Hail The Sun is a band from Chico, California who just released their third album, Culture Scars, on Equal Vision Records. It's nearly impossible to pin down the type of music they produce into one specific genre. They've been described as post-hardcore, experimental rock, progressive rock, progressive hardcore, math rock, and numerous others.
Tattoodo: Your songs are so complex and technical, with shifts in time signatures and just crazy instrumentation, we're curious how you come up with them. Does it start with a guitar riff or is it a collaborative effort?
Shane Gann: Typically, either Aric or myself will come up with something rad on guitar (Donovan has contributed plenty of sweet riffs that have become songs, as well). From that point, if I can hear in my head where a riff naturally seems to want to go, I'll keep writing the song's skeleton before presenting it to the band, where we'll change this and that, and add our special blend of herbs and spices to make it a Hail The Sun song. If I can't hear that natural next part, though, I'll present just that first rad riff to the group, and we'll continue the process more as a group (though this is a more rare occurrence, as we all live in different parts of California). It's always very organic, though, and we try every idea, no matter how stupid they sound.
Some other themes of the album appear to be contempt for the current political system, do you think we are heading down the wrong path politically? How do you think that can change?
You guys don't mess around! Diving right into the juicy stuff. I'm not getting up on any soapbox or anything, but I will say this and only this: change comes from action. Words, ideas, petitions, protests, all the way down to the songs we're writing about this stuff... they only go so far. As a people, if we decide we want things to be different, I firmly believe we have the power to make that happen, but it'll take real action by a real community of really committed people.
Are there any songs or albums out there that made you think, Fuck, I wish I wrote that?
Absolutely! I'm a huge nerd for a good chord progression, and songs like Built To Spill's "Carry The Zero" or the chorus of The Reign of Kindo's "Something In The Way That You Are" have these chord changes that literally help the song "progress" in a way that feels unexpected, familiar, and just so G.D. rewarding to listen to. The way I see it, people might often only pay attention to the riffs/melodies/lyrics, but if you boil those away, all you're left with is a foundation of chords, and that's typically what catches my ear first.
Do you have a favorite venue/city to play?
My favorite venue is Chain Reaction, in Anaheim, California. That's where I grew up watching Orange County punk and hardcore bands and it first helped me discover what a local show was. Then I saw Horse The Band change my perception of what a local show could be. It's where I get most excited to play, still, to this day. It's cramped and loud and they don't even sell booze. I love it.
Have you seen any Hail The Sun-inspired tattoos out there, like lyrics or album artwork? If so, what were your favorites?
It still trips all of us out that people would get Hail The Sun tattoos! It reminds us that what we do is actually affecting people, which is both humbling and flattering, and keeps us accountable. As far as favorites go... recently, we've seen a large spike in Hail The Sun tattoos, and I think it has at least a little bit to do with the fact that we've really embraced our logo, which actually was pulled from a matching tattoo all of us in the band got done a few years ago (with A Lot Like Birds and I The Mighty). This has become my personal favorite to see on people, as it's like we all have matching tattoos.
You can get tickets to see that Hail The Sun show at The Roxy in LA by following this link, and you can pick up their albums, shirts, and any other Hail The Sun merch you could want on their MerchNow page.