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By Charlie David Page
1st January 2012

It's very hard not to get hooked on The Head and the Heart. This six-piece band from Seattle are more like a family, currently touring around the world, riding on the success of their debut self-titled album - a heartfelt and joyous journey through their personal life experiences. The Head and the Heart are currently in Australia, supporting Grouplove across the country, but I caught up with the band's lead singer, Josiah Johnson, while they were at Lorne for the Falls Festival.

The band formed in the summer of 2009, and have been bonded by their love of music ever since. They wrote and recorded their own album (even distributing it themselves at gigs in handmade denim sleeves), before they were scooped up by U.S. label Sub Pop.

Since the band's inception, The Head and the Heart has also been performing live at a hectic pace. Early on, they developed a strong following based on their dynamic, high-energy shows. The group has had the privilege of supporting the likes of Vampire Weekend, Death Cab for Cutie, Iron and Wine and The Decemberists, and in 2011 even had their own headline tour throughout the United States. "We toured for ten out of twelve months," Josiah explains.

With over 70,000 copies of their album sold in the U.S. alone, and more than the occasional "band to watch" accolade, Josiah is quick to recognise their success has been a combination of hard work and good fortune. "There’s definitely been a lot of milestones that we’ve hit earlier than most people do, and we always kind of have these moments where we step back and go, 'Oh my gosh, I cannot believe we’re here'."


With all six members of The Head and the Heart - Jonathan Russell on guitar and vocals, Charity Rose Thielen on violin and vocals, Chris Zasche on bass, Kenny Hensley on piano and Tyler Williams on drums - all eager to contribute to the band's songwriting process, things can sometimes get a little out of hand. "We definitely have argued a fair share," Josiah admits. So how do they keep the peace? "We turned it a little democratic, and any idea that someone has, we’ll try it once. We trust that all six of us honing it is going to be the best end result. We all learned to compromise and trust each other, so it’s been a personal growing experience, not even musically, but just as a human, to have this relationship with five other people in the band."

It's a relationship that's clearly working for The Head and the Heart, with lyrics soulful and intelligent ("Put your dreams away for now, I won't see you for some time, I am lost in my mind," Josiah sings), and songs you can't help but hum along to, even days after hearing them. Josiah attributes that the characteristics of the album are enhanced by the passion of his bandmates. "Everyone in this band is equally driven, and songwriting is a process that isn’t just exclusive to the people singing the songs. We balance out each other’s weaknesses with their strengths, and the sum becomes bigger than any of the individual parts."

Playing to Australian audiences and enjoying the sunshine is just the beginning of another big year for The Head and the Heart. They return to the United States to yet another headline tour, though Josiah insists it won't just be another year of touring. "Ultimately it’s going back to living, and having those experiences that you feel compelled to write about. We’re going to start writing songs again and trying those out on some of the tours coming up."

Make sure you check out The Head and the Heart's Huddle for all of their tour dates across Australia - you definitely won't regret it.

BAND: The Head And The Heart
MEMBERS: Josiah Johnson - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
Jonathan Russell - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
Charity Rose Thielen - Violin, Vocals
Chris Zasche - Bass
Kenny Hensley - Piano
Tyler Williams - Drums
FORMED: 2009
FROM: Seattle, Washington
SOUND: Indie Folk/indie Pop
FACEBOOK: theheadandtheheart
TWITTER: @headandtheheart
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