I’m sitting at a picnic table behind a bar in Deerfield Beach, Florida with Happy Hour, a post-hardcore band hailing from Miami, FL. I stumbled upon them just four days prior when Tilian Pearson‘s mom shared their song “White Girls” on Facebook. I reached out to the guys and begged an interview, and they graciously obliged. So here we are, making the most of American Rock Bar and Grill‘s 2-for-1 drink special (though the guys barely look old enough). Nate Promkul (clean vocals), Eric Hidalgo, “the scary screamer guy” and guitarist, and Jacob Muniz (bass) allow me to kick off the interview with a few Dance Gavin Dance references before diving into their writing process. Nate grins and tells me there is a great collaborative effort between him and Eric when it comes to writing their individual lyrical contributions.
It’s always fun because I feel like we come up with the really fun, stupid, or interesting ideas, and especially with this guy Eric because he’s just really out there.
Happy Hour came together when Eric and Teddy, who will sit down with us later, decided they wanted to start a new project. Eric wrote a couple of songs and threw them up with a post on Facebook: Seeking Vocalist. Nate was one of the first people who messaged. Says Eric,
I’d seen him perform live. This guy is literally like R&B, Gospel, church vocalist live. He blew me away. It’s one thing to hear a good singer recorded, but to see it live … amazing. It blew me away. So he shot me a message, and he came over to my house. We had a couple of beers, started throwing around some silly ideas, and we just kind of ran with it from there.
“White Girls” was conceived at that first meeting of the minds, on the very same day America was electing its 45th president. Eric and Nate are open with their thoughts on the 11/8/16 inception of a satirical discourse on American culture.
Lyrically we do want to have fun, but we do try and bring light of certain issues that we are passionate about, like our political stances, which I think it’s important, especially for our generation, to speak out and be vocal about what’s going on in our country.
We discuss everything from politics to feminism to white privilege. The second opening band takes the stage and we continue over their set because there’s no way I’m calling it. I’m impressed with their composure and their ability to talk intelligently about serious topics. Teddy Senft (guitar) arrives to the picnic table and the mood instantly flips to comic relief.
I walked in and Gabe’s mom said “Yo, get back there. They’re interviewing!” I was like “Oh shit! I didn’t even know I was supposed to be in on this.” I legitimately jumped off that dude’s drum.
After a few laughs and some audio adjustments, Eric hands Jacob the mic so he can participate in the discussion of lyrics and Happy Hour. Jacob is mostly excited to talk about how he got into the band after hearing the demo for “White Girls.”
I shot them a message and he was like, “Yeah, we’re looking for a bass player where it’s going to be kind of in the style of Dance Gavin Dance. I was like, “Shit, this is just exactly what I want. This is exactly what I want. I don’t know how, but I’m going to find a way into this band.”
Jacob appears a little nervous, suddenly blushes and hands the mic back to Nate. Eric tells me this is Happy Hour’s first interview. Ever. Everyone laughs and agrees that being in a band is a collaborative effort, including conducting interviews. I’m still reeling at the fact that being at ease while speaking informatively on all matters is their baseline. I bookmark the moment I met rising stars.
They speak passionately about their music and the topics that inspire them. They give us insight on “Wild Blue” and feminism. They talk about infusing jazz, R&B, and reggae into their arrangements, screaming over reggae, and just trying to shake up their sound by presenting different aspects to the post-hardcore genre. It’s during this time Nate announces he just graduated with his degree in musical theater.
When it comes to vocal influence, and what I really pride myself on, is that compared to a lot of other bands in the scene, I actually care a lot about being classically aligned when I sing so I’m not fucking up my voice at any point in the set. I have a lot of different influences when it comes to vocals, most of it being pop rock and R&B. In “Wild Blue” I wanted to show the fact that I can hit a D7, which is a D an octave above high C in head voice … and then bring it all the way down to the very bottom of my range which is like a D2 or something like that.
Comparison’s to DGD’s firsts vocalist Jonny Craig ensue. I wax that in Nate we have the soulfulness of Jonny and the range of Tilian. We send love to Kurt. We give mad respect to the screamo guy and admit we all wanna be the man with the bacon. In all, we have a fabulous conversation on a myriad of topics, from a shout out to mom …
My parents are well-educated. My mom has her masters. She has some cool executive job, and here I am doing rock and roll, fucking it up. I’m fucking it up. I love you mom.
… to a shout out to American Rock Bar and Grill and their fantastic 2-for-1 drink specials …
If you are ever in Deerfield Beach … American Rock Bar and Grill. We are called Happy Hour for a reason. None of us are sober right now.
… followed by a shout out to Haha!, Dance Gavin Dance (+ friends) baby!! Swanposting 2 !!! and Death of a Dance Gavin Dance (+friends) Swanposting …
A lot of really cool people have personally messaged me, shared their own art with me which has been actually really good. I’m really surprised. Some people have shared stuff with me and I’m like “Fuck us, this is amazing!”
… and a final shout AT the asshole that broke into Nate’s car and stole his guitars. (Click this link to help fund their replacement.)
If you announce who you are, we will send you a free EP. Out of the sincereness of our heart we hope that it will change your mind and open your mind to … Yo, fuck you!
We end with a round table love fest, and it is absolutely my white girl privilege to spend time with Happy Hour. Listen and enjoy our chat.
If you’re lucky enough to be in the Orlando area on June 7th, you can check out Happy Hour, playing at Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall at 1016 N Mills Ave. I would advise you get your asses out there, and pack some extra socks cuz their live performance knocks mine off.