By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Los Angeles Stoner/Psych quartet Solar Haze leave for a 10-day United States West Coast tour in May to promote their self-titled debut full-length to be released on April 20 via Metal Assault Records.
Solar Haze is Ryan Falla (drums), Stephen Falla (vocals, guitar), Ross Cowan (guitar) and Jason Hernandez (bass).
“This is something that we’ve been building up to for a long time,” said Ryan. “It’s something that we always had a plan and a vision for, so now that we actually have a tour coming up, we couldn’t be more excited.”
Solar Haze was recorded at Bonita Studios in Bonita, Calif., and was produced, mixed, engineered and mastered by Eddie Vazquez.
“I think this album has something for everyone,” Stephen said. “We mix a lot of different sounds, a lot of different feelings, emotions and just try to make it a journey when you listen to it.”
Though some of the songs are as old as five years, Vazquez’s crisp production gave the tunes a fresh feel.
“He just did a really great job,” said Stephen. “He made us sound exactly how I wanted it to sound in my head.”
Solar Haze has been involved in the Southern Calif. and local Los Angeles scene for the last three years and are known for their energetic live performances. The Falla Brothers, the group’s founders, have played around Los Angeles themselves for over 10 years and stressed this wasn’t an overnight success.
“We’ve been working on this for a while,” said Stephen. “Just grinding, playing shows, going through various members and whatnot, and we just keep expanding and keep moving forward, man. I think we’re doing a pretty good job but you know what, the job’s not done yet.”
Solar Haze’s initial sound was shaped by The Sword, accredited by The Fallas for their strong sense of groove, which resonated with them.
“We always liked the metal bands that were more groovy than they were about beating your face in with heavy riffs,” said Ryan. “That’s great, don’t get me wrong. We love having our faces beaten in with riffs, but we do lean more on the groovy side.”
Ryan Falla recalls the band’s earlier days, when they were fresh with zero support. He mentioned it was a huge uphill battle, since a big obstacle was that there wasn’t much of a “scene” for them.
“When we were playing in like 2012 and 2013, it was just a lot of hardcore bands, a lot of death metal, a lot of black metal, so it was a real grind just constantly playing all these lineups we really didn’t belong on,” said Ryan.
The album’s opener “Hawk In The Wind” was released as a single on Feb. 13. It was done as a tribute to the late Lemmy of Motorhead. Stephen sought to write a “party starter” riff that was straight to the point. Ryan chose the name since it referenced Lemmy’s old band Hawkwind and backed it as a great choice for a “powerful and heavy” first single.
“Within the first like two or three seconds, you’re already pulling in it,” said Ryan. “It’s already grabbed you. Like, you don’t have to try to feel out the groove, see if it’s for you. Right away, the song pulls you in. We feel like that’s something that would bring us a lot of attention if we put it out as a single and people have responded fantastically to it so far.”
Solar Haze’s cover artwork was done by Ryan Bartlett and will be available on limited-edition vinyl and all digital platforms. It’s also available for pre-order on Neon Green, Black and Transparent Purple vinyl, limited to only 100 copies each, sold individually and as part of shirt+LP bundles, through Metal Assault’s web store.
All vinyl and bundle orders will come with a free digital download of the album. Digital download is also available for standalone purchase via Metal Assault’s Bandcamp.
An album release party has been confirmed to take place on Apr. 20 at Old Towne Pub Pasadena. Solar Haze will headline a bill that also features Old Blood, Ancient Fears, Bellegrave and a comedy set by Ryan Demarest of Humpcast. The show will serve as the chance to get themselves in a mindset for going on tour.
Later this year, a Fall tour is confirmed, though some of that’s still in the works. They anticipate things will go back to normal upon their 10-day tour return, but what’s considered “normal” will only grow more intense. The band will continue to put themselves out there and based on fans’ reactions at shows, it’s a formula that has paid off thus far.
“Solar Haze is like something familiar, but something new at the same time,” said Ryan. “I think that’s why people respond to it so well, because there is such a strong modern presence in what we do. What we try to do is put what we love into our music so somebody, somewhere is going to hear something they really love in our music.”