All of us must, by now, be familiar with Hurricane Bells, the rock and roll band from New York that sizzled at the OAT stage at the Saarang rock show this year. Consisting of Steve Schiltz on vocals, Jason Molina on drums, Anthony Molina on bass and Ashen Keilyn on backing vocals, Hurricane Bells dared to play soft, indie rock during a metal- dominated show, providing a brief respite from the growling and distorted guitars. T5E caught up with Steven Schlitz, lead singer and guitarist, to figure out what makes them tick.
T5E: So what’s the story behind Hurricane Bells?
Steven Schiltz (SS): Well, Hurricane Bells is a project by me. I finished a record earlier this year called “Tonight Is The Ghost” and I decided to call the project “Hurricane Bells”. I recorded the vocals, guitars and other instruments for all the songs. Vagrant Records released Tonight Is The Ghost a few months back. My friend Jason Molina and I have been in a band called Longwave for the last ten years now, and Ashen Keilyn and I have been in a band called Scout together, so I just got together some of my friends to play with me on tour.
T5E: How would you define Hurricane Bells’ music?
SS: Hurricane Bells gets its name from heavy bells that used to hang from seaside trees on the coast, which only ring out when there is a hurricane threat. Hurricane Bells is laid- back, mellow music. It has some guitar moments but it’s mostly just moody, calm rock.
T5E: Which artists have influenced Hurricane Bells’ music?
SS: M. Ward, Wilco, The Flaming Lips and Miike Snow, among many others.
T5E: What’s it like being in India?
SS: It’s been a great experience so far. Everyone’s been so nice to us, it’s a little suspicious (laughs). We’re off to Vellore, and then Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai after that, and we’re really looking forward to it.
T5E: What was it like playing for a huge crowd of metal heads?
SS: It was a little scary, we were afraid people were going to throw things at us and boo us off stage, especially when I took out the acoustic guitar! (laughs) They really seemed to like the songs with the guitar solos, though. We just went out there and played our best and hopefully at least some people in the crowd connected with our music.