Year in Pop: 2016

Sjimon Gompers

Proudly presenting some select highlights and standouts from this year's Week in Pop: 2016 features with our annual Year in Pop review edition; photograph by Sjimon Gompers.

Seratones

Seratones.

Seratones at Shea Stadium; photographed by Julia Drummond.

Shreveport, Louisiana’s Seratones took over this year by storm with their beloved big debut album Get Gone from Fat Possum & a host of super spirited performances. Lead by the ultra-energetic A.J. Haynes, they have taken on the world by storm that is still discovering & enjoying the tour de force that is Get Gone. With a spirited approach that keeps all guitar wielding blues muddy; Seratones’ sound that connects the swagger & infinite style of the south with the garage mechanics of the midwest with a passion suitable for both east & west coasts respectively.

The single “Choking On Your Spit” does laps around you, swinging on the confidence & coolness of “Chandelier” that cuts the chord on the crystal charm ornament with a whole lot of flexing and style. Songs like “Sun” move in sonic ways where Shreveport meets classic Detroit rock & skronk where every chord feels like laser UV rays. Other tracks like “Don’t Need It” have A.J. telling you to “leave your body behind” where a cornucopia of swirling chords becomes a cyclone of an impassioned plea to attend the Seratones’ tabernacle revival tent baptismal of sound created under the banner of their own sacred church of rock & roll.

Being what seems like a perpetual world tour, we finally got a chance to catch up with Seratones’ frontwoman A.J. Haynes.

Describe how you all met, and how Seratones became your adopted moniker?

We met in Shreveport’s underground DIY arts and music scene. I met Connor and Jesse through the lead singer of their three-piece Johnny Thunders-esque punk band the Noids. At the time Adam was the frontman for interstellar-psych-thrash-trash Sunday Mass Murder. We were fast friends and have managed to keep each other entertained for over a decade. Seratones is about three years in the making. This is the first time we’ve cultivated a project like this, so we’re still discovering ways to test the elasticity of rock & roll.

“Seratones” comes from the Spanish word cera meaning wax, partially inspired by my mama’s maiden name Ceria. I’ve always been enamored with the idea of a mother wax, the template from which vinyl records are made. It’s this nice visual language celebrating a maternal origin to music. I brought the name Ceratones to the guys and they suggested we change it to Seratones because the s’s looked better for continuity. And we wouldn’t want people to think we named our band after Michael Cera.

Tell us outsiders what the scene in Shreveport, Louisiana is like.

Because there’s no established music/arts industry infrastructure, there’s this really great DIY spirit. There are no rules, no precedent, and no one to tell you what you can and can’t do. (Aside from the police or fire marshall barging in to break up the fun from time-to-time.) There are a lot of talented folks that work with whatever resources they got.

Seratones.

Seratones’ A.J. Haynes at Shea Stadium; photographed by Julia Drummond.

Favorite current local acts that few folks know about?

BLOOD PUNCH! Nate Treme from Blood Punch also makes our artwork, so he’s an incredibly multi-talented dude. Highway Lions are great! Every one in that band has a heart of gold. Personally, I adore local singer-songwriter Chelsea Norman. She hasn’t put out a lot of tunes, but I have some crappy iPhone recordings from us hanging out that I listen to incessantly.

You all have been touring like crazy lately, can you share us any good stories or random on-the-road anecdotes?

Shit got real at SxSW this year. One night after a string of shows and press, our TM Party Boss Josh—PBJ for short—and I were taking a quick smoke break while walking back to the van. We happened to sit next to this reserved brother, really kind eyes and weathered hands. After he bummed a cigarette, he talked about how he’d recently gotten out of prison and was working to get his life together. Out of the corner of my eye, this frenetic pale-faced meth-y guy jittered from around the block and demanded we give him a cigarette. Our quiet friend then erupted at the meth-y guy, telling him to go on about his night and not bother us. The meth-y guy then picked up a brick and threatened to bash his head in, screaming, Don’t you know I’m in pain, MAN?! PBJ and I made a fast getaway and hopped in our van to relative safety. To make things even better, when we were trying to find a gas station on the way to our friend’s house, we heard a gun fight about a street away. Thankfully, we made it to our beds safely. Thank goodness there was a little bourbon back at the house to take the edge off the night. There are a lot of people out there in pain.

Seratones at SxSW.

Seratones taking on SxSW; photographed by Julia Drummond.

What was the experience of recording your debut album Get Gone like and how did it affect you all creatively & vision wise?

As Martha Graham would say, I have a queer divine dissatisfaction, a calm and satisfying unease, about it all. For all of my effervescence and hutzpah, I tend to exercise a strange emotional restraint when it comes to things I really love. It’s still a bit surreal sometimes. I love being able to reach people and share my truth. I love that to release a record, you relinquish a certain amount of control. Que sera, sera, I suppose. Creatively, it’s really freeing. Vision wise, recording is a long unflinching gaze into the proverbial mirror—you can’t turn away from your blemishes and imperfections, you have to learn to love yourself for it all.

Can you share any details on any upcoming Seratones recordings/releases?

We plan to get as much writing done as we can when we get home. I’ve had lots of ideas floating around, like a mobile around my head. Can’t wait to see what happens when we get some down time!

Seratones at sxsw

Styling & profiling with Seratones; photographed by Julia Drummond.

Winter plans for Seratones?

Write, write, play a show or two, write, write. Eat all the delicious holiday food.

Hopes & Hail Marys for 2017?

I hope we continue to be good to one another. I hope we continue to bring the muthafuckin’ ruckus. Peace and chicken grease to 2016, it’s been wild.

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