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Sunday, January 23, 2022
<p>Robbie Kingsley, the band’s lead singer, and Andre Escobar, the bassist, perform during the 2019 Heartwood Music Festival on Feb. 23.</p>

Robbie Kingsley, the band’s lead singer, and Andre Escobar, the bassist, perform during the 2019 Heartwood Music Festival on Feb. 23.

Five musicians, one journey and infinite possibilities. Gainesville native band The Hails will bid a “farewell for now” to the birthplace of their alternative music. They will perform one last show at High Dive on Friday.

The Hails formed three to four years ago, according to lead singer Robbie Kingsley, and played their first show in January 2016 at the same bar. Kingsley, 23; Zachary Levy, 24; Franco Solari, 21; Dylan McCue, 21; and Andre Escobar, 24, met during their time at UF. Now that McCue and Solari are graduating, the entire group can make the big move.

The group is moving to Miami to expand their horizons and to search for new influences. Nevertheless, Gainesville will always hold a special place in their hearts.

“I think it’s bittersweet for me personally because we’ve built such a great fan base here,” Levy said. “We’ll come back and play more shows, though. It’s not the end.”

Solari said Gainesville inspired their vision for what they wanted to be.

“I look at Gainesville fondly because this is where we had the time to develop with no pressure,” Solari said. “We could take the time to figure out who and what we wanted to be.”

The Hails recently released their newest single, “Cabaret,” a slow, smooth song with dynamic instrumentals and poetic lyrics about human connections. Kingsley said he writes songs based on his observations.

“I think a lot of what we talk about is relationships and relationship building,” Kingsley said. “That’s the human experience. If you don’t connect with people, I don’t know how you have a life.”

Members agree that one of the most exciting aspects of the transition will be developing new relationships with other musicians as well as their metropolis surroundings.

“I think location always has a huge impact on the music,” Solari said. “Your environment definitely impacts your influences and your creativity. Our house in Gainesville, for example, is the home of so many of our songs because we’ve collaborated so much here.”

The Hails played at several venues around town including High Dive, The Atlantic Nightspot, Heartwood Soundstage and The Wooly. The band has made a musical and cultural imprint that will last for a long time in the Gainesville community.

Music has the ability to change people’s way of thinking — something The Hails tend to capture in the poetry of their songs. Kingsley and Solari said when they collaborate on songs, they want to make stories out of everyday events.

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“I love writing about life experiences and making the ordinary seem interesting,” Kingsley said.

Sonically, The Hails’ inspiration stems from their diverse backgrounds and influences. Solari said their product comes from the tension of different interests and influences.

Solari and Kingsley typically start off with a riff and jam and allow it to develop into an idea, which allows the song to take shape as they refine the chords, dynamics and lyrics.

The Hails’ evolution has stemmed from each member’s artistic growth. They love the idea of constantly evolving, and they look forward to continuing their journey to South Florida.

“I think we’re always evolving because a lot of our songs sound so different from each other,” Kingsley said. “I think a new place will be good for our songwriting process.”

Kingsley said he had no idea how to construct a song when he started college. Unable to possess his own drum set at the beginning of the band’s journey, Levy spent time playing percussion on pillows and cushions until he developed stronger technique on a drum set he borrowed from another musician. Solari raised his standards of quality and has developed true discipline in his work.

“I’m at the point where I don’t want to do anything that I’m not completely in love with,” Solari said.

Something The Hails want audiences to take away from their shows are great moments and a change in music taste. They all truly value the life experiences they have had in their time in Gainesville and want to provide moments to connect to and songs that give perspective.

“Everything you do is burned inside of your identity,” Levy said.

The Hails will give their last performance at 9 p.m on Friday at High Dive.

Robbie Kingsley, the band’s lead singer, and Andre Escobar, the bassist, perform during the 2019 Heartwood Music Festival on Feb. 23.

Andre Escobar, the bassist, performs during the band’s live set recording following the release of their new single “Cabaret.”

Franco Solari, the guitarist and backup singer, sings “Empty Castles” at Heartwood Soundstage.

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