Los Angeles rockers Hail Sagan will be hitting the road next year in support of their self-titled debut EP. Shockwave Magazine got the opportunity to chat with vocalist and front woman Sagan Amery.
Shockwave Magazine: Hey, how are you?
Sagan Amery: Hi, sorry I am in a car.
Don’t apologize. Thanks for taking the time to speak to Shockwave. So, I’m Matt. Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you.
And on behalf of Shockwave, thanks for letting us do an interview. You used to be with a band called Caveat, correct?
When did you make the switch from Caveat to Hail Sagan? What prompted the change?
There were a multitude of reasons, most of them being typical band reasons. I actually teamed up with Nick Quijano of Powerman 5000, and we decided to start writing together. I didn’t really know what was going to come of it. That was in May or April, and by June we had released “Dark Cloud” on Revolver Magazine.
Cool, and congrats on the video premier for that.
Why this particular model with the unknown, with masks, and the mystery behind it? It reminds a little of Here Come The Mummies. What gave you that inspiration?
Again, back to the multitude of reasons. The main reason was something we wanted to be able to share with our fans. So, the idea is that anybody can be behind the masks. You never know who is going to be under there, which is something we’ve actually been pushing. We have some all-star players with us that we haven’t formally announced yet, like Nick, people from much larger bands are under there. This tour we are going on soon is pretty much going to be comprised of some all-star players. Whether we reveal it while on tour or on stage, we haven’t really decided. But, the idea is that fans can also participate. We are hoping that people can start learning to play the songs, and anyone who is good at playing an instrument, we get it worked out before we go on stage, so they can come up, and put on a mask, and play.
Oh wow, that is super cool. I would love to be a fan at one those shows. Is there a corollary between the covers you do and the band members we may see?
Not necessarily, but not impossible. Can’t say yes or no. I really can’t be forthcoming with that information, however in the future I’m sure we will do more covers and we’ll probably incorporate that.
Is it going to be a rotating thing, or do you think it will be solid, like with what you have with Nick?
As of right now it’s rotating, it’s kinda like us giving opportunities to people to just have fun and play under there. Of course Nick is a permanent member. Nick and I are the co-producers. We have another producer who does the studio stuff, but Nick and I are the head of the project. So, we’re permanent members but everyone else at this point has been rotating.
You have this background of stuff involving space and the mother-ship idea.
My idea stems from how my entire life people have said I am definitely not from this planet, not only in who I am as a person and the way carry myself, and my intellectualism and education, but also my creativity and talent, and just who I am outside of all that stuff. I have always been considered outer-worldly in a sense. So, it just kinda came to me in that way. Wow, these characters, these creatures that I work with, because they are faceless to everyone else, seem quite alien.
That’s an interesting take, I like that. Your voice is noticeably much clearer and softer than a lot of other ladies in hard rock. Do you find that’s something in your favor or do you strive to have your own individualized sound that no one else has, and is it intentional?
Well, it’s not intentional, that’s just what I sound like. When you are a vocalist you can’t change how you sing. You can improve how you sing, you can become a better singer, you can improve your projection, and control, and pitch, but you can’t change how you sing. Your voice is your voice, and this is the voice I was given [laughs]. It is much softer and is indicative of what I like.
“Dark Clouds” is about bullying. I was curious as to what prevalent themes are in your music and what we can expect to see from Hail Sagan.
Bullying is a big part of it. It’s been a part of my life. What you see is what you get with me. I am not a character, this is me. I’ve been this way my whole life, as far as I can remember. My parents allowed me to dye my hair, be myself, and be creative. Obviously, tattoos came later when I was older. So, that’s me and that did bring about a lot of judgement from people in a lot of aspects, mostly in school. So, I was exposed to bullying. I’ve just seen a lot people go through a lot of violent things in their lives, friends, acquaintances, violent situations, and I’ve been exposed to people who are not really nice people, very nasty people. I think we are all subjected to that at some time in our lives. When I write, the stuff I feel comes out in my lyrics, and so I think you can expect a little more about that. “The Mirror,” a song on our EP, I wrote that about drug addiction. I have never had a problem with drugs, but a lot of people from my hometown and where I come from, there is a heroin epidemic. A lot of people I grew up with or were close to have died from heroin overdoses, or are currently struggling with the disease of drug addiction. The problem is, when you get into the situation of heroin, there really is not a whole lot of ways out of something like that. Usually the people end up dying, or in prison, or they end up dying in prison. There is just a bleak outcome for those people. I have seen so many people struggle with it and it hit so close to home for me. For that song, that’s what it’s about, and for me I had to touch on that because the situation is so grave up the East coast.
Last week, Tonight, with John Oliver, did an entire segment on opiates and how heroin is the hardest to kick.
The problem is people have legitimate physical problems and they go to the doctor, and the doctor just writes the script for opiates, and they don’t question it. I’ve even been to the doctor and they wanted to give me a prescription and I was like, “No thanks, I don’t take things like that, I’ll just take some Tylenol.” But, other people don’t realize that they can become addicted and when the doctor stops writing the prescriptions is when they end up on the street and get on heroin. I feel really bad that we have a system that works that way and there are so many changes that need to be made, but unfortunately the way the system works, its all red tape. Right now, all I can do is write a song about it to bring attention to it. I guess in a sense I feel like I am obligated, because of where I come from, to at least bring it to light.
Your debut album you’re doing with Nick, you are doing a pledge campaign to basically preorder. What made you use that instead of a regular drop?
First and foremost, management suggested it [laughs]. Usually your manager knows best. I tend to stick with that, ya know? It’s a good thing. It’s led me in the right direction. I mean at the end of the day we have a basic website, but it’s not set up for monetizing. I didn’t know if we could really push the EP through that and do it in a way that’s appropriate, where as pledge campaign has a pledge manager and people who can handle that kind of stuff. Although people are filtering questions to my personal pages and I have been playing customer service rep here [laughs]. They have the man power and people to handle that type of thing, so when orders come in they can deal with all that stuff. Pledging is cool because people can pledge more than what is suggested, and if they choose to do so. And we offered a whole bunch of options. It wasn’t just buy the CD like you do at store. It was a more personal situation, like, I can autograph it and the band can autograph it. We also were able to do a bunch of cool bundles. We gave away a lot of free merch: shirts, patches, guitar picks. You name it, we bundled it, and they didn’t have to pay for that; we just threw it in.
In one, you could have a phone conversation with somebody. I thought that was a really personal touch.
Yeah, you know if they wanna call, because people ask all the time, “What is your phone number,” I’m like, “I’m not giving you my number.” [laughs]
Some people gotta be ambitious; they’ve gotta try.
I give them credit. I like connecting with my fans. My favorite part, aside from playing the music, is just connecting with people. I am an anti-social human being. I don’t know if a lot of people know that about me. I have social anxiety. When I go out to a bar or a club, I am that person standing in the corner who wants to hide. People think, “Oh she is a bitch, she doesn’t want to talk to anyone.” It’s not that, it’s just that I don’t- it’s hard for me. The only way I feel I can relate to people and have conversations with people is through music, and playing shows, and talking to the fans. That is really comfortable to me, as opposed to being in a place talking to random people.
You’re in your element too. You’re giving people something you’re good at, and the people connect with. It’s an easier medium. I can see that.
When I first got to Hollywood, dealing with people in the record or music industry, higher-ups that you know you have been dying to meet your entire life because it means you have been discovered, straight up told me, “You have a wall around you, like you’re so quiet, why are you so standoffish.” I say part of it is because I’m from the East Coast and it is a different culture. So, coming to Los Angeles and coming to live here, it’s so scary because we are so different as people. People think that I’m abrasive, and a part of that is being socially awkward and whatnot. So, like they said, “You have a wall, hard to get through, to crack, what’s your deal?” Who cares, you like my music [laughs]? I feel like I can relate to a lot of my fans. I feel like people who listen to rock and metal are similar in nature to how I am, as far as I’ve seen, so I can relate to a lot of my fans. I have dealt with a lot of the same issues they have dealt with. I’m still dealing with it. We see eye to eye on a lot of things because I write about that stuff and they seem to be able to feel it.
A lot people don’t know this, you may. Slash, with the long hair and top hat, I read that entire thing was because he had anxiety, because the hair and glasses could hide his face so he could get comfortable in his own skin.
What’s really funny is I don’t have stage fright. I’m a totally different person on stage. I can get up there and perform and it’s so natural for me. I feel so good at doing it and just meeting all the people. It feels so great and natural. It’s unlike in normal situations where I crawl into my shell. So, if I get invited to a party I’m more likely to say I can’t make it and make up some bullshit excuse. [laughs]
Or, just pet the dog the whole time.
If I do have to go, I dread it. Then, leading up to it, I’m like, “Awe man, what am I gonna do?” I get there and I stand around. I’m like, “Do I talk, what do I say?”
You mentioned bullying. I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up because I dealt with very severe bullying when I was a kid. I was socially awkward as fuck, so I appreciate you bringing that message, because I think it’s something the rock community, the rock family, can relate to.
Yeah, I think that’s why we are all drawn to music because music helps us get through it. It helped me get through it tremendously in my life. So, it helps me to be able to extend that to others and say, “Hey I understand you. I feel it, I’ve dealt with all the same things you’re dealing with.” I have been able to turn it into something that can help other people and it’s also a cathartic thing where it gets it out for me. It’s almost like a psychology thing, where you push that out through writing. We actually just finished our second album, and it’s really funny because it is dark [laughs]. It’s really dark and it’s angry and angsty. Everything that’s in it is something I’ve experienced, and I felt it, so when you finally get to hear it someday, you’ll know.
I look forward to it. Again, it’s almost saying things we feel and don’t want to say. It’s good to see somebody who has a good platform, that we can enjoy listening to, to project that. So, thank you. One last question: Backstreet Boys or N’Sync?
Um, what songs do they sing?
No! Backstreet boys?
I saw a documentary not long ago about one of them on Netflix, but I can’t remember which band it was. It was the one with, wait, the guy who puts them together but ended up going to jail later on because he was stealing all their money doing a pyramid scheme.
I think that was N’Sync, Justin Timberlake, that is who he use to play with.
No, I don’t think it was just Timberlake. No, it was the other one, The Backstreet Boys, because then they got back together later on, and they wrote a new album, and it was terrible.
The “We need money tour.”
I can’t remember who sings what, so.
That’s a shame. I was hoping you would be Team N’Sync, Team Justin.
I don’t know, I know I like Justin Timberlake. Honestly, I am a metal head, but I like all genres of music. He is a phenomenally excellent artist and singer. His voice is tremendously good. I am going to have to go with whatever band he was in.
Ok good, so this is ending on a high note. Free plug: tell us what we need to know.
We are going out on tour very soon and we are going out in the Southwest. We are hitting up all the warm states because I am not going up to the cold states for a while. As far as I know, our plan is to just stay out there as much as we can and keep pushing the tours, and get out there, and play for everybody. We just wrapped up another music video, so that is in post-production right now and will be out soon. There’s a whole lot happening, but I can’t talk about all of it, but it’s great stuff. You’re gonna see and hear a lot more from us. We just got started and we are out there. Keep watching, keep listening.
What is the easiest way for somebody to get your music? Still the pledge campaign, or is there a CD out?
We are doing the pledge campaign. We saw how popular it was so we continued. The autographed CDs were the most popular, so we continue to offer that. It’s pretty easy; it’s easy for payments on peoples cards, it’s secure and an easy way for everybody. All guaranteed through the site. I know that we are sold out of all of our merch right now, yay! But we’re ordering some new stuff. We are actually coming up with new designs for t-shirts and new cool stuff available. So pledge campaign. Our website is Hailsaganofficial.com where you can find our twitter, Instagram and Facebook thru there.
That’s fantastic. Well Sagan, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for taking the time.
Awesome, it was nice to meet you.
You too, take care. We look forward to seeing you.
Follow Hail Sagan on Facebook, check out their site for tour dates and announcements, and don’t forget to visit their Pledge Campaign to get your copy of their CD and pick up some sweet new merch when it’s released.
Catch Hail Sagan on tour:
27 – Pranksters Too – Scottsdale, AZ
29 – Juggernaut Music – Gallup, NM
1 – The Rail Club – Fort Worth, TX
4 – Thunder Alley – Oklahoma City, OK
7 – Mesa Theater – Grand Junction, CO
8 – Herman’s Hideaway – Denver, CO
9 – Club X – Salt Lake City, UT
12 – Slide Bar – Fullerton, CA