Heart Attack Man Share Their Influences on Each Track From Their “Thoughtz & Prayerz” EP

The Cleveland punks’ new EP is out now via Triple Crown Records.

Heart Attack Man—the Cleveland punks named after the most disappointing member of the MCU—is a band that could only exist in these profoundly stupid times. Although their sound could be dissected and diagnosed as a cocktail of punk, pop-punk, and post-hardcore influences, Eric Egan’s lyrics and vocal delivery together replicate a one-sided shouting match in which the lyricist kindly mines the depths of your unconscious and effortlessly shapes your most passionate feelings into words more cogent (and often humorous) than anything you’d be able to muster (he describes the band’s recent single “Pitch Black” as being about “truly being in X-Games mode with your emotions and shit”—you see what I mean?). If PUP is the soundtrack to an internalized meltdown, HAM bring that energy out into the world, aggressively directing it at those who’ve helped to inspire it.

On their new EP Thoughtz & Prayerz, that acerbic energy comes out most tauntingly on the vapid-social-media-sentiment-targeting title track, not to mention the chilling “Cool 2 Me,” a frank, rage-fueled diatribe against groomers and sex pests interpolating a satanic trap tag and a nu-metal take on “Beverly Hills.” In fact this isn’t the only song that acknowledges that nu metal certainly was a thing that happened—several of the tracks explicitly incorporate the band’s love for Korn, an influence that melds curiously well with their previously established reverence for radio-ready pop-punk, ’90s alt-rock, and excerpts from the Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 soundtrack.

With the EP out today, Egan took the time to break down the influences on each song—you can read about the songwriting process for all five tracks, and stream a playlist featuring all the songs referenced below.

1. “Puke”

Beastie Boys, “Sabotage”
Pantera, “Cowboys From Hell”
Korn, “Blind”

I really wanted to write a song that set the EP off the right way and took some time to really let the intro build and eventually explode. A very self-aware intro song. The cymbal work Adam came up with is a direct ode to Korn and the guitar progression is a mix of ideas inspired by the intros of “Sabotage” and “Cowboys From Hell.” Then we just set it all to a very jump-worthy tempo with a Hatebreed-soaked aggressive sing-along chorus.

2. “Thoughtz & Prayerz”

Fugazi, “Burning”
Godlfesh, “Christbait Rising”
Korn, “B.B.K.”

On this song, we really wanted to push further into the heavier realms of our sound. The notes of this guitar progression are classic Heart Attack Man to me, but they’re arranged in a new way for us, and complemented by palm muting/chugging. We didn’t want to go full beatdown hardcore with this; rather, more like a heavy Godflesh-inspired Fugazi song that grooves in favor of being a nonstop slug fest on the drums. Doesn’t have to be all or nothing on heaviness to me. The end breakdown is the heaviest I’ve ever pulled from Korn and I embrace it.

3. “Cool 2 Me”

Butthole Surfers, “Pepper”
Beck, “Loser”
Emmure, “Smokey”

I really wanted to make a song that centered around complete rhythmic repetition and built on the dynamic of that repetition, in favor of a variety of different parts/rhythms. This song is intended to be very straightforward, both lyrically and musically. It’s an expansion of the ideas at play with our songs “Cut My Losses” and “Notes App Apology”—a tongue-in-cheek, but no-holds-barred, criticism of a mentality I absolutely despise.

4. “Pitch Black”

The Explosion, “Here I Am”
Title Fight, “Symmetry”
Modern Baseball, “Your Graduation”

On this song, I really just wanted to write a high-energy banger with a big, fat emotional chorus, plain and simple. The inspiration songs I chose for this all just have those kinds of choruses to me. Very anthemic and tapping into a part of your brain where the song feels both fresh and familiar at the same time.

5. “Leap Year”

All-American Rejects, “Dirty Little Secret”
Sum 41, “The Hell Song”
Motion City Soundtrack, “Time Turned Fragile”
The Distillers, “Beat Your Heart Out”

On this song, the main starting point for me was wanting to write a song that had a strong guitar lead. We have some songs with solid riffs, but nothing yet with an immediately recognizable standout guitar lead. This is my favorite song of ours in terms of structure—I’m very happy with how it’s arranged, and it’s very fun to play. Commit This to Memory is one of my all-time favorite albums, and for some reason I don’t think I’ve really consciously channeled any Motion City Soundtrack influence in the past. That band deserves all the love put on their name.

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