Interview December 31, 2017
By Dan Locke
Los Angeles, CA-based electronic rockers, Hail Sagan, have debuted their brand new music video for the single “Doors Will Open”?! Fronted by the mighty Sagan Amery, who’s backed by some killer masked musicians including guitarist Nick Quijano (Powerman 5000), this act is one ALL heavy rock fans need to check out.
“Doors Will Open,” which you can now grab via CD Baby or Amazon, is set to be the featured track in the New Bugbear Entertainment video game Wreckfest that’s due out in 2018 on Xbox, PS4 and PC. So, what are you waiting for? Pre-order the game and watch the video which Sagan and Nick both directed and produced themselves!
Oh, and if you’re in the area, be sure to check out the band live as they’ll be embarking on a headlining tour in the US in the New Year with Rivals and The Scars Heal in Time as support.
Commenting on their new video, the band noted: “The song is a heavier track compared to most of what we have released in the past; we feel it celebrates our roots as people who enjoy listening to a harder genre of music, while displaying our ability to be diverse musicians. After being involved in co-production of our last few videos, we were very interested in giving it a try ourselves, and seeing if we were able to apply what we had learned to the new music video for ‘Doors Will Open.’ Both of us are artists so we wanted to approach the visuals from a creative surreal perspective. We had a lot of fun designing the various sequences of the storyline, and we learned a lot about filming through trial and error. Overall, it was a great experience and we look forward to expanding our abilities in film and incorporating it with the music we release in the future.”
Unratedmagazine: How did you find each other? Tell me about the development of the band?
Hail Sagan: We (Nick and Sagan) found each other in Hollywood since we both live here. And we decided to write a song together in the studio. Upon success of the release of the music video, we wrote an EP. The next step was to tour so we brought in a revolving roster of musicians that could perform alongside of us.
How did you pick your name?
We named the band after our vocalist Sagan. It was a fun play on her name and pop culture.
Tell me about your backgrounds?
Nick started out playing for American Headcharge and then moved over to the Dreaming (Stabbing Westward) for a while. Soon after he joined Powerman 5000 and was in the band for the last five years, co-wrote the album “Builders of the Future,” and then left to start his own band Hail Sagan. And Sagan has been in and out of small punk and hardcore bands for most of her life just for fun. She started taking music seriously when she was offered an opportunity to work on some electronic music projects that made their way into the EDM scene. After that, she helped to found a metal band, collaborated on a few other projects but left all of it to start her own band Hail Sagan.
You are from LA. Can you tell me about the music scene there?
And what your favorite club to play in LA and why is it? We don’t really hang out in the scene in LA. There is a pay-to-play kind of vibe here that we’re just not into. Though Viper Room is a cool club and treated us well when we played there. We enjoy playing down the road in Orange County and had a few shows at Slide Bar which is a fun venue.
How do you describe your music?
It’s very mixed. Heavy rock n’ roll with a fusion of electronic and metal elements. It’s a roller coaster ride – one minute Sagan is singing like a sweet princess and the next she’s ripping your face off with the blood-curdling screams of a demonic witch.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
We are both big fans of Type-O Negative, NIN, Marilyn Manson, Tool, Slipknot, etc. Nick loves Pantera, Sagan loves Danzig. She mixes it up a lot and will go from Depeche Mode to Slayer to Hits from the 80s, to the Doors in one sitting.
Who influences you and why?
A lot of different bands, artists, movies. Anything that moves us to create is an influence to us. Sagan is very influenced by Clive Barker as a director and artist.
The band is Nick and Sagan and the rest of the band wear mask. Why and has anyone ever big played as The Nothing?
The idea behind the masks is that anyone can be under them, even the fans. We like to give opportunities to let people be more than just spectators. The very talented Mike Dupke (WASP, The Dee Snider Band) played drums for our first tour and a few one-off shows after that. We also had a few musicians from Green Jelly (Jello) under there. We always announce who is wearing the masks at the show, but usually not before, so it’s a surprise.
How did you do in the Best Lead Vocalist in 2017 on @rockrageradioRR Music Awards? The last time I check you had 40% of the votes?
Thank you to everyone who voted. We get a lot of organic activity on social media and we’re very grateful for it. Just the other day, one of our posts on twitter had over 40,000 impressions in the stats. It’s amazing how much the fans interact with us and share our posts. It’s true that without the fans, a band doesn’t matter. I would have rather have seen a “band with the best fans award,” because we would win that one too.
For Nick how it to work with Chester Bennington from Linkin Park was. And tell me the back story of the event?
I was asked to play guitar with the band on the Comedy Central television show called the Comedy Jam. The show aired every week on Comedy Central in the spring of 2017 and had a cast of well-known comedians who told a story and sang a song with a superstar musician. Chester was very friendly and I am honored to be one of the last people to perform with him besides his band. He was a cool dude and spoke very highly of his family, couldn’t wait to get back to them from what he said. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play with the lead vocalist of Linkin Park and I will cherish the moment forever.
And Nick hear you played with the Rolling Stones. How was that?
Yes that was with Powerman at the Pink Pop Festival in 2014 in the Netherlands. It was amazing. We also played with Metallica, Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Avenged Sevenfold, Ghost, Limp Bizkit and a bunch of others that day too. There was a big storm and Metallica played through it and didn’t care about the weather. Was very metal. I’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with some of the best bands it the world.
How was it to tour with Make American Rock Again festival?
Hail Sagan didn’t tour with that festival, but rather it was our first show. So we played one date near Fresno, California. It was a lot of fun, and we were received well by fans and the other bands for our debut performance.
Can you talk about the background of Dark Cloud?
Nick asked Sagan if he could help her write a song, once she agreed, they decided to co-produce a music video for it. Sagan wrote the lyrics about a bullying incident that she had encountered, so we decided to make the theme of the video something that brought awareness to the subject and incorporated other issues like suicide, domestic violence, and sexual harassment; all things of which Sagan has been touched by in her life in one way or another.
Hard work, being real, not buying followers. That usually helps toward getting those types of endorsements.
We released our debut EP with his label before fulfilling our contract and going independent, and Dave is very nice. We got to meet him on our first tour when we kicked off in Scottsdale, Arizona. We were direct support for September Mourning a few months ago and Doll Skin opened the show. We haven’t toured with them but we would be open to it in the future.
Both of you volunteer your time with veterans, active military, and civilians who suffer from PTSD. How did you get involved with that?
We are both patriotic citizens who have active and retired military in our group of family and friends. Sagan is very involved with suicide outreach and we connected with a few nonprofit veterans organizations to speak with veterans and soldiers about PTSD and how to get help. We work closely with the Independence Fund who gets wounded veterans into all-terrain wheelchairs when needed, sets them up with wrap around services like home care, and rehabilitation. We also work with local organizations such as Gr8ter Veterans – EVAC out of Spokane, Washington to help bring awareness to the needs of veterans in that area. Sagan dedicates a certain amount of hours per month talking to veterans, active military, and civilians about PTSD and suicide and she does all of the footwork to connect them to services in their area.
How do you pick the color of your hair?
The hair color picks me. But I love every shade of purple which is why the color changes a lot.
What is The You Rock Foundation?
It’s a nonprofit foundation with a theme of music and musicians that raises awareness about depression and suicide. We have them on our list of organizations to donate to every year.
I love your vocals on Stealing the Crown. Where did you film that?
Thank you. We filmed it at Big Bear Mountain, California.
Doors Will Open just dropped. What is the vision behind that video?
After co-producing and doing artistic design on our other videos, we decided to try our hand at directing and producing a video of our own. The vision is surreal art and exploring creativity. The video can mean whatever the viewer wants it to mean as art is subjective and interpreted differently the people who see it. But the song and general feeling of the video was about the struggles within the music industry.
When does the LP come out?
Back in the 90s? Ha. We are just focusing on releasing singles right now. Though we are currently in the studio working on a new EP.
I see your next gig is Hail Sagan / American Grim on July 22nd, 2018 @ 7:00pm in Tyler, TX.
I think whoever added that date to ReverbNation made a mistake, as we already played with them and Mushroomhead on that date, and at that venue in 2017. But we are going on tour with Rivals and The Scars Heal in Time so be on the lookout for dates and city announcements in a few weeks.
What is the make and model of the guitar that Nick plays?
Nick plays a custom shop ESP, matte, silver burst, distressed signature model based off of an Eclipse with a baritone scale neck, with DiMarzio Dactivator pickups custom installed, along with Cleartone Heavy Tuning strings.
What type of clubs have you played in (size)?
From small pubs in tiny towns, to beautiful stages like the Cotillion Ballroom in Wichita Kansas, to massive festivals like Rocktoberfest and Make America Rock Again. We have and will play anywhere the fans want to see us.
What music fests would you like to play in?
All of them.
What is your feeling of Vans Warped Tour since 2018, is the last year for it?
We think they will probably focus on one or two areas like Open Air fest does, which makes sense because it’s very expensive to travel on tour.
Are you thinking about doing the US for a tour?
We have several times in 2017, and we will be out all year in 2018.
How would you explain your live performance?
Very exciting and high energy. We have a lot of lights, fog geysers, smoke, lasers, bubbles, snow, giant purple balloons, and whatever else they let us use at a particular venue.
If someone was listening to you for the first time, what 3 videos or songs would you tell them to look/listen to and why?
They should check out the only three music videos we have on www.youtube.com/hailsagan. Ha. And the live video is good too. You can take three people who have different tastes and have them each find a song by us that they would enjoy. “Doors Will Open” and “Loyalty Goes” are our heaviest songs. But we also have “Stealing the Crown” and “Dark Cloud” “The Mirror” which are more melodic and mainstream. And then “Just a Secret” has an electronic, swanky, sludgy, rock n’ roll feel. They should just listen to all of it and decide for themselves what they like.
How do you see your band in the next 5 years?
We try to focus on the present moment and tackle the obstacles as they come. But we’re not ruling out a rap album. JK.
Any guilty pleasures your fans would be surprised you listen to?
Hits from the 80s. As cheesy as possible.
What is on your bucket list?
We don’t believe in bucket lists since death is an illusion and we will move onto the next dimension to continue our pursuit of happiness and meaning in existence.
Anything in closing you would like to say?
Thank you for the interview. Happy New Year to everyone! Our fans are amazing and we cannot wait to see you all on tour this year so check Bandsintown, or our website www.hailsaganofficial.com for official dates.