We had the chance to briefly sit down and chat with Chico, California’s best kept secret, Hail The Sun, at the Ft. Lauderdale stop of Rock Yourself to Sleep tour. We discussed everything from the band’s influences and most recent lineup to the inspiration of their song titles.
Watch the interview or read it below!
Warning:turn your volume all the way up after :34!
What’s so great about Florida? : So first off how’s the tour treating you guys
Donovan Melero (vocals/drums)
John Stirrat (bass) : It’s good, it’s good.
Donovan Melero (vocals/drums): It’s awesome, lots of driving, more driving than we’ve ever done…
John Stirrat: Every day, really. [Laughs]
Donovan: and good crowds.
John: Yeah so far crowds are really good on this tour.
Donovan: Texas was awesome, we love Texas.
WSGAF: What’s it like touring with Dance Gavin Dance and A Lot Like Birds?
John: It’s awesome.
John Stirrat (bass)
Aric Garcia (guitar) : It’s really fun because we’re really good friends with A Lot Like Birds, so it’s just like a vacation and we get to watch them play every night.
Donovan: Yeah exactly, we’re all just a bunch of pals.
John: We really didn’t know Dance Gavin [Dance] before the tour, getting to know them has been a swell time. They’re fun guys, Tillian, the new guy in the band and he’s been awesome.
Donovan: He kills it. He’s great. We all get along really well. They even let us on their bus some times to watch them be rock stars –
John: We sneak on their bus.
Aric: If we’re good boys they’ll let us on the bus [laughs]
WSGAF: How long have you guys been playing together?
Donovan: This line up, for three years. Me and Aric have been playing together for over a decade now, but Hail the Sun’s current lineup, for about three years [we’ve been] active and preforming together.
WSGAF: Growing up what where your influences that made you want to make the music you make today?
Arica Garcia (guitar)
Aric: At The Drive In, The Fall of Troy, Circa Survive any thing along those lines.
Donovan: Yeah, same.
Aric: Equal Vision records, anything they put out is great.
John: Reba McEntire.
Donovan: [laughs] John has a different — awesome, more awesome influences.
Aric: Yeah, [John] has got the funk side.
John: Yeah, [I’m definitely] funk influenced and when I joined it was definitely a new style of music for me. So it’s fun to kind of bring in what I grew up playing was The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine, so playing with these guys is really fun to open up a whole new genre of playing for myself.
WSGAF: Other than the Texas date what has been your favorite date of the tour you have played so far?
John: Las Vegas!
Aric: Our show at the House of Blues got cancelled, so last minute we were able to put on an impromptu show in Vegas at our friend Sergio’s banquet hall. It was nuts, kids came out and it was crazy, it was super fun and super intimate too.
Donovan: [laughs] without anyone realizing! Or except they do realize, but they just don’t realize that they realize it.
WSGAF: You guys have really interesting song titles, what are your inspirations for these song titles?
John: We just come up with the most odd name that most people wouldn’t even think of.
Donovan: Yeah, just something that you’d really remember. Something that would make an interviewer ask us the question that you just asked us.
Aric: That was our plan, and we’ve achieved our goal with those song names.
Donovan: We accomplished it by you asking us.
WSGAF: What’s the writing process like with the current lineup?
Aric: It varies, sometimes one of us will write a skeleton for a song and then build from that, other times it’s a complete collective experience. It really just depends, and it’s hard because we all live in different cities too and that’s a big factor in that. So it really just depends on where we’re at and the time.
Donovan: To kind of just sum it up I feel like our first album before “Elephantitis” was a lot of old songs that me and Aric had written and all the guys learned and added their own thing, and “Elephantitis” is much more collective because we were all already in the band and kind of all helped each other out together.
WSGAF: If you could tour with anyone dead or alive who would it be?
Aric: I think it’d be fun to tour with Glassjaw.
Donovan: letlive. I think it’d be fun to tour with them.
John: I think…so many bands some to mind! I think Elvis Presley, just to kind of be like “We toured with Elvis Presley!” Even though it’d be an awful lineup. He would open for us acoustic.
Aric: It’d be bad for him. Yeah, Elvis Presley would be great.
WSGAF : Where do you see Hail the Sun in the next two years?
John: In a trash can… [laughs]
Donovan: After our Vegas date two years from now. [laughs] I see more comfortable touring, with a full length.
John: Hopefully with a couple of full lengths, touring, touring, touring, and maybe one day headlining a tour. If not we love playing with all these bands, hopefully we can keep this up and come back from the studio and talk to you again, maybe? Hopefully? [laughs]
After our previous interview with Ryan Neff of Miss May I, we had another opportunity to catch up with Levi Benton at the Ft. Lauderdale stop of Alternative Press (AP) tour and discuss the present and future endeavors of the band. We discussed everything from the band’s adventures on their current tour to the recording process of the band’s latest effort “At Heart”
Benton expresses his excitement for the Ft. Lauderdale show.
What’s so great about Florida? : First off how’s the tour been treating you?
Levi Benton: The tour has been awesome, it’s awesome headlining especially doing the AP tour, which is such a mainstream magazine. It’s a really heavy tour so it’s been really awesome.
WSGAF: I heard you guys got to hand pick the bands for this tour, how did you guys go about that?
LB: Us and AP handpicked them, we wanted to do our first tour that’s like metal/metalcore bands. It’s awesome because we haven’t done a tour like that in a long time.
WSGAF: How are you guys liking Florida so far? Have you guys gotten to do anything fun while you’ve been here?
LB: No, but tonight there’s like a big Halloween party in the street, so we’re really excited for that and it’s been awesome. I’m trying to remember where we were at yesterday – St. Pete! We went to the movies yesterday and it was awesome.
WSGAF: What did you guys end up seeing?
LB: Silent Hill 2. It was okay.
WSGAF: What’s your favorite tour that you have ever done?
LB: Oh man…favorite tour, I’ve ever done? Probably Parkway Drive, but Warped Tour you can’t beat. Warped tour this past year was the best, insane, but you can’t count that because it’s just too awesome. We did a Parkway Drive tour in Australia once that was one of my favorite tours.
WSGAF: What has been the craziest show on this tour so far?
LB: The craziest show on this tour would probably have to be TLA (Theater of the Living Arts). I’d say TLA in Philedelphia. It was pretty nuts. It was pretty cool to play such a huge venue, and it was a weekend so kids were just having a blast it was awesome, like tonight. You can definitely tell the school year has started because [at shows on weekdays] a lot of kids are like “I’ve got school, I can’t really hang out”
WSGAF: Do you have any weird pre-show rituals?
LB: I have really weird warm ups and they sound really stupid, so everyone always looks at me really funny and I look like an idiot. Another weird one I guess is that me and some of the guys stretch together, we don’t have like a huddle thing, we just stretch and hang out before the show like “I’m excited for the show!” and little stuff like that.
WSGAF: Where do you see Miss May I in the next three years?
LB: Hopefully we’ll still be touring, just doing what we’re doing now. Every day we’re just happy to be where we’re at, so if we’re even close to what we’re doing now in three years that would just be awesome.
WSGAF: Miss May I is a fairly heavy band, so growing up who where your musical inspirations that made you want to make the music you do today?
LB: I was really into The Used, Underoath, a lot of Hawthorne Heights, I know that sounds weird, but we’d cover songs of theirs when we started. That whole genre of music, but definitely The Used was my favorite band.
WSGAF: What was the recording process for “At Heart” like?
LB: It was really weird. It was our first time doing pre-production so we had a couple weeks to sit and write the songs and listen to them and see what sucked and throw out the stuff that sucked. We had never really done that, we had always recorded and put out a record and sold it. So this time it was nice to sit and listen to it and go to a new producer. He really helped us put a lot of feeling into the record instead of just having a perfect take. It definitely made a difference and at the end of the day the record has a lot more feeling to it instead of having just a perfect album. Which anybody can do a perfect album because it’s 2012 and computers are all over the place. So it was nice to have a more real sounding album
WSGAF: Speaking of albums what are some albums you’re currently listening to and would recommend to your fans?
LB: The new As I Lay Dying album “Awakened”, I like a lot of hip hop stuff, the new Mackelmore record “The Heist” is really good, I’m trying to think what else – Oh the new Texas in July record is very very awesome too.
WSGAF: Do you have any guilty pleasures music wise?
LB: Probably listening to pop music is my guilty pleasure, because I’m in a metal band and I jam to Katy Perry, Usher, and all that, I love it.
WSGAF: There’s a huge line of kids outside to see you tonight, how important do you think fan interaction is? Especially on bigger tours like this one?
LB: Whether it’s a big tour or a small tour, even when we first started touring in a little 8 passenger soccer mom van, we were always just excited to talk to all the kids and the fans because at the end of the day they’re the reason we’re doing all this stuff. No matter what tour we do or how big we get we’ll always make sure we have fan interaction and make sure the fans are the number one thing at the end of the day. We’ll never push the fans away and be like “I don’t want a picture” , “I don’t want to do this”, like if they’re there we’d love to meet them.
WSGAF: Describe your live show in one word.
WSGAF: Stuff you want your fans to check out?
LB: We just released a new video for “Day by Day” it’s definitely the most intense the video we’ve released. Check out our new record, it’s got the new sound of what we’re hoping to go for, it’s [called] At Heart it’s in all stores, come check out our facebook it’s got everything we’re ever doing on it, it’s /missmayimusic, and other than that follow us on twitter and instagram and all that stuff and see the stupid stuff we do on tour.
WSGAF: Will you guys be recording anytime soon or are you guys going to tour on this album cycle for a while?
LB: We’re trying to figure out a time to record, we’re making like little demos here and there with the ideas we have and me and B.J write stupid riffs on our phones recording our voices. We’re just messing around, but I think the next album is the one we’re most excited to write. We’re really excited just because we had so much freedom on the last record and people actually liked the stuff we did, which we didn’t think people were going to agree with because it was just so different. We’re excited for this next record because we have all that free will do just do whatever we want.
WSGAF: What will Miss May I be doing after this tour and into 2013?
LB: Right after this tour we’re off for a day, and then we fly to Europe, then we do a European headliner. We’re pretty busy even through 2013, we have a lot of stuff coming a lot of stuff that’s not announced, but it’ll be pretty crazy.
WSGAF: Alright, thank you for sitting down with us today and have a great rest of the tour!
LB: Thank you!
Miss May I’s epic finale.
If you like what you seen be sure to check out Miss May I on the remaining dates of AP tour and check out their newest album At Heart and to like them on Facebook.