A Permanent Fixture: An Interview with Hungover

by - October 24, 2023

Certain friend groups can feel like a sitcom. The jokes may not translate outside of the group, and the group might not be everlasting, but it’s the defining moments of this kind of friendship that inspired Hungover’s latest single, “Reunion”.

“Reunion” was one of the first songs written for their upcoming album, When It Touches the Heart, Everything Resolves, expected to be released in early 2024. It’s an ode to a small neighborhood called Reunion in their native Florida, where vocalist Marc Cortes’ early adulthood began.

It’s the spot where his friend, Zeke, had a garage apartment that turned into their clubhouse. It’s the spot where they coined Fried Chicken Fridays, mentioned in the lyrics as, “sometimes the finer things is a two pack of blunts and a ten piece of wings once a week”.

“It’s interesting that something so silly could become such a meaningful part of friendship,” Cortes said. “A scheduled time together, knowing that we’re going to be together for a few hours every Friday, and just making sure that we were always a part of each other’s routines.”

It may not have been the spot where Cortes met bandmates Sean Conners and Gabe Santiago, but it is during this time that they started making music together. They heard stories about parties at Ashley’s house, how Rob almost broke his leg and that if it was a Friday between 6 p.m. and midnight, Cortes probably would not answer his phone. His bandmates have their own stories of young adulthood, moments of trying to figure out life, and this song reflects all of their emotions during that time.

Scattered across emails, voice memos and videos are several versions of “Reunion”. It’s been a staple in Hungover’s acoustic sets for years. Cortes said it was one of the first songs written before he realized he was writing for an album, and says that this song bridges the gap between their upcoming album and their 2018 album, WILT.

Although Fried Chicken Fridays are no longer a permanent fixture, these friendships are. They may not see each other once a week, but if they met up right now they could easily pick up where they left off.

“It is quite interesting how they’ve become a permanent fixture in my life when they’re not around all the time,” Cortes said. “They formed the way that I’ve grown up and who I am now and what my values are. My priorities aren’t smoking weed and eating fast food all the time anymore, but I do take priority in friendships and I do take priority in relationships and making meaningful connections with people. I think that comes from the practice of friendship with them at such a young age. Good habits formed by bad decisions.”

One of the many things this group did together was watch That ‘70s Show, so it was only fitting that the music video for “Reunion” is a tribute to the show’s iconic “circle” scenes. The director of the music video, Toddi Baby, set up the camera to rotate at a certain speed as the band recreated the most prominent element of the show.

Their upcoming album is specifically focused on this time in Cortes’ life when he was really discovering himself. While WILT was about severing ties with people who didn’t make him feel valued or supported, this album pays homage to the friendships that define him, even today.

Another theme that will carry throughout this album is confidence. Nearly a decade ago, Cortes was simply a guitar player in Hungover. The band found themselves without a lead singer, and with booked shows on their calendar, they needed to find a replacement. The rest of the band told Cortes he could sing, which he disagreed with. Then they said they could play some of the songs Cortes had written, and he disagreed again. When they said they would be recording those songs, he finally came to terms with being the new vocalist.

“It was just something that I was thrust into,” he said. “It was a whirlwind. I’m not a singer and sometimes I still feel that way, like I get a sense of imposter’s syndrome.”

Towards the end of the recording process of WILT, Cortes really started feeling like a singer and a songwriter. While he may have been the best option in the room at the time of Hungover’s evolution, he has since put in the time and effort to gain some perspective.

“I’ve definitely brought that confidence into the new record and that empowered me to go more places with the songwriting, explore my vocal range and be more honest with lyrics,” he said. “I knew I could get to the point where I could connect with the people and make them enjoy the music, and now I can capitalize on that.”

Some friend groups have a clubhouse, while others have a practice space. Hungover is thrilled to share the stories that defined their young adulthood in the songs on When It Touches the Heart, Everything Resolves, and hopes listeners and their friend groups can laugh and sing along.

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