Sometimes, we stumble across a band that sticks out for one reason or another. They may have an interesting look, style, sound, or story. Say Hey sticks out for not just one, but all of these reasons and many more.
Let's start with the fact that... they have a chick drummer! (Hello, how bad-ass?) But the best part is; she also happens to be fantastic. Meg (drums & vocals), is as cute as a button but she shows those drums who is boss. It is unexpected in the best way and of course, we just have to shout real quick... GIRL POWER. On top of that, they have a group of guys up front who know just how to play their strings with a style that matches their sound and it's an absolute blast to watch. Talk about stage presence!
We first found Say Hey through a few of our other favorite local bands. As soon as we took a listen, we knew they were something else. With a strong modern psych-rock influence and a synchronized sound that is unique, yet still appropriate to it's genre, they have quickly become one of our favorites to jam out to. Whimsical and surreal guitar riffs, solid drum beats, lovely bass rhythms, and some of those rich and pleasingly rough vocals to polish it all off... it's "organized chaos" as Drew (guitar & vocals) so perfectly describes it.
Before enjoying a wonderful show they played at The Made in Utah Festival last weekend, we snagged the crew to get some backstory on how this magnetically cool sound came to be. As we sat down at a table that Meg picked out because the chairs were "cool swings" that were attached to an overhead bar, we discussed the 'White Stripes' relationship between Meg and Drew who - fun fact: are married. With Meg on drums and Drew up front, this is a comparison they had gotten before when they first started playing together as a two-piece.
Drew started playing the drums when he was a kid, as he was never really interested in learning the piano like his mother and sisters. After attempting to learn guitar earlier in his life but not being able to, he decided to give it another go.
Drew: "Meg started teaching me how to play guitar 4 years ago and we had more of an acoustic, stripped-down sound."
Meg got her start when her dad, (a music teacher), encouraged her to pick up an instrument when she was in the 3rd grade. She actually plays a number of instruments, but eventually followed in her brother and father's footsteps and started playing the drums.
Meg: "I could play a simple beat and some basic things they taught me… I really wanted to try it and so Drew wrote all of the songs and taught me what to do. He is a very creative, talented guy and I wouldn't be doing any of this without him. But we were wanting a certain sound that we couldn't achieve as a two-piece."
Is this when you guys decided you wanted to make it a full band?
Drew: "We were writing songs but we couldn’t turn them into the style we wanted without Jeff (bass) & Mason (guitar). I had played in a band with Jeff previously and he joined us to play a couple of shows."
Jeff *sits down to join us*: "These swing chairs are cool."
Jeff started playing bass at 13 with the influence of two of his older brothers. "I picked it up and just didn't want to put it down. I do also play guitar and played the trumpet in a jazz band in junior high. Just really have always been doing something musical."
Drew: "Jeff & Meg have actual music knowledge like, reading notes and such."
Meg: "Mason, can you read notes?"
Mason:"Not to save my life."
Meg: "I guess that means Jeff and I are the REAL musicians...
No, I think it’s good for the rhythm section, but I don’t think it’s totally necessary. Doesn’t make you better or anything."
Mason: "Well, maybe it does."
Meg: "I have known Mason since he was a little kid and then all of a sudden we realized that he can play guitar really well, and he has really great taste in music so we thought 'We need him in our band.”
Drew: "That’s one of the hardest parts… finding members who are on the same page with style and also commitment."
Mason started playing 6 years ago after he had asked for a guitar for Christmas and then completely forgot about it. Well, Santa delivered. So, he picked it up and started playing.
Meg: "He’s a natural. He plays drums too. He’s like, a jazz drummer..."
Mason *adds: "...by accident".
Meg: "He has been recording these really interesting songs on his tape recorder. We're thinking of recording some EPs on it, actually."
Mason*swaying back and forth*: "These swing chairs are fun."
How is the writing process? Do you all tend to agree pretty well and move forward quickly?
Drew: "It was interesting at first because we had sort of like, song skeletons, that Meg and I put together. Then Jeff and Mason were adding to already created songs. But once we got those down it turned into all of us collaborating on a song. Which, realistically, ended up leading to our better, more put-together songs."
Meg: "I wouldn't say it's super easy. We all get along really well... it's just a bit of a process and we want to make sure everyone gets their say. As the only girl in the band, I tend to be more concerned with everyone's feelings and want to make sure everyone is happy. It’s exciting to see how much more collaborative it’s becoming now that we all have more confidence in our own voices and it creates a more cohesive feel and overall, better music. It feels more honest."
Drew: "For sure. Unless you’re like, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala or Mac Demarco and can just play every instrument yourself and get other people to play it, it's really nice to have everyone's creative input."
You just mentioned a couple great artists, but what who are some of the biggest influences for you guys?
Mason: "Thee Oh Sees, Beach Boys, Neil Young. Lots of things really… The Beastie Boys, The song Slam by Onyx."
Drew: "Wow, gettin' pretty specific, Mason.
Ty Segall, King Gizzard, The Black Angels… those are probably the big three for me if we’re talking modern influences."
Meg: "Those are some influences for me that came from Drew… I never would have started listening to that type of music if he hadn’t introduced it to me. I grew up more on Conor Oberst, Gregory Alan Isakov… more singer/song writer type stuff. But we went to see Ty Segall in March and it was one of those shows that just changed me, it was incredible."
Jeff: "Definitely Muse, Primus, Red Hot Chili Peppers... anyone who actually utilizes the bass instead of someone like, Pete Wentz who writes terrible music, is a terrible bass player, and somehow makes millions playing the bass. Nothing annoys me more than just the same old 'dun, dun, dun' But then you have people like Green Day who yeah, are pretty generic pop-punk but their bass player is really great. The drummer and the bass player are what really set Green Day apart, in my opinion. Even if people don’t realize that’s why they stand out."
Would you say each of these different influences all come together in your sound?
Meg: "Yeah, I think so. We all come from separate corners of music so they all blend together and it gives us a unique sound. Well, I’d say, at least."
*The Hard Chew definitely agrees*
Drew: "And obviously, we all grew up listening to The Beatles and Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but as far as sticking to just strictly classic rock goes, I tend to try and find some great modern influences as well."
Meg: "Those are the people who are putting their own spin on things. Pink Floyd obviously, nothing will ever beat that, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t still great music to be made."
Drew: "It makes it a little more challenging to try and do something new and not just replicate those amazing artists."
Say Hey has a couple of singles on Spotify, with their newest being 'Living Dead', which was released earlier this year. Our personal favorite of theirs is 'You Win' which really pulls from the incredible influences they mentioned, especially The Black Angels, and hits a bit heavier. We cannot get enough of the way they emulate such iconic bands yet manage to put a totally original twist on it that screams "Say Hey is here to stay." While they sound well beyond their age of just 2 years old as a full band together, they have yet to release a full album.
What can we expect from you all in the future? Do we have an album coming soon? A tour?
Drew: "Yes, we have enough songs actually, we’re just trying to polish them up and decide who we want to work with on the album."
Meg: "We definitely want it to sound like us."
Drew: "It will probably be in the winter that we’ll start recording, and then hopefully spring or summer we can do a week-long tour somewhere, maybe on the west coast."
Meg: "We’d love to go on tour somewhere. Jeff has a one-year-old baby so that may make it a little difficult but we’re going to try! This is very much just like a hobby that we’re looking to take as far as it will let us."
So you’re just doing what you love and if something comes from it, all the better?
Drew: "We definitely still have our day jobs, but they allow us to play music and buy instruments and not have to stress over the money aspect of it. Part of me wonders if we were only touring all the time and relying on that if it would make us resent our music and we’d see it more as a stressful job. Then, if I have writer’s block it’s like… 'Oh no, what am I going to do?' But it’s a chance we have to take and want to take if we have the opportunity."
I feel like at this point in time we have more momentum than I, personally, have ever had in a band. It’s a bit different to feel like 'Wow, maybe something really could come of this.' It’s a little scary, honestly, but it’s also really great. We just welcome the future, really."
After talking about some of our common interests, we nerd-ed out for a moment about The Hard Chew's recent trip to LA for Beach Goth and The Growlers, which Drew mentioned was another influence, and talked a bit about how he admires their whole initiative with their self-made genre and record label.
Drew: "We’re trying to get organized chaos. I really like bands like The Strokes that are very straightforward in their approach, as far as a song goes. You know, it’s a 3 minute song, very direct. But then we have some of the influences I mentioned before who are a bit more chaotic in their music and a bit more experimental."
Meg *getting a little philosophical*: "I feel like we each have our roles in the band:
Drew keeps the band in existence.
Jeff keeps the band innovative.
Mason keeps the band honest.
I try to keep everyone happy."
Mason *laughs*: "I’m the honest guy?"
Meg: "Yeah, you’re always asking what we’re saying with a song and keeping us on that track. Jeff is always changing things up and wanting to add transitions. Mason and Jeff both do that but Mason is a bit more about the principle of it. And the bones of songs that Drew said he and I wrote early on were entirely his writing. He is the whole reason I started taking drumming seriously, and he books every single show."
Do you guys have any other hobbies outside of music?
Drew: "Jeff made a bass out of old skateboards, actually."
Woah. Does it sound good?
Jeff: "Actually, it does, it's just really heavy. I'll play it for a couple of songs and then put it down."
Drew: "At our shows, when you see those lights going that are all synchronized with our sound, that's all Jeff. We don't understand what's going on but he just plugs them in and they go."
Jeff: "I have too many hobbies if you ask me."
Mason: "I like to skateboard, and I have been known to play hockey before."
Meg: "Mason is actually Canadian..."
Well, that makes sense.
Meg: "The first like, 6 months we were playing I just kept waiting for Jeff or Mason to text us and say they weren't coming anymore. I am just so happy we have been doing it this long."
Drew: "Well, you never think in the moment that something you're doing is going to have that longevity or that it's going to continue to grow but since we started we have gained momentum and it only gets better."
As we have witnessed, Say Hey does seem to only get better. Follow along with their journey as we post updates about them and their upcoming adventures. Be sure to follow them on social media (links below) and check out our YouTube page for a video of their recent performance.
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/sayheyband
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/sayheymusic
Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/artist