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Before ever playing a show together, Ezra-David Darnell and Jordan Hubner had played music and written songs as fellow students at the University of Colorado Denver for a handful of years. When they first got together, Hubner was a member of outfits like Hawks of Paradise and Pacific Pride.
Hearts in Space debuted in 2010, and its clearest influences were latter-day psychedelic rock bands and Ennio Morricone. The act's songs were well-written, and overall the band sounded promising. For roughly the past year, Darnell and Hubner have been working with drummer Johnny Lundock and former Moccasin and Moonspeed guitarist Ryan Sniegowski, who most recently played bass in Treeverb.
Sniegowski and Lundock have truly helped the band solidify its sound, adding cohesive rhythms capable of stretching melodically with Darnell and Hubner's breezy-dreamy pop songs. Hearts in Space is now releasing its second EP, Already Gone. We hung out with those two songwriters recently and talked about the concept behind the group and their penchant for vintage gear.
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Westword: The name of the band harks back to that great NPR ambient program Hearts of Space. Why did you choose the name Hearts in Space for your band, seeing as it's atmospheric rock music?
Ezra-David Darnell: That's something we were brainstorming. Maybe subconsciously, Hearts of Space, because I listened to that show a lot growing up. Hearts in Space, I connect with the passion I have to explore the unknown, put your head out there beyond what the situation is. Space in itself is a huge, driving wanderlust of mine.
Jordan Hubner: It's like being a humble creature in outer space.
ED: It's a purity factor — like your heart's in the right place but it's in space.
The title of the new EP almost ties in with exploring space but you've already gone. Like the Sufi expression: "In the world but not of it."
ED: Exactly — that plays into it, too.
Most smart guitar bands don't pick what guitars they use accidentally. Is there a separation of tones you stick to?
ED: For me, this new guitar I purchased is a Vox Teardrop Phantom. I really like it because it's American-made and brighter, more piercing-sounding. His guitar work is more warm. I'm more the rhythm guy that keeps it bright, and my picking shines through.
JH: I play a Fender Jazzmaster most of the time. But I have a Gibson E335, as well. Between those two guitars, you can get pretty much any sound. I spent all my life trying to get the proper weapons, and now I have them. Ezra plays through this Supro amp that my uncle gave me when I was ten years old. A big part of our sound is that amp. What's cool, too, is that Ryan fixes vintage gear and he's in the band. Things break all the time.