Who: The Ongoing Concept, Senick, Famous Last Words, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Hawthorne Heights
What: Hope Revolution Tour
When & Where: 9/14/14, 9:30 Club; Washington, DC
By: Caitlyn Willard
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To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is currently out on the road presenting the Hope Revolution Tour featuring Hawthorne Heights and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Last weekend our photographer, Caitlyn Willard, had the chance to cover one of the stops on the tour and chat with Chad Moses of TWLOHA about the organization, it’s message, and how they’re enjoying the tour! You can read Caitlyn’s interview below!
First off, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us. Can you please tell us a little bit about TWLOHA and your involvement with them?
My name is Chad Moses, I work in music and events for TWLOHA and we are a non-profit organization that exists to provide hope and find help for those struggling with depression, addiction, self injury and suicide. Beyond that we exist to encourage, to inspire, to inform, and also to invest financially into avenues toward treatment and recovery.
This past week was National Suicide Prevention Week and you guys were focusing on the message of “No one else can play your part.” Why do you think this is such a powerful message?
I think at its core, “No one else can play your part”, it holds something that is very true and it might be something that we don’t think about as often as we should. The idea that your life is something of ultimate value, that your life is worth it. So, in anything that we do, the hope is to connect more people to more people. If you conceptualize that as a story, if your life is a song then just acknowledging the parts of your life that deserve to be shared. Personally I feel that every part of your life deserves to be shared, that an audience to your story gives context to that story. That things that you’re walking through can positively impact other people. That you’re not too damaged, that you’re not too broken, that you are worth the time it takes to get to know you.
A lot of the initial promotion for TWLOHA was through bands. Now you guys are basically veterans of festivals like Warped and hosting tours like Heavy and Light, and now presenting The Hope Revolution tour. What do you guys try to do differently to introduce people to TWOLHA for those who may not be familiar with you? How do you try to engage people?
My friend Jason and I, we make up the music and events department of TWLOHA and it’s been a really awesome journey over the past six years that I’ve worked with the organization. We kinda get to write our own rules, there’s not a lot of people that have a job like ours and because of that we like to work in ways that are most fulfilling and kind of the simplest which is through friendship. You’re meeting us on The Hope Revolution Tour and this really on the most simple level is a reunion of friends. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Hawthorne Heights play a huge part in our story as we’ve been growing over the past eight and a half years. When it came to the table that we had an opportunity to work with these guys it was a no brainer. We love working with our friends. So when we work with music there’s no real sense of a business plan, it’s more than dollars and cents, it’s about meeting people where they feel most valued and feel most alive. If you take a moment to think about your favorite artist, your favorite song, your favorite album, it’s probably your favorite because it reminds you of some things that are true in your own life. So we hope to ride on that sense of honesty that music encourages, we hope that what you experience here tonight will be a sort of role model in how you can live your life in the presence of other people celebrating, singing, dancing, crying, all these things, but at it’s core it’s about sharing.
You’ve been on this tour for over a week now. What has been your favorite stop so far?
We’ve been everywhere from Chicago, to Syracuse, to Detroit, and we were in Philly last night. Every stop has kinda brought its own flare and it’s really fun to see different communities really bring a lot of city and regional pride to these events. Last night in Philly, there was something different about that night. It was a smaller room, it was a long and skinny room and it was so much fun. Everyone that was there came with the intention of having one of the best nights of their lives. I remember, to close the entire night, Hawthorne Heights was playing one of their songs “Ohio is for Lovers” and for the first half of the song they didn’t sing at all, they just played their instruments and the rest of the crowd sang with them. There’s something really special about that and seeing the energy that my friends in Red Jumpsuit Apparatus had, there was just something different about that night. A lot of fun times, but we have a week left so we’re looking forward to a lot more memories being made.
TWLOHA has one of the largest followings on social media over any other non-profit on Facebook. Why do you think Facebook, and social media in general, is such an important way to reach an audience?
For us it’s less like the most important way to meet people, but it’s just what we know. This entire thing started on Myspace just trying to share the story of our friend Rene and her first steps toward recovery and sobriety and the story called TWLOHA found its home on Myspace. As social media as grown we’ve been able to see the best the internet has to offer. You don’t have to look too far to see the darker parts of the internet come to the surface. You see and hear on the news, stories about cyber bullying or trolls or people being hacked and it’s heartbreaking, but at the same time we hope that we can provide a different voice to that realm. The idea of being interconnected with people and rekindling friendships that started in elementary school and now you’re able to reconnect after a couple decades and that’s something beautiful. Like I mentioned earlier I think TWLOHA mission is really entrenched in the idea of people being connected to more people. Facebook is a huge piece of that. Beyond that Facebook exists as a way to share what’s going on in your life, not just to send it virally and without care who sees it, but share it with people who you feel are closest to you, people you are intentionally connected to and that’s a beautiful thing.
Ultimately, what message do you want people to walk away with?
I think in any event, wether it’s Warped Tour, a club show, a speaking event or seeing us online, we hope that you know that it’s okay to not be okay. Just don’t think that you have to do this alone. The hope is that you’d be inspired to share your life, that you don’t have to be afraid of the dark part. One of my favorite things that I heard my buddy Jamie say, he started this project, is he’s hanging out with his buddy Nathan and at one point his friend Nathan said “look I’m not afraid of your pain” and I think that at TWLOHA we want to let people know that you aren’t that different from us, that we know these issues. We see people that are affected by this daily and these words have names and they have faces. I think at the heart of it there’s far more that will connect us than will ever separate us. So you don’t have to be afraid of those darker parts of your story, but in fact those are place that give immense potential for growth. So the hope is to inspire you to reach out, to ask for help and find connection in your community.
Where can we expect to see TWLOHA next?
So today we’re in Washington DC which means tomorrow is an off day and then off to Pittsburgh. That’s the most specific example I can give you on that. We’re on The Hope Revolution Tour and we have ten days left. We’re looking forward to seeing you guys there, you can see where the tour’s going to be routed on our website. You can also see where our speaking events are going to be held over the next few months as well as any other music opportunities to hang out with us. We’ll be showing up in Las Vegas for Life Is Beautiful Festival in October and we’re really excited about that. We love the heart of the festival and the people that are running it so we’re excited to be back for a second year there. The hope is always bigger and better. So keep an eye on the website, we’re hoping to close out 2014 in a positive way and make room for a really active 2015.
Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for taking the time to interview, if you’re reading this we hope that you know that we hear you too, that we see you too, that you’re not alone. If you or somebody that you love is struggling, that hope is real and we have highlighted some avenues for help on our website as well. Feel free to check us out at TWLOHA.com. We want you to know that your life is worth it, that your life if worth an audience, that your story is still going on and that no one else can play your part. We’re thankful for your time and for listening to us and just know that you have people in your life and we’d love to help clarify those paths of people that would love to be there for you.
For more information on TWLOHA, please visit: TWLOHA.com.