Interview: Hyland

PhotobucketCMZ’s Cara Fisher chats with Hyland drummer, Steve Weigel about getting discovered by Aaron Sprinkle, their debut record, and what keeps them going.

CMZ: Where did the name Hyland come from?

Steve: Actually, there’s no real significant meaning behind it. We’re all big snowboarders. We all like to snowboard, and there’s this snowboard park in our hometown in Minneapolis called Hyland Hills. And we just liked it better than our old name. We just wanted something simple that was easy for people to remember.

CMZ: I heard you were accidentally discovered by producer Aaron Sprinkle? Can you share that story?

Steve: Yeah, actually we had a friend of ours that was interning down at Aaron’s studio in Seattle. And we sent our buddy a mix of ours to see what he thought; we were doing some demos. So we sent him the mix and he was there after hours one night and wanted to hear it on the nice studio speakers. So he pulled it up on the computer to listen to it. Well, that night when he went home he forgot to close it out, so the next day Aaron comes in and he sees the song and he’s like, “What’s this?” So he hits play and he hears our song and he just loved it. So he’s asking around, saying, “Who’s this band? Does anyone know who this is,” because he had no idea. I don’t think it even said our name on the file. Finally he got to Josh, our friend, and Josh was like “Oh, that’s my friend’s band.” He thought he was in trouble. I don’t think he was supposed to be using the speakers after hours. So he was kind of like, “Ummmmm… that was me.” And Aaron goes, “I love this, who is it?” And Josh told him who was on there and he got a hold of the guy who was working with us at the time and asked him questions about us. Then he called Jon [Hyland vocalist] up the next day and talked to him a little bit, and just said, “Hey I love you guys; I’d love to work with you. I think the easiest way to do that would be for me to pitch you to Tooth & Nail,” because he records a lot of the Tooth & Nail bands. And we were like, “Umm… yup, you can do that!” So he pitched us and I think within a couple of days we had an offer on the table from Tooth & Nail.

CMZ: Your debut record is titled Weights & Measures. What’s the meaning behind that?

Steve: Weights & Measures is all about society and how in this society we’re always trying to compare our self to others. We’re always looking at someone else to see where we measure up or where we weigh in at. So the album is just about life in general. It’s about love; it’s about hope; it’s about happiness; it’s about God. And it’s about everything that we encounter in our lives. We try to make as real music as we can and we feel that’s the best way we can connect with people. Weights & Measures is just about that whole mindset of comparing ourselves and seeing where we weigh in. And we’re all about encouraging people to not do that

CMZ: Tell us about the meaning behind “This Love Is Free.”

Steve: “This Love Is Free” is just about the hope and just the love that God’s gives us- just a never ending… it’s just such a crazy love that we can’t even explain; we can’t even fathom. As people we don’t tend to love like that. And Jon wrote that song one night… the song is really hopeful and really encouraging, and he wrote the song when he wasn’t feeling very hopeful at all. And so the song just kind of came out of him and he was like, “Woah, where did that come from?” It just kind of helped him through what he was going through- writing that song. And it’s just all about the love that God gives us so freely.

CMZ: And you recently shot a music video for that song, how did that go?

Steve: It was good. We were actually out in Florida in January shooting that music video. And if you know Minnesota it’s about… one of the days it was -25 in Minnesota and it was 75 degrees in Florida. So it was 100 degrees warmer where we were. And we were stoked; we were tweeting about it; we were texting our friends, and they were like, “Don’t ever come back here; we hate you.” [laughs] So it was a lot of fun. We’ve never shot a music video before really, so it was just a new experience. It was fun being out in Florida. And yeah, it was a lot of fun. We came up with this storyline of people passing around this gift. And in the gift you don’t what it is, but it goes from one person to another; they just give it freely. And at the end Jon opens it up and kind of like a light comes shining out- it’s supposed to resemble God’s love that He’s given us freely.

CMZ: Stephen Christian of Anberlin provides background vocals on “The One That Got Away.” Did he actually work with you guys on that song, or just provide vocals?

Steve: No, actually Jon went out to Nashville and co-wrote the song with him. Jon went over to his house and hung out with him. And Stephen Christian helped him write this song. And then- we weren’t even planning on having him sing in it- after the song turned out so well, we really got excited about it, so we asked him, “Hey, do you want to sing on this, since you helped write it and everything?” And he was like, “Yeah, I’d love to do that.” So, there were a couple of legal loopholes that we had to jump through, but it ended up working out and it sounds super good. It’s a huge honor to have Stephen Christian on the album. I mean, Anberlin is a band that we’ve all listened to. Huge, huge honor. Super excited about that.

CMZ: What’s your favorite song on the album?

Steve: There’s this one song we have called “Desperate Man.” We wrote it right after we had gotten a ton of gear stolen. It’s happened three times now. It just happened a month ago. But this was the second time it happened, about a year and a half, two years ago. Someone broke in and stole our guitars. And the chorus is, “Take what you want/I’m not giving up/The cry of a desperate man/Use what you can/I’m playing your hands/The cry of a desperate man.” It says exactly how we feel- take what you want; we’re not giving up. We feel like this is something that God has called us to do. And no matter what we’re gonna do it. And no matter what we’ve been fighting through being robbed. And just kind of kicked down like that we’ve been learning that we’re blessed no matter what. We have so many people supporting us. And this last time we got robbed we had about $25,000 worth of gear stolen. And people have just come out of nowhere to give us money. Of course our fans have given in a huge way, but people we don’t even know like, “You aren’t invested in us in anyway, why are you giving us money?” It’s a reminder of how big God is and how in control He is. It taught us a good lesson- the more out of control we are, the more in control He is and that’s kind of where we should be in the first place. So, it’s been a little bit of a trial, but it’s been good. Through the whole thing we’ve been incredibly blessed.

CMZ: Who are some of the band’s musical influences?

Steve: Musically, we’re definitely influenced by Anberlin. We listen to a lot of Jimmy Eat World. We like Foo Fighters. One of the bands that we similar our stuff like “This Love Is Free,” is we really, really love Tenth Avenue North, and we feel like they’re really doing great stuff. They’re writing some amazing music that’s real and is very easy to understand and connect to. But they’re a couple of bands that we really like and are really influenced by. Switchfoot is another one we really love. We would love to tour with Switchfoot one day, just because the guys are great guys. And we love their music and they’re just good dudes.

CMZ: What’s one thing people should know about Hyland that they might not know?

Steve: Us, I guess. If they don’t know us and they don’t know our music, then I guess that’s what they should know in the first place. We love getting to know people; we just like people. Music is a catalyst we feel, and we use music because we love it and it’s our passion, but what’s a bigger passion of ours is people. And that’s really why we do this- to meet people and to influence people and try to encourage people. That’s why we do this. Music is awesome, but I don’t think it’s enough to keep us going. With some of the struggles and things you deal with being a band, I don’t know if that’s enough to keep us going. It’s people that keeps us going, and that’s what we’re really passionate about.

CMZ: Are you guys on tour right now?

Steve: Right now we’re just out on a quick run; we’re out in Oklahoma right now. We’re doing a show here, a few shows in New Mexico. And then this Saturday we’re playing Denver Aquire the Fire; we’re really excited about that, so we’re just kind of making our way over there. And then we go home for a couple weeks and in that couple of weeks we’ll of course be releasing our album next Tuesday [May 3]. And we’re doing an in-store- it’s called in-store but it’s really gonna be in a pizza shop- acoustic performance the day of our release, and there’s gonna be free pizza and we’re gonna release the album. And then that weekend, the 6th and 7th, we’re having two CD release shows. We didn’t want to do just one night because there’s obviously gonna be some night when someone can’t come. So we decided to do Friday and Saturday night so people don’t have an excuse not to come I guess. There will be different bands each night. And about a week after that we’re heading out on the road with Wavorly and Abandon Kansas. We’re really excited; we’re good friends with those guys. We’re just excited to hit the road with them.


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