Profile: Mike Scales of Chicago’s Stoner Riff Maestros The Hÿss

The Hÿss

It’s a little known fact that Black Sabbath has influenced so many bands over the years (KIDDING) but exactly what bands do with this influence makes music, and metal in general, interesting. The Hÿss take it on the hip as a base to start from and add a mean punk attitude, hazy stoner vibes, and some serious blues licks that could rouse the dead. On top of all that, their second effort Hound is head and shoulders above 2017’s demo for god snakes. That demo, while establishing the band in the doom and blues arena, didn’t showcase the breadth of their talents or capabilities but here, all the pieces congeal into a heaving mass of electrifying and thunderous metal. If you need additional incentive to check it out, Pete Grossman recorded and mixed while Brad Boatright (Audioseige) handled mastering. We recently had the chance to pose our Profile questions to drummer Mike Scales to get some info and between food trucks, Beavis & Butthead, and the Grateful Dead he offered up some nuggets. Check it out immediately below and don’t forget to snag a copy of Hound from the band.

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 The Hÿss - Hound

 How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?

I started playing snare drum in my school band in 6th grade. By 8th grade, I graduated to a full kit in a cover band and was playing school dances and block parties as kids do haha.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)

The Hÿss once “headlined a festival” called Amps and Eats for charity. When we got there for load-in they said, ‘oh, the food trucks will be circling back’ and something about how they have to rotate and/or wait out rush hour traffic. The food trucks never came back. There was also a fair amount of gear-sharing between bands, so for some of us it became No Amps and No Eats! We got a decent pay-out at the end though which was weird as this was supposed to be a charity show, but it did pay for our late night burritos.

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

One of the best things happening in metal now is just this DIY spirit. A few local heroes of ours (Pale Horseman, Sacred Monster, Huntsmen, etc.) are able to do it all from recording and merch to small-scale touring at a very pro level. It’s inspiring to us in the Hÿss. One of the worst things is these same old fuckin’ bands that have been around forever, but they suck and will not go away. They’re well-known though and “mainstream” so they get to keep doing their thing with new music and huge tours. A few that come to mind: Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?

Hmmm, I can’t say that we support any particular cause or issue in our band. Except maybe the fact that we all loathe the current POTUS? We are five dudes with families and jobs so for us this is about our music and camaraderie and not a whole lot else. We make the time in our busy schedules to make the music we want to hear because that’s what we’re passionate about, plain and simple.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

No one person really got me into metal. It came about pretty organically I think. A main source in the beginning was definitely MTV and, in particular, Headbanger’s Ball and Beavis & Butthead. I was also huge into all the grunge bands, which was heavy and new for its time and maybe I just naturally moved in a heavier (punk/metal) direction? Family took the news just fine haha!

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

Just work your asses off to cover and support as many bands as you can, cause that’s what we do! Especially if you’re getting paid to do it. It helps to be open minded too. Don’t limit yourself to certain genres or scenes, listen to it all.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

Now that we’ve finally recorded properly (Hound, out June 7th!), we definitely want to do more and build on our little rock/metal operation. We want to have more to show for our hard work. The goal is too just keep on playing and recording and having fun while not getting fired from our day jobs or getting divorced at home!

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

I am a new music addict. All genres, all the time. As of late my current metalish spins have been the newest records from Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, High Priest, Big Business and Noisem. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Grateful Dead…

What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?

We’d like to play more shows this year, get some new, decent merch going and record again in the fall. Humble goals for five dudes who just do it for the love.

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication)

Stomping

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Many thanks to Mike and The Hÿss for their time!


Hound will be available June 7 on the band’s Bandcamp page. For more information on The Hÿss, visit their Facebook page.

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