hit me, Harold!: Full-time students, part-time rock band

Many students in San Francisco utilize the artistic freedom this unique city provides.

SF State students, Max Volen and Jack Connor, alongside their friend and Academy of Arts student, Chris Lee, take advantage of San Francisco’s unique music culture as the band hit me, Harold!

Originally formed in Orange County, the band members, by coincidence, found themselves all traveling to San Francisco for higher education.

“We get comments all the time from friends of ours from high school … saying like ‘hey is the band still going?’ and we’re like, for half a second, shit, yeah it is,” Connor said, the vocalist and guitarist of the band.

The self-proclaimed math, indie and emo rock band is on the Redacted Collective lineup with a group of bands in the surrounding Bay Area and greater Los Angeles area. Those in the collective often play shows together, release music and help other local bands network and book shows, according to Connor.

“It (has) definitely created a big community,” Volen, the band’s percussionist, said. “If you need bands to play with or to set up a show, or even just to listen to, it’s a good starting point.”

Despite having played at many venues around the city, including The Depot, hit me, Harold! members still find it difficult to connect to their fellow students through music.

“Most of the kids that I meet in class definitely don’t listen to the type of music that we’re playing,” Volen said.

Although the band knows they don’t appeal to all audiences, they do appreciate and become friends with people they meet at shows and on tour.

When asked what his favorite part about playing music was, Lee, the band’s bassist and vocalist said, “It’s the people definitely … playing with awesome bands, meeting cool bands with cool music and stuff like that.”  

Their friend and fellow SF State student, David Gutierrez, enjoys seeing them perform.

“I have seen them live a few times and their stage presence is dope,” Gutierrez said. “They just spill out their emotions on stage regardless of the turn-out.

Additionally, hit me, Harold! members didn’t anticipate the reality of becoming a touring band without being signed to a record label.

“Going on tour was a big goal of mine,” Volen said. “But when I had thought of tour, I had thought … you’re signed to a record label, that is the only way you can tour,”

But being independent has led to success for the group of student musicians, as they continue making strides with their most recent release, “Lane Furniture, 1986,” available on bandcamp. Their upcoming 13-song album is scheduled to be released within two months.

“Once that comes out, it’ll be our first chunk of stuff that we’re definitely proud of,” Connor said.

For now, their goal is to enjoy hit me, Harold! until the very end of its existence.

“I’m just trying to see how far we can go music-wise and (would) like to see how we can progress,” Lee said.

Connor said he just wants to make the most of the band and the experience as he can. “Just have it be something that we look back and be like ‘Yeah, it lived its course and did its thing and we had fun,’” Connor said.

Hit me, Harold! will be playing next on Feb. 10 at Sutro Heights Park, along with bands Burd, Vesper Sails and forget it.

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