By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Seattle-based indie rock group Strangely Alright have dropped their latest single “Maybe If.”
Self-described as “sonic time-travelers,” they daringly blend the past and present – 60’s psychedelia, pop, rock, a little bit of early Pink Floyd, a dash of The Beatles-esque experimentalism and throw in some Redd Kross and Jellyfish for some good measure.
Strangely Alright is vocalist/keyboardist Regan Lane, guitarist/vocalist Sean Van Dommelen, bassist Ken Schaff, keyboardist/vocalist Raymond Hayden and drummer Jason Blair.
The Music Bugle had the chance to chat with Lane about their music and more.
Music Bugle – What song do you feel represents Strangely Alright the most?
Strangely Alright – First, thanks for having me. I really appreciate you wanting to find out what S.A. is all about. My favorite song is typically the newest release! (Laughs) In all honesty, “Psych Film” is everything that we do well. If I was to point anyone in the direction of what we’re about right now, I would say that song.
Music Bugle – How did you decide the name Strangely Alright?
Strangely Alright – I was going through a painful time and doing some counseling about some past ghosts that I could not let go of. One of my friends asked me how I was feeling after a particularly grueling session and I told him, “strangely alright” and that lightbulb went off when you knew something might be a good idea. I don’t think life is good or bad. It just is. Of anything I’ve learned in my recovery journey, it’s that it’s an inside job and that I can be okay, if I choose to be. Even with a shit storm swirling around me, one can feel “Strangely Alright.”
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Strangely Alright – In all honesty, it’s just to be clean and sober. I come from a family that generationally has had alcoholics in it and the men tended to be abusive toward their wives. I am the first man in three generations to break that cycle. I’ve been sober for sometime now and I’ve never raised a hand to my daughters or my wife, but like anything, it was not simple. I was deep into addiction 20-plus years ago and there was a lot of wreckage behind me. I’m grateful to have had people help me find a way to live life on life‘s terms and be able to clean up a lot of that said wreckage.
Music Bugle – While playing music, what’s something that has happened that you never previously thought would?
Strangely Alright – I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to travel abroad. One of the coolest experiences has to do with music, but not actually playing. It was meeting Rod Stewart in a club in Tokyo and he was actually cool as fuck. It’s interesting. In my experience, the people that are comfortable in their own skin, whether they’re extremely successful or just playing locally, are the people that are the most gracious and Rod the Mod was one of those guys! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – What was your hardest song to write or compose?
Strangely Alright – A song called “Coffee Cup.” My daughter Sophia gave me a coffee cup a few Christmases ago and it really touched my heart and made me realize how important small gestures are. I don’t think I’m so unique, so I figure that if those type of tiny gestures affect and touch my heart, me doing the same thing for the people that I care about would possibly have the same effect. I labored on those lyrics for a few months! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Strangely Alright – The first thing was we could not go out and gig. My wife was asked to work from home and then, there’s dealing with the different levels of fear for different people in my friends and family. My daughter, at the end of last school year, changed to an online teaching model. She’s pretty sharp and they have to teach to the middle, so the last two months of school, she was bored to tears, so after a month and a half, I got my bearings and decided to be creative and move S.A. forward the best I could in the situation that we all had. We had a lot of people in our area that were feeling isolated, so we wrote a song called “Here” and had fans, friends and musicians send us short clips that we put together, with us performing – kind of – (Laughs) to remind people that they are not alone.
Music Bugle – What do you miss the most about performing in front of a live audience?
Strangely Alright – The simple human connection. We can do livestreams, shelter-in-place videos and put out singles, etc., but nothing beats looking in someone’s eyes and seeing joy or thoughtfulness that they get the message and music that you’re presenting to them.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Strangely Alright – “Without some love in my heart, it’s all just stuff.” Yes, that’s my line! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Strangely Alright – My daughter just turned me onto a band called Crumb. I just watched the new Muse movie and for whatever reason, my wife and I are geeking out on the last Black Keys record while we make dinners. (Laughs) We saw them at the Tacoma Dome last year. My daughter also just had us watch “Hamilton” again, so I’ve been totally digging on that music. Really great songwriting inside a bunch of different genres.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a band to stand out these days?
Strangely Alright – In theory, it should make it easier, but the reality is there’s so many bands and so much noise to cut through that you have to be consistent and persistent and hopefully have a message that connects with the people that you hope to make fans. At least, that’s my perception of it and like anything, I only know what I know right now, but I’m sure that more will be revealed if I’m openminded to see it. Thanks again!