Local band Hands Held Hi, which has performed across the state, recently reached new heights of success with the recording of its first EP, “Ascension.”
The band, consisting of six Killeen youths, produces “post hardcore” tunes they describe as “melodic-metal core” with a Christian point of view. Post hardcore is a music genre derived from hardcore punk music.
Rhythm guitarist Billy Quave, 17, formed his first band three years ago before founding Hands Held Hi in November 2011. Over a two-year period, the band underwent several changes before settling on the current lineup and sound.
Tate Music Group signed the band in November 2012 and brought it into a recording studio in March.
The recording process took band members to Oklahoma City, where they worked in a professional recording setting for the first time.
“The producer was specialized in our genre,” said front woman Allison Reno,
who noted that compared to their earlier work, “(the music) and the subject matter have grown.”
The band spent four hours on instrumental, followed by three days of recording vocals, said bassist Robert Browning, 17. They incorporate screaming into their vocals.
“It’s an emotional outlet for me,” Browning said. “(The music) helps get frustration out, especially screaming.”
The songs’ meanings are perhaps the most important parts of their music, according to band members.
“Our music is religious, but we’re all different religions,” Browning said. “(It’s) all good, value-based, positive music.”
Morals are important, Reno said, who writes the majority of their lyrics.
“I want to inspire people to be as much as they can be.”
Guitarist and scream vocalist Nate Bassili, 18, occasionally contributes lyrics of his own.
“I love writing and creating something out of nothing,” he said.
As for the future, Hands Held Hi hopes to take its music as far is it’ll go.
“We want to get on a bigger label, write new songs and do more live shows,” said drummer Jesse Chandler, 19.
“We all like to travel. We’re almost all military kids.”
One goal is to tour with the Vans Warped Tour, an annual summer music festival.
“I’d go to Iraq if we could,” said drummer Dylan Figge, 15.
The group is not interested in money, but rather, the joy of creating music.
“It’s what we love to do,” Quave said.
The band appreciates everyone who buys its music, forging an ironclad bond among the teens during a transitional time.
“The band has helped us all grow, individually and together,” Reno said. “We’ve gotten a lot closer ... these are my brothers ... my family.”