From Michigan, HEART OF JORDAN are a new band and they blew the doors off the Metalcore scene with their self-titled debut, which was released last year. The band are made up of Preston Mailand on vocals, Eric TenEyck on guitar, Elijah White on guitar, Daniel Ray Fell Jr. on bass and Andrew Everett on drums. I rated their debut as one of my top ten albums of 2018 and they have received praise from many rock journalists with their melodic take on the genre. I was therefore excited to interview guitarist Elijah White, who is one of the most personable musicians I have had the pleasure of communicating with.
As the group were only formed in 2017, I was anxious to let Elijah explain how the band came together.
“Heart of Jordan began its formation in early 2017 with Eric TenEyck (Guitar), and Andrew Everett (Drums). Andrew was filling in on drum duties for Eric’s now defunct band. After the band dissolved, Eric and Andrew decided to carry on with a new project. Preston Mailand (Vocals) was called in by Andrew and soon joined the fold after returning to Michigan from a stint in Florida playing in a small handful of gulf coast bands.
Preston and Eric combined some song ideas to create the beginning framework for the first four Heart of Jordan songs: “Enslaved”, “Deny”, “No Escape” and “Throne Alone.” Soon after, Eric reached out to me to fill out guitars. Eric and I have known one another since the early 2000’s, playing in bands together. I had been out of the scene for a while, focusing on work and family.
After a few jam sessions as a foursome, it became clear that something special was there. We currently have Alfonso Civile on full time bass duties.“
I asked Elijah who was the driving force behind Heart Of Jordan‘s inception.
“The concept for the name “Heart of Jordan” was introduced by Preston Mailand, during the bands first months, prior to me coming on board. Musically, Eric, Preston, and I all contributed near equally to the ideas that became the songs that you hear on the album.“
I was interested in Elijah came to be a guitarist and his influences.
“Since I can remember, I’ve always gravitated toward music of all genres. Melodies are constantly playing in my head from wake to sleep. My mother bought me my first guitar at age twelve. I spent hours upon hours in my bedroom playing along to bands like Metallica, Slayer, Alice in Chains, Helmet, Soundgarden, etc. I’ve had a guitar in my hand ever since.”
Leading on from finding out how he started playing guitar, I asked who Elijah rated amongst current guitarists.
“Man, that’s a tough one. There are so many shredders and riffers today. Some of my favorites today are: Adam Dutkiewicz, Michael Padget, Brent Hinds, Tosin Abasi, Benjamin Weinman, and Stephen Carpenter.”
I wondered if there was a specific set of themes the band wanted to explore.
“Preston writes almost all of the lyrics. During the recording of the album, some of those lyrics changed to fit new song structures, while still holding the same themes and ideas. Our primary theme on the album is the universal struggle of the human condition.”
Having explored Elijah’s influences, I asked him whether there were any specific influences that came through on the debut album.
“We hear quite often that we have a Killswitch Engage sound to us. There are also some 80’s metal, grunge, nu metal, and hard rock elements that push through on most of the material.”
The songs on the album seem very well structured. I asked Elijah about how the band wrote songs, whether they jam together or send files to each other.
“Primarily, we send files to each other. We also try to capture ideas during rehearsal as they arise.”
The band’s fanbase seem to be growing rapidly with over 45,000 streams on Spotify. I was therefore interested in what the group had planned for 2019.
“We plan on releasing at least one new single and two new music videos. We currently have a mini tour set up with our Michigan comrades in Heartsick. As well, we are are performing at Rocklahoma at the Darkside Stage. Aside form that, we are making plans for more regional touring and direct support shows for touring national acts.”
Following this up, I wondered if there was a dream tour Elijah would like to go out on and where would he would like to tour in the world.
“Our album is doing really well on Spotify in Europe. That would be a first choice for me, strategically. I also think it would be pretty awesome to tour South America.”
I asked him about his favorite gig to date and the reasons why.
“I think I can speak for the band when I say that our most recent hometown show is our favorite show to date. Nothing beats a hometown show.“
Finally, I wrapped up by asking whether the band have set any goals for themselves or whether it all happen organically.
“Although we tend to be pretty spontaneous and aren’t the best with organizational skills, most of our current success has come from setting goals and general timelines to achieve those goals. It also helps to have an album that people really like!”
With that, I wished Elijah and the band all the best for the future. If you haven’t checked out Heart Of Jordan yet, you really should. The band are the heartbeat of a new musical generation.