The members of the South Florida band The Hails were not going to let the distance between them get in the way of releasing their music, let alone a pandemic.
For many, the socially distanced lifestyle started with the coronavirus pandemic, but for the members of The Hails, making music remotely and staying connected while apart, began way before that. It all started at the University of Florida. Five musicians brought together by the mysteries of the universe, their passion for music, and jamming. In the midst of their college experience, Robbie Kingsley, Franco Solari, Dylan McCue, Andre Escobar, and Zach Levy would end up becoming the members of the South Florida band, The Hails.
Their music incorporates a combination of genres consisting of Indie Rock, Alternative, and R&B. After they graduated from college, they dispersed to different cities prompting the beginning of their long-distance relationship. As their individual tastes continue to develop, constantly finding inspiration from new artists and sounds, the band’s unique sound continues to evolve. The end result? A remarkably satisfying musical flow, with every aspect of the sound including rhythm, instruments, vocals, and lyrics alining flawlessly with one another. Its as if each band member is the perfect fit for this musical puzzle. Oh and let’s not forget the impeccable quality of production, that brings their music to a whole new level!
Though most of us may be confined by the walls of our homes during this pandemic, The Hails have gifted us with new music as our sweet 2020 escape. Music that will take you places, music that feels like a very much needed breath of fresh air. They started with a tease at the beginning of this summer, the band released singles “Situations,” followed by “Denial” and “Heartbeat.” Then on August 25th, The Hails released their debut EP: He Seems Upset. The EP contains eight tracks, including their recently released 2020 singles and four new tracks, including the part 2 of Heartbeat. The first track on the EP is “Sippin’ on the Daylight“, which definitely deserves a shutout as every aspect of this song flows so smoothly. I could NOT stop playing it.
In addition to their new music, the EP also includes the band’s first released single, Younger, a fan-favorite that has over 4,035,900 plays just on Spotify. So if you are looking for some feel-good music to add to your playlist, you should definitely check out The Hails.
Like many artists and musicians, the safety measures implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19 has gotten in the way of their ability to perform their music directly to their fans. When they had to cancel their music tour in March, the members of the band had to find a way to maintain a connection with their fans. In April, they launched a Youtube Series called FaceTime sessions on their Youtube and Facebook page, where you can jam to their music in Zoom style. I had the opportunity to interview the band members to find out more about them, their music, and much more.
Robbie Kingsley – Vocals
Franco Solari – Guitar and Vocals
Dylan McCue – Guitar
Andre Escobar – Bass Guitar
Zach Levy -Drums
Behind The Music: The Hails
How and when was The Hails formed? What’s your story?
Robbie: Typical love story. The kind on the Hallmark channel. The five of us locked eyes and felt an instant connection; one that could never be severed or broken. This all happened while we were in college, so we were quite vulnerable and susceptible to each other’s tactics.
Franco: That’s not how I remember it.
As a band, what is your mission?
Robbie: Make some fun, relatable music. An extension of that would be to tour and see new places, but it’s quite simply just about the music.
How would you describe your sound? What is your music about?
Robbie: In an atypical way, it feels icy. Almost slippery. Like you can’t gain your footing as you keep sliding around wildly. I don’t know if that makes sense. Most of the lyrical content is about relationships and boring stuff like that.
You recently released your brand new single “Denial.” What is it about? Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the song and the creative process of how it came together?
Robbie: That’s one of Dylan’s masterpieces. He pretty much had the whole song flushed out before he showed it to us.
Dylan: It started with the bass line. As soon as I came up with it I programmed the drum groove on my computer and within a few days I had all the melodies and most of the demo fleshed out. Franco added some of the crazy synth parts at the end and we had ourselves a tune. The lyrics were inspired by some quarter-life crisis anxiety I was feeling right after graduating college.
Describe your creative process. What’s your songwriting process like?
Robbie: We love jamming together but we don’t get to do it often because we live in different cities currently. So Dylan, Franco, and I write on our own, and then we just smash ideas together in hopes that they’ll work.
What inspires your music? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
Robbie: Other songs and artists. I like being pushed by new sounds I hear when I discover new music. When I write lyrics, they’re usually about nonsense and then I try to create a narrative out of that nonsense.
Dylan: What Robbie said. Nothing inspires me to create more than discovering a new artist or sound. If I’m not obsessing over anything and I sit down and try to write something it usually ends up being forced and sounding a bit stale.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Robbie: I was talking about this the other day, actually. I believe it has gotten more focused. It feels more precise. We have a better feel of what we want to sound like.
Dylan: I think our sound has evolved as our tastes have continued to develop and our process has continued to change. Since we’ve all been apart, Franco, Robbie and I have had to become more competent flushing out ideas on our computers and I think that’s opened up a new realm of liberties and opportunities for us musically/sonically.
Because of the pandemic, almost everyone around the world is in some lockdown or quarantine, how has your quarantine experience been so far?
Robbie: Kind of boring, pretty much like everybody else. I’d love to get out more, and I’d especially love to play a show, but not until it’s safe.
Dylan: I never know what day it is anymore. We started our lockdown as soon as we got back from our canceled tour in March and all the days since then have blended together.
During the quarantine, you launched a series on YouTube called Facetime sessions. Can you tell me more about that? How did the idea come to you?
Franco: Right before quarantine, we decided to cancel some shows. My idea was to release the videos on the days of those canceled concerts. People liked it, so we kept putting more out.
Robbie: Franco compiles all of our videos and puts them together once we send them to him. We’re isolated from each other anyways so we’re usually looking for ways to connect via the internet.
How has the quarantine affected The Hails?
Robbie: Not too much in the grand scheme of things. We were supposed to be playing some shows, but we’re still able to roll out songs which feels great.
If The Hails could tour anywhere in the world, assuming the pandemic was over, where would you go?
Franco: Gary, Indiana. I’ve heard good things.
Each person is different and so is each group member. What individual musical style/influence does each band member bring to the band when it comes to creating music?
Andre: I love grindy bass. It’s such a feel, bro.
Which is your favorite song to perform? Why?
Robbie: Out of our songs, it’s mainly been Stay. That one has a great vibe in the choruses.
Do you ever play any covers? If yes, which ones?
Robbie: Yeah, we’ve done a ton. We did a handful of Frank Ocean tunes, some covers of The Strokes, a lot of stuff that indie heads and music heads dig. Our best one was probably Toxic by Britney Spears. That was fun.
If you had the chance to perform with any band or artist, who would it be?
Franco: Stevie Wonder.
Dylan: Herbie Hancock.
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to your band in your music career?
Robbie: Andre crashed Zach’s car in Atlanta the day before we opened up for the Plain White T’s.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in your music career?
Robbie: The distance between all of us. The five of us have never lived in the same city at one time.
Zach: That’s why we’re moving to LA soon.
Robbie: Maybe. We’ll see.
Dylan: I prefer New York.
Franco: I second LA.
If your band could be stuck in any year, which year would it be? Why?
Robbie: I’m thinking sometime in the dark ages. 1100 AD. Does that work? We wouldn’t gain any recognition but the king and queen would love us.
Franco: I agree; I think the most noble way to be an artist is to die unrecognized, and then gain notoriety many generations after.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of forming their own band?
Franco: Don’t. Be a solo artist, there’s more money in it.
Robbie: I second that.
What’s next for The Hails?
Robbie: We’ve been building these singles, Situations and Denial, into something really special so look out for new music.