[AltWire Interview] Jimmy Hayward of Legend of the Seagullmen

Legend of the Seagullmen

What happens when an accomplished animator and film director steps into music and links up with members of Tool, Mastodon and Dethklok (just to name a few)? You get Legend of the Seagullmen: a seven-piece band bursting with creativity and talent. And quite frankly, their self-titled debut album, to be released on February 9th, 2018, should be one of the most highly anticipated releases this year. Yet it’s quite likely that you may never have heard of them as they have quietly (oh the irony…) been making waves for the past four years. This is despite their monster and borderline surreal line-up:

Jimmy Hayward (Animator of such films as Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and Director of Horton Hears a Who!, Jonah Hex and Free Birds) – Director and Guitar
Brent Hinds (Mastodon, Giraffe Tonge Orchestra) – Guitar
Danny Carey (Tool) – Drums
Pete Griffin (Zappa Plays Zappa, Dethklok) – Bass
Tim Dawson – Guitar
Chris DiGiovanni – Synth
David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer – Vocals

When you consider the collection of such talent, this entire endeavor oozes imagination. This is a group that is not afraid to be bold, something much needed in the heavy rock scene with the constant air of seriousness rife. There’s a feel that this band offers a fun creative outlet for each member, and that they’re not taking themselves too seriously.

AltWire had the chance to pick the brain of Jimmy Hayward, one of the creative directors of this very unique outfit (and a successful film director in his own right) to get a sense of the who, what, why, when and how of Legend of the Seagullmen.

Luke Morrison/AltWire: How exactly did this band come about?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: Our singer Doctor came up with the original concept and then together he and I set about developing it to where it is. It started with a different tone and a lot of other details and together we honed it and created new elements and brought it to its current place. Along the way the different band members influenced it in their respective ways but it’s mostly Doctor and I shaping the concept.

AltWire: With everyone on very different schedules, how did you all find time to form a new band?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: When we aren’t doing our other stuff this is what we are doing. Danny and I spend a lot of time together in the studio and Pete, Tim, Maddog, and the Doctor are frequently around too. Whenever Brent is in LA he is usually working with us. The truth is we make time for it because we love it. Maddog and I are very busy doing movie stuff we just make it happen.

AltWire: Where has the very unique name of the band come from?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: The Doctor created the name.

AltWire: There’s an overarching nautical theme running through your image. Where has that come from?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: The nautical theme has been coursing through this from the beginning. The Doctor is from Cocoa Beach on the East Coast and I’ve lived right on the ocean on the west coast my whole life. I’ve had the nickname “The Admiral” since I was a teenager. This isn’t new stuff. We are nautical dudes. Danny grew up in Kansas but he’s so naturally nautical he moved his lady Rynne (she’s even an accomplished scuba photographer) and their son Zola to Malibu!

AltWire: An album from you guys has been mooted since 2015, what was the delay in releasing material?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: The information was from a Rolling Stone magazine leak and story they ran. We didn’t intend for that to happen and we were taking our time. The album has been done for a while – we just recorded and snuck another song on.

AltWire: You describe yourselves as “genre destroying”, so what can we expect on your debut album?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: I don’t know if we really describe ourselves as anything. I think when our press releases say stuff like “genre destroying super group,” we are kind of making fun of the whole need to categorize us as anything and determine we are a super group, etc. Now that Gary Holt is in Slayer, are they a super group? No, they’re Slayer. Just like they were before. We’re just having a laugh and not taking that stuff too seriously. We make stuff we love and hope the people out there love it too. We’ll leave the labelling to someone else. In the meantime, if we just own it with a sense of humor, it loses its power and I don’t think anybody reading about us actually thinks we consider ourselves a super group. And if they do, then that’s funny too.

AltWire: With so many different styles represented from each band member, was it challenging at all to agree on a sound you were all comfortable with?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: Not at all. I write most of the music in demos then bring them to the guys. Then Doctor and I will do lyrics and then we properly record the songs and all the others augment and reshape their parts and away we go. It simultaneously becomes “us” along the way. It’s a fantastic process and we are stoked on it. We already have most of a second album written and a lot of it in demos. Hopefully this time we can keep them for ourselves until the proper album comes out.

AltWire: Any plans for a full tour?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: We are working on it. We are definitely planning some short runs and festival stuff right now. We just played our live debut on New Year’s Eve with Primus at the Fox Theatre in Oakland and it was awesome for us. We loved it.

AltWire: Do you see this band as a one album/one time deal or is it something you see as more of a long-term project?

Jimmy Hayward / Legend of the Seagullmen: Long term absolutely.

So there you have it. Much like a mad scientist screaming “it’s alive,” the Legend of the Seagullmen will release their debut album on February 9th, 2018. You can pre-order the album here. Go check it out. You’re not going to want to miss this!

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