DISCOVER | Hail – South Coast, United Kingdom.24th November 2023
Today on DISCOVER we have Hayley, Charlie, Chris, Jake and Fran from Hail joining me. Hail are a five piece band from South Coast, United Kingdom. Today we talk about Unicorns, Magnificent beards and dream collabs.
Good evening, thanks for your time this evening! We’ll start with the more boring question.. I promise they do get more fun… What’s the story behind your band’s name, how did you meet and when was it you decided to form the band?
Hayley: So the band actually started as my solo project a good few years ago and the name was picked out as a shortening of my own name. I wrote and released a few songs by myself but where they’re complex with instruments – I didn’t go out and gig with them. Earlier in the year, I put out a few feelers on some Facebook groups and found these guys!
They were all up for the symphonic metal sound, having played in bands with similar genres previously. And it just went from there. They even graciously let me keep the name Hail as the band name.
That’s great from solo project to a band. and even more so great to keep the name, which other artists or bands do you draw inspiration from and did this change when the transition from solo to a group happened?
Chris: When we formed the band and began learning the songs. We all brought our own flavour to things. The more we practiced together, the more the subtle variations sneaked in. It was a really organic process.
Although we all have different influences, the ones we have in common are Evanescence, Within Temptation and a bit of Nightwish.
Hayley: For the solo songs, I kind of drew inspiration from all kinds of bands and genres before settling on this particular genre. (Which is why some of the earlier songs on Spotify are a bit different).
Seems like a nice mix of variety all around then! With your music – how does your creative process work – do all members contribute equally or is there one main songwriter who takes the reins?
Jake: In terms of song writing we all bring ideas for songs subjects to the table in terms of instrumental structure it mainly starts with Chris and Charlie coming up with guitar riffs and bass line and then I come up with a drum part and and Fran comes up with a keyboard part and Haley works on the lyrics but if we have any ideas along the way we play them to each other to see what we all think
Chris: It’s definitely a collaborative thing. We all bring a lot to the table, and it’s everyone’s job to add their own sparkle to an idea.
Hayley: Chris does a lot of background work with the songs too – creating epic instrumental tracks that play with the songs and make them sound bigger.
You know what they say, “Teamwork makes the dream work”. (God I make myself cringe) what do you hope people take away from your music when listening?
Chris: I think with a lot of our lyrics, there is a seed of truth to it all. We take ideas from past experiences or things we’ve seen and embellish it a bit. I think that’s what makes our music so relatable. The music then amplifies this and creates those feelings. Like a Hans Zimmer soundtrack with words.
Fran: I’ve had people say it’s so catchy, and it takes their mind off day to day stuff. A nice little escape from reality.
I have listened to your music on Spotify and was very impressed. It was so easy to listen too and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you could collaborate with anyone, living or past right now – who would be your absolute dream?
Hayley: So as much as Id love to sing with any of the incredible women in symphonic metal, I’m going to have to say Thom Yorke. Radiohead was my gateway into rock and alternative music and he has such a wonderful voice.
Chris: I might have to be greedy and pick two! Tuomas Holopainen from Nightwish has this natural ability to see the bigger picture in music and create these aural landscapes that very few people can do to the same standard. The second would be John Petrucci (Dream Theater guitarist) who is one of my favourite musicians ever and there is nothing he can’t do. Virtuoso guitarist, producer and he has an awesome beard!
Fran: I would say Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), combining her gritty vocals and the fact she has lower range with Hayley’s soprano melodic tones would sound incredible!! Their vocals would really complete the catchy guitar riffs and overall sound.
Jake: Amy Lee would be my choice as she and evanescence brought Female lead metal bands to the forefront
Some icons are mentioned there, and wholeheartedly agree about John Petrucci’s beard. It’s a magnificent sight! Do you have any favorite and least favorite venues that you’ve either played at or visited in the past?
Chris: I think every venue, good or bad, adds it’s own charm to a gig.
The best stage I played on in a previous band was the new blood stage at Bloodstock. 2000 people cheering is one I’ll never forget.
Fran: For me, performing at Portsmouth Guildhall was up there as one of my favourite places.
Hayley: Yes, Southampton Guildhall for me was amazing – though I was performing as a jazz singer so it was a very different vibe! I can’t say I’ve ever played anywhere I haven’t enjoyed though!
Jake: The best place that I’ve played is the wedgewood rooms the sound in the venue is amazing closely followed by the joiners the fact the audience is close always makes it a good time
With it coming to the end of 2023 now, what are the plans for 2024? Any upcoming releases in the pipe works.
Fran: We have a few new songs in the pipeline which will be really exciting… I won’t say anymore you’ll have to wait! We are looking to perform more. Loads of gigs. Hopefully, we will meet loads of new people and introduce them to Hail.
So we’re near the end of the interview now just two more questions – As musicians, what has been the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
Chris: “Play slow to play smooth, play smooth to play fast.”
Fran: “Mine would be patience ! Don’t take your frustration out on your instrument and learn to love the metronome.. ( the last one I have to constantly remind myself!)”
Jake: “Practice the stuff you can’t do more than the stuff you can do.”
Hayley: For me it was to “focus less on the classical training and “correct” things to do and to feel the emotion and connect with the music more.”
That’s some great advice from some very wise people! So, my final question for you guys, I do like to end interviews on a good note – something upbeat, so my final question to you guys is – What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
Hayley: Chris’ time to shine here…
Chris: Give me a minute… When western cartoons air in Japan, they normally have to digitally add fingers on the characters hands so they add up to ten. Missing fingers in Japanese culture is linked to the Yakuza (Japanese mafia).
Fran: Scotland chose the unicorn as its national animal.
Hayley: A blob of toothpaste is called a nurdle.
Jake: M&M’s are named after the business men who created them Forest Mars and Bruce Murray.
The more you know! I did not know some of these and now, have learned! It’s been a pleasure you guys and thank you again for taking time to chat. I look forward to seeing what 2024 brings for you!
Artist: Hail / Location: South Coast, UK / Label: Unsigned / Genre: Symphonic metal
For Fans Of: After Forever, Delain, Evanescence, Nightwish, Sirenia, Tarja, Tarot, Within Temptation