Interview: James Hart of Eighteen Visions Celebrates 20 Years of Vanity and Triumphs

Formed by James Hart in Orange County, California, Eighteen Visions is a metalcore band who have recently released the album ‘1996’ in 2021 with their label, Rise Records. The band made a comeback in 2017 after a decade-long break, and we are excited to be able to speak with James Hart on their next steps. Vanity Tour Summer 2022 tickets are available now!

Eighteen Visions has been making waves in the music and metal community since 1995 until the present day – with a hiatus in
between. What was the music scene like in hardcore and metalcore when you first were starting out?

Locally it was really starting to grow. I think what helped that was having a lot of mixed-billed shows. Having a local show with all metalcore or hardcore bands was rare. A lot of actual emo bands would be on these shows as well. It really helped the community grow and everyone was supporting each other for the most part. I was even seeing quite a few bigger tours come through where the bill was mixed. I thought this was really cool. Especially when I was younger, as I was hungry for new music and I liked the fact that I was being exposed to different styles of underground music.

Keith (Barney) mentioned in an interview with LoudWire that you and the band were of course still in love with music during the break,and you’ve watched it evolve from the early 2000’s till now. Would you say your own perception of music and ‘your sound’ have evolved in that time as well?

I’ve always been pretty open to different genres of music. Good music is good music to me. So it doesn’t matter where it comes from. So I would say my personal evolution with music is always fluid as I am always open to new artists and sounds. As a vocalist and songwriter, I would say I’ve definitely evolved. Keeping myself open to music from all realms helps with that. Also just want to level up each time I create something new. As for Eighteen Visions, I would say we’ve evolved in the sense that we don’t feel like we have to be handcuffed to any of our previous work. We can write and create something that sounds like modern UTIRO and take that to another level or even blend something that sound with something you would’ve heard off our 2006 s/t release.

Underneath the Gun, Laid to Waste in the Shit of Man, Spit, Fake Leather Jacket, and For This I Sacrifice all have quotes from movies or TV shows like The Twilight Zone in their intros. This has been something you’ve done since your earliest material. Who chooses the quotes to include? Were there any that didn’t make the cut?

Throughout the years we’ve all contributed those clips from our favorite movies. I would say that anyone that has been a part of a particular recording or era of Eighteen Visions has contributed in that sense. As for any that didn’t make the cut, I have no idea because we were always pretty specific with what we were doing.

What have been your favorite live show moments since releasing XVIII in 2017?

Obviously, the big comeback show in O.C. 2017 was great. Connecting with everyone that was there on that level was pretty surreal. It had been a long time. TIHC 2018 and last year’s Furnace Fest were truly special as well. My favorite gig we’ve done since we’ve been back might be London 2017. That was smashing.

You (James Hart) have mentioned that the band is now 100% self-funded, and that you guys actually run all social media
yourselves. What has it been like connecting with fans over the band’s social media accounts?

Yeah, it’s cool to connect with everyone. We were still playing back when MySpace was around, but I don’t think you had the same level of communication you would with Instagram or Twitter. I’ve made some pretty cool friends through the socials because of common interests outside of the band and music.

You released another album ‘1996’ just recently last year. What was it like behind-the-scenes during it’s creation, and
how did you decide which songs to cover?

We’ve fucked around with covers over the years and have released them on compilations. We had done this NIN “March of the Pigs” cover a couple of years ago, but I don’t know if it ever reached the public. We had talked about doing a NIN 7″, and then I think Keith went down this road of just recording music for some of his favorite songs and influences and just ended up with this super long list of 90s rock and hardcore. He wanted me to sing on a couple of them so I brought up the idea of doing an album. Half hardcore/half rock. From there we started to discuss which bands had the biggest impact on us and which songs would be cool to cover. It was mainly just me and Keith up in Trevor’s attic/studio space where we would do the vocals. I think because each song is so different and we have such a love for them, it might have been my favorite album to record to date.

‘Inferno’, your previous EP, tells a story about Dante’s perspective as he literally goes through hell. What was the story of
developing this album and perspective?

The music was dark and felt like it was telling a story. Lyrically the first couple of songs had a lot of anger and hatred in them. Those emotions directed at the sinner. Concepts are super rad if done well and Keith had brought up the idea of Inferno. Once we had that idea in place, I started to focus the lyrics more on the concept while applying my personal feelings, encounters, and experiences.

You’re doing a 20th anniversary tour for your album ‘Vanity‘. Why do you think the album is held with such high esteem by your fan base then and now?

 If it is held in high esteem, that’s nice to know because it didn’t really start off that way. When we released back in 2002 a lot of the fan base was split. It was a very divisive album. We definitely went through this period early on where we lost a lot of the fan base from UTIRO or previous works. Those that fell in love with it liked the risks we took. Putting more melody in and really infusing our 90s grunge influence.

What was it like working with Howard Jones on the song “One Hell Of A Prize Fighter”? How did you connect with him for the feature of the song?

Yeah back then, bands were doing a lot of features and guest vocals. That went away for a while and it seems like it’s starting to make its way back. We linked up with Howard back when he was in Blood Has Been Shed. We toured with them a bit. We became pretty tight. He came out a few times when on break from tour to come and stay out in O.C.

What are some other up and coming bands in the scene that inspire you?

Yeah, so the bands that I’m really into right now would be Knocked Loose, Code Orange, Vein, Chamber, END, Duhkha, and Inclination.

How are you all able to balance out family, kids, and other responsibilities with being musicians?

Well, for Keith and me, this is super part-time. At least the live portion of this. It’s fairly easy for us to carve out time in our personal schedules when we have so much advance notice for planning and a great support system at home.

Catch them on tour with Wrist Meet Razor, End, Chamber, and See You Space Cowboy in a city near you!

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