Two things I learned about interviewing rock bands at this year’s Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival:
1) If a label asks you to interview a band, but you never hear back from the label about the confirmation, it can still be achieved.
2) The iPhone’s Voice Memo app records great audio, even if you are less than 100 yards away from a metal band performing on stage.
With that being said, I was able to interview Brandon Saller, frontman for the band Hell or Highwater. . . the ONLY unsigned band on this year’s Uproar Festival.
Your website doesn’t include bios of your band members. Was that an oversight or intentional?
Brandon Saller: I guess it was kind of an oversight, but I feel like people who want to get to know us [I’d] rather have them get to know us on a personal level. We’d rather have them come to the shows, and get to know us through our music and meet us at shows. They’ll find out everything they need to know that way, you know.
If there was one thing your fans should know about you before coming to a show, what’s one word or phrase that sums the band up?
Brandon Saller: We’re your new favorite band.
I’ve noticed you’ve been actively participating in social media with your twitter contests. What’s your take on social media and how it’s influencing band music?
Brandon Saller: It’s a double-edged sword. As much as anyone wants to hate it and be against it, it’s the way that music and movies and any sort of media presence is surviving these days. I fell like it’s a really good tool, as long as you don’t abuse it and become over the top. I mean, no one needs to know what I’m eating for lunch, but it’s a good way to keep your fans updated with what you’re doing, and keep potential fans of your band in the know with what your band’s doing.
Hell or Highwater’s Brandon Saller
You were a part of the successful band Atreyu – what brought you to Hell or Highwater?
Brandon Saller: Just writing songs that were beyond that, you know. Writing songs that were beyond what I was doing and in another place from what I was doing, and not wanting to waste them. I feel like music is a beautiful thing, and music that you’re proud of and creating something you’re proud of should not be wasted. So that’s why this whole band came together, and as it’s kind of come to fruition, it’s become a much larger monster than I ever thought of. It’s been really great.
Did someone approach you and say you are doing really good things with Atreyu, we want you to try something different, or was it something that you chose to do?
Brandon Saller: No. It was all me. By nature I sit at home & I write songs. When I’m at home, I sit with my guitar and I write songs. It just came from that, and really being proud of what was happening and obviously it being not suited for what I was doing. It just came naturally.
If you weren’t playing music, did you have a fallback option or was music always in the blood?
Brandon Saller: That’s kind of it. It’s the only thing I know how to do. It is in the blood. I mean, generations back have been involved in music and it’s the only thing I love to do. You know, I love my wife and I love music.
When did you start writing & playing music?
Brandon Saller: Probably when I was like 12 1/2 or 13. I was pretty young.
As an unsigned band, how were you able to obtain a bill like Uproar?
Brandon Saller: We are blessed with a good team. I mean, we have a great team working for us and I think the music spoke for itself. I think that once the record kind of started peeking its head, and the songs started getting out we got lucky enough to be a part of this tour, which is a huge leapfrog for any new band. We’re the only unsigned band on this tour, let alone on any tour of this size. So for us to be here, we’re very fortunate to do that. I think that the music has translated and the fans are excited. Everyday we’re meeting all kinds of new people and making new friends. It’s been really great.
What was the last song/artist you downloaded to your iPod?
Brandon Saller: Oh wow. I bought a metal band called Soilwork. I bought their newest album. That and a friend of mine’s band, Beta Wolf from California as well. Their new album isn’t out yet, but that’s the latest thing I put on my iPod.
interview and photos by Heather Fitzpatrick
Hell or High Water
Hell or Highwater is:
Brandon Saller – vocals
Matt Pauling – guitar
Neal Tiemann – guitar
Joey Bradford – bass
Captain Carl – drums
The band’s debut CD, Begin Again, can be purchased here.
Stay in touch with them on Twitter (@Hell0rHighwater).
You can also get a free download of their single “Gimme Love” here.