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One of the cool parts about writing for this site is finding out about regional music that I wouldn’t have normally known existed. I wouldn’t know Hail the Titans if I hadn’t recently discovered them through Wes, and it just so happens that this Montgomery, Alabama quartet combines two of my favorite things. I’ve been known to nerd out on both progressive and post-rock and Hail the Titans fuse both into something that is pretty much all their own. This instrumental quartet creates engaging, cinematic pieces with plenty of effects and sounds but they never quite get ambient enough to sound like a typical post-rock band, their also not quite as technical or excessive as most prog. Bands like Ireland’s And so I Watch You from Afar have started on this path, and listeners may even hear bits of bands like Mogwai and The Mars Volta in certain tracks of their album Hymns of Mare Nostrum. If the first couple of songs have you stratching your head at these comparisons keep listening, the beauty of it is that every song jumps around quite a bit. Hail the Titans will be playing the Radio Room in Greenville with local favorites Signs of Iris and R. Garcia this Friday July 27th. Member Josh Carples was cool enough to answer some questions I had for him below.
CM: Your bio says some of you played with each other in previous bands, how did you come about playing this style of music?
JC: It was purely accidental. We all got together one Friday night in the fall of 2010 just to see what would happen, and we started writing that night. We weren’t sure how it would turn out, but we were happy with the results.
CM: I‘m a big fan of both prog and post-rock but rarely do I see bands combining those approaches. How have people’s reactions been to your music so far?
JC: Very positive. We’ve had people come up and tell us that they normally don’t like instrumental music – that they need to have vocals – but they like us. We’re all very glad that people have been as accepting and encouraging as they have been.
CM: I know you probably get this alot but what are your biggest influences? Was there any certain goal that you discussed going for as far as a particular sound or did you just start jamming?
JC: Every member has very different influences. Basically, if you were to hop in the passender seat of any of our vehicles, you might be surprised at what music you might hear. We all had discussed certain sounds before, but really, when we all walked into that room, we pretty much left all the previous discussion at the door and started playing music to see where it would take us.
CM: I talked to a band from Alabama not too long ago and I asked them what the music scene was like in Huntsville. How are things in Montgomery? Do you guys stick out or are there alot of like minded bands for you to play with?
JC: While Montgomery is the Capital City, the scene is somewhat small, but there are many artists and promoters who are really trying to make it grow. There is more going on artistically than there was even five years ago, and I hope that continues.
CM: I like the almost space-rock/freakout/soundscape section in the middle of Wave Goodbye to the Shoreline, Hello Giant Squid. It sounds like you have a good bit of gear to create those kinds of moments, would you say being in this kind of band is expensive?
JC: Well, it can be. We’re all gear-heads when it comes to music. When we’re playing out, we’re always looking at other bands’ pedal boards and equipment to see what they’re using and how they’re getting certain tones and sounds. So yes, it can get expensive, but saving money and buying things used is very helpful in those situations.
CM: Would you say finding interesting sounds with gear is more important at times or does songwriting always come first?
JC: They can go hand in hand, but songwriting and arranging – and paying attention to details of transitions – is key. Sometimes, though, using an effect can lead to new ideas for songwriting, so it all can play an important part.
CM: Where all have you guys played so far? Will this be your first time playing Greenville?
JC: This is our first time in Greenville. We regularly play around the Southeastern U.S. but this tour has been our first time going north. We played shows in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, D.C… I’m answering these questions from a venue in Virginia right now.
CM: Is there any particular concept or story behind your album Hymns of Mare Nostrum?
JC: There’s not a particular story, but there is somewhat of a theme with the water aspect. Upon completion of the album, it seemed like the album had a certain flow to it, and the water theme kept coming back up in discussions, so we embraced it with the album title and some of the song titles.
CM: Any longtime touring plans or anything else cool coming up?
JC: We’re finishing up a tour right now, but we’re in the mixing stages of a new E.P. We hope to have that out in fall or winter of this year
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