Coming from Atlanta’s local scene, we bring you a new band for your ears, Hall of the Elders! Describing themselves as a mix of heavy metal and rock n roll, they bring a new and interesting sound to the scene! Drift N Die Press recently interviewed the band’s lead singer, Mark Jackson, about the band’s influences, history, and future!
Drift N Die: What’s the general concept & mission of your band?
Mark Jackson: When all bands start out, I feel like the goal is just to play awesome music for lots of fans and grow from there. That was our plan when we started because we were uncertain of what we wanted to do.
Nowadays, we have a clearer objective of reaching out to a fan base that is often overlooked. You have heavy bands, and you have rock-oriented bands. It’s really “black & white”, so we are trying to target the gray area and incorporate a mix of heavy music and colorful rock styles. Some bands out there already do this, but there aren’t many. I hope that playing to this “gray area” of fans can also help bring fans’ tasted of music together. For example, I love when we have rock ‘n’ roll fans and metal fans at the same show, and everyone can enjoy the same music.
This style really works for us because I really like rock and electronic styles, while Nick and Jonah enjoy heavy music a lot. So we incorporate heavy breakdowns, rock guitar styles, and occasional electronic melodies.
DND: Where’d the band name come from?
Mark: Back in our old town of Valdosta, there wasn’t really a big music venue that would put on metal and hardcore shows. I ended up turning my large living room into a place for heavy bands to perform. Everyone started calling my place “The Elder House”, which eventually became “The Elder Hall” since it was a gathering place or gathering hall for metal fans and bands. We were considered the home-field band since I lived there. I decided to take the name and flip it into “Hall of the Elders.” Now we’re a band. The Elder Hall shows started back in September of 2013; we started performing there in March of 2014.
DND: How’d you guys all meet & get started as a band?
Mark: Surprisingly enough, we all met at college. We all have a similar taste in music and a passion for performing, so we bonded as a band pretty quickly. Each of us had been working on media degrees at the time.
DND: Who’s the band troublemaker?
Mark: No one is really a “troublemaker”, but each one of us is well known for our bad habits. Our bass player, Jonah, is well known for drinking too much before some performances. The funny thing is, he still plays well and throws down hard, so I really can’t complain if he is having a great time.
Our drummer Nick is notorious for disappearing, sometimes for hours to talk on the phone with his girlfriend. It was frustrating when we first started practicing together, but now we kind of expect it and we just make fun of him. I feel like it’s better to make inside jokes out of problems instead of criticizing each other over the little things.
DND: Tell us about some of the music you have out already & the writing process of those songs?
Mark: Our recent EP, Bioacoustic was put online and in hard copy this past summer. We spent a lot of time shaping the songs during the first half of the year. I basically had a few rough concepts of songs recorded, then I gave everyone in the band a copy of the songs and we molded them into solid tunes. Nick, our drummer, is a great rhythm writer and I’ve always been better at song structure. It kind of works out well because I’ll have a broad idea for a song, and he will help me break it down piece-by-piece and make the individual parts more defined.
DND: Can you give a little insight towards what you’re working on at the moment?
Mark: Well we just put out our first EP this summer, so we are currently promoting and selling it while getting ready for our 2015 calendar. There’s a lot of upcoming shows.
DND: Of all the songs you’ve written, which meant the most to you & why?
Mark: That’s a tough question because most of them have a deep meaning, but I would have to say “The Cabin Boy.” Not only because the lyrics are based on real life problems of the past, but also because the song has been shaped so much through the months of us playing together. The song has kind of grown with us and changed as we changed. It also is about that; growing, changing, and letting go. None of our other songs have really gone through that kind of transformation.
DND: What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had as a band so far?
Mark: The most memorable experience was when our guitar player, Keven passed out on stage in the middle of our set at an outdoor summer festival from dehydration and heat-exhaustion. Not exactly a good memory, but we all remember it pretty vividly, except for Keven. He was unconscious. The craziest part, was that he got back up after a few minutes, finished the performance, and then fainted again just in time for the ambulance to arrive.
DND: Who is your biggest inspirations as a band?
Mark: I’d have to say Asking Alexandria’s first album really inspired and motivated all of us. This is probably because we would learn covers from the album together. We could all relate to the style. It has heavy breakdown, great singing parts, and really awesome electronics and keyboard styles. Our music lightly reflects all of these aspects in its own way.
DND: On an individual basis, who inspires you all?
Nick: Between The Buried and Me
Mark: I See Stars
DND: Finally, what’s down the road for the band, and where would you like to be in your career by this time next year?
Mark: I’d love to see us on the road more often in 2015 with a few more fans and a few more endorsements. We’ll probably have a second EP ready by next summer as well.
- Article conducted and edited by Meryl DeWitt – Twitter.com/Martyrs_Cross
- Photos Artist Provided