Heart Attack Man
Heart Attack Man write the soundtrack to “figuring it out.” Rife with intricate riffs, gleefully catchy choruses, robust rhythms, and a whole lot of outcast charm, the Cleveland band—Eric Egan [vocals, guitar], Adam Paduch [drums], and Ty Sickels [guitar]—turn all the awkwardness of growing up into undeniable and unpredictable anthems, teetering on an axis of punk, rock, and pop. After racking up tens of millions of streams and earning acclaim from Brooklyn Vegan, FLOOD, Substream Magazine, Alternative Press, and more, the group tell a different kind of coming-of-age story on their 2023 third full-length, Freak Of Nature.
“The overarching theme is growing up,” says Eric. “I spent my entire twenties just feeling completely out of place. It was like I hadn’t found my people yet. In early adulthood, I went through a lot of shit mentally. With Freak Of Nature, I’m embracing the fact I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but it’s okay.” The band initially buzzed out of the Midwest with 2014’s Acid Rain EP. Logging countless miles on the road, they consistently dropped fan favorite releases, including The Manson Family , Fake Blood , and the Thoughtz & Prayerz EP . Cleveland.com hailed the latter as “some of the band’s absolute heaviest tunes to date,” while Brooklyn Vegan summed it up best as “killer.” Along the way, “Pitch Black” piled up 1.7 million Spotify streams followed by “Leap Year” with 1.3 million Spotify streams and counting. Moreover, they canvased the country on tour with the likes of Neck Deep. After bonding over a shared love of Motion City Soundtrack, Eric linked up with Lil Aaron [Lizzo, Blackbear, Kiiara] in Los Angeles. Who said nothing good goes down in the DM?
“Even though we come from different lanes, we both have the same sense of humour and a similar attitude,” he goes on. “I’d bring ideas, and he would help shape them. It was a true collaboration. I learned how Aaron channels his creative energy and how to maintain momentum. We clicked, and I was accepting all this new energy and goodness into my life.” Fittingly, they introduce this phase with the first single and title track “Freak Of Nature.” Co-written with Nick Wheeler of All-American Rejects, it hinges on an upbeat riff, giving way to a hypnotic bridge and infectiously irreverent refrain, “I’m a freak of nature.”
“The record started to become its own thing after we wrote this one,” he recalls. “There’s an overarching method to all of the madness. Musically, we’re leveling up. We allowed ourselves to grow.”
“Stick Up” walks a tight rope between glossy keys and a steady beat as the lyrics paint a picture of a high stakes heist punctuated by samples of police sirens. “It’s a simple story of a bank robbery,” he continues. “Below the surface, it ties into the narrative. It’s a metaphor for taking the reins of my life. I’m sick of all of these habits and tendencies that have done nothing for me. I need to demand discipline for myself. It manifested in this song.” Anxious guitar underlines emotional verses on “Like A Kennedy” as he laments, “And the bad guys always win.”
“It was the most meaningful song for me,” he goes on. “Through a family tie, a relative of mine was connected to JFK. As I was sorting through the story of my twenties, I’ve learned about all of these family connections. I went from learning about this as a teenager to making this song as an adult. I was able to bring this weird distinct connection into a song.” Then, there’s “God Called Off Today.” Its breezy acoustic guitar complements the chantable chorus. Stepping into a different perspective, the song conveys “this fantastical story of someone actually getting on the phone and talking with God.” Freak Of Nature concludes in a dynamic moment of catharsis on the tearful “See You On The Other Side,” serving up a sonic eulogy to the best of best friends...
“After I got to L.A., my parents told me my dog I grew up with was put down,” he sighs. “I was broken up over it. The experience capped off my twenties in a way. So, I wrestled with the feeling, and the song was my immediate response.” Whether or not you’ve figured your life out, Heart Attack Man will ultimately be with you, holding your hand every step of the way.
“I’ve grappled with complex feelings of isolation, loneliness, and freakiness, and it’s an up-and-down rollercoaster,” he leaves off. “In the end, you need to hold on and trust the process. If I was talking to myself ten years ago, I was in a completely different place. It’s better now. Things do work out. For us, this is a new start, and I’m happy about it.”