Exclusive Interview: Solarhead talk “Repulsar”!

Home studios in Indianapolis and Franklin, Indiana is where you’ll find Solarhead vocalist Jason Emry and guitarist, bassist Bob Hamilton when they’re not working their 9 to 5 grind and in the year of the Great Plague they released not one but two EPs to get the project off the ground. We had the pleasure of chatting the them about their first offering “Orbital Decay” not so long ago so when “Repulsar” appeared, we knew what had to be done…

You dropped your cracking sophomore EP as Solarhead on Christmas Day 2020 in “Repulsar“; how did the decision on the date come about?We wanted to get the album out before the end of the year and, really, it just worked out that way. But hey we’ll take it. If anyone wants to start a new holiday in commemoration of “Repulsar” we won’t stop them. Finally something we can all agree on

The new guitar tone and use of vocal layering this second time out work really well! What did you learn from the studio time on “Orbital Decay” that you put into “Repulsar“?Thanks! That’s good to hear because we spent a while dialing in the tone. Ask Bob. He’ll probably punch you. Literally about half of our communique during production was tone-related. After that was out of the way, we focused a whole lot on programming drums. We completely overhauled our workflow so that both of us collaborated equally to create the rhythms on “Repulsar” whereas “Orbital Decay” was pretty much all Bob.”

There are less clean vocals this time around, was that a conscious decision with the angrier and more aggressive new material? The Phil Anselmo esq drawl spoken word moment in “Suffocated Cargo” certainly made us crack a smile!Glad y’all enjoyed the Anselmo action. It’s fair to say that what you’re hearing on “Repulsar” is us bouncing off of walls during the lockdown – both in the classic sense of a sort of cabin fever, and also in a more experimental sense as we keep discovering our sound and writing process. “Orbital Decay” and “Repulsar” were both written and recorded in 2020 and represent a pretty real time catharsis put to record. It didn’t seem as if we chose the songs this past year so much as they were self-selecting. Both releases were produced relatively unencumbered by direction and without expectations in mind. Admittedly, in hindsight, we were like “dang this is kinda heavy” but I think we can all agree that’s the way the Q4 2020 cookie crumbled. That said, the lessons of these recent months aren’t lost on us. Expect to hear cleans back in a big way next time

Instrumental “Spacetimeless” brings to “Repulsar” what “Devolver” brought to “Orbital Decay“, a bleak science fiction vibe. Do you plan on using these as live intros and will you continue the pattern going into the next recording cycle?Say, that’s a swell idea! If earth manages to avoid a 12 Monkeys scenario moving forward, those tracks most definitely lend themselves to spooky live interludes. It’s pretty obvious that we plagiarized ourselves in terms of format between the two releases. That was conscious, but not necessarily significant other than including those instrumental tracks to contrast the density of the songwriting otherwise as well as set the mood

While there are science fiction lyrical themes within the songs themselves, we think that they also have a wider appeal; how do you go about inking the lyrics and who do you look up to in terms of a vocal or lyrical influence?I’m one of those types who’s got a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head all the time, so when it comes to writing them down it’s like dipping my hand into a torrent and trying not to get swept away. I’m not too discriminatory about what I pull out, and typically the more divergent a concept is the more fun it is to write about. I aim to make most tracks a nice spumoni of social commentary, philosophical ramblings, and irreverent wordplay – loading lyrics up with as many entendres as they’ll carry… like literal jackasses. Having a home studio is great for writing and basically works like a sketch pad for coming up with ideas. My all-time favorite vocalist is Nils Frykdahl. Dude is a beast and SGM is the cut. As far as lyrical influences go, I’m a big Alan Watts fan

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