Though being a professional musician would likely rank pretty high on a lot of people's list of dream jobs, the realities of the lifestyle nearly proved too much for Sydney pop-punks Heroes for Hire.
After six years in the biz and with the four band members entering their mid-to-late 20s, the group paused to ask themselves whether spending months away from loved ones on tour and not earning a regular wage was worth what they were getting out of their music.
"You start doubting whether it's a good life choice when all your friends are getting married and buying houses," frontman Brad Smith admits.
"We made the decision that we've put so much into it leading up to this, let's just keep going."
The next step was constructing Heroes for Hire's third album, No Apologies, a meticulously crafted slice of catchy pop-punk made with New Found Glory's Steve Klein handling producer duties.
The band took a forensic songwriting approach this time around, poring over each and every minute of No Apologies and being uncompromising on quality control.
"We pulled everything apart from the demos with Steve, and we sat down and went through every melody probably 10 or 15 times until it was the perfect part for that song,' Smith explains.
"It didn't matter how long it took for each song, we just pushed each song to its full potential. We definitely went over time on this record due to it, but the thing is you learn how to do it better for the next time."
With the album in the can, the band embarked on a tour of Japan, Thailand and China.
Heroes for Hire performed six shows in six days in China, travelling exclusively by train and struggling to promote the tour with no access to Facebook, Google or YouTube.
But despite some shows only drawing 20 kids, Smith says they were some of the best shows of the band's career, and reinforced their decision to continue on with their musical dream.
"Those 20 kids had bent over backwards to find out about our band; there was one dude who travelled from the border of China and Russia to Beijing to watch us play, and that's a 13-hour trip," he says in amazement. "It goes back to the days where kids would go to shows just because they love music.
"I think that's what made us realise that what we were doing was something special and we wouldn't be able to experience it doing anything else."No Apologies is out now.
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