Photography by: Ken Schuler
Words and Interview by: Allison Ebner
While on the hunt for a place to eat lunch, bassist Eric “Halvo” Halvorsen took some time to speak with PCM’s Allison about A Rocket to the Moon’s latest tour with the All-American Rejects, upcoming album and much more!
Like most of us, Eric is a long-time fan of the Rejects. “I’ve been listening to them since middle school. A friend introduced me way back when ‘cause he grew up with someone who knew Tyson or something, so I’ve known about them for a long time,” he explained. “It’s pretty surreal to be on a tour like this. We’ve done a couple like this, you know, like with Hanson. It’s just kind of weird that we’re out with them, but definitely an honor and really, really cool that we get to watch them every night and hear good music.”
The tour, which only featured The Rejects and A Rocket to the Moon, certainly provided any music lover with an excellent evening of live music, but Eric knows that each crowd is its own entity. “It’s different every night. You know, our vibes vary just as much as the crowds’ do, so I guess just whether people are really excited or just kind of sitting there, you just have to make the most of the crowd’s energy and realize that you in front of a whole new audience. I’m in a band playing music and not sitting at home working a sh!tty job, so it’s like no matter what the energy is like, it’s awesome what we’re doing. I always remind myself of that.”
Eric is right about that. Who wouldn’t love to tour the country with their best friends doing what they love to do? But even more than that, the band (including Nick Santino, Justin Richards and Andrew Cook) makes the most of their opportunities, not just playing their own music but learning from the musicians they have shared the stage with.
“We’ve definitely learned so much from the bands we have toured with, especially Hanson. You know, things like doing the three-part harmony, we definitely picked up that up from them,” he explained as I recalled the three-part harmonies they employed on their cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’. “Never Shout [Never], as well. Yeah, we try and pick up and learn things from every band we’ve ever toured with and try to take as much as we can from each tour.”
There is also, though, always time for some good times. This tour, however, proved to be more driving than anything else. “We’ve had a lot of long drives which is a little unfortunate,” Eric laughed. “We haven’t had the opportunity to hang out with The Rejects too much. But when we have, it’s always been fun. We went out for Tyson’s birthday, which was a really good time. Everybody went to the bar and we were playing video games and whatnot.”
So how does Eric and the band make their own fun on the long drives? “It depends,” he began. “If I have a good book, I’ll read. Usually, we watch a lot of movies. We just got all of the Seinfeld episodes on my computer so we’ve been marathoning that pretty much every drive lately. But I’d say most of the time, I sleep.”
He also has developed another habit he seems to have a love-hate relationship with. “I’ve been buying a lot of records lately, I guess, that’s been a bad habit,” he revealed with a laugh. When I told him it could, in fact, be a good habit, he responded, “well, my wallet would say otherwise. Vinyl and stuff. So I’ve been into that. It’s my newfound little collection and hobby.”
But buying records isn’t the only thing that’s been keeping Eric busy. He and the band have also been busy making a new A Rocket to the Moon album – the first in over two and a half years. With so much time passed, it’s natural that their music would reflect the progression.
“Well, it’ll be three years in October that On Your Side has been out so we’ve been touring that whole time and growing as musicians and listening to other styles of music. I guess it’s kind of cliché to say we’re maturing and that stuff, but it’s really just the way to put it,” Eric said. “We’ve kind of evolved through time as musicians and that will definitely show through the songs on the new record.”
One aspect we may notice more so with this record is the country influence. “We worked with a country producer named Mark Bright, so not only did he have a country influence on it, but [recording in] Nashville itself. I guess just the people we were around and the environment was what influenced it the most.”
Eric acknowledges this new taste of country may surprise some fans, but it’s nothing all that drastically new. “There’s definitely probably a couple that kids are going to be a little surprised about. There’s a few that are pretty raw and there’s a couple that are pretty country and stuff, so I’m sure people will be surprised. But it’s not too different for us.”
This is perhaps best exemplified by the new song they played on the Rejects tour called “Going Out.” As Eric explains it, the song epitomizes what has “always been the message of our band: to have a good time with your friends and music and whatnot,” but seamlessly mixes the hint of country that Nashville and its people brought to the album and gets everyone excited to hear more.
“It’s been great,” he continued. “Everyone seems to really enjoy it and have a good time during it. Whether they’ve heard it before or not, everyone seems to dance and clap along.”
While their summer plans remain mum, Eric did confirm that they are planning on releasing the album sometime in the summer, though touring plans are still up in the air at this point. They are in the early stages of piecing together the plan of putting out the album, so stay tuned for release dates, tour dates and more! It’s going to be a good year for A Rocket to the Moon – you’ll definitely want to check them out!