February 18, 2020
Tune-In Tuesdays #57: Cardiac Half on Having Faith in Music
(Left to right): Dylan and Drew rocking live on stageSource: Cardiac Half | Instagram
Alt-pop sibling duo Cardiac Half has put both halves of their hearts into their music, a dream they’re working towards turning into a career.
Cardiac Half is led by brothers Drew and Dylan Miller, two passionate, faith-driven musicians who touch their audiences with their honest, compelling, and intriguing lyrics.
Recently, we spoke to Drew and Dylan via telephone to learn more about their background in music, their latest single “Medicine,” and their goals as a band.
What were your experiences with music prior to beginning Cardiac Half in 2016?
Dylan: We grew up in church music and stuff, so we’d been a part of worship bands that have traveled the southeast, just making music.
Both of us studied worship leadership in college with a heavy business emphasis, so we both were a part of a couple of different ensembles that traveled and did different church events.
That was most of our experience with music before this band, and [Drew] also did some worth with different bands in high school.
What sparked your interests in music?
Dylan: Fun story: our grandparents, before my mom was even born, started a southern gospel band. My mom kinda grew up in that life where she was in concerts every weekend, so when we were each born (Drew in 1992, me in ’95) we were raised to where we at those concerts.
Drew: We were on the road with them a little bit.
Dylan: I think Drew sang his first song with them when he was like two.
That’s kinda how it started for us.
Drew: And that’s been a bit of our driving factor for us. Family means a lot to us, too, so if we can do music with the family that’s an even better thing.
Being that you’re brothers, how would you describe your relationship prior to Cardiac Half? Has making music together made you closer to one another?
Dylan: I’d say so. We’re brothers, so we’ve always been pretty close. I know a lot of siblings have their stories. We get along, for the most part.
Our parents would say we do have our moments, we did growing up. We had one year where Drew was a senior and I was a freshman in high school, but he was kind enough to let me hang out with him and his cool friends.
Dylan: That happened again when I was in college, where I was a freshman and he was a senior, so I’d say that year is probably where we grew the closest. We were not at home, we were on our own and that really brought us together.
We still have our spats, though.
Drew: Well, look. We own an entertainment business together, we live together.
Dylan: And we have the band together, so there’s a lot of together-time, and sometimes some frustrations boil over. But we know that at the end of the day, we couldn’t live this dream without each other. We try to hold that to our hearts as much as we can.
How do you inspire each other, musically and personally?
Drew: Doing everything that we do together, we’re so close it really is a team effort. [Dylan] handles more of the business side, and I’m not too good with that.
Dylan: Drew handles most of the songwriting and with that balance of creative mind / business mind, it tends to kind of coincide.
Y’know, we couldn’t do it without each other: if he just wrote songs, no one would hear them; if he didn’t write songs, I’d have nothing to spread and I couldn’t do the business.
Drew: Don’t let him fool you, he writes too. We’ve co-written several songs together.
Tell us a little bit about your single “Medicine.”
Drew: It’s one that I’m really proud of. It’s one of our songs that really means the most to me personally, with what I was going through at the time.
It can have different meanings for different people, that’s fine. But for me it meant something a little bit different, and it helped me get through a difficult time.
Dylan: We started releasing music in 2016, but since the start of 2018 we’ve been releasing the music we really feel passionate about. It’s more like alternative pop that’s a little bit dark in a sense.
“Medicine” is an accumulation of what we really want our sound to be and who we want to be. A lot of that came from Drew with the songwriting process and our producer Ryan Wilson at HeyHey Studios did a lot to develop that.
We’re very proud of this sound of the single and the music video that we released with it.
What was it like to shoot the music video for “Medicine?”
“Medicine” by Cardiac Half music videoSource: Cardiac Half – Medicine [Official Music Video] | Cardiac Half
With “Medicine” especially, we were all on the same page with the storyline and how it would shape the universe we were trying to develop.
Then, I think the night before the shoot, Drew and I had some creative inspiration that changed a couple things with the storyline.
In the first part of the day that we shot the video, there was a little bit of tension like, “What are these guys doing? They just changed up everything on me.”
Drew: We did!
Dylan: It ended up working out for the best, I think we all agreed when it was done that those changes made the video. We’re very proud of it and the flexibility of Bryan as well as the rest of the team.
Drew: It was a fun day shooting. I’m not a runner and I ran more than I have in years.
Dylan: We’re actually releasing a behind-the-scenes look of that shoot, so that’s something we’re excited for people to see. We were in an amazing location in Georgia – we didn’t know Georgia had an incredible spot like this, and the mountain was just beautiful.
We can’t wait for people to get a behind-the-scenes look and meet the cast.
“Medicine” explores more mature themes and while it’s lyrics could vary in meaning among listeners, the press release for the music video describes how it relates to difficult choices you’ve had to make in your lives. Do you ever find it difficult or intimidating to open up when creating more vulnerable tracks like “Medicine?”
Drew: I don’t think so, not for me. I think people want to see the rearview and they want to hear that you’re going through things like everyone else is, navigating it and finding out how you’re doing it.
People want to see what you’re about. Being out upfront and vulnerable doesn’t really bother me too much.
Now, I’m not like sharing the whole situation or whatever the case.
Dylan: I think that’s definitely where we’ve had some of our fights in some of the past songs we’ve released. We put up some songs that I never thought I’d share with people, but it makes sense for who we are as artists.
If we’re being vague and not true to who we are and what we go through, then it’s kind of like we’re not really being artists.
The press release also mentions that you’ll be releasing more music throughout the year that expands on “Medicine’s” story. Is there anything you can tell us about your upcoming music or is it on the down-low right now?
Dylan: What we’re working towards is releasing an album, and with that it’ll have songs that we put out as singles.
With that as well, there are these videos where “Medicine” was part one and there’s going to be a part two and a part three. Part three will be out when the album is released later this year.
As far as the specifics, that’s a little more hush-hush. “Medicine’s” video ended on a cliffhanger of what’s going to happen next, so we do look forward to diving in more. But as far as the ins-and-outs, we shouldn’t say too much.
Drew: It’s on the DL for sure.
How do you hope to impact your listeners through your work?
Drew: Everything that we do stems from our Christian faith, so when we play shows we love to tell people why we do what we do.
Of course we love music, but it gives us a platform to share our faith and let people know there’s a God that loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.
We’re not perfect people, but He is and He wants to know us.
Dylan: That’s been our goal from the start of Cardiac Half. Our band name stems from a quote from Saint Augustine that says, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless ’til we find rest in you.”
I wouldn’t identify us as a Christian band writing Christian songs, but our goal is we aren’t going to find true satisfaction ’til we find Jesus.
That’s been true for our lives and that’s been pretty evident in some of the song lyrics that we write. We work toward complete satisfaction and love in that relationship.
In addition to your impact, what are your overall goals, both musically and personally?
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“They say if you’re not bringing in the big money, you can’t pay for gas; there is some truth to that! But what kind of life will you live if the only life you live is after retirement?” . . . Read it again slowly. Those lyrics are Monday Motivation that we live by every single week. All the jobs and paychecks are good things, but there’s more to life. Lyrics from our song, Work In Progress (Live at HeyHey Studios) – Available everywhere, link in bio. #mondaymotivation
Drew: Like every band or every artist out there, we want to be touring consistently, on the road, making records. We want to be making music full-time.
Dylan: It’s a little tricky right now when we want to go into the studio for a solid couple weeks to write and record a whole album. We both have full-time jobs, it’s a Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM type deal.
Drew: And then extra things on the side.
Dylan: It’s tough, so the goal within the next year and a half is to be full-time with this. We think that’ll just add to the creativity and product that we’re able to release.
At the end of the day, we just want to be on the road, traveling, getting to play music because that’s what we were made to do and that’s what we were born for. Nothing can compare with that.
Drew: It’s in the family genes, y’know? It’s in the blood.
Along with releasing new music, do you have any shows coming up locally?
Dylan: We have a couple more acoustic shows coming up, one on March 8th in Marietta, Ga. and one in April at Bank Street Cafe in Griffin, Ga.
But as far as full-band shows, we’re doing those sporadically. First of all, to make sure that each time we do that it’s a beautiful work of art, not just us playing songs on stage. And two, the goal is to have enough time and money to really finish this album.
Drew: We want to take some time with the album, make sure that’s done, and then on the side figure out how to make our live show the best it can be.
Dylan: When we do drop the album later this year, we plan to have a pretty big CD-release show locally and invite some of our favorite local bands to be part of it with us.
Last time we did that, we were able to raise about $700 for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which is an organization that’s near and dear to my heart – literally, because I had open-heart surgery through their organization.
With this upcoming release show, we do want to be able to do that again, make it a release show and a benefit at the same time.
We’re really excited to keep playing and we’ll keep everyone updated as that comes along.
Do you have any additional comments or final thoughts to share?
Drew: Stay in touch, keep your eyes open for the new music that’s coming out, the new music videos. We’re really excited about expanding this universe and we want people to be a part of it.
Dylan: Without people listening and buying into the dream of our music, it’s all for not. While we do write songs that we want to be true to ourselves, it helps when people want to listen and be a part of the dream with us.
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