It was November of 2016 when Andrew Hagar first developed the idea for his debut EP, From the Other Side - I. The forthcoming album (due in the spring) will mark the first installment of a full-length project. Part two is expected out in June of 2019. Under the acronym of S.o.S, he, along with “Shredmaster” Scott, and Jonathan Lopez are exploring the sounds of what Hagar has dubbed, “gonzo garage folk.” It’s a mix of folk, psychedelic garage rock, and grunge.
The concept began as a short story, written by Hagar, about a disillusioned guy who falls through a black hole and ends up in a world where everything is backward. “That ended up being the genesis of this whole set of songs,” Hagar tells AXS. Between the two EPs, he has intentionally mixed up the sequence of the tracks. He likens it to reading random pages in a journal and not knowing the order of events. “It’s a fun little mystery for people who really want to dive into it,” Hagar says of the idea.
“Triggerman” is the first track to be released off of the upcoming EP. Hagar penned it in May of 2018, calling out issues such as mental health awareness and the rising death toll from mass shootings. “I was close in proximity to a lot of the mass shootings that occurred over 2018,” he tells AXS. “It made me realize that there’s a fundamental problem. We need to fix it, and the only way we’re going to fix it is by acknowledging it. That’s what this song is about.”
The track began to take shape just after Hagar had released “Mourning Ritual” (with his band, Hagen Alter). “I remember my dad saying, ‘just get the song out, the way you hear it in your head, then figure out how to arrange it and play it live later,” he recalls. “So, I had this idea, got with my boys Jon [Lopez] on drums and Jaimeson [Durr], who was essentially producing. Vic Johnson, from my pop’s band, was in the studio that day, he played bass. I played the guitar and sang. And, that’s how ‘Triggerman’ came about.” Justin Weis then stepped in to do the mastering.
Other songs featured on the upcoming EP are “Dirty Feet,” “Immortal Sin,” and “Lesson in Decay.” From the Other Side – I also includes a special bonus track called “Blueshift” - an ode to Saturday morning cartoons from the ‘80s. It’s an instrumental track that bridges the gap between the two records. Part two picks up with “Redshift.” Both titles are concepts in theoretical physics. Perhaps, it’s Hagar’s beginnings as a writer, that makes the entire project ultimately feel like a piece of literature or a work of art.
While the singer-songwriter uses his music as a platform to get people to see the world through different eyes, his sheer talent is captivating. Rooted in rock, “Triggerman” evokes a soulful feeling. It’s a culmination of everything Hagar has put out to-date, showcasing his evolution as an artist. “I think overall, there’s one golden rule everyone should follow,” Hagar summed up. “No matter what you do, we should all leave this place better than we found it.”