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Interviews

Interview: Hail The Sun Talks “New Age Filth”, Vinyl, & Working With Kris Crummett

By: Jessica Nakamoto –

Once again corralling explosive power, complex technical instrumentation, and emotive lyricism around a vibrant post-hardcore center, Hail The Sun have returned with their most impressive and diverse offering to date.

Titled New Age Filth, the band’s fifth studio album (out now via Equal Vision Records) mixes pop elements with some of the group’s heaviest material, selling out nine vinyl variations pre-release, and enjoying Top 5 and Top 50 positions on the Current Hard Music Albums and Billboard Top Albums charts following its debut.

To celebrate these achievements as well as the 10 sensational tracks making up the record, we were joined by vocalist/drummer Donovan Melero and bassist John Stirrat to answer 10 of our burning questions about the new album, music video memories, and more!

Congratulations on your new album! New Age Filth is my personal favorite Hail The Sun record and I know everyone is very eager to hear it. You’ve even sold out of nine different vinyl variants prior to the release! How did you decide on these different variants? Were you expecting this sort of reaction from fans?  

Stirrat: Thank you so much for taking time to listen to New Age Filth and appreciating it as much as we do! The roll out for this album has been nothing short of amazing. Our fans have really outdone themselves! For the different variants, we work very closely with our outstanding record label Equal Vision Records about what colors and styles to use. With their many years of experience for album releases, we trust their “vision”, no pun intended, about what could stand out to our fans. We have been blown away with the response so far, we can’t wait for them all to hear the album!

Could you tell us a little bit about the inspiration or story behind the album art? Was this something you had in mind from their very beginning, or was it something that emerged deeper into the recording or writing process?

Melero: My brother Adam does a lot of the art for HTS, and this was another one of his creations. He heard some of the earlier demos and that inspired the thought.

While creating the album, you spent a month living in an apartment attached to Kris Crummett’s studio in Portland. I heard this was a different experience compared to past HTS records. How did working with Kris in this setting impact the music and/or your creative process?

Melero: We’ve stayed in studios before, but it had been a while since we did that. And the other studios didn’t have separate apartments or living quarters attached separate of the main studio. Kris is such a seasoned producer. He really understood our vision. And we loved that he was so involved with the songs; he was just as invested as we were. His production helped a lot of them come to life.

On Instagram, you asked fans “from the 3 songs we’ve released so far, which lyric is your favourite or resonates most with you?” What would be your answer to this question and why?

Melero: It’s hard for me to answer this as they are mostly words I have written. But I’m really proud of the way I live journaled during “Domino”.

New Age Filth includes ten stunning tracks. Could you give us one word per song to describe them? These could be sonic descriptions, feelings different songs evoke, or anything else that comes to mind!

Melero: Thank you!

  1. “Domino” – Huge
  2. “Slander” – Fierce
  3. “Solipsism” – Pop
  4. “Misfire” – Mysterious
  5. “Made Your Mark” – Sentimental
  6. “Slipped My Mind” – Honest
  7. “Parasitic Cleanse” – Destruction
  8. “Hysteriantics” – Crazy
  9. “Devaluation” – Analytical
  10. “Punch Drunk” – Culty

You just hosted a livestream to celebrate the release of New Age Filth. Which is your favorite song off the new record to play live and why?

Stirrat: My favorite song to play live off the new album would have to be “Misfire”. It has such a different feel from most of our other songs and I just love the drum and bass throughout the entire song. The music video was my favorite to make. We had some fun with that one!

You guys recently released a few behind the scenes videos for “Parasitic Cleanse” and “Make Your Mark.” Both the band and directors/camera operators Orie McGinness and Dana Willax seemed to be having a blast! Do you have a funny story or favorite memory from being on set that you could share?

Melero: The microphone stand kept breaking during the “Parasitic Cleanse” filming, so we had to be very gentle whenever I wanted to mess around with the stand. But I kept getting way into it and the stand would end up breaking again. It was just duct tape that was holding it together!

To wrap up, I have a couple fun fill in the blank questions for you!

For you Donovan, one song I can’t stop listening to is…

Melero: “Black Skinhead” by Kanye West

For you John, one song I can’t stop listening to is… 

Stirrat: One song I can’t stop listening to is “Made Your Mark” by us lol. It’s just so catchy and has such a chill vibe that it is literally my top streamed song at the moment. I love it! I love us!

In addition to the new record, I’m really excited for…

Stirrat: In addition to the new album, I’m really excited for live shows to be back, hopefully in the next year! The four of us have really created such a strong bond over the last 11 years performing live on stage in front of a crowd. I know we are all itching to get back on the road. Especially with this brand-new baby of ours. The album, not an actual baby! That would be too difficult.

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