Cinema Hearts

Dreamy Rock 'n' Roll, Doo Wop Pop

Cinema Hearts: Crafting Nostalgia

Cinema Hearts: Crafting Nostalgia

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Interview by Joe Fitzpatrick
Photos by Ethan A Sahlin and Chromatic Elements

Cinema Hearts - Ethan Sahlin

The passing of time is something that defines our existence. It sets our schedules from when we wake up to when we fall asleep, and yet even as we dream, time is ticking away. What we choose to fill our time with defines who we are now and shapes who we will be in the future. Even as we move forward, nostalgia for the past keeps us looking ahead to where we want to be. To make those memories last forever, we do whatever we can to make them a reality today.

That’s the impression I got after listening to and discussing Feels Like Forever with CINEMA HEARTS from Fairfax, Va. However, the best thing about our experiences is that everyone perceives them differently. How will you?


I saw that Caroline recently played a solo set at Epicure Café with other female singer-songwriters. How did you get involved with that?

Caroline: Emily McGrath, who performs under the name GRAYPEA, hit me up on Facebook and said she saw me play an open mic at Epicure, and she was really interested in putting together a showcase of other young women singer-songwriters in the area. So I met her through the Internet, and then we met the day of the show (laughs).

My friend, Lyndsay Mikalauskas, who plays under the name LYNDS MIKA, played as well. She’s actually from New Jersey, but she goes to school with me in Fairfax. RACHEL KLINE also played along with a few other local acts.

In our last interview, you described how you wanted your first album,  I’ll Always Be Around, to look like a scrapbook or photo album of your handmade designs. Is that design element something you incorporated in the physical copies of your new record?

Caroline: Yup, I was just putting together some of those. We call ourselves a DIY band, so we gotta do it ourselves. I like scrapbooking and doing paper crafts so it’s a lot of fun to be putting together these albums, and I think the technique I’ve been using to make these CDs is an improvement from our initial EP. I spray painted our CDs pink and wrote on them. Also, the covers look a little nicer because I was able to print them at school.

And for some reason, everyone loves it when I wrap them in cellophane, even though I’m personally against plastics. We’re also going to get cassettes, and we’ll be working on making those too.

We’ve noticed a lot more indie bands coming out of the Virginia and D.C. music scenes over the past couple years, and while punk, metal, and hardcore are awesome, we think its cool that more bands are branching outside the norm to other genres. Is that something you could comment on in relation to your band?

James: We’ve all done a lot with different groups. I’ve played different instruments in bands from jazz to alternative rock and pop punk. Some of that comes into play with CINEMA HEARTS, but with our band, when we try to classify ourselves into a genre we end up with a 10-word description of suburban lo-fi indie bedroom pop.

Caroline: I just call it rock, though.

James: Exactly, and I think when we play shows we’re able to blend in well with bands from a lot of different styles. I’m pretty proud of that when it comes to us.

How do you feel like your band tried to grow and step outside its comfort zone on Feels Like Forever

Caroline: This was actually our first full-band album. The other was just me in my room pretending I had a band. It was cool to experiment with addinga couple more guitar parts on songs and doing a lot of harmonies.

I saw that Erich recorded all of Feels Like Forever, which I honestly think works in your favor to get that classic, lo-fi sound your band does so well. Is that a trend you plan to continue for your next album?

Erich: Last semester, I had a recording class elective, and we had to do a big project where we could record anything. It just happened to be a coincidence that I was also in a band, and for my project, I recorded and mixed the album. I also did a PowerPoint presentation on 1960’s doo-wop groups and how our band was influenced by that.

Caroline: Fortunately, I think we are all intuitive about the kind of sound we are looking for and the style we want to portray. I also think it’s important to be self-sufficient as much as possible. Honestly, I don’t want to pay for recordings until we can make enough money to profit.

James: We’re all on the same page on that. As far as the music goes, we’ve been playing for just over a year now, and we are all comfortable with the sound we have. We’re looking forward to playing live as much as possible to support this album and expanding on our sound to decide where we want to take it for the next album. I can’t wait for that time to come.

Your music reminds me a lot of the band BEST COAST. Are they a big influence for ya?

Caroline: Actually, I don’t listen to them, but we get that a lot. I do listen to a lot of similar bands, like LA LUZ, probably every day. I also really like DUM DUM GIRLS and the girl groups of the ’60s that influenced the Phil Spector-sound that influences BEST COAST and all of those bands.


On your Bandcamp page, you described this album as “an aural tale of waiting forever for good moments to come and wishing that those lovely moments could last forever.” Where did the inspiration for that come from?

Caroline: Feels Like Forever is a phrase that I caught myself or other people saying in regard to someone or thing they hadn’t experienced in a while. At least for me, I get really excited waiting for a really good thing to happen, and then after it happens, I feel like I’m not living in that moment and taken advantage of it. Then it’s instantly gone, and I’m left wishing it could last forever.

James: It’s a cute name (laughs).

Caroline:  Erich and I joked that recording all the vocals felt like it took forever, so we called the album Feels Like Forever (laughs).

On the same token, some of the songs, such as “If You Go,” are addressed at times or people you’re glad are gone. Why did you feel that was important to include with the theme of the record?

Caroline: I think that sometimes relationships with friends that were once more meaningful can fade away, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that you’re not still friends, but maybe you need to spend some time apart and find yourself before you come back together. I unfriended a lot of people from my high school, but not because I didn’t like them. I figure if we become close again then we will reconnect. It’s okay to take some time apart.


Do you have any upcoming shows or new things you would like to announce?

Caroline: We’ll probably be playing a show at George Mason University in April. We just put together another show in May with James’ other band, OUT ON THE WEEKEND, and it will probably be at Epicure.

We’re hoping to go to other parts of Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. this summer. We’re just starting to gig in other places, and I’ve never been on a tour. I think it will be a good experience. We still gotta pass our classes this semester, but I think summer will be really good.