Rock-a-rolla interview and album review

Solar Halos Rock-a-Rolla feature

Solar Halos Rock-a-Rolla feature

Rock-A-Rolla Magazine interviewed Nora about the band’s inception and writing style among other things:

“The area we live in, in North Carolina, is swarming with creative musical talent, you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone who’s in at least three bands,” says Nora Rogers, vocalist and guitarist in heavy psych trio Solar Halos, about her latest band.  “There’s usually only one degree of separation between any two bands, so I guess you could say it was inevitable that the three of us would start playing together.”

That one degree in this case being Horseback.  While Nora and drummer John Crouch cut their teeth in Curtains of Night and Caltrop respectively, they first played together in the experimental outfit, which eventually led to the pair forming Solar Halos along with bassist Eddie Sanchez (of Fin Fang Foom).  “Part of it is not knowing, getting together with other musicians you admire and just seeing how you musically react to one another,” Nora notes of the trio.  “We talked about wanting to be heavy but not necessarily aggressive.  The band had to be something we could use to explore, not a path to follow.”

So where did this exploration take them initially?  “Personally, I am on a quest with this band to write riff-driven music with compelling vocals, which can be challenging if you are both the guitar player and the singer,” says Nora.  “I like to write riffs that are driving and hypnotic with a guttural push-pull to them, the vocals over them affect the direction a song moves.  In a lot of our songs I will sing different vocal melodies or syncopation over the same parts and it will give it another feel.  It can be powerful when we all lock into a riff together, but I also like when everything pushes into its own place, when the bass and drums find a driving rhythm that I can lay over variations of a guitar line and then come down on that with vocals.”

Which all comes together on their self-titled debut album, set for release in January on UK’s Devouter Records.  “Since this is our first group of songs, the album is really us finding our strength as a band,” Nora observes.  “I think each of us has a really distinctive way of playing and these songs are figuring out how to relate to one another for maximum effect.  The songs all aim to be hypnotic and visceral but with a direction and resolve.”

And the quality of these songs is evident.  Just last year, Solar Halos posted demos on their Bandcamp, four tracks that would eventually be re-recorded for the album.  The demos ended up being more successful than the band ever anticipated.  “It was a complete surprise how much buzz we generated from those demos,” Nora enthuses.  “We recorded them in a day at my boyfriend’s metal shop as something to quickly put online and have to send to record labels.”

Not only did people purchase them, they led to airplay on college radio, picked up magazine reviews and eventually led to Solar Halos getting their debut on Devouter – not bad for a day’s work.  As Nora observes: “Truly the magic of the internet at work!”

Solar Halos Rock-a-rolla review

Solar Halos Rock-a-rolla review

Rock-a-Rolla’s David Bowes reviewed the album as well:

If the massive Horseback retrospective this year wasn’t enough, the debut full-length from Solar Halos, featuring drummer John Crouch alongside Nora Rogers (The Curtains of Night) and Eddie Sanchez (Fin Fang Foom) should quell any vestigal doomlust.  It’s a record that should be played loud enough to warrant ASBOs, forty minutes of monumental sludge given a sorrowful tint by Rogers’ melancholy timbre, where Crouch’s concussive pound beats a savage march over atavistic doom and the gentle undulations of heavy psych alike.  With their pedigree showing through in every aspect, from Rogers’ soaring chorus on Frost to the final slow-burning stonerisms of epic finisher Resonance, with Sanchez delivering a liturgical monotone over the grimy bluster of Rogers’ guitar, this is an album as memorable as it is emphatic.