Jun 2018 21

As one of the headlining acts at this year’s PIGFest, Dawn Wood speaks with Seattle’s Strap On Halo about the band’s history, resurrecting in 2009 after a long hiatus to become one of the scene’s more exciting modern acts.
 

 

An InterView with Layla Reyna of Strap On Halo

By Dawn Wood (DWoodkillMW)

Strap On Halo – the trio of Layla Reyna, Marc Jones, and Seán Rial – is an American gothic alt. rock band, whose music harkens to the purity of ’80s influenced moody guitars, resonating bass, and beautifully haunting Siouxsie-esque female vocals. After being resurrected from a long hiatus in 2009, Strap On Halo relocated from Nebraska to Seattle in 2015, subsequently entering the studio in 2016 to record the Altar of Interim EP. This release thrilled listeners nationwide and set the band back in motion for a heavy tour schedule in 2016 and 2017. Coming to Portland’s PIGFest this year, the group will headline the event’s third night on Sunday, August 12. On behalf of ReGen Magazine, Dawn Woodkill was thrilled to be able to reconnect with the delightful Layla Reyna, having previously interviewed her for other publications.

 

I understand the band was resurrected in 2009. When did Strap On Halo first form and what caused the death and resurrection?

Reyna: The original lineup split into two different bands in 1996; both units disbanded in 2002. I met him Seán Rial in 2005 and we were in another band. Then we met Marc Jones and Seán decided it was time to be Strap On Halo… yes, the short version.

Who do you all consider the most influential musician or bands?

Reyna: We all have differences, but I know we can agree on The Cure, The Cult, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, and the such. Our likenesses are unique to us but having the same ideas about music is where we meet.

You are/were based in Nebraska – who would have thought there was a goth scene in Nebraska? When did you move out to Seattle and how do you feel Strap On Halo has evolved since the move?

Reyna: Darkness finds a way and Omaha is not omitted. It was, however, getting stuffy, so the move to Washington was inevitable. We got an offer from Lee Popa (Killing Joke, MINISTRY, Slammin’ Watusis) to record and produce our next album. Marc at this time had already moved back home to Washington while Sean and I stayed in Omaha. The long-term relationship was becoming more difficult, so with Lee’s push, we moved and began pre-production for Prayers for the Living in 2015. Also present for recording and production was Paul Barker (MINISTRY, Revolting Cocks, etc.), which also resulted in the band receiving an endorsement from Barker’s synth pedal company, Malekko Heavy Industry. After its release on January 19, 2016, in May of 2016 we hit the studio again to record our new EP, Altar of Interim, that was released August 5, 2016. Not long after, we embarked upon a four week U.S. tour that same month and in September we toured Europe for the first time. So, I’d say our move was very productive.

What has 2018 been like for Strap On Halo thus far? Any new releases or shows you have been part of this year thus far? What is coming up for you?

Reyna: This year has been pretty low key as family has taken precedence and as a result, Seán moved back to Omaha. Marc and I experimented for the first time and played a couple shows out as just the two of us. We had a great time and didn’t miss a beat, but Seán was missed. Since then, we have been working on a series of releases that will coincide with commemorating 10 years being a band, but before that, we are prepping to tour the West Coast ending at PIGFest 3.0.

 

 

You all have been extremely proactive in marketing your band using social media. How has that worked for you with drawing audiences to your shows and selling merchandise?

Reyna: Having an online presence lets the fans access us and our merchandise year round, and in turn, allows us to meet them face to face, in the U.S.A. and other countries.

Speaking of merchandise, you have very unique and adorable merchandise for sale, as opposed to the same old band merch table of strictly stickers, T-shirts, and CDs. How did you decide to do something so different and do you feel that this has put you at an advantage by having unique merchandise?

Reyna: One of my other jobs is doing graphic design. I really enjoy package and product design. For me, it’s fun and advantageous for the band.

You once told me Seattle was your favorite city to play. Is that still the case?

Reyna: I think it’s almost tied with Portland but they are both beat by Germany.

 

Strap On Halo
Website, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, YouTube
PIGFest
Website, Facebook

 

Photos courtesy of Strap On Halo

 

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