Consisting of members from Tool and Mastodon, Dethklok/Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, screenwriter/director Jimmy Hayward and others, the band’s arrival to the surface is imminent with the release of their self-titled debut on February 9th via Dine Alone Records.
Joining us on the phone this morning all the way from Hollywood, California, is non-other than Danny and Jimmy, who are in fine form as they talk candidly about their exciting new project and the story behind the band’s formation.
OD – Let’s start from the beginning (of sorts) briefly tell us how you guys came into the project, as I believe that both of you were in it from the beginning?
JIMMY – Sort of, our singer ‘The Doctor‘ (David Dreyer) was introduced to me via Brent (Hinds, Mastodon) as those guys are close friends. So, The Doctor had this crazy idea for this sort of nautical concept and Brent and I just loved the idea from the start. Danny and I were already playing together and had been jamming on some stuff and the whole Legend of the Seagullmen thing just sort of organically happened.
OD – Did the material and concept for the album come together rather quickly?
JIMMY – Well, I wrote one song called ‘The Deep-Sea Diver‘ and it sort of took off from there. Danny tracked on it and then the longer we worked on it, we realised that we really had something.
OD – Would it be correct in saying that you and Danny spent most of the time in the studio for all the tracks, laying down the foundation and developing the overall concept?
DANNY – Jimmy and I both have our own studios here in Hollywood that are close by, so we were always jamming and making stuff all time anyway. So, as Jimmy was saying he hooked up with Brent and The Doctor and we sort of just developed the concept a little and then gradually just kind of buried ourselves in it and before we knew it, we were working on it full-time and here we are with something that has taken shape and in a way it’s kind of controlling us (both laughing).
OD – Can you comment on the way the recording sessions took place with reference to the original concepts? Did they change much from the initial sound to how they sound now?
JIMMY – It definitely evolved from the original track I had written: “The Deep-Sea Diver” which was originally based on The Doctors idea. We laid down a demo for that and as we wrote the tunes the personality of the band began to take shape. For instance, one of the tracks that have just been released from the album is ‘The Fogger‘ and in that track, Danny has a big drum solo part. That was the last song we recorded for the demo and I remember coming into the studio and seeing Danny laying on the sofa that we’re sitting on right now and he said “well that sounds like us” and it was kind of a moment of definition of who Legend of the Seagullmen is if you know what I mean.
So, basically, it was a couple of weeks from that moment, and then having to finish the rest of the tracks, and we just kind of carved out the concept of the sound a little more and worked on a deeper structure, as we kind of had an idea of our identity from that one moment. We really developed the principle of the bands sound and the recording style, so you could say that it just all came together in a very natural organic way.
DANNY – We had a few years to work on the songs and as they started to come to fruition, and then all of sudden we had one track, then another, and another and before you know it the true identity of the band’s concept and sound starts to develop and become apparent. We started to know who we were and what we were doing with this and then it just sort of snowballed and off we went!
OD – When you found the concept, did you feel the momentum accelerate somewhat?
DANNY – Yeah, absolutely! There has to be a concept or a focus to make it work and in this case, we really found that based on The Doctor’s original concept. I think it’s a rare thing to find as there are not many other circumstances that I’ve been involved in where that happens.
OD – From what I’ve heard “Shipswrecked” and ‘The Fogger” I get the vibe that this is just a bunch of guys having fun and enjoying yourselves with no real motive to flaunt yourselves as being ‘supergroup’, it’s a bunch of like-minded folk doing what they love to do, would I be right in saying that?
JIMMY – Yeah! Totally! (laughing)
DAVID – You’re spot on man! When I hear that term ‘Supergroup‘ I’m thinking; “What the fuck is that?, What would justify that term?” Because I don’t know! In fact, before we put the band together we were (and are) friends that are jamming together and having some fun.
JIMMY – You know, there really something to that, because we’re making music anyway and if you really think about we as humans endeavour to make things and get involved with people that we are friends with and if those people that you happen to make things with are involved with other projects that are very successful, then perhaps you can call it a ‘supergroup’. When the label started doing the press stuff and they showed us the press release, and we all saw that word ‘supergroup’ we just laughed at it!
If anybody knows us and knows our work, and they think that we think we’re a ‘supergroup’, then that’s fucking funny too! (both laughing) So, we decided to go with and have some fun with it and see what happens. But it’s such stupid bullshit.
OD – I also loved the ‘genre destroying‘ reference to which you’ve been associated with.
JIMMY – (laughing) You have to admit, that’s just fucking hilarious! That’s us just having a laugh and making fun of the whole idea.
OD – The word on the street is that there is a considerable amount of material there for the second album already. Should people get their hopes up for a concentrated tour of some description down the line, or is it just too complicated with everyone’s schedule?
DANNY – Well, there’s definitely more Seagullmen records coming for sure! There’s a big ocean out there and a lot of inspiration for us. Ther’s plenty of salty brine that we need to get through as of yet! (laughing)
JIMMY – Let me put it this way, people should really get their hopes up (laughing)!
DANNY – To be honest, we’re gonna push this as far as we can. Our friendships are strong and still have a lot to say to each other and with that in mind, we are just gonna keep making music together. The Doctor has a lot of concepts that we have yet to work on so keeping in mind, his concept was the reason that we all got sucked into this in the first place, there’s a lot of depth there that brought us together and I can safely say that we’ll be here for a while. As long as the people want to hear the music, we’ll keep making it.
JIMMY – We just played with Primus for our debut show on New Year’s Eve and it was a fucking blast! We had a wonderful time and we’re gonna be doing a lot more live shows. We are trying to take this to as many places as possible and although we are all very busy people, we are determined to keep this going.
OD – When you take into consideration the other projects that you all collectively have and what I guess is considered to be your ‘day jobs’, do you think that having side projects such as this inevitably brings more to the creative table when writing with your original projects?
JIMMY – Absolutely, in fact, we going to start shooting stuff for Seagullmen very soon and obviously ‘Mad Dog‘ is a producer of many wonderful things and with me being a director and The Doctor being a production designer, we’re artists of many strengths.
OD – Do you think that each band member will be able to inject their own personality into the overall concept?
JIMMY – Totally! I think all of our collective talents are going to find their way into Legend of the Seagullmen and just like Danny said, we’re going to make music anyway regardless. When we’re all drawn to a theme, our reaction as artists and creative individuals, will naturally rise to the surface and give a pallet of inspiration and flavour to what we are doing.
DANNY – All of it feeds into each other. My experience and influence from working with the Tool guys and all of the other guys in the band bringing their stuff to the table really contributes to the overall sound of who we are as a unit. If that was not the case, I’de feel that it would just be a really boring project and it wouldn’t get off the ground. Basically, it’s all development and research that feeds off of each other.
OD – We’ve had two tracks from the album released to date, and you mentioned that you were going to be shooting some video stuff soon. I get the feeling that there is more of a multi-media plan in the works, rather than a case of ‘here’s a music video for this track‘. Would I be right in making that assumption?
JIMMY – We released “The Fogger” recently and we have some fantastic stuff that’s coming out in the next couple of months for that track as well as a really cool thing coming that we did with Danny, which I can’t really talk about at the moment. We’re just starting to dribble things out and I think we’re just going to keep releasing stuff in that kind of way for the foreseeable future and I hope that people will be interested and keep an eye on what we’re doing.
The label (Dine Alone Records) has done a fantastic job in putting us in contact with some great people such as yourselves and hopefully, we can just get the word out there as much as possible and get some nice momentum happening.
DANNY – I have to say, it’s really good having a movie director in your band (laughs). Visual concepts and music videos are no problem at all.
OD – Having your own studio, directors and access to everything that you will need is a bonus for sure!
JIMMY – Yes, totally! Our album art and publicity stuff are all composites based on photoshoots we green-screened. We loved crafting those images and had so much fun doing it, rather than five dudes standing in front of a fucking stupid graffiti brick wall! We actually spoofed a shot like that and told one of the guys we were going to release it as an official promo shot, and he lost his nut! (laughing)
But I really think that just crafting some awesome imagery has been an important part of who we are. When I make movies, the music is almost half the concept of the overall project. I’ve had Danny come in and work on some movie scores in the past and in this case, we have orchestral odyssey in the music and to be able to make that work from the available resources is beyond fantastic.
I’ve been a musician almost my whole life and my relationship with Danny is based primarily on making music together. It’s what I do with most of my free time and that visual component within the music is something that just takes it to a different level.
OD – I understand that only some of you wear masks as was the case during the show you did with Primus. Can I ask why only some of you wear the masks and the reason behind it?
JIMMY – The reason is that they are just the ugly ones in the band. (laughing) No, honestly, The Doctor is the vocalist and he’s one mysterious dude. He’s had various incarnations of the mask and I’ve got to say, those masks are fucking beautiful. When he puts that mask on, it turns him into a different person and with Tim Dawson (guitars) he wears a mask also which is kind of different.
DANNY – He’s actually really the ugly one. (laughing)
JIMMY – When we played that show with Primus, Brent couldn’t be there because he and his new wife were doing a family thing for the first time, so Larry (LaLonde, Primus guitarist) stepped in and fucking learned the entire album/set, and played it like a fucking maniac. We had another mask made for him, simply because when we put out the press release for the fans, we didn’t want the fans to get pissed that Brent was not going to be forgotten. We write with Brent and wanted to honour that for Brent and his fans, so that’s why we said in the press release that we were going to have a secret guitar player and the reason why Larry was wearing a mask. Everybody in the audience was trying to figure out who it was. Other than that, for the most part, there’s every only going to be two guys wearing the masks.
OD – I’m sure there was a possible pick of the litter situation when looking for a label to release the album, what was it about Dine Alone Records that sealed the deal for you and was it just a one album agreement?
JIMMY – That was a decision that we made ages ago. Danny and had a conversation about labels and I remember him saying “the good thing is that we’re not wide-eyed kids, we know what we want and what we are doing“. I met the owner of Dine Alone Records (Joel Carriere) through other friends in the music business and he had come around the studio a few times and I don’t actually think we told him that we were in a band for the first couple of times we hung out. So, a very close friend Troy van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age) who had just finished Gone is Gone with Dine Alone, said some cool things about them which helped.
We had been talking to a few other labels and to be honest never actually sent them any music, which they were pissed about (laughing) and then they were like “What the fuck? You’re already signed?“.
OD – Your experience in the business would have indicated the best home for you regardless I’m sure?
JIMMY – Well, Danny’s been in the record business for a very long time and the rest of us have all been in the entertainment/movie business for a long time and we don’t have any interest in fucking around. We know what we want to do. We recorded our own records, we own the studios we recorded in, we did our very own artwork and will be shooting our own videos. We don’t need a label to do anything except do what they do best, which is market and sell records.
Our A&R representative, Joel and the guys at Dine Alone Records were nice, honest and cool dudes who really dug what we were doing, presented us with a situation that we thought was very cool, and they have been really great to work with since. Danny has been through some really crazy shit over the years and was happy with everything with regards to Dine Alone. Do you want to say anything about that Danny?
DANNY – Yeah, they supported us all the way from the beginning which is great. These days it’s secondary behaviour for this industry to fuck you over and to be honest, I don’t really know what to think about record companies anymore. In my previous experience, they are just like the worst banks in the world. They put down money for what you need and they charge you exorbitant amounts of money on the interest.
The guys in Dine Alone worked with us on everything and are kind of like bro’s at this point. They are good people and it really starts there. When I think of Tool back in the early days, the record industry people were evil motherfuckers! Things have changed a lot over time to some degree.
JIMMY – We’re really in a different kind of position as we are not relying on them to find us an art director that in most cases we hate working with and turn them back in, and have to go through that process again and again. We do all of our own shit and have full control over everything. We’re visual artists, recording artists, we write and produce our own music. We record in our own studios, shoot, direct and produce our own videos and really the label just distribute’s the album but what they have done is truly understood what we are, which is not really normal by any standards. (laughing)
Legend of the Seagullmen is a pretty wild concept and not everybody is going to get it straight out of the gate, so having Dine Alone to put enough money behind it to make it an international release it, do some nice vinyl and really get behind it has just been so fantastic and that’s what we really needed. So far, so good! We’ll see how it goes. But so far, we’re not normal dudes doing a normal thing.
OD – Aside from Legend of the Seagullmen where are you both at with the other stuff you do, will we be seeing some of your movies coming out this year Jimmy?
JIMMY – Yeah, I’ve loads happening. Mad Dog and I have a studio that we just started called ‘Baby Giant‘ that we just started. We’ve made a lot of big studio movies and we just decided that we really wanted to start taking things in our own direction and have full control. We have about 4/5 movies developing at the moment and I just wrote a new movie right before the holidays and we are currently doing some VR stuff. We have a studio in Berlin also and are getting ready to shoot the Seagullmen stuff! So, yeah, we have a lot of stuff happening right now and I just feel very fired up about it all.
OD – Danny, where are we with the new Tool album? Can you give us an update?
DANNY – It’s all coming together really well. We’ll be hitting the studio again very soon and have a couple of gigs in May (Coachella Festival), so hopefully, we’ll have the album out before that. It’s wishful thinking at this point. I actually think I said that this time last year (laughing).
OD– Do you have a lot of material for the album?
DANNY – Yes, there’s a lot of material that’s already done so, we’re looking to go into the studio pretty quickly here and off we go! Things are just rollin’ along. We don’t just hang about here in Hollywood, we are pretty much working all the time.
Legend of the Seagullmen’s debut will be released worldwide via Dine Alone Records on February 9th. To order your copy, please visit this link.
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