Here is our first interview in over a year and hopefully the first of many to come!
We first listened to Bristol based band HAAL mid-way through last year and after being impressed by their debut single ‘Carmen Jones‘, they ended up being one of our most exciting discoveries of 2020! The band create intense, experimental post-rock that’s tension-filled and angular.
With news of a brand new single on the horizon, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to catch up with HAAL to discuss the band’s new single, artists and influences, live music (yes!) and the future! Enjoy!
Header photo by Amia Watling.
Hi there! Firstly, so that our readers can know a bit more about you, please introduce HAAL:
We are HAAL comprised of Alfie Hay, Joe Frost, Ethan Jones & Joe Collins.
Three of us met at school in Devon, whilst we met our drummer Joe playing for his old band Wych Elm with our old band Rainmaker. We are now based in Bristol, with three of us under one roof; a lovely set-up.
I suppose you could say we fit under the bracket of Post-Rock/Math-Rock, but we take influences from loads of music and art to create something we like.
Your second single ‘Memorial’ is set for release on 19th February! If you could sum the track up in three words, what would they be?
Sorry first thing that came to my mind.
I’d say janky, industrial, gloom.
You’ve also been working with various artists to shape your aesthetic as well as live visuals at shows, has working with different artists influenced your music/sound?
Yeah! We’d built up a network through school/university etc where most of our friends were creatives, whether that’s graphic design, film or illustration. For Haal, we wanted to utilise everybody’s skills to create one, unified vision for the band. However, if anything the music came first, which then inferred their creations. Check them all out on Instagram:
HAAL have got a Rough Trade session lined up as well as a livestream via GravyTrain! But for anyone (like ourselves) who are yet to see you live, whether that be in livestream form or otherwise, what can we expect from these gigs?
So, a key thing we wanted to do was create a solid ‘aesthetic’ that represents HAAL through the form of live visuals.
We’ve been working with our close friends & collaborators, Miles Ahmad and Will Newcombe on this, with Will creating the visuals and Miles directing our session at Rough Trade. Each visual is created for the show and for each song, hopefully gifting a visual identity to each song itself. We hope this will give each of our shows a unique edge to them whilst adhering to our original artistic vision.
But you can also expect some swearing when my guitar strap falls off or pedals cut out.
What was the initial spark that encouraged you to start creating music as a band?
I’ve (Alfie) been writing music since I was about 14, however I never found an outlet to perform it. After drumming for Rainmaker whilst Joe C sang whilst supporting Wych Elm, we met Joe F and clicked instantly. I knew exactly then, that I needed him to drum on my music and after a polite pester on Facebook he agreed and here we are.
Thinking ahead to the future where gigs can happen, if you could play absolutely anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Jools Holland or KEXP in the US. I want both Jools and Cheryl Waters to be my grandparents. Can’t believe that woman is in her 70s, looks so great.
What bands/artists are you listening to at the moment and have they influenced your current sound in any way?
Without sounding too cliché, I try and stay away from other music when I’m writing to hopefully generate something solely from myself. However, there are some amazing artists in Bristol that we’ve assembled in a Spotify playlist here, as well as some other artists we love.
Finally, have you got anything else to share regarding the rest of 2021?
We’ve weirdly, got a solid plan after acquiring our manager George (big love to him). We’re recording in April, with a plan to release something physical later in the year. As everyone else, we can’t wait for gigs to return so we can show everyone what we’ve been working on.
We’ll also claim the capitalised ‘HAAL’ on Spotify, mark my words. (11th June edit: I’ve just noticed this has since happened 🙌)
We’d like to thank HAAL very much for their time! HAAL release their next single ‘Memorial’ on 19th February 2021 but in the meantime, you can check out the band’s debut single ‘Carmen Jones’ below and keep up with them on social media via the following links: