It all started with a cover. Well, maybe it didn’t start there, but that was the turning point for Hearts of Darkness. Since 2010 Stiles Stilinski, Scott McCall and Isaac Lahey have taken the music world by storm with what they call ukelele screamo. The three men all hail from Beacon Hills, California, a place that all three of them are still incredibly loyal.
Hearts of Darkness started like a lot of bands do in this day and age, on YouTube. We were lucky enough to catch them before they head out on their second world tour that starts in San Fransisco next month. The guys of Hearts of Darkness are the opposite of what their name suggests and they haven’t let their new found fame change them. I sat down with them back in 2011 after their first album was released and they haven’t changed much since that day.
So you guys are pretty huge these days, this is your second world tour, did you ever expect this when you started out?
IL : Fuck no man, we were just dicking around in McCall’s garage after lacrosse one day and suddenly we were making beautiful music.
SM : Dude, it totally wasn’t beautiful, it was garbage.
SS: Hey! I thought it was alright. Okay, that’s bullshit, it was garbage, we tried so hard to sound like Blink 182 for a while there.
SM : To answer the question, we didn’t think we would go anywhere, I was all set to go to UC Davis when these two dragged my ass to New York for a meeting with the guys from Fueled By Ramen.
SS : And the rest is history.
: Actually, I think we’re trying to write your history here today. So you didn’t expect the fame when you went into that first meeting?
IL : Nah, we weren’t even expecting a record deal, we kind of thought it was a prank some kids from high school were playing on us.
SS : Dude, I forgot about that. I totally thought it was Jackson and Danny.
SM : And you still dragged me to the meeting? Dudes, not cool, what if it had been?
SS : Then you would have missed your first week of classes and had a kick ass trip to the big city.
RS: Well, it clearly wasn’t a prank since by that same time in 2010 you were opening for Fall Out Boy. But we all know that story, I’m interested in the origins of Hearts of Darkness. How long have you three been friends?
SS: Literally forever.
SM: It’s a very Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants story, our mom’s were all in the same pregnancy water aerobics class.
IL: We’ve been a trio since birth, no one can break us apart.
SS: Except our dad’s didn’t get along very well, they tried to break us apart.
SM: That’s because you two are a terrible influence on me.
IL: I resent that. We’re the Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants Scott, we’re a great influence on you.
SS: I vote we change the name of the band to Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants
IL: We’ll have to find pants that fit all of us first.
SM: We have a pair like that already, they were my sweat pants, but then Stiles stole them and then you stole them from Stiles. It’s been a vicious cycle, I think Stiles has them again.
: So you’ve been friends forever, where did the name come from? You guys don’t seem like the dark and broody types. I think Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants would be fitting for your group, it’s lighter than Hearts of Darkness.
IL & SS laugh into each other’s shoulders while SM turns red
SS : Scotty here fancied himself a dark and broody poet after his high school girlfriend broke up with him.
SM : The name is basically the title of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness , we read it junior year of high school.
IL : Yeah,but mostly we went with the broody name since Scott started wearing eyeliner and writing sad poetry.
SM : Don’t act like you didn’t wear eyeliner too Lahey.
: Last question, this one isn’t really about the band. Are any of you dating, is there any hot gossip we should know?
SS : You both owe me 100 dollars
RS : Why do they owe you money?
SM : I bet him you wouldn’t ask about our relationship statues.
IL : I bet it was going to be the first question
SS : I figured you’d ask it last.
RS : Am I that predicable? Don’t answer that, answer the original question.
SM : I mean everyone knows I’m engaged to Kira Yukimura, bad ass actress and all around perfect human.
IL : I’m single.
SS : I'm married to the music
RS : Looking for anyone special?
IL : I wouldn’t mind a nice lady to come home to but I’m not out there looking, I’m so busy it’s hard to get out there.
S S : I really am married to my music. Music is my mistress. Guys that would be a good name for a song.
RS : Come on Stiles, you don’t want a special lady to come home to?
SS : Lady, Gentleman, I don’t discriminate. But honestly, we’re so damn busy on tour and making music I don’t know how I’d make time for a relationship at this point in my life. We’re not all as lucky as Scott.
SM : Be nice or I’m retracting your title of co-best man
SS : You wouldn’t.
SM : Try me.
Hanging out with Hearts of Darkness is kind of like being in a college dorm room with three best friends, they joke around with each other, they eat junk food and they play a ton of video games. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a group of musicians who get along as well as they do, I expect great things from the boys of HoD.
- Rolling Stone, July 2015
“I honestly don’t know why anyone wants to interview you,” Lydia Martin said, she sat at the kitchen table of their tour bus drumming her fingers on the surface, a copy of the July Rolling Stone in front of her. “You guys are boring, there’s never anything juicy in the articles.”
“We’re not a boy band with drama Lyds,” Stiles said from his spot on the couch. He was sandwiched between Scott and Isaac, a controller in his hand as they played Mario Cart. “Plus, as our manager aren’t you supposed to be happy that we aren’t dramatic?”
“I honestly thought that you guys would be at each others throats and the best buds thing was just an act.” Lydia said, pulling out her iPhone and checking her emails. She had been their manager since they signed with Fueled by Ramen, they were her first big act and had since had to turn down a few bands just to keep up with the busy schedule of HoD.
“Where’s the first stop?” Scott asked, he had set his controller down and pulled out his phone, probably to text Kira.
“San Francisco.” Lydia responded, “The opening act is joining us there and staying with us through the whole tour, plus we’ll have a local opener to open for them.”
“We’re big enough for two opening acts?” Isaac asked, he and Stiles were still playing the game, his eyes glued to the screen.
“Of course you are.” Lydia said before putting her phone down and adding, “They’re a good group, just got a record deal with some indie able out of the Bay Area. I emailed you their LP.”
“What’s their name again? Moon something?” Stiles said, his tongue was poking out of his mouth with concentration.
“Bad Moon Rising,” Scott said from his spot next to Stiles, “They’re a family band. Three siblings and two cousins.”
“What are their names? I feel like we should know that before we meet them so we don’t look dumb.” Isaac said as the game ended with him beating Stiles. He tossed his controller down and stretched his legs into Stiles lap.
“Derek, Cora, and Laura Hale, Malia Hale and Erica Reyes.” Lydia said as she tapped on her iPad, pulling up a picture of the group and turning it toward the three boys.
They were a good looking group, two of the girls looked like twins, long dark hair, thick, but artfully done eyebrows, bright green eyes, strong jaws and cheekbones. One girl had short that was dyed purple, her eyes were light brown, her skin fair with equally great eyebrows. The last girl was a blonde bombshell with big brown eyes, rosy cheeks and alabaster skin, her lips painted bright red. The guy looked a lot like the first two girls, dark hair, thick eyebrows, bright green, brown, blue, gray eyes, artful stubble and great cheekbones.
“Damn, what the hell is in the water where they’re from?” Stiles said as his eyes raked over the picture.
“I don’t know, but I’d like some of it,” Isaac said with a smirk. Stiles rolled his eyes and ruffled Isaacs dirty blonde curls as he stood up.
“No sleeping with the talent,” Lydia said sharply, her eyes narrowing at Stiles and Isaac.
“Don’t look at me,” Stiles said, raising his hands in defense, “I only slept with a makeup artist and she was only there for our show at Madison Square Garden.
“I may have slept with a lot of the talent on the last tour.” Isaac said with a shrug and a laugh, “It’s not my fault all the ladies want this.”
Stiles shoved him and they both laughed. “Guys, you should really try to find love, it’s great.” Scott said from his spot on the floor where he was FaceTiming with Kira.
“Fuck off McCall,” They said in unison and laughed.
They arrived at the Hyatt in downtown San Francisco at 10 AM, piling out of the bus and stretching. “Be back down here at noon, we’re doing lunch with Bad Moon Rising and I want you guys to check out the venue before the show tomorrow night.” Lydia said as she handed them all room keys at the front desk. “You’ll notice you’ve got your own rooms today, if I hear that you’re partying too hard or fucking fans at the hotel after concerts I’ll be more than happy to double you up.”
They all headed to their rooms on the 19th floor, Stiles dumped his small travel bag, most of his clothes were on another bus entirely. He pulled out his running shoes, shorts and a cut off tee shirt and headed down to the lobby where Boyd, their head of security was waiting for him. “Shall we?” He asked and Boyd nodded before they hit the pavement outside, running down the streets of the city, up and down hills and through neighborhoods.
By the time they got back Lydia was already in the lobby with Scott and four members of Bad Moon Rising. “Really Stiles?” She asked, clucking her tongue at him in disapproval.
“We’ve been cooped up on the bus since last night Lyds, I needed to burn some energy.” He said with a shrug as Boyd tossed him a towel. “I’ll go change and be right back.”
“Don’t you dare,” Lydia said as the last member of BMR walked over followed by Isaac, who looked like he had just woken up. “Well, now that you’re all here, we rented out the back room of the hotel restaurant, come this way.”
They all sat down around a large round table in a private room, Boyd and Liam, another security team member, stood at the doors. Stiles felt Derek’s eyes on him as he sat down, suddenly remembering that he was wearing a cutoff shirt and running shorts and feeling exposed. “Do you guys always have security with you?” One of the girls asked, if Stiles had to guess he’d say it was Cora or Laura since they looked crazy similar. The comment distracted him from feeling uncomfortable.
“Not all the time, but always on tour,” Lydia explained as she took her own seat. “We’ve all met, but in case you don’t remember, I’m Lydia Martin, the manager for Hearts of Darkness. This is Stiles Stilinksi, he’s the lead singer, Isaac Lahey, backup vocals and lead guitarist, and Scott McCall the drummer.”
The door opened again and a man walked in, he had broad shoulders, piercing blue eyes and neatly parted brown hair. “Sorry I’m late, I’m Peter Hale the manager for Bad Moon Rising.” He shook Lydia’s hand, her eyes narrowed at him. It was a look that Stiles had been graced with once and the memory alone made him shudder. It was not a good look to get from Lydia.
“Peter, we told you not to come,” Cora/Laura said with a stern look at her father/uncle/brother?
“I wouldn’t miss this,” He said as he pulled up a chair and settled in next to Lydia. “So this is Bad Moon Rising. You have Cora our bassist, Laura our back up vocals and keyboardist, my daughter Malia is the drummer, Erica is the lead singer and Derek is the lead guitarist.”
Stiles leaned over to Isaac and whispered so only Isaac could hear, “Creepy uncle alert bro.”
“Right?” Isaac whispered back, shuddering a little. Lydia shot them a stern look and the both turned back toward the table.
“I just wanted to get the two groups aquatinted since they’ll be spending the next eight months together,” Lydia said, sounding annoyed and bored at the same time.
“It’s awesome that you guys are joining us!” Scott said, his brown eyes alight, “It’ll be great to have the same group with us the whole time, our last world tour we ended up with some European band we didn’t know when we toured over there.”
“We’re really excited,” Erica said, flipping her long blonde curls over her shoulder and turning away from her uncle, “We played Sasquatch Fest last month and a regional tour and then got the call from Lydia about opening for you guys. I can’t believe we’re opening for fucking Hearts of Darkness. Round Dos was the anthem to my freshman year of college.”
Round Dos was their second album, their first album to get a lot of commercial success. Here for the Party had gotten a lot of critical acclaim but didn’t reach commercial success until the second album exploded. That was around two years ago, they just put out their third album Into the Offing in June, the tour was to accompany it.
The rest of lunch passed with ease, Stiles fucking loved the Hale/Reyes crew. He and Cora got into an argument about Fall Out Boy’s revival, Laura gave him some of her fries, Malia hated the Yankees, Derek didn’t talk much, but when he did it was dripping in sarcasm, a language that Stiles spoke fluently.
When he got to his room, he went to YouTube and found one of their songs. He found himself nodding his head to the tune, it was catchy, Erica’s voice was amazing with a huge range, the song itself had a great rock/pop sound and the lyrics were good too. He spent the next hour listening to some of their songs before he slipped into a hot shower.
He found his thoughts drifting to the snarky comments from Derek as he soaped his hair, then he pictured Derek in the shower with him, his strong arms coming up behind him and wrapping around his waist. Without thinking about it, he wrapped his fingers around his cock, stroking and imagining it was Derek. He came with a grunt and it washed down the drain. Whatever, Derek was hot, it had nothing to do with how funny he was or how his hands looked in the video of him playing guitar.