This three-piece band formed in London in 2014 and have individually cited Tori Amos, The Smashing Pumpkins and The Foo Fighters as influences on their rock sound. With their debut album Of Time and Tides scheduled for a summer release and several live dates being finalized, Pete sat down with the band for a customised set of interview questions. Here are their responses…
Supplied By Artist
Sarah Rodriguez (Vocals/Piano)
- If you were asked to suggest songs by any act best reflecting 1/ The month of May and 2/ The month of November which titles would you suggest? (Artist/Title)
My song suggestion to reflect the month of May is “Falling’ by Haim. I was first introduced to Haim whilst driving on a hot summer’s day and thought at the time it was the perfect soundtrack for that time. I think they are brilliant, original and have fantastic energy live. I can hear elements of Fleetwood Mac in their songwriting and arrangements. They are an influence of mine – I was very tempted to choose “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac so, just to be cheeky, I’m giving that track a shout-out too! As the song best reflecting the month of November, I would choose “Winter” by Tori Amos. This song makes me feel truly nostalgic as it reflects how everything changes in life, just like the seasons. The lyrics epitomise all the magical imagery of winter and the instrumentation is arranged so dynamically and with such beauty, I think it’s a songwriting masterclass.
- Some fine pieces of music have been used over the opening titles of films – do you have a favourite? (Artist/title/film in which used)
This is a tricky one as the are so many, however, I will choose “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell from Casino Royale (James Bond). This is a great song that completely captures the essence and energy of the opening sequence for that film. Chris Cornell was a phenomenal singer/songwriter and this song is one of my ultimate James Bond theme songs. It would be an absolute dream to write a James bond theme song – maybe one day?!!
- Could you nominate for us two recordings (Artist/Title/Source Album) that make sense as night time listening and two that make sense as daytime listening? And what are The Hallows songs that do this?
My two night-time listening tracks would be “Glory Box” by Portishead (Dummy) and “Wrecking” by Laura Veirs. The two daytime listening tracks I would nominate are “Grace” by Jeff Buckley (Grace) and “Gunshot” by Lykke Li (I Never Learn). The song from our album Of Time and Tides that I believe reflects night-time listening best would be “Icicles”. It’s one of our most bleak and desolate songs and the lyrics really embody imagery of a dark and cold night. Our song that best evokes daytime would be “Euphoria”, it has a driving feel throughout and an uplifting chorus.
- Which recordings (Artist/Title/Source Album) really benefit in your view from the percussion parts included?
A couple of recordings immediately come to mind. They are “Africa” by Toto (Toto IV) – it has a simple pop groove which is embellished throughout with percussion sounds – and “Drumming Song” by Florence and the Machine (Lungs). It is such an impassioned song made all the more powerful by the heavily syncopated and hugely textured drum and percussion parts.
- Did you teach yourself piano or did you have lessons at any point?
I initially learnt to play the piano with my Granny, she showed me around the piano at a very early age and playing duets with her was one of my favourite things when growing up – she was so patient and encouraging. I did have piano lessons too – I was incredibly lucky to have been taught by Margaret Hearn, née Plummer, who was a Professor at The Royal College Of Music (she studied under Arthur Benjamin, Angus Morrison, Herbert Howells and was also mentored by the great Vaughan Williams). She was a formidable lady and I count myself very fortunate that her incredible expertise shaped my playing and contributed to the musician I am today.
- It has been said that you shouldn’t write songs when you’re in love ..what are your thoughts on this notion?
I think if you write songs when you are in love the content is likely to be much more positive. However, I love dramatic, moody and powerful music and I think some of the best songs I have written have been inspired by more negative experiences. Having said that there are a couple of songs on our album that are inspired by love and also the loss of someone you love.
- Have you ever in your life/would you ever take part in a song or singing contest?
I did enter a couple of singing competitions when I was younger, however, it is not something I would want to pursue now. I’m much happier writing my own music and being free to make my own decisions about what I write about and how I use my voice. Singing is a very personal thing, no-one sounds the same and it’s also completely subjective – I don’t think it can be judged like a competitive sport. I wonder how Bob Dylan would have fared in a singing competition? He definitely doesn’t fit a cookie-cutter mould of singing yet he is undoubtedly one of the most influential singer/songwriters of our time.
Joe Rodriguez (Drums)
- Tell us about your stage kit and your choices on gear please
My stage kit is an Odery Eyedentity Series kit that is supplemented by an Odery custom snare drum. The kit is built on fusion sizes (20” bass drum, 10’’ Tom, 14” Tom, 16” tom, 14” snare & 10” auxiliary snare) – I am fortunate to be an endorsee for Odery as their drums sound incredible and look beautiful. I use Remo Coated Emperor heads as I love the warm and lively tones that they produce and I swear by Promark sticks. My cymbal setup is a combination of Zildjian Avedis, A-Custom and K cymbals. My bass pedal and hi-hat are DW 9000 series.
- Where are you planning to tour your album?
We are currently in the process of confirming dates for our first UK tour – we are aiming to play nationwide and will be confirming dates and venues very soon. Next year we will be aiming to get out to Europe and to get booked for more festivals.
- Which of your own recordings thus far show your most band at its most a/ lively b/ relaxed c/opinionated?
- Would be Angel as it showcases the bands more rock sensibilities and is a huge amount of fun to play live.
- I would say that Icicles probably shows the band at its most relaxed and restrained, its hard to believe that this song started life sounding like a dance tune! – we re-wrote the song in a 30 minute session when we felt it wasn’t working as a germanic techno song…it turned out as a totally different track and we much preferred it!
- Probably the most opinionated song we have written hasn’t as yet been released – it is a track called Vultures and it will feature on our second album – it was inspired by people who are hypocritical and self serving and shows the band in a more defiant state of mind.
- Two tickets suddenly arrive for a live performance, they are for someone you have always wanted to see…….which act or artist? And which numbers will be hoping to hear?
I would love to see the original lineup of Rage Against The Machine – they are a seminal band and Zack de la Rocha is such an incredible live performer. I think his anger and astute political observations are more relevant in today’s political climate than they were when their first album was released. I would love to hear them play Killing In The Name, Sleep Now in the Fire, Know Your Enemy, Bullet in the Head and Bulls on Parade.
- Tell us three things that you have learned never to do on stage
- I learned early on not to do stick tricks – I am terrible at them and nothing makes you look more ridiculous than trying to spin a stick and then dropping it in the middle of a song.
- Never setup a drum kit on a slippery surface without putting a carpet down first. It really ruins a gig when you have to spend most of your time chasing your drums around the stage and pulling your bass drum back towards you.
- Never start arguing with band members onstage (I was once in a band that had a member who would fly into wild rages and start blaming other members of the band if something went wrong) – in front of an audience is not the place for it!
- Has a radio DJ anywhere ( and any era) ever impressed you and if so why?
I really had a general respect for John Peel and the fact that he would champion all sorts of bands, the only thing that seemed to count for him was if he liked the music. I remember listening to his shows and been introduced to so much new music, he was big on variety! – he was not constrained by the charts or commercial concerns and it made for a really great way for new music to reach the masses.
- Can you dance? Do you dance? How do your family rate your dancing?
I would like to think that I can dance – I have rhythm and I am enthusiastic when I get going…that said you would have to speak to friends and family to get a true assessment…I believe that they would say that my years of copying MC Hammer were not wasted…
Dave Pugh (Bass)
- Name a recording (an album maybe) that really ‘grew’ on you and has ended up as essential listening? What is it about this recording that you value?
I think I’d have to go for “AB3” by “Alter Bridge”. This album was good on first listen but has grown to be right up there in my top 5 of all time. It is a wonderful mix of heavy guitar riffs, great melodies and hooks and just all round great song writing. My favourite track is one of the lesser known ones called “Coeur d’Alene” – it is about a lake near Miles Kennedy’s home that for him represents solace and feeling like you’re home. This has a particular resonance for me as I grew up in Guernsey in the Channel Islands and I get the same feeling when thinking of the sea and walking the cliffs in particular. As an added bonus, the song has an amazing lead guitar counter melody in the chorus!
- Two or three songs with great actual endings (not fades) by The Who or The Beatles? Or both acts!
Both from the Beatles – I’ll go with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “Help!”
- Your favourite song or instrumental (any genre) with the title including the word 1/ ‘One’, 2/ ‘Five’ and ‘Seven’ ? Explain your choices
1/ Ok, I’m going to cheat a little here because this is my all time favourite piece of music – movement ONE of Beethoven’s 3rd symphony. 2/ “2+2=5” – Radiohead – amazing breakdown and build up in this tune. 3/ “Radio 7” – David Holmes – A really cool trip-hop take on the iconic James Bond theme.
- Suggest a song that reminds you of your childhood – and why might this be?
“Baggy Trousers” by Madness – I had a pretty music filled childhood as my mum was a classical music teacher and my dad worked as a DJ during the 70’s and 80’s so I had access to his huge record collection. With that said this tune is a particularly fond memory, with it being played on repeat to entertain my sister and I in the back of the car on long road trips to the south of France. There was always the “promise” (never fulfilled!) that if we didn’t behave that one of the actions from the song would be carried out… “teacher comes to break it up, back of the head with a plastic cup…”.
- Your bass fuzztone works well in the band mix – do you own a Rickenbacker bass or have you ever? Any thoughts welcome
Thanks! The sound and setup I currently gig with has taken a lot of trial and error to get right but we are really happy with how it is right now. Sadly a Rickenbacker is one of a number of classic basses that I would love to own but don’t! I have only once played one, it was during my music degree and we were due to be examined on a live performance of “Roundabout” by Yes (a real favourite of mine!) and our tutor ( a great player and teacher by the name of John Currie) insisted that we all use his vintage Rickenbacker for authenticity reasons… there were no complaints!
- Lorde and Peter Gabriel record a song together – suggest a song (by any artist) and who would be in the band…what arrangement / style would you favour?
This will probably sound completely mad but I’d like to hear a version of “where is my mind?” by the Pixies done in a blues rock style but with an electro pop twist… maybe just an excuse to put this band together… Drums – Dave Grohl, Bass – Tony Levin, Guitar – Joe Bonamassa
- Did you enjoy school? Whether you did or not, which song reminds you of schooldays (Artist/Title/Source album)?
I think like most people my time at school was a mixed bag. I definitely enjoyed most of it, but there are things that I would change if I was able to go back and do again and maybe some characters I’d try and avoid! I think I was generally a good student and I really loved all the sport and music I got to be a part of. In my late teens I was in a band that played primarily heavy rock covers. This was a hugely enjoyable experience and any time I hear any of the artists that we covered I think back to it. If I had to pick one song though? Probably “Testify” by Rage Against the Machine. Thanks Pete!
(Many thanks to The Hallows and Cat)
(All Photos Supplied By Artist)
The Hallows’ debut album ‘Of Time and Tides’ is released on Saturday 26th August 2017.
You can watch the official music video for ‘Angel’ in this article.
For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://www.thehallows.uk/music/