Strap on Halo is: Seán Rial – Guitar, Keyboards and Drums.
Layla Reyna – Vocals, Drums, Keyboards and Graphic design.
MarC Jones – Bass, Keyboards, blood and beers.
Strap On Halo resurrected in 2009 with a new lineup including Layla Reyna, Marc Jones and original founding member Sean Rial. Strap On Halo is an American Gothic Alternative Rock band, whose music harkens to the purity of 80’s influenced moody guitars, resonating bass and a beautifully haunting Siouxsie-esque female vocals. They also have great hair! ;) It’s refreshing to see bands of his genre coming back into the radar.
On June 10, 2011, Strap On Halo released their debut full length release, The Dead Don’t Lie, which was produced, mixed and mastered by Mick Shearman of NightPorter and John Ross of ANXST. Coinciding with the release, they set out on the Memento Mori US Tour that spanned five weeks and included The Hiram Key from the UK during select dates. They then toured in the Summer and Fall of 2012 and again in 2014. Currently, they are working on a new CD release and planning their Winter/Spring 2015 tour.
[Horror Addicts] I understand you “resurrected” in 2009. When did Strap on Halo first form and what caused the death and resurrection?
[Seán from SOH] “Strap on Halo has actually been something I envisioned as I was a teenager, but I never met the right people to start a Goth band. I originally started it in the Fall of 1994. The original lineup lasted about 2 years, but I ran it until 2002. At that time, the venues in Omaha only wanted Metal or Top40 bands.
[Layla from SOH] “The original lineup split into two different bands in 1996. Both units disbanded in 2002. I met him (Sean) in 2005 and we were in another band. Then we met Marc and Seán decided it was time to BE Strap on Halo.”
[HorrorAddicts] Who do you all consider the most influential musician or bands?
[Seán from SOH] “For me it would be Geordie Walker from Killing Joke, John McGeoch from Siouxsie and the Banshees and Billy Duffy from the Cult.”
[Layla from SOH] “I find my influence from Peter Murphy, the Cure and Dead Can Dance.”
[MarC from SOH] “Oh perfect. I don’t have to talk now! ☺ No, it’s like everything I listen to since Jr. High has been an influence, but when it really touched and wowed me, I knew that is what I wanted to do. That time was the Cure, Dead Can Dance and such bands. It was colder…darker. The lyrics were more than just bubblegum and money. I do have my influences too as a bassist. Specifically I like Simon Gallup from the Cure. ”
[HorrorAddicts] You are based on Nebraska? Who would have thought there was a Goth scene in Nebraska. Wait, there is a Goth scene in Nebraska?????
[Seán from SOH] “Well, it comes in cycles. There will be a scene for three or four years, then it will die out and Metal and Top40 become more predominant. Then a few years later, people get burned out. People move and then the scene is more open to something alternative. It is a trend cycle.”
[MarC from SOH] “It’s developing and a scene through that is developing.”
[HorrorAddicts] What are your horror influences?
[Seán from SOH] “We are most intrigued by tragedies and horror in life..”
[MarC from SOH] “Horror influence? lol… The opening of a 200 year old iron gate… visiting a random grave… Having coffee with a “suspected” trany axe murderer… sleeping on a pew… having shots out of a human skull… Being catered to by a gorgeous wiccan with her own head over heals in love, “Egore”. I forget his name, but wow! Spending the night in a Cathedral and waking up under the sun shining through the stained glass windows. Being fed ice-cream sandwiches by angels… long story! The loss of a dear friend. Keeping your Halloween lights up, all year round….and truck stops! The world is an interesting place from all directions. Breath, sweat, tears… we embrace them all.”
[HorrorAddicts] 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?
[Layla from SOH] “It has been good. We have managed to connect with people in Europe. We know a lot more people as a result of social media. We have new merchandise available on our website!”
[Seán from SOH] “With our local media in Omaha, unless you are Top40, Rap or something from the Disney Channel; they won’t even give you the time of day.”
[MarC from SOH] “That’s why we tour.”
[HorrorAddicts] 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?
[Layla from SOH] “We like to have things that we would want to buy, if we went to a show.”
[Seán from SOH] “Actually the big sellers were thongs. We sold out of them last year two or three shows into the tour.”
[Layla from SOH] “We have new merchandise available on our website now.”
[HorrorAddicts] Favorite place to play?
[MarC from SOH] “Seattle.” ☺
[Layla from SOH] “It’s hard to say. Just because it is in a city we prefer doesn’t always necessarily mean that the show was something that is better. It depends on the crowd. We love to perform, so whether or not the show is packed, doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t meet a couple people and make great contacts. Then the next time we come through town, it is even better.”
[MarC from SOH] “Yeah, I mean it isn’t necessarily the city. I mean, we could play New Orleans, but if no one is there…… It depends on who we meet and the conversations we have. Many of the people we have met have turned into life-long friends.”
[HorrorAddicts] So Seán and Layla live in Nebraska and Marc in Seattle? How did that happen and how do you stay connected to write/record and perform? Did MarC live in Nebraska originally?
[MarC from SOH] (nods) “Well, my wife was in the service. But Seattle is where I grew up. We have been gone for 12 years. My parents are getting older. I want to spend time with family….. but, I am not giving up the band. This band is what I was always searching for.”
[Layla from SOH] “I originally moved to Omaha from Texas. I met Seán a couple years after I moved to Omaha. It was all chance meetings and coincidence. We were all looking to do the same thing and we all get along. It is like having a long distance relationship. There is gonna be Skyping. MarC will be flying in from time to time.”
You can find out more info about Strap on Halo in the links below:
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/125580930915770