An interview with Will Sartain of Hang Time

hang time1“I just didn’t want to come to band practice and sing about having a broken heart!” explains musician and Salt Lake City music entrepreneur Will Sartain. His new band Hang Time is all about dancing silly with your friends and having fun. Lappland asked Will Sartain about the forthcoming Hang Time album, about the scene in Salt Lake City, and about juggling with touring and writing solo material while running two music venues.


Hang Time’s first album came out around Christmas 2012. What’s been on the menu for Hang Time since?

We are working on our next album. Trying to experiment with some different sounds. It is always fun to try new keyboard sounds, new guitar sounds, new approaches to writing songs. I don’t want to rush to fast into the next album without making some growth in our sound.

You formed Hang Time after your old band The Future of The Ghost came to an end. How is Hang Time different from anything else you have done as a musician?

I had never done dance music before and it was something I really wanted to try. I am a big fan of some modern indie dance groups like Miike Snow, Ratatat, and STRFKR. I wanted to have a band that I could really have fun with. It is nice to do something different. Future of The Ghost was very much a rock band. Hang Time is dance band.

When you listen to the Hang Time record now half a year or so after it came out, did it turn out as you wanted?

I think we did what we set out to do. We wanted to play fun songs. We wanted to be silly. My life has become very busy with work and I needed a less “serious” outlet. I just didn’t want to come to band practice and sing about having a broken heart!

When people here in Denmark read this and want to grab a copy of Hang Time and see you play live what should they do?

Well, first of all, they will have to come to our home town of Salt Lake City in the US! We don’t have any tour plans at the moment. Our live shows are fun. We often times wear costumes, use fog machines, lasers, video. This is the first band I have been in that the band has put a lot of effort toward giving the audience a “show”. It is fun to try.

How did Hang Time actually start out and who plays and does what?

Andrew Sato plays keyboard and sings on a couple songs, I play guitar, keyboard, and sing. Cathy Foy plays the drums, and TJ Fitzgerald plays bass. Andrew and I started talking about doing something after The Future of The Ghost. FOTG was a very “serious” band. We had a lot of new song ideas floating around that were a lot different. Dance music. So, we put a few songs together and asked Cathy to play, and eventually TJ joined.

The Hang Time album is a pretty cheerful and danceable one. How is the next release gonna be?

I am not sure! The new songs are still pretty cheerful and danceable, but it’s hard to say. I feel like songwriting is contingent upon what is going on in one’s life. The time of year the songs are written. I would really like to take the next release to a whole new level, but I am not sure what that means yet.

I read somewhere that you own and run at least one venue the Kilby Courts in Salt Lake City. Am I correct?

Yes, I own two venues in Salt Lake City. Kilby Court is a small all ages venue, and Urban Lounge is our 21+ venue.

How does being in a band and touring go a long with working as a booker and being a boss?

I have been booking shows for ten years in Salt Lake City. It is helpful to meet bands who are touring and make other connections with people in different cities. The past few years have become a lot harder to tour. I work about 50 hours per week. It’s just kind of impossible to leave work these days. I toured a lot from 2003 to 2009. Not much since then.

What does a typically day in a life look like for you?

I wake up, work on emails in bed for an hour, meet with other people in the company, run errands. It is pretty endless. There is always something to do.

I just read on your facebook page that you will be recording a new Will Sartain solo album. Tell about that.

I just finished the first song on my new solo album. Breaking up is hard! It inspires different kinds of songs. Recording solo records is my place to make sad songs and also reflect on the things that are dearest to me. I haven’t made a solo album since 2009. It is a very cathartic process. It also gives me a chance to do one of my favorite things in the world! I LOVE being able to be a part of the whole recording process and instrumentation. For example, I played drums, bass, guitar, keyboard, and sang on the first song. It is not something I get to do often.

Why do you return to playing solo?

It felt right to take some time and do something different. I like making soft music and it had been four years since that last album.

I saw you in Copenhagen some years back when you toured with your previous solo album For Love. Is love a main theme on the new solo album also?

Yes, love is the main theme. There will be other things in there too. Beautiful things I notice in the world, having to make hard choices in life, travels, friendships.

For those of us who has never been to Salt Lake City, tells us a bit about the music scene there.

Salt Lake has a rich local indie music history. There have been a lot of really inspiring bands in the past ten years. Red Bennies, Form of Rocket, Laserfang, Band Of Annuals, The Devil Whale. It is in a bit of a lull presently, but it always comes around. We have a very supportive community. When something is really good, people seem to get behind it. I feel very lucky to be from such a great city!

Is there any local act we should keep an eye on?

The Devil Whale just recorded with Bill Moriarty in Philadelphia. Bill recorded a lot of the Dr. Dog albums, and Man Man too. They are one of my favorite bands in SLC.

//Troels

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