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  • Tracy Heck

Andrew Hagar sharing 'Systematic Minds'

Andrew Hagar and his band the Midnight Suns recently released new single "Systematic Minds," a track about living your life for yourself and not being brainwashed into a certain style of thinking.

He is also appearing alongside his father Sammy Hagar on the music focus series Family Legacy, which is now available to stream exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and in Canada.

The new series is produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and Glass Entertainment Group and will feature interviews with the children of legendary musicians.

Andrew's story is a fascinating one filled with a rootsy mystique and a heavy dose of Americana-style reality.

His journey to find himself has taken him from underground fight clubs in college and a stint as a MMA fighter to covering UFC as a journalist and then becoming a trainer before circling back to music and sharing the stage with the legendary Kris Kristofferson.

Rock Life: How would you want to describe your music to others?

Andrew Hagar: I think that what we're doing is a return to good songwriting and rock and roll. We're not chasing trends or trying to be the next Machine Gun Kelly. We're just making cool semi-throw back 90's alternative rock with modern accoutrements and it's just fun music.

The live shows are great and I'm just really grateful to be able to get up there and do it.

RL: Is there anything coming up that you'd like to highlight?

AH: Well we've got an EP coming out with a music video. I'm really excited to get that out finally.

Rock Life: And have you been happy with the reaction to "Systematic Minds?"

AH: Yeah, I'm super happy! We're getting spins on a bunch of radio stations and Sirius XM. The response seems to be really positive.

Of course, there's a lot of expectations from Van Halen fans and sometimes they're not pleased that I'm not just trying to make Van Halen records, but luckily we seem to be gaining more and more fans with each release that don't have those expectations. That's been really great.

I think this song is definitely the most different from any songs we've released so far and I'm really thrilled that people are seemingly enjoying it.

RL: And how did "Systematic Minds" come together?

AH: One of my best friends Trev Lukather and I got together around December of 2022. We'd been friends for about a decade and we'd never worked together on anything because I'd only been playing music professionally for 6 or 7 years and he'd just started doing more production work.

He had a idea for a song we could do together and he sent me a rough instrumental bit and I liked what I heard. I drove down to L.A. and we stayed up all night making a rough draft. Over the next couple of days, we tightened it up and it became "Systematic Minds."

We ended up putting together a whole record that we've split into two EP's, one released in June and the other sometime later in the summer.

Yeah, it was a really cool experience because I typically just tend to write stuff by myself with an acoustic guitar in my living room so it was really cool to work with someone like Trev. He's such a talented musician and producer and it was cool to marry our different styles and genres together.

He's got more of a pop kind of stadium rock sensibility and obviously mine is more alternative.

RL: You clearly enjoy a lot of different types of music and I'm sure that came from growing up in a musical family?

AH: Yeah, I mean growing up I listened to a lot of different genres around the house. My mom was playing a lot of folk/Americana/cowboy poetry/outlaw country kind of stuff while I was finding my way through the 90's alternative scene.

I was a big fan of the grunge movement and early industrial. I was a huge Nine Inch Nails fan and loved the songwriting of Ratchet. Every record was so different and weird and I was a massive fan of the Bay Area kind of hardcore and punk scenes.

Yeah, I had a ton of influences and I started working at a radio station when I was 16 and was exposed to all sorts of cool underground hip-hop. I don't like pop country, but I love the alternative country scene these days because a lot of it harkens back to the days of proper outlaw country.

You can get inspiration from anywhere and I think music gives you a opportunity to look at things from a different perspective.

RL: You've brought back that deep 90's lyrical content as well. Have you been getting a lot if feedback from fans about that as well?

AH: Yeah, I mean that's really my goal to just provide connections for people. I want people to find out just how much they relate to a certain song. I'm just trying to share my experiences in a different kind of light than people might expect. It's been a blessing.

RL: What's your biggest goal moving forward?

AH: Just to get back out on the road in a meaningful way. We want to tour Europe once or twice a year and really just go all over. I don't care if I'm playing clubs or stadiums, I just want get in front of people and form that connection with them in that moment.

RL: What was it that brought you back to music?

AH: The first 'real' show that I ever played was opening up for Kris Kristofferson in early 2016 in Scotland.

I had played house parties and basements with my punk band and played in a theater, but nothing like that show. All of those other experiences were great, but it was something about getting up there and playing some really personal music on a acoustic guitar. It felt incredible and changed my whole perspective.

Growing up, I only saw the dark side of the music business with my father being ostracized because of the Van Halen breakup. It seemed like a really terrible thing that I didn't want to experience. But getting up there I'm front of such a receptive crowd and feeling that connection was one of the most profound experiences that I've ever had as a human being. I knew this was what I was supposed to be doing.

RL: Do you feel like the different routes that you took in the fighting world and journalism have helped give you a different perspective on your music and the industry in general?

AH: Absolutely! I think that I'm a big component of the old saying how we do one thing is how we do everything. I learned a lot about discipline and hard work from training alongside watching my dad and how he handled his commitments and I've applied that mentality to my musical pursuits.

Just diligently practicing everyday and trying to sharpen myself into a precision instrument to go out and reach your goals.

I'm actually really thankful that it took me a long time to reach the music core of my life because it gave me such a rich background. I had a fully formed philosophy and identity. The big pitfall with music or any kind of celebrity is that people lose themselves.

RL: Finally, you've been an avid supporter of mental health awareness. Is there anything coming up or something you'd like to share?

AH: Yeah, I mean everytime that I get a chance to talk about this stuff on any sort of platform is great. I'm a huge advocate of mental health awareness and suicide prevention. My life has been changed pretty drastically by having these experiences with friends who have committed suicide.

The whole reason that I started playing music was because a very close personal friend of mine who committed suicide had pushed me to play guitar. I've also worked with a lot of veterans who struggle with mental health and PTSD through combat sports training and learned a lot about that.

I urge everyone that if they're feeling any sort of crisis or depression to talk to someone. I would love to change the stigma of getting therapy. It's okay to go talk to someone to get help whether that's a counselor or therapy or even lean on a friend.

It's the hardest thing to do when you're in the depths of a depression spiral, but it helps to.know that you have somebody else out there who feels or has felt the way that you do. You're not alone and you can talk to people.

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