The Hails

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June 13, 2019

interview by stephanie estrada

RK: Robbie Kingsley (Lead vocals)

ZL: Zach Levy (Drums)

FS: Franco Solari (Guitar and vocals)

DM: Dylan McCue (Guitar)

AE: Andre Escobar (Bass)

HP: How did you guys initially form?
AE: The Hails formed while Zach and Robbie were at UF. Later, Dylan and Franco moved up to UF and joined. I was the last member to join.

RK: Zach and I met at the University of Florida and he assembled the band. It was like assembling the Megazord from Power Rangers; we needed five pieces.

HP:  Does living in Florida influence your music?
AE: It does and it doesn’t. Where I grew up, it was always either classic rock, EDM, radio’s top 20, or reggaeton and no in between. Any chance I had I would “crate-dig” for an alternative.

RK: It has to, in some way, influence what we do. I always think I have a love-hate relationship with the state, but it really has a lot to offer. Gainesville and Miami greatly contrast each other, but that means our experiences are broader and I think that helps shape the music.

HP: Are there any particular influences that inspired “Nothing”?

AE: Yes. Particularly, I was going for a more laid-back hip-hop with my inner Gorillaz vibe.

RK: When Dylan wrote the melody, I guess the first verse reminded me of Grizzly Bear, so, vocally, I wanted to be similar to their style during that section. Outside of that, it really pulls from a lot of genres to create something fresh.

DM: I was pretty heavily into Grizzly Bear when we started working on that song. There is something really evocative and almost haunting about Ed Droste’s melodies that I thought could serve as inspiration for the melody in the first verse. I wanted something long and winding in the verses to contrast the tight, direct chorus melody that Robbie wrote.   

FS: My main contribution was the second verse and the adlibs in the end of the song. It was mainly influenced by R&B and hip-hop. Like the latter half of the verse features a rap-thing that brings the intensity and confrontational attitude of early 2000s rap, reminiscent of artists like 50 Cent

HP: What is your favorite line from “Nothing” and why?
AE: The bass line. All jokes aside, “Did you start a fight?” This was truly a game changer for The Hails as it brought in another lead vocalist. I think this is a true delta to our sound going forward.

RK: “I don’t know your line, you should’ve read your part by now.” It’s tongue-in-cheek, which is my favorite way to write.

FS: “Did you start a fight. I don’t want to see your face ‘til Monday’s new.” I like these lines because I enjoy confrontation.

ZL: “Nothing”

HP: How do you know if a song is album material or release worthy?
AE: Us five all have different opinions on this, but most of the time we are all on the same page. The more songs we write, the easier it gets to choose which is which.

RK: If you like it, put it out. Our band is comprised of 5 people, so as long as all 5 of us like it, then it’ll come out.

FS: Since we aren’t currently working on an album, if it isn't good enough to be a single, you won’t hear it.

ZL:  I think we know a song is album worthy when we end up creating a demo of the song and we like what we’ve made of it. We then take the song to the studio.

HP: What has been your favorite experience being part of a band?
AE: These are my brothers. Not to be cheesy but the fact that I get to do what I love with my family... nothing can beat that.

RK: Any and every show we’ve played. Every single crowd is different so you never know what you’re going to get from a show. We decided not to play “Nothing” live until it’s released, so that’ll be a new experience that I’m looking forward to.

DM:  We butt heads a bit during the songwriting process, and there are lots of differences in each of our individual music tastes, but there’s always something beautiful about 5 people finding a common ground creatively that resonates with each of them.

FS: Collaboration

ZL: My favorite experience thus far has been this past recording session. I had a great time laying down the tracks and watching them unfold.

HP: What are you hoping to do next with the upcoming album?
AE: We’ll see when we make it. The intention would be to tour, maybe head to Europe?

RK: No plans for an album just yet, but we’ll continue to release songs throughout the year. We want to build the catalog efficiently.

ZL: Tour the country and other countries overseas!

HP:  What is your favorite part about performing live and what has been your favorite moment?
AE: Being in my element and seeing people move and sing along to our creation is my favorite part of performing live.

RK: The fact that there’s someone new at every show keeps it interesting. It makes you want to play with the same attitude you did at your best show. My favorite moments are usually when the crowd sings loud enough so that I can put the microphone down and listen. It’s also nice when that happens so I can take a quick breather.

FS: My favorite moment was at our “farewell for now” show in Gainesville. During the solo section I have, our photographer, Vanessa, came up behind me and unbenounced to me signaled the crowd to turn on the flash on their phones. The next thing I know, 300 people are shining their flashlights at me and it was a beautiful moment.

Stream The Hails’ latest single “Nothing” below:


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