Miami Band the Hails Release Their Debut Album, "What's Your Motive" | Miami New Times


The Hails Find Their Motivation in Their Debut Album

The Hail's debut album, What's Your Motive, is a ten-song collection conceived over the band's seven years of existence.
The Hails' debut album, What's Your Motive, is set for release on September 8.
The Hails' debut album, What's Your Motive, is set for release on September 8. Photo by Luke Rogers
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If it weren't for video games, Miami-based rock band the Hails probably wouldn't exist.

"Zach Levy and I were in sixth grade when Guitar Hero came out. My dad was like, 'You're getting pretty good at that game, why don't you play some real guitar?'" bassist Andre Escobar tells New Times. Escobar picked up the bass, and Levy was on drums. When guitarist Franco Solari joined in 2009, the trio called themselves New Vintage.

By the time they were teenagers, they had played every South Florida venue that would have them — most of which, sadly, have closed down. "We played Tobacco Road, Jimbo's, Churchill's, Culture Room, and Revolution up in Fort Lauderdale. We looked up to bands like Deaf Poets and Jacob's Ladder," Escobar says.

Then, high school graduation came, which can be the end of many teenage rock 'n' roll dreams. But while attending the University of Florida in Gainesville, Levy and Solari found new blood to add to the lineup.

"At the end of the New Vintage days, they were trying to recruit me to the band, but I didn't want to step on any toes," vocalist Robbie Kingsley says. But by 2016, when the members of New Vintage were starting a new band, Kingsley was game and brought another South Florida native, guitarist Dylan McCue, along with him. "We were both really into the Strokes and Radiohead. I always had a big affinity for Britpop and garage rock," Kingsley adds. "I was also into branding. I was studying advertising, and I thought the Hails sounded cool, especially since the word doesn't really mean anything when you make it plural."

As the Hails, the quintet played everywhere, from fraternity and sorority parties to a regular gig at a Gainesville bar, the High Dive.

"I knew that stage like the back of my hand," Kingsley says. "It was like my bedroom."

After graduation, the band moved to Miami and built a studio at 54th and Biscayne, where most of the Hails' debut album was recorded. What's Your Motive is a ten-song collection set for release on September 8 and conceived over the band's seven years of existence.

"It started with the song 'Time Never Sat So Still.' I always liked how that song dropped into a drum 'n' bass groove. We would continue to have tons of guitars, but we wanted to land on a lot of rhythms and grooves," Kingsley explained.

As the song list grew, Kingsley noticed a theme in the record. "Why do we do what we do? What is driving you forward and taking you out of complacency?"
The music video for "When You Were Bored" takes the theme and runs with it. In the video, the band members find themselves sitting in a tedious classroom, filling out Scantron forms, when a concert breaks out.

"It was shot in one day in a church in Brooklyn," Kingsley says. "They have an old classroom that they rent out for videos. Next door, they had a gym that looked like where they shot the Nirvana 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' video."

Unfortunately, guitarist Dylan McCue missed the shoot due to a canceled flight. It was an especially cruel circumstance, considering he wrote the song.

But the quintet hopes not to miss any travel connections when the Hails hit the road this month for a tour of the East Coast that concludes with a homecoming show at the Ground on September 30.

"These will be our longest shows yet. We'll play a majority of the new record along with a bunch of songs from our EP," Kingsley says, adding the band wants to do its best to represent the Sunshine State. "We're proud to be one of the few indie rock bands touring out from Florida. Bands avoid playing Florida for stupid logistical reasons, but there's a lot of cool scenes and venues in Florida."

The Hails. With Cannibal Kids. 8 p.m. Saturday, September 30, at the Ground, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; Tickets: $15 to $18 via
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