Rock band The American Hotel System hails from Grand Rapids, MI, and they collectively made a big wave in 2019 with their music. The band came out with their album "The Sunken Truth" in 2019, which was a huge staple of the band's growing potential. As a soft rock band wanting to relay heartfelt messages, you'll be surprised at the product of their sound. It's an integrative blend of intense and mellow instrumentals. The vocal styling that's blended into the mesh of instrumental soundings is a more eclectic approach for vocal executions. Such an approach we found to be effective with the characteristics of The American Hotel System. Their choice of what soundings to network with one another was extremely fitting for the category they reside in. At some moments throughout the band's album, we found ourselves listening to completely varying elements, which offers up that sense of curiosity as to what they'll integrate next!
Off of "The Sunken Truth" is the track "Breakdown". The song offers more of that drawn-out and emotional connection between band and listener. You can tell that this track explores more thoughtful aspects of the rock and roll sound. Once we migrate to tracks like "Deaf Ears" we really experience the eclecticism of The American Hotel System. What you thought was an aggressive rock band, turns into more of a folksy band with lighthearted rock components. What an intriguing combination! Such a combination that you genuinely can't picture until you fully listen to the band. When we got closer to the end of the album with songs like "Home", we see that the soft-hearted and folksy vibe returns, this time, with a light integration of indie. We have to say, the 2019 sound of The American Hotel System piqued our interests beyond a doubt, which is what will keep our ears peeled to what the band will be coming out with next!
Listen to The American Hotel System here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic The American Hotel System! 2019 saw the release of your album "The Sunken Truth", which was a record that included an eclectic mix of heartfelt soundings. How did the band feel with the product of the album?
Jacob: The album is the culmination of over two and a half years of hard work. If I wasn’t working my day job, planning my wedding, or on my honeymoon, I was working on the album in some way. The only other thing I’ve worked this hard on in my life was my Eagle Scout. I’m incredibly proud of ‘The Sunken Truth’ and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
C.T.: Personally, I have never felt better about my guitar work. And the album as a whole came beautifully. It was a pleasure to have a hand in, or in my case, two hands.
Jake: The band feels very proud of this album. We have put a lot of hard work and emotion into crafting a record we can look back at and know we put everything we had into it.
Hailey: for me, the final product of the album feels like a conclusion to a long progression of writing and playing these songs at different times over the last two years. It is an amazing feeling to see all of these songs come together from over the years into one album. On top of that, it challenged us to kind of recreate some of our old songs and make them into something more on this album.
Talking more on that eclectic mix, would the band say it's a characterization of The American Hotel System's sound to incorporate a vast amount of melodies?
Jacob: Each of us have a diverse musical background. Hailey, Jake, Samuel, and I were all music majors and C.T. has played in groups of varying genres. When you have five people with such a wide range of musical history, some genre-hopping is inevitable. One of my favorite aspects of writing and arranging with the band is pulling from all of our influences and combining them to make something new.
How's the music scene in Grand Rapids? Is there a ton of inspiration to be drawn from the city the band currently resides in?
Jacob: Grand Rapids has become a hub for Michigan based artists. The indie pop, hardcore, and folk scene are huge here, but it’s challenging for artists who don’t fit into those genres. The diversity of culture within the city offers the opportunity to be inspired by the various people groups and experiences they have to share.
C.T. : It’s a good scene for indie pop and metal. We are a bit of an anomaly in GR. People don’t really know where we fit.
Jake: The music scene in Grand Rapids offers a TON of diversity in styles and cultures, from rock, to folk, country and metal. It feels very supportive and I am glad we are apart of it!
Hailey: I feel like Grand Rapids has the ability to make you feel like you’re part of part something big and amazing, especially in the music scene, but also has to ability to make you feel incredibly lonely. I think both of those aspects definitely affect how we write as a group. Especially when it comes to the ideas of inclusion and belonging that we put into our songs.
Now that 2020 is fast approaching, how does the band feel with the collective sound that is exclusive to The American Hotel System?
Jacob: I feel like we’ve been able to develop a sound that’s unique, especially with ‘The Sunken Truth’, but I’m eager to share the new musical landscapes that we’re exploring in 2020! C.T.: We have a sound but it’s not even at half of its fruition yet. Keep listening.
Jake: I feel like our band has a different sound that you won't get out of your typical "rock bands" around the scene right now, and I think that is because of the songwriting and different backgrounds that we all come from.
Hailey: I am excited for what our sound has to offer in 2020. We don’t have an incredibly common sound but that’s what I love about us. I think our sound draws in the unique and different types of people. We’ve been able to meet some incredible people and hear amazing stories because of what our sound brings to the table and I’m so excited to see how that continues to unfold in 2020.
"21st" was another track off of "The Sunken Truth" that blended together a more intensified sound with mellow aspects near some parts of the track. Is it a preference of the band to integrate contrasting sounds with one another?
Jacob: Another one of my favorite aspects of working on a song is arranging. We always try to arrange our songs for the highest emotional impact. I’ve tried to bury my emotions that run so deeply within my heart, and these songs have been a therapeutic way to distill and express those emotions. I’m a massive fan of progressive and concept driven music, and the wide dynamic range those tracks have hit me hard.
C.T.: My favorite part about writing with Jacob is that everything is seen as a soundtrack, a production. When he and I are together working on a piece he brings these moods across that are so heartfelt and raw. Then I amp up the aggression and it really blends into this emotional tug-o-war that guides the listener through a kaleidoscope of the feels.
Jake: We like to experiment with our different sounds and styles that we incorporate into our music. I think having a dynamic flow and contrasting moments gives us that uniqueness that we have, but also that helps our listeners stay engaged with the song and gives emotion to it.
Hailey: I think that integrating contrasting sounds from one another is one of the more fun aspects of not only being a musician but also being a person of emotions. I think when you have those different contrasts in a song like 21st, it really brings out the emotion of that song and makes it all the more powerful.
Thank you The American Hotel System! We hope that 2020 brings the same success as 2019 for the band! Any parting words for our readers?
Jacob: This last year has been an incredible time of growth for us and I’m forever grateful for the fans and listeners we’ve been blessed with. Our full length album came out two weeks ago, but we’re already working on our next studio project that we’ll be talking more about VERY soon. Instagram and Facebook are the best social media outlets to check out If you want to stay up to date with the projects we’re working on. Thanks for listening, ya’ll!
Jake: Thanks to everyone that has listened, showed up to shows and follows our band. Stay with us! We are excited to play more, and in new places, in 2020!
Hailey: Thanks for being a part of this journey. Music is pointless if there are no ears to hear it and I’m thankful that you’ve chosen to listen!