Welcome to Musswellbrook – population 12 thousand, in the north of the Hunter Valley and a heartbeat away from nothing in particular. It's in these sleepy surrounds that most of the members of Eat Your Heart Out – now based out of Newcastle, the nearest quote-unquote 'big city' on the map – met for the first time. Each member of the band clicked with a passion for music early. “I can remember buying The Final Riot!, the live Paramore DVD, when I was about 13,” says vocalist Caitlin Henry. “That was the first time I saw a girl doing that – she had an audience, and she was rocking it. When I saw that, I knew I wanted to do the same thing.”
Bassist Dom Cant found himself similarly inspired upon seeing Green Day play at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2005. “The way Billie Joe [Armstrong] could control 45 thousand people with such confidence, it was unreal. It was my dream at that point to be able to do that,” he says.
Guitarist Will Moore holds a similar experience, albeit vicariously through the Green Day live DVD, Bullet in a Bible. “My sister got it for Christmas that year,” he recalls. “We all sat around and watched it on Christmas Day.” Other avenues included being in the school band for guitarist Andrew Anderson, playing in their production of Footloose; while drummer Jake Cronin was drawn in through video games and, in particular, the Guitar Hero series. “I wanted to play guitar, but it was nothing like the game,” he says with a laugh. “So drums it was!”
With the exception of Cant – who grew up in Young in regional NSW – the members of Eat Your Heart Out found themselves playing music with one another through high school, in which they were all in different grades. Eventually, the first Eat Your Heart Out show came together in Muswellbrook at the local senior citizen's centre. “There was about 200 people there,” says Henry. “The only places you could really put on shows were in the community-owned spaces, because most of us were under 18 at the time. No-one ever really played at the local pub, either.”
“There hadn't been a local show put on in about five years at that point,” recalls Cronin. “That meant everyone came out – all our friends, all our families, all the local bands.” From there, the band slowly but surely built up a profile with shows around the Hunter Valley, Newcastle and Central Coast regions; strengthening their hybrid stylistic clash of pop-punk, post-hardcore and alternative rock. Their 2015 EP, Distance Between Us, generated further interest that spread far beyond the walls of Muswellbrook's community halls. So far, in fact, that a fateful email at the end of 2015 would change the band's course forever.
“It was from a guy called Cody,” says Anderson. “He said he was an A&R for Fearless Records. I showed the rest of the band, and we were so confused. We had to see if it was legit or not, and eventually they got back to us.”
“We got the email at the end of 2015, they got back to us in 2016 and we announced it about a year later in 2017,” says Henry. Although the trajectory was protracted, eventually the band found themselves a part of the Fearless Records family, and are currently the only Australian band on their books. Throw in a successful headlining tour in 2017, the release of their third EP Mind Games and a national tour in support of Simple Plan booked in for this April and you're looking at one of the most promising Australian acts on the circuit right now. The band are quick to stress, however, that they'd still be doing this regardless of whether they had a captive audience or not.
“It's an outlet for me,” says Cant. “Good shows, bad shows, at least I'm still playing a show. You've just got to look at the situation that you're in, and no matter what, just say, 'Fuck it – I'm gonna have some fun.' That's what it's all about.”
Mind Games is out now through Fearless Records/Caroline Australia. Eat Your Heart Out are touring with Simple Plan in April.