The American Hotel System is a great name - how did that come about?
The name started as a joke while we were in college. Going to college in the early 2010’s in the midwest meant you’d hear some of the wildest band names you could imagine. A group of us music majors started a list of the most ridiculous band names we could come up with. Then, when we needed a name for what we thought was a one-off show, we picked our favorite, which was ‘The American Hotel System’, ever intending to play again. Moral of the story? Choose your band name wisely!
Who are some of the band's influences?
Switchfoot, Manchester Orchestra, Colony House, and Foo Fighters are just some of the bands who have inspired us!
Your EP 'Can You Hear It?' is out now. What can listeners expect from the release?
Some songs, like these, grow with time. Nearly four years ago, during a conversation with our friend and producer Jake Rye, they were born. The pandemic halted our plans, but it also pushed us to evolve. A year ago, we began pre-production, with Jake guiding us every step. From the time we started conceptualizing this EP to its release, we will have released two full length albums and three other EPs, all of which were produced independently. The last three years have been a time of intense growth for the band as we not only worked to refine our craft, but each of us processed big life events like marriage, parenthood, mental health struggles, and the loss of loved ones. It was important to us that we wait for the right time to bring these songs to life, and we firmly believe that time is now.
Are any of the songs favourites of the band, which tracks are your particularly proud of?
The title track, ‘Can You Hear It?’, felt like it came out of nowhere. It was just a fledgling idea in the back of my head that I had been sitting with for a few years with nothing but lyrics. Two days before our demos were due, I shared the song with C.T. after the rest of the band had gone home after rehearsal. C.T. loved the idea and pushed me to run with it, and we ended up demoing the whole song in just under two hours. Going into the studio, it was the song we all felt the lest-confident in, but after recording that first day we all kind of looked at each other after listening back to the work tape and went “wow…there actually might be something here”. Fast forward to this spring when we received the masters and we realized the track encapsulated the feel of the whole record for us; our search for meaning and purpose while dealing with the longings in our hearts. ‘Seattle’ has also become a band-favorite live. That’s a track that felt like a struggle to articulate as a whole band as we were writing and arranging. We chose it as the lead single because we felt that it’s a sonic representation of the band we have grown into.
Does the EP have an overarching theme?
‘Can You Hear It?’ Is a record about seeking meaning amidst the echoes of our souls. This collection of songs came together during an intensely personal time, as we processed big life events like marriage, parenthood, mental health struggles, and the loss of loved ones. A few years ago I was introduced to the German word 'Sehnsucht' through the writings of C.S. Lewis. 'Sehnsucht' describes the deep longing or hope that we all have in our hearts, which is where the title track was born. From recalling the journey of growth in my marriage in 'Seattle' to tackling my battle with OCD in 'Tripping', there's a through-line of that longing and hoping in all of these songs. We really wanted the first drum hit of 'Can You Hear It?' to the final strings on 'Not The End' to feel like a journey.
'Fire' is our favourite song on the EP. which also includes an acoustic version. Why did you record an alternative version?
Thank you so much! ‘Fire’ has been a staple of our live show for years now and it’s one that we’ve wanted to re-record as the song has grown with us. Samuel had this idea for a 16-piece string arrangement throughout the song that he spent several months developing. When we sent the strings off for mixing, our producer Jake sent me a text and suggested we do a stripped back mix featuring just strings, guitar, and some light bass. When we heard this stripped back version, we knew it had to be a bonus track on the physical release. While the acoustic mix is currently only on vinyl and CD, keep an eye out on streaming services in early 2024!
What's next for The American Hotel System?
Our touring plans for 2024 are gradually taking shape. While nothing is entirely confirmed at this moment, it seems promising that we'll have the opportunity to bring this record to audiences across the United States, reaching places we haven't had the chance to perform in yet!