artists » Micah Carli of Hawthorne Heights

Micah Carli of Hawthorne HeightsPost-hardcore, emo-pop and screamo are all terms that have been used to describe their sound. Hawthorne Heights’ Micah Carli sees it differently, “It’s almost ridiculous how many different classifications there are. You can call us whatever you want. Sure, we’re a rock band of sorts. For people who have no idea who we are, we just say we are a rock band or a hard-rock band.

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That’s bland enough to fit. Yes, there are some emo parts and then there’s some post-hardcore. Call it whatever you want to call it. They come up with names faster than people know what they mean these days!” We say, “Amen to that, brother!” Let’s stop the insanity and call it what it is…good music.

In support of their sophomore album, If Only You Were Lonely, released February 2006, Micah Carli, JT Woodruff and the rest of Hawthorne Heights have taken a “no rest for the weary” approach. The band is fresh off tour with the All-American Rejects, Fallout Boy and Story of the Year but have quickly re-upped and joined forces to headline the Nintendo Fusion Tour with Relient K, Emery, Plain White T’s and The Sleeping. The tour is a perfect marriage, too. “We’re nerds,” Micah tells us. “We don’t party or do anything crazy, we just play lots of video games. It’s what we do.”

Choosing the band(s) to go on tour with is a careful science, explains Micah. “We try to choose a band that we think will help draw, so it’s beneficial for the show. But we also want to choose a band that we like and get along with personally. It all has to be complimentary. But there’s no one way it’s done. Sometimes you just take friends out, because you want to hang out with them.”

Often a popular influence among VOX users, the “Fab Four” from Liverpool rank high on Micah’s all-time list. He explains, “My favorite band is The Beatles by far and I have a real big soft spot for classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. That’s kind of what I learned to play guitar on. It’s probably cliché, but I’m sure I first learned about VOX by watching The Beatles years and years ago… I imagine a lot of people say that. I just absolutely love the amps. I had an AC15 for a while and then I got the AC30CC2X Custom Classic that I’ve been using live for the last year or two now. It’s just amazing sounding. We used them in the studio a bunch, too!”

While on tour Micah doesn’t take any chances. “I’m using the new Custom Classic’s now for the road. I don’t want to take a chance and screw up my older VOX amps. Things tend to get bumped around a bit on tour.” Micah’s VOX sound is unmistakable. “I’ve always liked my clean tone to kind of break up a little bit. Right at the top of clean tone and between distortions clean tone. It’s got a very warm, English sound to it with just a little bit of breakup. That’s what I love. One feature I love to use is the spring reverb. You can hear it in our new single, ‘Pens and Needles’ and our last single, ‘Saying Sorry.’ We definitely feature the AC30CC2X’s on those songs.”

Since Hawthorne has three guitar players – Micah Carli, JT Woodruff and Casey Calvert – they get a really huge sound. Each guitarist takes a particular role for each song, for example lead, rhythm and harmony. “It’s kind of separated like that. One person sticks to more rudimentary rhythm, and the second guitarist puts on some more intricate stuff, and then there’s a guy on top playing just straight melody,” explains Micah. “But we all kind of swap back and forth a bit. Sometimes we’re playing the same thing, and sometimes we completely utilize our different roles. I wouldn’t say any one person plays lead or rhythm every time.”

Watch for Hawthorne Heights’ new video for “Pens and Needles,” which airs regularly on MTV, MTV2 and FUSE, and find out when they’ll be rockin’ a city near you at or

Article: Jenn Plonski
Photo credit: Keith Smith

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