A few years ago, metal band He Films the Clouds was starting to gain attention in the Coachella Valley music scene.
Then the band just disappeared—only to resurface fairly recently. In fact, the reconstituted He Films the Clouds released a full-length album in April, titled As I Live and Breathe.
During a recent interview in Palm Desert, front man Xavier Hernandez explained what happened to the first incarnation of the band, formed by guitarist Jacob Garcia, and talked about how he ended up becoming the band’s vocalist. The band also includes bassist Jordan Prince and guitarist Cameron Homa.
“Jacob (Garcia) formed the band four years ago. He took it off the ground for a bit, and the band just fizzled out from member changes,” Hernandez said. “He ended up deciding to take a step back and focus on producing for a while. He was writing for a couple of years, and I was in school; we kept in touch. We’re all from this area, and he told me he wanted to start up the band again in 2015. I always really loved everything he wrote, and I wanted to join. He only had Jordan (Prince) and Cameron (Homa) lined up, so I auditioned as a vocalist, and I got in, and we began to resurface.”
He Films the Clouds doesn’t have a metalcore sound or the dreaded “emo sound”; instead, the band features an aggressive sound with lyrics that reflect the discovery of one’s own emotions.
“A lot of it is mainly self-evaluation. … The go-to is to write about relationships or the failed relationships,” Hernandez said. “It’s understandable, and it’s a universal feeling. I try to tackle things that everyone goes through, but (people) don’t really have the comfort zone to talk about—things like depression, where you’re afraid to talk about it, because you’re afraid it’s going to ostracize you. Since I was a kid and through my teen years … I’d feel alone, sad or whatever it was. I felt like if I brought it up with people, they’d be like, ‘You’re a weirdo.’ As I got older, I noticed that people go through those same feelings. That’s a lot of what I talk about: me coming to terms that there’s something wrong going on, and I’m trying to sort it out. … With this album specifically, I felt the most vulnerable I had ever felt because of the writing. I actually used personal experiences in my life to get this stuff out.”
Hernandez said He Films the Clouds tries to take a different approach to metal.
“There’s a certain stigma that when you do a brutal part or a scary part, that you have to be in your face and a little vindictive,” he said. “I try to create a unique image where I’m not all like, ‘I’m sad,’ or, ‘I’m broken.’ I try to package it in a different way where it’s open to interpretation. … I’m not trying to portray anger through screaming, but that I feel strongly about something. A strong feeling doesn’t always have to equate to an angry feeling.”
Hernandez said He Films the Clouds fits nicely into the local metal scene, and that the band has something to offer in terms of balance.
“I would say the heavy parts in our songs put us in the game as far as live settings,” Hernandez said. “… I think we are at the same level with a lot of people, given we have heavy parts, screaming parts and aggressive parts. Those melodic parts are where we … put a lot of thought and consideration, and that’s our part of the show to show you who we really are.”
For more information, visit www.hefilmstheclouds.bandcamp.com