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The Hails Bring Good Vibes in Trying Times

Photo by Vanessa Vlandis

What do you get when you combine 5 fun-loving guys with musical talent and creativity?

You get Florida-based band, The Hails.

Hailing from Gainesville, Florida (pun intended), five college students—Robbie Kingsley, Zach Levy, Franco Solari, Dylan McCue, and Andre Escobar—created an unforgettable bond and a loyal fanbase at the University of Florida.

“We’re working as hard as we can with each other and making things happen as far as production goes and with music and moving forward with things,” said Escobar, the bass player.

Their sound caters to an indie-pop fanbase as it’s unique and sonically pleasing. Their music can be found on the “Feel-Good Indie Rock” playlist on Spotify, which is an appropriate placement because that’s exactly what their songs do: make you feel good. They even have a song for every mood. For example, Stay and Sugar are the songs you put on your road trip playlist. Nothing and Younger are the songs you play with your window open in your room on a pretty day while you do yet another DIY project in quarantine.

The final result we hear on Spotify is great, but the process the band members use to create it is noteworthy. Some artists talk about how their inspirations come from other musicians that they are looking to emulate. The Hails, on the other hand, separate themselves from their own sound and look for inspiration in unrelated genres.

“My philosophy, and this is just me personally but I think there’s a seed of truth in it for everyone, is that I listen to music that doesn’t sound like ours and incorporate elements of that into our sound,” Solari, guitarist/co-vocalist, said “We’re striving to do something different that is hard to place and not a direct comparison to someone else. We get as far away from our sound as possible, find its influence, and take elements from that and combine it into something that is still recognizable as the Hails.”

The Hails band members are down-to-earth and humble. Beyond being bandmates, they’re all genuinely friends and care about making a connection with their fans. Although you can see some of their personalities on their Instagram, one great way to catch a snapshot of their lives is in their audio videos. Not music videos, audio videos. You may be asking yourself, what’s the difference?

Essentially, audio videos are their way of uploading their music to Youtube while having a creative way to entertain the viewers, as opposed to having a static picture of the album art. Their audio videos are not overly edited or have any fancy effects. They’re just candid moments of the guys’ lives caught on camera. They did this to have a little more fun with their online content, but in turn, it makes them more personable. These videos have even allowed for fun conversations with fans.

“The one for Stay, we were by a dumpster and months later, a fan came up to us at a show and was like ‘oh are you and Robbie gonna fight by the dumpster again?’ And that was completely unintended to think that people would pay that much attention to them,” Solari said, laughing as he recalled the memory.

Undeniably, though, the best way to connect with fans is to perform for them. The Hails have a sentimental history of performing in Gainesville. Their journey has been humble but progressed in ways the guys didn’t expect. As most bands do, they began by being openers at local venues until eventually, they became the focal point of the shows. In fact, they had a show lined up on April 3rd that was supposed to be huge, but was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“It was an infantile version of what it is now. We were playing the same venue that we were supposed to play on April 3rd. That was where our first show was and we played to 11 people, if that. It forces you to reflect on the growth, which is nice, and Gainesville always seems to be enthusiastic when we play,” said Andre.

This time last year, they performed a farewell show as the guys graduated college. They nearly sold out the venue as so many people came to say goodbye to the Gainesville band.

Since then, they had the opportunity to co-headline a 10-date tour.

Unfortunately, The Hails were only able to play seven of their ten dates. The guys prioritized theirs and everyone else’s safety and decided to pull out of the remaining dates due to COVID-19 . Although they were saddened by the circumstances, the guys have gotten creative. They wanted to continue to show up for their fans, even virtually.

They decided to start a series called FaceTime sessions.

“Initially I wanted to do something to make up for the dates we missed; so if we were playing April 3rd, I wanted to do something then. That’s where the idea started where we’ve been performing a song a week all from our houses and are just trying to get creative with entertaining people.” Franco said. “So we’ve been self recording our own parts then blending them together to do a FaceTime concert. And the response has been unbelievable.”

Although distance has separated them, it’s clear to see that music is the strong bond that holds The Hails and their fans together.

As of now, The Hails have some new music and projects in the works. Be sure to keep an eye out and listen to what they have out now. Their music is guaranteed to boost your spirits and don’t we all need a little bit of that right now?

The Hails’ music is available on all streaming platforms.

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