The Seratones Are the Rock Band You Need in Your Life This Spring
Don’t you just crave guitar-driven rock as soon as the weather starts to warm up?
The Seratones have a totally addictive and Woodstock-friendly southern rock sound that would appeal to anyone, plus they’ve got a new album coming out Friday.
We caught up with lead singer AJ Haynes about the band’s Shreveport, Louisiana, roots and who their fantasy festival lineup would include.
AJ, your voice is so insane. How did you develop this vocal style?
I grew up singing in a small Baptist church in Columbia, Louisiana. In high school, I was obsessed with jazz vocalists, such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Anita O’Day. After a friend gave me my first record, Otis Redding & Jimi Hendrix Live at Monterrey, I got hooked on Rock & Roll and been on that kick since.
Your sound is really classic but still modern. You don’t sound like a band that’s just trying to recreate the 70s, but the influence is there. How do you keep your roots and also sound modern?
We want to write songs that we have fun playing. There’s no intent to recreate any era of music.
You guys have a really pure unadulterated sexy rock sound, which you don’t hear really often on the radio today. Do you think we’re ready for a mainstream rock resurgence? Or do you think it’s cooler to keep things underground?
I think the nature of rock & roll is cyclic and elusive; that’s what makes it so sexy. While I don’t know what fads or trends will come and go in this strange industry, I do know that people need good rock & roll.
What’s the backstory behind one of your favorite tracks on the new album?
The hidden track “Make Em Cry” was written entirely in the studio. I had written a poem in response to Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” and the story of our city’s founder Captain Shreve. We turned the songs into verses and put them to this crazy beat Jesse came up with.
How does being from the South influence your style?
You’re always a product of your environment. Ours just so happens to have great food, righteous musicians, and just enough dissonance to keep us on edge.
What’s one musical influence of yours that people might be surprised to hear about?
You’re creating your dream music festival full of your favorite musicians of all time, dead or alive. Who makes the cut?
Prince, Nina Simone, Parliament Funkadelic, D’Angelo, MC5, Queens of the Stone Age, Deathgrips, LCD Soundsystem, Os Mutantes, Los Saicos, The Sonics, Fiona Apple, Frank Zappa, MIA, Lauryn Hill, Tina Turner, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Chaka Khan, and the Wu Tang Clan.
Tell us a story: craziest tour moment so far?
Our van (lovingly dubbed Vantasia) had a transmission malfunction and left us somewhat stranded in Birmingham, Alabama after our show at Secret Stages. I say ‘somewhat stranded’ because our lovely hostess allowed us to stay the extra day and fed us some of the best pasta bolognaise I’ve ever had. We were caught in a rock and a hard place—either pay an atrocious amount of money for a new transmission or pay an atrocious amount of money to have the van towed back to Shreveport. And we’re po’. Our friends back home just purchased a school bus and offered to drive to tow us back to Shreveport. So, our friends and saviors drove all the way from Shreveport to Birmingham, strapped us to the back of their school bus, and tugged us all the way back home. While in theory, this seems like a sound plan, the mechanics, ingenuity, and sheer reckless abandon needed to pull this off was one for the books.