Halogens on wild record release shows, recording in a windowless studio, and Taylor Swift

Suffice it to say, shit got wild the last time that Wall Township-based rock band Halogens had a record release show in Asbury Park.

“My mom couldn’t even get in, that’s how packed it was,” says Halogens guitarist Charlie Throckmorton. “We oversold that show by a lot, and we reached max capacity quickly. There were people outside of Asbury Park Brewery trying to listen to our set.”

“They were mad at us,” says Halogens bassist Kyle Donovan about Asbury Park Brewery’s reaction to the record release show for their EP Happy Hour.

As a result, Halogens and the fans at the show got creative with how people entered the brewery, with fans taking turns seeing songs. 

“Not us, the venue, or the bands playing were expecting it to get like that,” says drummer George Saives. “It was so, so, so cool seeing that. I remember I had people from my work who tried to come, and when I went back to work they were like, ‘Oh my god, I couldn’t get to George’s sold out show,’ but at the same time I felt so bad. I don’t want to say we were bartering, but we were trading people like, ‘That person told me they are definitely not coming back so can Charlie’s dad come in now?'”

“But that energy of that show was wild,” recalls Throckmorton.

This time around, Halogens learned their lesson about capacity and will be playing in the slightly larger House of Independents on March 12 in support of their new record You’re Being Weird. While the chances of bartering to get people into the show are slim, the chances of another energetic performance by Halogens are high. 

Halogens dropped You’re Being Weird in October, and it retains the band’s upbeat, twangy rock sound people have grown accustomed to in their previous EPs. But the band has also expanded on their sound as well. 

“For this record, we definitely took more chances,” explains Saives. “For the song ‘Carcinogens,’ we did electronic drums, and for ‘Creature of Habit,’ it has a drum sample from Trust Fund Ozu. So I think we wanted to try more things that may not work out live, but we will see.” 

This was the first time that Halogens has released a full-length album. And overall, the process went smoothly.

“It felt very natural,” said Saives on the recording process. “It felt very natural versus in the past, as we were pushing to meet a certain quota of songs. We knew we wanted to write a full-length and it was time to put out a full-length, so it felt natural I guess.”

Even though the process went smoothly, that doesn’t mean it didn’t come without some challenges for the band in terms of writing.

“It was tough,” says vocalist Zach Henry about writing songs for a full-length album versus an EP. “Once you get into the eighth or ninth song, you start to feel like there are some parts that are too similar to other things that you have done. It starts to get difficult to write so many songs, but I don’t think it was that much harder.”

Overall, there are 11 songs on You’re Being Weird, and the album includes appearances by Save Face, Staten, Sentien Moss, and Grin & Bear it. The songs on the album were reflections of what Henry was feeling at the moment he wrote them.

One of those songs that people reading this can surely relate to is the last song of the album, “Fifth of July.”

“That song was a reflection of how I felt at that moment,” says Henry. “I had a very drunk and embarrassing Fourth of July a couple years ago and that song was a reflection on the morning after.  You drink too much and then you talk too much and the next day you’re like, ‘Wow, I would not shut up.’ I felt annoying and I wrote a song about feeling annoying on accident.”

The album leads off with “Talking Shit,” and though the songs weren’t written in any particular order, the track is a good one to lead off the album.

“’Talking Shit’ was the first song we wrote for the album by a few years,” explains Saives. “We opened a bunch of shows with it.”

It was also a trial balloon of sorts. Halogens played it in earlier shows, and with the response being positive, decided it’d be a good track to start their next album.

“I think people really like ‘Talking Shit,’” says Henry. “It’s one of my personal favorites, and I think a lot of people would say the same. It starts off with just the slow guitar and vocals and then it builds up with the whole band.”

As a band who doesn’t tour that often, Halogens escaped the early stages of COVID relatively unscathed, but that doesn’t mean the band didn’t feel its effects. The album release show was moved to March because of the Omicron wave in New Jersey, and even though You’re Being Weird was not a “pandemic” album per se, the effects of the pandemic still showed in some ways.

“Personally for me recording the album was the first time I interacted with anybody in months,” says Saives. “We just went into living in this studio apartment for a week and a half that had no windows. I felt like I was going fucking crazy, and I was starting school as well. The album, artwork, and the title very much coincides with how I was feeling at the time.”

While recording You’re Being Weird might have been an uncomfortable time for Saives, he still has strong bonds with his bandmates, and those bonds were built, as they were for so many others, by Taylor Swift. 

“We were all listening to Taylor Swift when we younger,” explains Henry. “Non-ironically, we very much enjoyed her music.”

The bond only got stronger as some of the bandmates went to her concert at the Prudential Center in Newark. 

“Charlie’s mom drove George, Charlie, and I along with his sister to see Taylor Swift, and it was a great experience,” explains Henry. 

Halogens will be playing a record release show for You’re Being Weird on March 12 at the House of Independents in Asbury Park. Ticket information can be found here.