INTERVIEW: The Hails turn their passion into a career with versatile sound and exceptional production

Shortly after the release of “Situations” a brooding, ’70s inspired single about the conventionality of our interactions with peers, Gainesville-made group The Hails followed up with their latest track, “Denial.”

Brimming with elements of electronica and groovy riffs, “Denial” is easily the group’s strongest track sonically.

The jolly demeanor of Robbie Kingsley (vocals) and Dylan McCue (guitar) radiated through my computer screen as we chatted about their experiences breaking ground in the Gainesville scene and eventually making music all of them can be proud of.

After coming from different areas of Florida and crossing paths at the University of Florida in 2015, the group started playing cover gigs and indie-heavy shows at frat houses.

“We would branch out and do a Drake song here and there” Kingsley mentions.

From “Toxic” by Britney Spears to iconic Strokes songs, the band took advantage of their multifaceted sound to catch the attention of other indie-music fans outside of their college community.

Within a few months, the five started writing music together and building off of riffs that came naturally during rehearsals. Music started as a hobby for each of them, but as a collective, they decided to pursue a future in music and complete their degree programs as back-up plans.

The two reminisced on the fond memories of their “residency” at the High Dive in Gainesville, as they played shows there monthly and felt a deep connection to those who attended their first few gigs.

“I consider that [High Dive] to be our incubator where we grew up” Kingsley explains.

The outro of their new release “Denial” struck a chord with me, and McCue graciously explained the process of building upon a simplistic, ’80s-drum-machine-groove and building upon it until reaching a climax.

“That’s kind of how we’ve been making music for the past year or so —somebody starts an idea and we all develop on it,” McCue explains.

Believe it or not, McCue wrote the lyrics to “Denial” before COVID-19 swept the globe to express the feelings he had regarding a new chapter for the band as they moved apart.

“Sink into the deep end, Waste another weekend, The changing of the seasons
Never helped me get out of the motions,” Kingsley sings in the Pre-Chorus.

With quarantine movie consumption at its peak, we exchanged some of our favorite films while discussing which movies would be a perfect match for a score by The Hails’ discography.

With regard to their latest single “Denial,” both fast-paced and high energy were a must. Hues of blue and flashing strobe lights would accompany their music in a speed racer live action.

“I’ve always seen speed racer to it…in an anime-style,” Kingsley adds.

On the other hand, Dylan would score a dystopian movie with commentary on the future.

“Anything shot by Paul Thomas Anderson,” McCue admits.

This banter proves the versatility of their sound and how eager they are to make their vision a reality for themselves and all who support them.

In five years, the band hopes to be well into their career with a solid fanbase and playing for a bunch of dedicated fans. They hope to translate the dynamic, layered sounds from “Denial” into momentum and push their musical careers forward.

Listen to “Denial” below!




photo by: Liam Sheehan