it never really clicked until I started toying with some lower vocals on the verse one random day and it all came together. When I finished the vocals, I wasn’t sure if it was really going to be a standout track from the record, but I really liked it. It felt like something completely new. I’m surprised this song is the most popular so far from the record. Funny how that happens.
Early on in the writing for this record, Alex sent me the main guitar riff of this song in a voice note and I was peaking. It was just a simple guitar riff, but it was melancholic in a perfect way. We took that riff he played one day and wrote some small verses around it. We didn’t have a lot of time that day, so we just looped some drums and recorded me playing bass and him playing an electric 12 string over it at the same time. It sat as a two-minute demo for months until we got to the studio. Every time either of us would go to add to it, it just didn’t really go anywhere. We ended up jamming it last in the pre-production phase, building off of the structure we had been sitting on. It really came alive in the room. It felt super natural (not supernatural) and we just happened to all go into this tangent on one of the takes that ended up becoming the bridge. It feels like the song just goes somewhere else for a while. This was the very last song I recorded vocals for. I did it at home after we got back from the studio. I had been listening to the instrumental over & over and the word “Departure” just kept coming up so that’s what I called it. Both musically & lyrically, it felt like a perfect last song of the record.
06/16 Seattle, WA @ Centurylink Field North Lot *
06/17 Salem, OR @ Oregon State Fairgrounds *
06/21 Albuquerque, NM @ Balloon Fiesta Park *
06/22 Phoenix, AZ @ Fear Farm Festival Grounds *
06/23 Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel *
06/24 Salt Lake City, UT @ Utah State Fairpark *
06/25 Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center *
06/27 Nashville, TN @ The Fairgrounds Nashville *
06/28 Metaire, LA @ The Shrine On Airline *
06/29 Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre *
06/30 Orlando, FL @ Tinker Field *
07/01 St. Petersburg, FL @ Vinoy Park *
07/02 West Palm Beach, FL @ Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre *
07/04 Wilmington, NC @ Legion Stadium *
07/06 Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte *
07/07 Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion *
07/08 Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater *
07/09 Hartford, CT @ Xfinity Theatre *
07/10 Scranton, PA @ The Pavilion At Montage Mountain *
07/11 Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater *
07/12 Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center *
07/13 Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake PAC *
07/14 Burgettstown, PA @ Keybank Pavilion *
07/15 Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center *
07/16 Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion *
07/18 Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center *
07/19 Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center *
07/20 Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center *
07/21 Auburn Hills, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills *
07/22 Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater *
07/23 Shakopee, MN @ Canterbury Park *
07/24 Milwaukee, WI @ Henry Maier Festival Park *
07/26 Maryland Heights, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre *
07/27 Bonner Springs, KS @ Providence Medical Center Amphitheater *
07/28 Dallas, TX @ Starplex Pavilion *
07/29 San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center *
07/30 Houston, TX @ NRG Park *
08/01 Las Cruces, NM @ New Mexico State University Intramural Field *
08/04 Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre *
08/05 San Diego, CA @ Qualcomm Stadium *
08/06 Pomona, CA @ Fairplex Pomona *
* Van’s Warped Tour