INTERVIEW: XXI Hours Talks Music and Being a Local Band

XXI Hours are a pop-rock band from Cleveland, OH. Featured in Cleveland State University's Nov. issue of The Vindicator, the whole band reflects on their growth as a band in genera. Here's the full interview from that piece!

Your debut EP, XXI, really showcases your ability to play more than just rock music, what inspires your sound?

All three of us have very diverse musical backgrounds. For instance our guitar player, Hunter, has a predominately heavy musical background, while still drawing inspiration from massive pop bands like U2 and Thirty Seconds to Mars. Our singer Sean has been a fan of R&B and Hip-Hop since he was young, which informs much of his melodic sensibility. In his formative years, Sean found bands like All Time Low and Panic! at the Disco, who brought both elements of theatricality and unbridled fun to his songwriting. Jared grew up on mostly Classic Rock and Indie artists like Led Zepplin, Bruce Springsteen, and Grizzly Bear. Nowadays he’s all about Stevie Wonder and Jungle, drawing inspiration from the rhythmical elements and groove of those artists. When we write music with each other, all those things come together to create what you hear. 

Your newest track, “The Journey,” displays a sense of maturity while staying familiar to what listeners heard on your first EP, what can fans expect from your forthcoming music?

Our music will always reflect our personal growth, both as individuals and as a unit. We feel like we’re finally settling into what we want our sound to be for this chapter of our lives.

Since you’re yet to be signed, how does your recording process operate?

We’re an “independent” band in just about every sense of the word. We’ve always done all of our writing, recording, producing, mixing, mastering, and release ourselves. The ability to run a studio out of our apartment to write and record anything at any time makes both those processes often feel like one entity, which lends itself to a feeling of unbridled creative freedom.

You’ve been featured on the Cleveland date of Warped Tour, along with playing with Punchline at the Foundry, how has that grown your fan base?

Getting to meet people face to face at shows creates another kind of experience for us as well as them. We’re forever grateful for the online following we have, and the traction that shows add to that. Getting on the same shows as bands like Makeout and Punchline just means more people experiencing our music, which is always what we want! 

What is your favorite Cleveland venue to play at?

The intimate nature of the Locker Room at Mahall’s makes it feel like we’re playing with a room full of people as opposed to for them. But there’s no denying that having a burger named after you at The Foundry is also a highlight. We’d say those are our two favorites!

What do you hope listeners take away from your music?

We hope people find something for themselves inside of the music we make. Our music is how we express ourselves and our experiences, and what we create is genuine. We want people to feel what we felt when we wrote these songs and go on that journey with us. We look to create shared experiences with people that listen to our music, through the highs and lows of love, the anthems of the good times, and everything in between. We’re excited for the future and we can’t wait to share more. 

Keep up with XXI Hours on Facebook and Twitter.