If there’s one thing to expect from Hellogoodbye, it’s the unexpected. One day the band is sharing the stage with Beyoncé—or at least a cutout of Beyoncé—and the next day, each member—vocalist/guitarist Forrest Kline, keyboardist Jesse Kurvink, bassist Marcus Cole and drummer Chris Profeta—is dressed up as a different piece of fruit. With all the energy and intensity of Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch—minus all that pesky Scientology stuff about people living in volcanoes—Hellogoodbye have spent the last two years perfecting their unbridled live show and booty-shaking jams, which culminate in the release of their debut album Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!.
However, when the band formed, there weren’t really any zombies or aliens or vampires or dinosaurs, and don’t get us started on the exclamation points. “I started recording really horrible midi music on my PC in my bedroom,” remembers Kline, who just so happened to be interning for Drive-Thru Records at the time of his tinkering. “The rhythm was all jittery because my computer sucked and the vocals were all soft cause my parents were sleeping upstairs while I recorded them.” Writing songs for friends and girls he wanted to woo, Kline kept the material to himself never sending demos to any labels. A mutual shared the songs with Drive-Thru owners Richard Reines and Stefanie Reines and they flipped out! With the unconditional support of Drive-Thru and hooking up with Kurvink, Hellogoodbye was born. Well, sort of. “We went through a few drummers and a few bass players until we found Marcus, who was already friends with Jesse, and later Chris, who was raised by gorillas deep in the Congo.”
After the band hoofed it out of Central Africa, they got to work recording their self-titled EP, which spawned the David Hasselhoff fave and MTV2 choice-cut “Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn.” Although initially meant to be free, available at shows and on the band’s web site, the EP flew off the digital shelves faster than you can Google “Paris Hilton + sex tape.” Scoring 750,000 downloads, selling nearly 90,000 copies and eventually winning MTV2’s Dew Circuit Breakout contest, the band had no choice but to give the fans more of what they wanted—Hellogoodbye. In addition to touring the country for the next two years with bands like All American Rejects, Motion City Soundtrack and the Academy Is…, Hellogoodbye started headlining—and selling out—venues and practically had to be surgically removed from the road in order to get back in the studio. Luckily, it didn’t leave a scar.
For Hellogoodbye’s long-awaited debut album, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, the band enlisted the help of Matt Mahaffey, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist of the power-pop band Self, turn-table master on albums by Pink and Smash Mouth, member of Beck’s back-up band and personal musical hero of Kline. The Southern California quartet settled into Mahaffey’s home studio and started going through which songs would make the final cut, which was a foreign experience for Kline, who was used to producing all the band’s music. “It was definitely a different process and a weird experience,” says Kline of collaborating with an outside producer. “But when I look back on recording, I think that [Mahaffey] brought a lot of really cool stuff [to the album] and a lot of my favorite parts are the ones that he did.”
The eleven tracks that ended up making it onto Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! are a collection of songs that work together to create a non-stop, radtastic party mix, but separate them apart, and no two songs are alike. “I never really thought of the record as a record,” admits Kline. “I just thought of this song as a song and that song as a song. For different songs, I definitely had different goals for the sound. Part of what I like about Self and other bands is that there isn’t one drum sound, one guitar sound and one vibe. Every song’s is an entirely different production. That was the goal—that each song was approached individually. I didn’t want it to sound all over the place but I wanted each song to be its own song and have its own sound.”
Mission accomplished. From the opening beats of the new New Wave powerhouse “All Of My Love” to the tender plucking and pining of “Oh, It Is Love” Hellogoodbye have created the perfect soundtrack to any hot and heavy make-out or even something more personal. “Mostly, [the songs on Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! are] about my girlfriend or someone who did or didn’t used to be my girlfriend,” reveals Kline. “I guess you could say it’s the soundtrack to being my girlfriend.” Sorry, ladies. He’s taken.
The future for Hellogoodbye is so bright, you might want to wear shades—or at least a sun block with a high SPF. “We have always just done whatever we wanted to and whatever was funny to us and so far it's worked out okay, so we'll probably stick to that,” explains Kurvink. “No one wants to be famous. Nobody wants to tour forever. We want to do this for as long as we can and then get married to our girlfriends and have puppies and kids and live happily ever.”