Bluesbreakers: Seratones

Seratones standing in a the graffiti-covered toilets of a small rock club.
Seratones: summoning the spirit of rock\u2019n\u2019roll.
(Image: © Chad Kamenshine)

“Is life on the road glamorous?” ponders Seratones frontwoman AJ Haynes. “Oh, totally. Y’know, live in a van full of farts. Eat when you can. Sleep when you can. Drink beer. Actually, our local brewery, Great Raft, sends us on tour with a couple of pallets of beer. And we always get through it very quickly.”

Haynes is a fascinating dichotomy. Raised in Louisiana, and finding her voice in a backwoods Baptist church, she’s eloquent and intelligent, but has attitude in spades. “The church is where I honed everything in, then meeting these guys is really what pushed me towards rock’n’roll,” she says of the band’s formation. “I very much like to get in people’s faces, just shake people awake.”

Likewise, there’s something about Seratones’ debut album, Get Gone, that makes you want to both love your brother and start a riot. “We were trying to capture a range of emotions,” says Haynes. “That’s what we are as human beings. We’re going through these extremes, and we should be allowed to feel them, instead of being lulled into some kind of flat line. People are afraid to be expressive. You should be allowed to be angry, loud and mad about things – and not apologise. Then you should be allowed to be sweet, compassionate, kind and thankful for each other.”

Released on the Fat Possum label, Get Gone runs the musical gamut, from the indie-rock jazz-scuttle of Kingdom Come to the rocket-velocity punk-blues of Choking On Your Spit. “The lyrics to that one are just about karmic energy,” says Haynes. “Y’know, you get what you put out, so don’t be a shithead. Don’t be an asshole.”

And yet Get Gone remains cohesive, partly because of Haynes’ belting vocal, but also because the band tracked nose-to-nose at the Dial Back Sound studio in rural Mississippi. “We have the benefit of having played together for roughly 10 years,” she says. “We clicked when we first met each other, and chemistry is important. You can’t put that through a computer. It doesn’t work. With this album, the recording process was really close to what we try to do live. We were trying to capture that same energy. I think it’s a good reflection of where we are right now.”

Right now, they might be in that aforementioned van full of farts, en route to a support slot with The Dandy Warhols, but Seratones are undoubted headliners in the making, a band with big ideas. “Do we want to take this all the way?” echoes Haynes. “Yeah, why not? It’d be fun. I forget that some people don’t really know what rock’n’roll is, that they’re not really exposed to the kind of music we’ve been influenced by. Being able to share that with people around the world is a gift, and that’s something we definitely want to do. Buy the ticket, take the ride, y’know?”

Get Gone is out now on Fat Possum.