Million Hits | Taking Over the World, One Hit at a Time

MillionHits sqDon’t wait for your hipper-than-you friends to clue you in on how good these guys are.



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Million Hits | all photographs:Flash Creative Photography 


Just because that crazy hip-hop stuff remains the taste du jour on airwaves and televised talent competitions are giving us tomorrow’s stars we’ll forget later tomorrow, doesn’t mean kids have stopped picking up guitars to crank out some sweaty and spirited rock ‘n ‘ roll. Festus, Mo.’s Million Hits may be young, but what they’ve accomplished in three years on the scene is nothing short of remarkable.

Starting their musical life rocking out with Nirvana and KISS covers like any bunch of right-headed musicians should, Eli Wallace (15, drums), Christian Wallace (15, lead guitar), Jonah Roy (12, vocals, guitar), Connor Ouchi (14, bass), and Olivia Vaughn (15, lead vocals) quickly became confident enough in their rapidly developing skills to begin writing their own tunes. In quick succession, they started booking gigs and making appearances impressive enough to catch the earholes of longstanding Ded Bug guitarist Matt Meyer. Knowing full well that a stellar band deservers an out-of-this-world recording, Meyer, who also plays the Alex Lifeson role in local Rush tribute band Thunderhead, produced their big-sounding, gut-punching anthems to youth, love, and having fun in a world that tries to keep you down. As if that wasn’t sweet enough action, the newly minted tracks will be released through Meyer’s online label IBC Shadows Music, where fans will be able to download Million Hits’ music to their hearts’ content.

The recordings themselves mash the sugar-rush monster hooks of Cheap Trick with the undeniable passion of garage band heroes The Pixies, and they’re steadily putting the band one step closer to its ultimate goal of world dominance. Since an indie band can’t really count on radio playing their music, though, the band hired the multitalented Brian McClelland, member of Middle Clash Fashion and beard-in-charge of Blip Blap Video, to direct a clip for their latest track, the epically titled “Surrender to the Power of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” According to Ouchi, while the band had a gas doing the video, it wasn’t without its pitfalls. “The video was a blast to shoot and being able to go down to the Loop and by the Riverfront was unique,” he says, “but nothing as unique as going inside a defunct gigantic refrigeration building that was quite literally falling apart at the seams.”

Though the band seems to share many of the same influences in the writing and recording department (Jack White, The New Pornographers), drummer Eli says he likes things “heavier than my band mates. I like what A Day to Remember and Crown the Empire are doing. Tons of energy. They simply rock. ” When I ask when the band will get around to recording a full-length album of its own, bassist Ouchi is honest and succinct. “The material isn’t quite ready for a full album, but it’s certainly close. We also have a good deal of songs that are ready to go and partially recorded. ‘In the near future’ is the closest timeframe we have.”

Ouchi, warming to the subject, continues, “Creatively, I’d like to be like Arcade Fire,” he states. “Not necessarily in style, but they do have a lot of freedom in how they go about their music and whatnot. Their live shows are also amazing, and their energy is something we hope to have when we play.”MillionHits 300

So what exactly is on the horizon for Million Hits? Roy responds, “We hope more live shows, because being such a young band we are not always given the same venue opportunities as older bands.” According to vocalist Vaughn, the band may be hitting the road sooner than later. “Hopefully, we will have a lot more shows around St. Louis, and maybe even some out of state,” she says, excitedly. “We also have around five more originals that have not been released that are currently in the process of being recorded, which will be released sometime in the near future. Those all should be put out together on an album.” Even though many of their singles, including “Get Outta Mah Face” and “Kiss & Kill Me,” are available on iTunes, the live music arena is clearly where the band feels most at home.

How can you not love a band that’s in it for the right reasons? As Vaughn says, “Our plans are really just to keep making music and playing shows, ’cause that’s what we love. And we’ll just see where that takes us.” | Jim Ousley

Don’t wait for your hipper-than-you friends to clue you in on how good these guys are. St. Louis fans eager to get a fix of the mighty teen rock crusaders can see the band October 3 at Firebird with Soma Jet Set and another band to be determined.

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