Ahead of the release of their debut single Key Largo. I caught up with Cardiff-based indie pop band Angel Hotel, to find out how life has been for them since lockdown and what their plans are for the future!
Hi Guys! So first of all, I have to ask how are you all coping during lockdown? I hope you’re alright and staying safe and well!
Hiya Becky! We’re great thanks and thank you so much for including us in your blog!
How have you found the current situation? Has it impacted your music and how you all create as a band? Or have you managed to find a way to make it work?
Like a lot of bands dealing with the current state of the world – we’ve been doing our very best to make the most out of a bad situation. Not being able rehearse as a full band, let alone play live shows, has been detrimental to so many of us but on the plus we’ve been using this opportunity to write as much new material and refine our live set to the best of our ability given the bizarre restrictions. Simply put, we are VERY excited to start playing live again!
Eagle-eyed music lovers would have noticed that you have recently made the decision to change your band name! Formerly known as Apostle, you are now the newly formed Angel Hotel!
What were your reasons behind this? Can we expect an exciting new sound from Angel Hotel?
The change in name primarily came from an evolution in sound. The initial concept of Apostle would be a solo project, but as the music developed – and so did the band – we no longer felt that it was a suitable name to call the outfit. In addition to this we felt that the name Angel Hotel was a better representation of our sound, branding and artistic vision. As well as it being our new name, Angel Hotel is also a famous Cardiff landmark that’s housed a litany of international artist. It’s a Welsh icon, and is as Welsh as Bara brith! We’re inspired by our city and we’re proud to represent it.
Who would you say are your biggest influences in music, both previously and going forward?
The writing process behind Angel Hotel songs have always been inspired and in part influenced by existing films soundtracks, while also adding our contemporary twist to a classic sound. We love 80s films! We are trying to encapsulate the way they make you feel rather than the way they are sonically – It’s the sound of nostalgia. It’s the sound of hearing something for the first time as a kid and falling in love the way it made you feel. The easiest way to categorise our genre would be under the umbrella of power pop, with the audience likening us to that of alternative pop and even grunge. Others have said that we have a sound reminiscent Bruce Springsteen crossed with the high energy Blink-182. Whatever the comparison, we hope people enjoy it.
Your debut single as Angel Hotel ‘Key Largo’ will be out very soon! I’d love to hear all about your ideas behind writing it, and what fans can expect to hear from your new single?
It’s a contemporary love letter littered with introspective reflections and a poignant hindsight, combined with a drinking sesh haha. The song isn’t our most energetic recording recently, however I think it showed a coherency that was more representative of our overall direction.
With the release of a new single, a new sound, and a new band name to go with it! Are you hoping to record your debut EP soon?
Our EP has actually already been recorded! We are beyond excited with the results and it was an absolute honour to be able to record at the legendary Long Wave Studios earlier in the year. We’re just so happy that we not only got to work with producer Tim Woodcroft but we also managed to finish the whole thing in two days, long before lock down restrictions were enforced so we are undoubtedly counting our blessings. The plan so far is to release the EP as individual singles – possibly three our four – and then release another full EP a little later down the line. Artists tend to release one song at a time because of how Spotify has taken over! Wish we could go back to the old days of releasing a full album! We’re chuffed nonetheless.
As well as being the lead vocalist of Angel Hotel, Sion has also just released a brilliant single as a part of Taf Rapids Stringband, and his own solo music! How are you finding juggling different musical projects with being in a band? It must be a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work too!
I [Sion] have found it a lot easier with the introduction of lock down to be honest. Since I lost all of my gigs I have found time to write. Taf Rapids Stringband is a blue grass venture completely different to my other projects but a style of music I’ve always loved playing. There hasn’t being a huge amount of other stuff to get on with so it’s been a fantastic excuse to get stuck in with as much music related work as possible.
It is clear to see how much love and passion you all have for music! Looking back over just a short space of time, you’ve had your own tour, have supported the likes of Dan Bettridge and most recently performed for free in aid of flood relief in our South Wales valleys, which was extremely kind hearted of you! What would you say has been your favourite show to date?
To be honest we’ve only had four gigs! We had a lot more planned this year with festival season looming. But sadly due to the virus all the festival plans were inevitably cancelled. Sad times! However, back in February we were fortunate enough to play a headline slot at The Moon on Womanby Street [In Cardiff]. It was great to see so many faces in attendance and gave us a taste of what’s to come and a great motivator to focus on the band going forward. We’ve definitely put all of our energy into writing the past few months and have managed to put together a library of new potential tunes, hot and ready to record.
It was also great to see so many local bands coming together for a great cause during the flood fundraiser. Cardiff is host to a plethora of fantastic bands and the Moon Club has always been one of the best places in the city to discover new grass roots bands.
What are your ideas for Angel Hotel after lockdown? Can you share with us any hints of your dream album in the works, or any future tour plans?
We’d love to work more with Tim [Woodcroft] and it would be an honour to do loads more recording at Longwave Studios. We plan for making up for lost time, and we intend on doing this by booking as many gigs as we can as soon as lock down is lifted. The long-term plan is to continue to produced music of a high quality and live performances of an exciting nature. We are looking to forward to catching up with as much live music as we can as soon as restrictions lift. With so incredible local bands to pick on, we’re spoilt for choice! We’re willing to bet there’ll be plenty of shows in the pipeline.