Home By Hovercraft
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Home By Hovercraft

Dallas, Texas, United States

Dallas, Texas, United States
Band Alternative Rock

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"Review: Home By Hovercraft at Artifice Las Vegas"

The atmosphere at Artifice last night was about what you’d expect on a Tuesday—the bar was dimly lit, relaxed and sparsely populated. All of that changed, however, once local band The Musket Vine arrived around 10pm and started sound checking (see our interview with them here). People began to flock to the stage area and were subsequently treated to an energetic post-punk performance. By the end of the opener’s set, everyone had a drink in hand and a spot on the floor secured for the night’s main attraction—Dallas rock band Home By Hovercraft.

Led by husband and wife duo Seth (vocals/tuba) and Shawn Magill (piano/vocals/xylophone), Home By Hovercraft treated the crowd to an impassioned performance of theatrically inclined rock music. The band’s set list consisted largely of songs from their debut LP, Are We Chameleons?, opening with the album’s first song, “Lie In Your Bed.” From the first few bars of the song, it was immediately clear that the show would be a serious, dramatic and inspiring affair, making the disco ball positioned above the Artifice stage seem both comical and ironic. The ball was not without its symbolic relevance though, as its reflectiveness mirrored the introspective nature of HBH’s music. From refrains of “I hear the machines/here’s what they say/conform, conform/obey, obey” to “stop the noise/we’re all tired of breathing,” the band constantly called on the crowd to listen and look inward.

The grandiosity of the music’s philosophical lyrics was complimented by its classical instrumentation. Blending piano, tuba, cello, xylophone, mandolin and drums, the sound was at once medieval and timeless. Interestingly, most songs were also textured with rhythmic step dancing—think Riverdance—from Seth’s sister, Abbey Magill. All of the elements combined to produce an epic sound that preserved its sincerity, more in line with fellow Texan Win Butler’s Arcade Fire than with the overindulgence of acts like Coldplay and Muse.

By the end of Home By Hovercraft’s soaring set—which was punctuated by an encore song generously played to an insistent crowd—everyone was ready to be brought back down to Earth, which is where The Koroks come in. The young local band played a bouncy indie rock set that finished the night on a simpler note. All in all, it was a great night for live music in Downtown Las Vegas. - Downtown Las Vegas Music


"Review: Home By Hovercraft at Artifice Las Vegas"

The atmosphere at Artifice last night was about what you’d expect on a Tuesday—the bar was dimly lit, relaxed and sparsely populated. All of that changed, however, once local band The Musket Vine arrived around 10pm and started sound checking (see our interview with them here). People began to flock to the stage area and were subsequently treated to an energetic post-punk performance. By the end of the opener’s set, everyone had a drink in hand and a spot on the floor secured for the night’s main attraction—Dallas rock band Home By Hovercraft.

Led by husband and wife duo Seth (vocals/tuba) and Shawn Magill (piano/vocals/xylophone), Home By Hovercraft treated the crowd to an impassioned performance of theatrically inclined rock music. The band’s set list consisted largely of songs from their debut LP, Are We Chameleons?, opening with the album’s first song, “Lie In Your Bed.” From the first few bars of the song, it was immediately clear that the show would be a serious, dramatic and inspiring affair, making the disco ball positioned above the Artifice stage seem both comical and ironic. The ball was not without its symbolic relevance though, as its reflectiveness mirrored the introspective nature of HBH’s music. From refrains of “I hear the machines/here’s what they say/conform, conform/obey, obey” to “stop the noise/we’re all tired of breathing,” the band constantly called on the crowd to listen and look inward.

The grandiosity of the music’s philosophical lyrics was complimented by its classical instrumentation. Blending piano, tuba, cello, xylophone, mandolin and drums, the sound was at once medieval and timeless. Interestingly, most songs were also textured with rhythmic step dancing—think Riverdance—from Seth’s sister, Abbey Magill. All of the elements combined to produce an epic sound that preserved its sincerity, more in line with fellow Texan Win Butler’s Arcade Fire than with the overindulgence of acts like Coldplay and Muse.

By the end of Home By Hovercraft’s soaring set—which was punctuated by an encore song generously played to an insistent crowd—everyone was ready to be brought back down to Earth, which is where The Koroks come in. The young local band played a bouncy indie rock set that finished the night on a simpler note. All in all, it was a great night for live music in Downtown Las Vegas. - Downtown Las Vegas Music


"Review: Home By Hovercraft at Artifice Las Vegas"

The atmosphere at Artifice last night was about what you’d expect on a Tuesday—the bar was dimly lit, relaxed and sparsely populated. All of that changed, however, once local band The Musket Vine arrived around 10pm and started sound checking (see our interview with them here). People began to flock to the stage area and were subsequently treated to an energetic post-punk performance. By the end of the opener’s set, everyone had a drink in hand and a spot on the floor secured for the night’s main attraction—Dallas rock band Home By Hovercraft.

Led by husband and wife duo Seth (vocals/tuba) and Shawn Magill (piano/vocals/xylophone), Home By Hovercraft treated the crowd to an impassioned performance of theatrically inclined rock music. The band’s set list consisted largely of songs from their debut LP, Are We Chameleons?, opening with the album’s first song, “Lie In Your Bed.” From the first few bars of the song, it was immediately clear that the show would be a serious, dramatic and inspiring affair, making the disco ball positioned above the Artifice stage seem both comical and ironic. The ball was not without its symbolic relevance though, as its reflectiveness mirrored the introspective nature of HBH’s music. From refrains of “I hear the machines/here’s what they say/conform, conform/obey, obey” to “stop the noise/we’re all tired of breathing,” the band constantly called on the crowd to listen and look inward.

The grandiosity of the music’s philosophical lyrics was complimented by its classical instrumentation. Blending piano, tuba, cello, xylophone, mandolin and drums, the sound was at once medieval and timeless. Interestingly, most songs were also textured with rhythmic step dancing—think Riverdance—from Seth’s sister, Abbey Magill. All of the elements combined to produce an epic sound that preserved its sincerity, more in line with fellow Texan Win Butler’s Arcade Fire than with the overindulgence of acts like Coldplay and Muse.

By the end of Home By Hovercraft’s soaring set—which was punctuated by an encore song generously played to an insistent crowd—everyone was ready to be brought back down to Earth, which is where The Koroks come in. The young local band played a bouncy indie rock set that finished the night on a simpler note. All in all, it was a great night for live music in Downtown Las Vegas. - Downtown Las Vegas Music


"On The Eve Scores Big with DFW Theater Critics Forum"

This past Saturday, it was time for the annual meeting of the DFW Critics Forum, where we hash it out over our favorite productions, actors, and creative contributors. There seemed to be a general consensus this year—dare I even say there wasn’t even as much debating as usual?

Productions had to have opened between Sept. 1, 2012 and Aug. 31, 2013 to be considered. Trinity Shakespeare Festival received a lot of love, as did homegrown hit On the Eve (to be revived at Theatre Three in January)

On The Eve received honors for Best Score (by Seth & Shawn Magill of Home By Hovercraft), Best New Musical or Play (written by Seth & Shawn Magill and Michael Federico, Best Directing, and 3 Best Actor awards. - D Magazine


"Home By Hovercraft takes Dallas Dramatic Pop Tradition Somewhere New"

Home By Hovercraft aren't afraid of going for the big finish. Led by husband-and-wife combo Seth (lead vocals, tuba) and Shawn Magill (piano, vocals, xylophone), the band also comprises Abbey Magill (percussion), Max Hartman (drums) and Johnny Sequenzia (mandolin, banjolin, harmonica). They rightfully draw comparisons to The National and even Nick Cave for their impeccable ability to bring dramatic ambition into their work.

The group, whose members have played together in various incarnations since 2009, has now filled a chamber-rock void in Dallas with a stunning, robust new album, Are We Chameleons?. Area fans of this brand of band-camp-meets-indie-rock have been musically malnourished in the past couple of years, as like-minded every-instrument-including-the-kitchen-sink acts such as Telegraph Canyon, Seryn, Mount Righteous and the Polyphonic Spree have been more or less silent in terms of releasing new music. Shawn is quick to admit they've drawn inspiration from those who've shown this style of music can thrive in North Texas.

"Yes, definitely we've been inspired by Polyphonic Spree," she says as the band rehearses for a recent live performance of Paul Slavens' original score to the silent film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

"Especially by how they've been able to imagine something different and unique and just do it and not really worry about the consequences," she says. "The first time we heard or saw Telegraph Canyon, we were living in Austin, and they just amazed us with their intricate layering of different instruments ... and exhilarating use of dynamics and vocal harmonies. Seeing them helped encourage us and made the things we were imagining seem possible. Also we were so proud when we discovered they were from the DFW area, a homegrown act of a quality better than most Austin bands we had seen there."

When you hear that a band has lots of drama, that usually means a seedy drug- and dispute-fueled episode of Behind the Music is practically in the can. Not with this crew. Dramatics in various forms are merely tools the group uses to convey their cinematic vision. Even the process of coming up with their unique band name had its share of orchestration.

"First, it's almost impossible to find a name that's not already taken," Shawn explains. "So we figured we'd have to go with multiple words to have success. We love band names that spark an active image or story and wanted to connect our name to imagination and adventure. We'd also been really getting into Scottish bands at the time and loved the band names Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Twilight Sad, so we wanted to create a name that might similarly be found in an old collection of children's stories.

"We ended up on the final name because we also like what it can mean. We love the thought of 'Home' and cultivating those things that can be grown from a healthy home, family or community, and 'Hovercraft' signifies the ultimate in imagination for us — hovering in the air and traveling somewhere at a fast speed, our version of a 'flying dream.' Then, we joined those words, so it was a deliberately random selection."

Any group with a husband and wife at the helm is set up for manic ebbs and flows of emotional turmoil, but that hasn't been the case with the Magills, who have fostered a partnership based on mutual respect and a thirst for new ideas as a couple.

"Our songwriting process is extremely collaborative between Seth and me," Shawn says. "Usually we start with a kernel of lyrics and melody from Seth, which I then layer chords and instrumentation around. This free flow of songwriting leaves us with numerous snippets of songs instead of complete songs that sometimes can take days and sometimes years to form on their own or combine together into full songs.

"Being husband and wife has enabled music to form the foundation of who we are, and we are always open to the new songs that pop up as we go about our daily lives. Seth regularly runs into the room with a new lyric or melody, or I pull a chord progression out of the air. We record these snippets and store these on our phones and bring them out later to form new complete songs. At times it can get hectic and seem like it's always work-work-work, as we are business partners in the band and in our theater/music/film production company, Spacegrove Productions, but then we don't really want it any other way."

It's impossible to not respond to the grandiose, swelling sense of theatrical climax on Are We Chameleons?. It's a mode the band not only seeks, but does expertly and naturally.

"The dramatic nature of our sound is due in large part to the backgrounds of the artists who make up the band," Shawn says. "Seth is trained in theater, and his love of storytelling and t - Dallas Observer


"Four New CDs from DFW Local Bands"

The level of ambition fueling Home by Hovercraft's debut album is as daunting as it is dazzling -- this Dallas-based collective swings for the fences from the opening moments of this 11-song effort, which has its roots in the theater. Led by husband-wife team Seth and Shawn Magill, and rounded out by Abbey Magill, Max Hartman and Johnny Sequenzia, Home by Hovercraft wears its heightened pop-rock lightly, never tipping over into cloying cuteness. Are We Chameleons? sets a bold, high bar for this go-for-broke group to clear on subsequent records, but one senses the band welcomes the challenge. - DFW.com


"Home By Hovercraft Turns Up Drama at Club Dada"

All indie rock bands, local or national, should have an opening song like “Lie in Your Bed.” The tune starts with a Coldplay-styled keyboard solo, but before long the moan of a tuba, the percussive taps of a step dancer, the pounding rhythm of the drummer and the elegant combo of violin and mandolin join in to create a spacious, enveloping wave of sound. By then there’s no turning back. We are hooked. We want more.

Dallas’ Home by Hovercraft — specifically lead singer Seth Magill and his keyboardist wife, Shawn Magill — concocted the beauty that also commences the group’s just-released debut disc Are We Chameleons? In fact, the 80-minute performance Saturday night at Club Dada celebrated the long-in-coming Are We Chameleons? The gig, which featured special guests Bethan and Datahowler, brought to sweeping life the inventive sound of the quintet. Think the aforementioned Coldplay mingling on Broadway with fellow indie rockers, a few folkies and a Celtic step dancer with a mean spring in her feet.

The mixture is exhilarating and theatrical. It’s dramatic when it needs to be and just plain arresting in between. Onstage the Hovercraft gang was joined by violinist Becki Howard, who also makes an appearance on the CD. Next to her was mandolinist, harmonica player and background vocalist Johnny Sequenzia. Drummer Max Hartman kept the boom going; he gave all of those songs their propulsive kick. And finally we have Abbey Magill, Seth’s sister and the birthday girl of the night. She is the agile step dancer with some strong-looking calves and she occasionally doubled on the xylophone.

Home by Hovercraft played all 11 tracks on Are We Chameleons? Of those the highlights included the dynamic “Rocket,” the intensely theatrical “Waking Sleeping,” the beautifully dark ballad “Modernized” and the rousing stomp fest “Blessed Highway” that had the crowd clapping and jumping. There’s something very captivating about Seth Magill’s vocals. He has a deep, droning voice that can belt passionately or keep to a subdued mode. His tone is decidedly theatrical, no surprise since he’s also an actor, and compelling. The song lyrics are philosophical, poetic and brooding. He knows how to sell them.

Among the other seven numbers, most of them still unrecorded, the best were “Stop the Noise” and the totally frenetic closer “Piranha.” Judging by the repertoire during the stage stint, Home by Hovercraft has all but enough cuts ready to make a second studio disc. While I’m still caught up in the glow of Are We Chameleons?, the idea of another batch of tunes stirs up excitement.

Home by Hovercraft is unlike just about any local band I’ve encountered. They take indie rock to the theater while letting the drama breathe inside the music, not the musicians. “Lie in Your Bed” is a mini-musical with hipster cred. It doesn’t get more engrossing than that.

- Dallas Morning News


"Track By Track with Paul Slavens, Home By Hovercraft"

Paul talks with husband-and-wife duo Seth and Shawn Magill of Dallas’ Home By Hovercraft about their new album, Are We Chameleons - ART & SEEK


"Mp3 at 3PM: Home By Hovercraft - ZOO LION"

Having an eclectic sound involving an array of instruments ranging from the xylophone to the tuba, Home By Hovercraft is a quintet based in Dallas. The band’s lead vocalists, Seth and Shawn Magill, do not fit the typical husband/wife archetype. Rather than arguing this tax season, the Magill alliance will be celebrating the release of Are We Chameleons?, Home By Hovercraft’s debut LP. The self-issued album is due March 12. Download the classical/folky “Zoo Lion” below. - Magnet Magazine


"Mp3 at 3PM: Home By Hovercraft - ZOO LION"

Having an eclectic sound involving an array of instruments ranging from the xylophone to the tuba, Home By Hovercraft is a quintet based in Dallas. The band’s lead vocalists, Seth and Shawn Magill, do not fit the typical husband/wife archetype. Rather than arguing this tax season, the Magill alliance will be celebrating the release of Are We Chameleons?, Home By Hovercraft’s debut LP. The self-issued album is due March 12. Download the classical/folky “Zoo Lion” below. - Magnet Magazine


"Album Review: Home By Hovercraft - Are We Chameleons?"

Spoiler alert: Home by Hovercraft are not chameleons. They have a fairly original sound achieved by using unusual instruments like a banjolin (which, by the way, is not a mandolin-banjo nor a Banjoline) and a step dancer (as percussion) mixed with classical elements like piano, mandolin, tuba, violin, xylophone, and drums. Of course, the sound doesn’t change enough throughout the album for me to consider the Dallas, Texas band to be musical chameleons. Are We Chameleons? is the debut album for the five-member group, so perhaps their next album could show a chameleon-like change. There’s no need for such change, though: they work their sound well.

Lead singer Seth Magill’s vocals are very similar to the National’s Matt Berninger’s but with more tremolo. Aside from a few verses, Seth’s vocals are always backed by those of his wife, Shawn Magill. It’s kind of like listening to Stars if the female singer never got to lead and the male singer had a much lower, more trembly voice.

Like The National, the lyrics are a little cryptic. I’m pretty sure they’re instructing to either “snag” or “smack the lemons” and “save the dance for the queen” in “In Hand.” I have tried, but I have no idea where they’re going with that. “Relief” is the one song that made sense to me lyrically, it seems more like a traditional love song where one lover needs to see the other.

Though the album bears some resemblance to others (there are many comparisons to the National, “Talk” seems like it could be a Dave Matthews Band song, Stars came to mind a couple of times,) it is different enough for Home by Hovercraft to find their own success. The fact that they’re “the band with a step dancer” really gives them a niche (you should look up a video of a live performance, I didn’t realize how much of the percussion came from the Irish dancing until I saw it on YouTube.) I’m so used to reviewing bands that use synthesizers or keyboards to recreate sounds that I found it surprising to watch a video of the band performing and realizing that a certain sound was created with a mandolin, tuba, or shoes. The songs are organic and have understated drama. Though you’ll likely have no idea what the songs are about, they’re still pretty interesting to listen to. - Surviving The Golden Age


"Album Stream: Are We Chameleons?"

Today, we are premiering the album Are We Chameleons? by Home By Hovercraft, which you can listen to below. Given that we are headed to Austin for SXSW this week, it seems fitting to promote this great Texan band. Fronted by husband & wife duo Seth Magill and Shawn Magill, Home By Hovercraft describe their sound as classically influenced rock, often drawing comparisons to The National and Nick Cave. But let me tell you, their music will make you want to groove around in your room; it’s catchy, but with a lot of heart. Take a listen below and be sure to support them if they come by your city - Made Of Chalk


"Interview with Home By Hovercraft"

I have a penchant for the dramatic when it comes to music. No smart ass remarks, friends of mine. Yes I know it extends to other areas.

Paint me a moody scene, make my insides swell along with the rise and fall of your music and you are gonna win my heart and ear’s favor. As I wrote in my first mention Home By Hovercraft’s Are We Chameleons? release, they had me from the first note and kept me all the way through. This band out of Dallas, Texas is absolutely one of my favorite new discoveries of the year. I am so pleased they took the time to answer some of my questions. When you are done reading, listen to the album and once you fall in love…which I am certain you will…spread that love around and share it with a friend!

Can you tell me a little about your backgrounds and how you all came together to form the band?

We (Seth and Shawn Magill) first formed Home By Hovercraft to produce our debut EP, Seams, in 2009. Over the next few years, we lived and performed our material in Austin, and New York, finally returning to our hometown of Dallas to join with the current band members for our recording of “Are We Chameleons?” released in March of 2013.

Seth is trained in theater, receiving his Fine Arts degree from SMU In Dallas TX, and his love of storytelling and theatrics is apparent in his lyrics and in our live shows. Theatre also provided the introduction to current band mates Max Hartman (drums) and Johnny Sequenzia (mandolin, harmonica, backup vocals) who work in the local Dallas theatre scene as actors and teachers. Shawn is a classically trained pianist, who started at the University of Texas at Austin as a piano performance major before eventually obtaining a business degree. Her classical training provides the theory foundation for many current compositions. Seth’s sister Abbey Magill has been step-dancing competitively in the Irish tradition since a young age, and the idea to use her steps as a layer of percussion has been slowly building as we’ve cheered her on in pubs and house performances for years, finally culminating in adding her to the lineup of the band. We’ve recently added classically trained cellist Steven Ramirez to help round out bass lines and pick up some of the lovely violin lines guest artist Becki Howard recorded for the album.

You were quoted in one interview I read as saying, “Genre labels shouldn’t be burned to the ground, maybe just sanded down a little bit, blended and texturized.” and I just love that way of describing the problem of putting music into genres! It’s something I struggle with all the time as a reviewer/writer of music because I hate shoving people in little boxes. At the same time, it’s helpful to give new listeners a frame of reference. How do you describe your sound?

Someone recently described our music as classically influenced pop rock. That’s a fair assessment, although we don’t necessarily write to that definition. We love isolating sounds, we love dynamics, we love walls of polyphony and when we set out to explore a song we stretch it in many different directions before we leave it alone. I think that has something to do with the “drama” or “journey” that people sometimes mention after our shows.

I know you incorporate some unusual instruments to achieve your sound such as the banjolin. What is that exactly and what’s the benefit of using it? What are some of the other unique instruments you’ve used?

The banjolin is a unique hybrid of a banjo and mandolin. The neck and strings are the same as a mandolin, but the body is a small banjo “drum”. It allows us to play around with that mixture of tones and textures. We also use a rather old tuba and small ceramic orchestra bells that were originally made for teaching children in Japan. Both instruments have a sound and tone that are unique to us, like an old keyboard sample or a nicely aged drum.

I understand Abbey also provides some of the percussion with Irish step dancing and it brought to mind how Seth just has one of those voices that you would imagine booming out traditional sing along songs in a pub somewhere in Ireland. I am assuming with the last name Magill there’s some Irish heritage there?

There is, definitely, we’ve loosely traced members of our family back to Ireland. Abbey, however, is the first in the immediate family to study Irish step dancing. She’s made several trips to Ireland touring with traditional Irish bands and assures us that we’d be welcomed with open arms there, which we can’t wait to test out! In our opinion she’s really invented a new type of art form with her dancing, looping the cadences you hear in traditional Irish music over our songs, which don’t really follow that tradition at all!

Who/what are some of your influences, musical and otherwise?

We are lovers of those things that stretch the boundaries of our comfort zones and challenge us to think and feel about things differently. Our influences musically are diverse ranging from the - AMnoonPM


"Americana UK: - Vive la Revolution! - Are We Chameleons? Album Review"

The Magill family feature heavily in this debut album by Home by Hovercraft, a 5 piece indie rock band from Dallas, Texas. Husband and wife, Seth and Shawn and Seth’s sister Abbey plus Max Hartman, Johnny Sequenzia and guest Becki Howard make up this indie theatre rock meets classical/folk ensemble. There is a plethora of instruments ranging from the usual – guitar, drums, violin to the unexpected – tuba, banjolin and step dancing. Yes, they use Irish step dancing as percussion. No surprise then that there is a hint of theatricality here. Layers of violin and piano combined with his deep vocal and her high, soft tones enhance the catchy songs. The lyrics are somewhat cryptic but this doesn't overly distract from their appeal.

On further research, the album is, in fact, songs from Home by Hovercraft’s new musical “On The Eve”; a piece about Marie Antoinette and a time travelling hot air balloon. Did I mention they were a tad theatrical? The theatre and classicism of the whole album blends well with the indie rock rhythms and is satisfactorily viable as a discrete entity on its own. It is a likeable and engaging melee of songs with interesting vocals and musical arrangements. Who would have imagined you could produce all of this with a mandolin, tuba and a pair of shoes? - Americana UK


"Home By Hovercraft: Album Release Show Review"

You’ve probably heard all about it the past week, what with the constant hype surrounding Home By Hovercraft’s upcoming LP Are We Chameleons? at last slated for a March 12 digital release.

The band itself has garnered significant attention as one of DFW’s most innovative live acts, with a following committed to every word sung, every note played. With that, Saturday’s set at Dallas’ Club Dada was sure to be explosive.

The deep, brassy murmur of Seth Magill’s tuba broke up the quick break that punctuated Home By Hovercraft’s appearance, followed rapidly by the sound of accelerated, vivaciously-poppy keyboard. Hopefully you liked your spot if you were at the show, because the moment the group took stage there was no moving around. Dada was jammed and bursting with an enthusiasm equally shared on stage and off.

Remember the dramatic flair mentioned in the previous two performances? Let’s take that and multiply it by 5 for every theatrical member of the group. Let’s bring in the foot-stomping, the enthusiastic bounces, the swaying that gradually developed into a crescendo that enveloped the whole club. Let’s talk mandolin, violin. Let’s talk step dancing, an element as important to Home By Hovercraft as a guitar to virtually any rock act in the world of music.

You want traditional? You’ve been in the wrong place all night. It’s hard to want to stop after 30 minutes when a crowd that animated stands before you (the word “stands” being used very lightly), so Dada got all eleven tracks in a gloriously infused 80-minute set.

Even beautiful ballads like “Modernized” and the flowing “Waking Sleeping” helped keep the intrigue with a softer flair. But the standout of the night, the group’s encore track called “Piranha” set the bar at its peak height way above the Dallas skyline.

So even at 1 a.m. after the set ended, the Home By Hovercraft welcomed the swarm of fans grateful for the long-awaited night. - GoodBamShow


"Home By Hovercraft: Album Release Show Review"

You’ve probably heard all about it the past week, what with the constant hype surrounding Home By Hovercraft’s upcoming LP Are We Chameleons? at last slated for a March 12 digital release.

The band itself has garnered significant attention as one of DFW’s most innovative live acts, with a following committed to every word sung, every note played. With that, Saturday’s set at Dallas’ Club Dada was sure to be explosive.

The deep, brassy murmur of Seth Magill’s tuba broke up the quick break that punctuated Home By Hovercraft’s appearance, followed rapidly by the sound of accelerated, vivaciously-poppy keyboard. Hopefully you liked your spot if you were at the show, because the moment the group took stage there was no moving around. Dada was jammed and bursting with an enthusiasm equally shared on stage and off.

Remember the dramatic flair mentioned in the previous two performances? Let’s take that and multiply it by 5 for every theatrical member of the group. Let’s bring in the foot-stomping, the enthusiastic bounces, the swaying that gradually developed into a crescendo that enveloped the whole club. Let’s talk mandolin, violin. Let’s talk step dancing, an element as important to Home By Hovercraft as a guitar to virtually any rock act in the world of music.

You want traditional? You’ve been in the wrong place all night. It’s hard to want to stop after 30 minutes when a crowd that animated stands before you (the word “stands” being used very lightly), so Dada got all eleven tracks in a gloriously infused 80-minute set.

Even beautiful ballads like “Modernized” and the flowing “Waking Sleeping” helped keep the intrigue with a softer flair. But the standout of the night, the group’s encore track called “Piranha” set the bar at its peak height way above the Dallas skyline.

So even at 1 a.m. after the set ended, the Home By Hovercraft welcomed the swarm of fans grateful for the long-awaited night. - GoodBamShow


"Album Review: Home By Hovercraft - Are We Chameleons?"

Sometimes, appreciating the beauty of life becomes most difficult precisely when you need beauty the most. The burdens of every day have a way of silently crushing you, as the books in your bag push your head down until all you can see is the gravel. My school rests on top of a hill, and each step I take these days feels heavy—April in Korea is the most colorful time of the year, with the cherry blossoms coming into full bloom, but for high school seniors, it’s a mental hell. The timing is apt, for theatre-rock troupe Home By Hovercraft’s debut release, Are We Chameleons?, is a much-needed panacea for these trying times. It’s so bright it’s practically drenched in color, but its aesthetic qualities belie an album that’s more than willing to delve into the darker reaches of the human heart—even if it ultimately comes out triumphant.

The band’s strongest attribute is its playful instrumentation. As soon as a wistful piano line opens “Lie In Your Bed,” the band sets the tone of the entire album, a backdrop of sadness bathed in sunlight. The band utilizes a palette of appealing sounds, relying heavily on the piano for both melody and rhythm but also bringing in strings, xylophone, harmonica, and even tuba when necessary. There’s often a disparity between the uplifting music and the introspective lyrics, though: the summery “Rocket” features a surprisingly morbid chorus centered on dealing with death, while mid-album ballad “Out Of My Head With It” illustrates its titular concept by layering Seth Magill’s fretful vocals over hushed, intimate instrumentation.

Further coloring in this distinction are the theatrical tendencies running throughout Are We Chameleons?. Most prominently, the album plays quite a bit with rhythms, finding a balance between the sweeping movements of classical music and the more down-to-earth, scrappy cadence of indie-rock. The piano bounces with an unusual gusto, while the band’s percussion has a charmingly military bent. “In Hand” opens with some snappy drum rolls before spinning into a sardonic ditty about breaking the mold. The band’s penchant for the dramatic offers both pros and cons: while rich with emotion, the song suffers from some lines that even the characters of Glee would find too on-the-nose (“Conform, conform, obey, obey,” mimes Magill in the chorus in a particularly groanworthy moment).

Perhaps Home By Hovercraft’s most unique attribute is its vocals. Husband/wife pair Seth and Shawn Magill create an interesting dynamic, the former, a deep-throated tenor, taking on the texture of sandpaper and the latter smoothing out the harmonies. The male Magill, in particular, shines: there’s a bit of Sarah McLachlan syndrome going on when it gets difficult to make out the lyrics, but his rough, flighty voice grounds Are We Chameleons? in real human emotions, keeping the cutesier elements in check.

All in all, Are We Chameleons? is about balance, both musical and emotional. Though a whiff of melancholy lies beneath most of the album, it never drags sonically, with both reserved, thoughtful ballads (the aforementioned “Out Of My Head With It” and the outstanding “Relief”) and upbeat rockers (“Talk,” which has hints of Greg Laswell in the driving piano line and Magill’s carefully measured performance, and the scrappy, energetic “40 Winks”). The band isn't above tipping the scales, though: “Modernized” starts off as a straightforward dialogue between singer and piano on the nature of adapting, but it gradually crescendos into a more resolute affirmation. Home By Hovercraft’s primary concern is the nature of dreams and change, but it’s safe to say that it holds a more optimistic view than most.

Revealingly, the band waits until “Blessed Highway,” the last song of the album, to finally play its hand: the most out-and-about happy song on the album, it’s an optimistic note to end on. “The blessed highway’s always full,” the band yowls together, sun blazing over Route 66 and everybody packed into the pickup barreling down the road at 10 miles over the speed limit. It’s a boldly universal declaration of courage in the face of doubt, a fitting ending to an album that’s all about hope, even when despair is easier. And wherever you are, mired down in the daily grind, hope is a pretty darn beautiful thing to behold. - Muzik Discovery


"Track Review: Home By Hovercraft "Zoo Lion""

After you hear “Zoo Lion,” one of the first singles from the band’s debut full-length, Are We Chameleons?, the comparisons to the National, in particular, High Violet, will seem particularly apt — although Home by Hovercraft’s sound is much more Romantic/dramatic. - Joy Of Violent Movement


"Tunecrush: Home By Hovercraft "Rocket""

One of the most exciting and original shows debuted in December 2012 in Dallas, Texas. I’m talking about “On The Eve”, a new musical with songs written by Seth & Shawn Magill of Home by Hovercraft. Enjoy the first single, “Rocket”, from their forthcoming release Are We Chameleons?, which will feature songs from that musical. - Groove Loves Melody


"Track Premiere: Home By Hovercraft / Zoo Lion"

...Magill’s energetic baritone, which bears more than a passing simi...larity to Matt Berninger’s [The National], seems to carry the weight of the world as it rides along on tidal waves of piano, shuffling drums, and slowly bowed strings. The song introduces you to the band’s slightly skewed world of indie rock, and it’s a place that you’re not likely to want to leave any time soon. - Beats Per Minute


"Theater Review: Talking About A Revolution"

With the enigmatic, rocking musical On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions and Home by Hovercraft create a show you won't soon forget.

It's strange to site Spring when reviewing a show in the Fall, but watching a premiere of a new work is like waiting for flowers to break the dull gray earth. Nature's following effulgence will render them commonplace in a flowering field, but the first sprouting buds are made brighter by virtue of their dull backdrop.

That's a fancy way of saying new works are often like flowers in mud.

Fortunately for On the Eve, the new musical from Spacegrove Productions and Nouveau 47 Theatre, it's more flower than mud. Though, the same juxtaposition works toward book writer Michael Federico's point. This "almost entirely true story of Marie Antoinette and the first time traveling hot air balloon" prompts the audience to recognize the mud they're in and sprout.

There's a lot more plot in the pot than the famed cake-eating tart, and director Jeffrey Schmidt does his best to wrestle it into poignant moments. What he doesn't have to worry about are the songs by husband-and-wife team Seth and Shawn Magill.

That's when the show breaks wide open and turns into a de facto performance of their band Home By Hovercraft—only with very special guests sitting in. Their wall of sound will envelope you with lush color and swirling fragrance with a beat that will enlist you in its bouncing anthem stomp. You could use Polyphonic Spree as a reference point, but just when you've taken their measure the rhythm is reinforced by synchronized Irish step dancers.

The only quibble may be the lack of an encore. So, if you want more, you'll just have to return.

The show begins at humanity's end. Amidst encroaching explosions a group of post-apocalyptic players agree to perform their story one last time. Gregory Lush's narrator, The Talking Man, comes half from Cabaret and half from Clockwork Orange. In fact, the entire evening is a smorgasbord of psychological issues culled from the syllabi of Theatre Lit and Film Studies. It's Brecht and Albee. It's Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. It swirls with the lawless logic of dreams and would make a Freudian analyst a pretty penny in therapist fees.

There's an inventor, Joseph, and his wife, Simone, whose love grows cold while he researches hot air. Played by Brian Witkowicz and Jenny Ledel, their withering love story provides ballast for sillier faire such as Martha Harms as Marie Antoinette and Ian Ferguson as Louis XVI and their anachronistic relationship spoiler: Chase Spacegrove, played by Seth Magill. Yep, he's a time travelling balloonist. While we're at it why not add a bleeding statue, played by Maryam Baig, who rebelliously decides to speak. And that's just in the first act.

There's enough material for three shows and it's hard to know whom the show is about amongst the flood. Through the tumult the audience is denied an obvious character in which to invest. The good news is that a rising tide raises all boats, or in this case balloons. Themes of individuality versus duty are examined everywhere from family to country to art.

There are brilliant moments in the maelstrom. Some are quiet, such as the Tara Magill playing Antoinette's younger self in the mirror. Some are sick, such as Gregory Lush revealing the Talking Man's sadist side. But the best are sung. The voices are an embarrassment of riches. Seth Magill sounds like Bryan Ferry. Martha Harms sounds like a young Alison Moyet. Jenny Ledel sounds like Fiona Apple. As music director, Shawn Magill blends it all together from the keyboard by the stage.

This show seems born out of a desire for revolution but with the real awareness of the consequences. Characters/players are given chances to see and change their circumstances, but then must face the music, literally.

Go and you'll be inspired to face the music with them.

- Theater Jones


"The Eve Of Something Big"

Why is the new, locally written musical On the Eve, about "a time-traveling hot air balloon, Marie Antoinette, and a would-be hero with a really cool gun" difficult to explain?

It might because its creators, book writer Michael Federico and composers/lyricists Seth and Shawn Magill have, while holding onto the basic concept, been changing the work since it had a private reading in 2011, which was followed by a public reading. Those changes include new ideas brought in by director Jeffrey Schmidt, who became involved for the musical's first full production, beginning this weekend at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park. The show is produced under the banner of Spacegrove Productions, in conjunction with Nouveau 47 Theatre, with the help of $5,000 raised via Kickstarter.

"There are certain things that Jeff came up with that I never would have thought of, but I like it so much," says Federico, an actor, Kitchen Dog Theater company member and the new managing director of Nouveau 47. "I think it has the spirit of what I always pictured; there are things that Jeff and the cast and Shawn and [choreographer] Sara [Romersberger] have found that have made it more specific."

Federico and the Magills, a married couple who lead the local band Home by Hovercraft, have been brewing the idea for a long time. Federico and Seth met as undergrad theater students at Southern Methodist University in the 1990s.

"For a while we were living in different cities but would see each other at Christmas, at parties," Federico says. "They kept talking about this idea of a show about the hot air balloon and Marie Antoinette. Finally we ended up in Dallas at the same time."

The story is inspired by the invention of the hot air balloon, during the time of Marie Antoinette, in the late 18th century, in which bothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier invented the balloon and supposedly sent a duck, rooster and sheep up in the contraption before it was tested with humans riding along. It also stemmed in part from a class lecture at University of Texas at Dallas, where Federico recently comletely his Master's, on the Chicago World Fair in 1893, which supposedly showcased the guillotine in which Antoinette's head was offed.

In On the Eve, Marie Antoinette is a character, and the balloon time-travels into the 19th and 20th centuries, and beyond, with other historical characters making cameos.

Because Shawn and Seth have theater backgrounds (he currently teaches acting for Shakespeare Dallas and Dallas Children's Theater, and was in DCT's recent production of Pinkalicious; she is a business consultant and Nouveau 47's new outreach director), Home by Hovercraft's songs tend to be story-driven, and were naturals to make their way into a musical.

Home by Hovercraft also includes Seth's sister Abbey, whose role in the band is Irish step dancing as percussion; local actor Max Hartman on the drum kit; and Johnny Sequenzia on mandolin, banjolin and harmonica. Seth is lead vocalist and plays tuba, and Shawn, a classically trained pianist, is on keyboards and xylophone. The band has an eclectic sound, and often draws comparisons to bands that have put a cabaret twist—as in traditional German-style cabaret—on indie rock, such as the Dresden Dolls and Beirut. Although if you download HxH's 2009 EP Seams via iTunes, you'll hear more straightforward and catchy piano-based rock. (The songs from On the Eve will be featured on a forthcoming album.)

All of the band members, and most of their instruments, come into play in On the Eve, with Seth also playing the role of the would-be hero. The cast also includes local actors Jenny Ledel, Gregory Lush, Maryam Baig Lush, Brian Witkowicz and Aspen Taylor, with dancers Leslie McDonough and Shannon McCauley joining Abbey Magill in the percussive step dancing.

"I think [this musical] stretched us out of a comfort zone," Shawn says. "But nobody ever said 'let's write about that.' We worked on the story and songs would come. [The music] is affected by the mood or feel of a scene."

"We try and live in the story of the song," Seth adds. "So we'll develop a story for the song. Some of the songs already had a similar story, or at least similar subtext."

As for the book, there's a play-within-a-play aspect, and Federico readily admits the influence of Brecht and Pirandello, as well as novelist Thomas Pynchon.

"It becomes about this group of people trying to get it right," Federico says. "I think as actors and artists, we're always thinking about that."

No doubt, as On the Eve continues its evolution forward—they plan to pursue options for future productions elsewhere—"getting it right" is something all involved will continue thinking about.

As for an explanation of what it is, perhaps a description that's been going around on Facebook suits it best: "Equal parts epic Brechtian storytelling, rock concert and unicorn tears." - Theater Jones


"Theater Review: New musical 'On The Eve' has Dallas world premiere"

On the Eve is such a mix of the pretentious and the random that it shouldn’t work at all. Against all odds, however, it’s one of the most entertaining and exhilarating theatrical events of the year. Go figure.
This world premiere musical, presented by Spacegrove Productions and Nouveau 47, is in the tiny Fair Park space where the legendary Margo Jones invented American regional theater. The whimsical yet post-apocalyptic On the Eve couldn’t be more different from the heavy dramas like Summer and Smoke and Inherit the Wind that Jones premiered there.
Michael Federico’s book stretches from pre-revolutionary France to a bureaucratic, totalitarian future, with time-traveling stops at other eras along the way. The Talking Man (Gregory Lush) acts as a dictatorial narrator or ringmaster. Marie Antoinette (Martha Harms) and her husband, Louis XVI (Ian Ferguson), dither about, ignoring the people’s needs. Scientist Joseph (Brian Witkowicz) neglects the needs of his wife, Simone (Jenny Ledel), and baby as he tries to invent a flying balloon.
Things start to go awry when a woman paid to stand still like a statue (Maryam Baig) while people stab holes in her begins to talk to the customers. Soon everyone is in rebellion — the performers in the circus-within-the-play against the Talking Man, and the French people against the royals. A charismatic superhero wannabe, Chase Spacegrove (Seth Magill), offers his help. Some characters make their escape into the future, and the second act repeats in another key the basic theme of a search for authenticity in a world of trivial pursuits and brutal force.
A character warns early on not to expect neatness or perfection. On the Eve certainly doesn’t give you those. Its rewards come from its willingness to try anything and its talented cast’s ability to bring off even the riskiest flights of fancy. Harms’ sudden shift from a bewigged flibbertigibbet to a thoughtful if flawed monarch surveying her life, for instance, is breathtaking.
Magill and his wife, Shawn Magill — leaders of the rock band Home by Hovercraft — wrote the songs for the show, and the classically trained Shawn leads the onstage band from the keyboards.
The music brings depth and power to the fragmented, postmodern script. Sara Romersberger’s choreography makes the two Irish dancers percussive commentators on the action, as well. Jeffrey Schmidt’s inventive direction helps the actors make instant transitions from bombastic rhetoric to intimate naturalism — and his innovative visual ideas as set designer contribute to the building sense of euphoria. - Dallas Morning News


"Theater Review: New musical 'On The Eve' has Dallas world premiere"

On the Eve is such a mix of the pretentious and the random that it shouldn’t work at all. Against all odds, however, it’s one of the most entertaining and exhilarating theatrical events of the year. Go figure.
This world premiere musical, presented by Spacegrove Productions and Nouveau 47, is in the tiny Fair Park space where the legendary Margo Jones invented American regional theater. The whimsical yet post-apocalyptic On the Eve couldn’t be more different from the heavy dramas like Summer and Smoke and Inherit the Wind that Jones premiered there.
Michael Federico’s book stretches from pre-revolutionary France to a bureaucratic, totalitarian future, with time-traveling stops at other eras along the way. The Talking Man (Gregory Lush) acts as a dictatorial narrator or ringmaster. Marie Antoinette (Martha Harms) and her husband, Louis XVI (Ian Ferguson), dither about, ignoring the people’s needs. Scientist Joseph (Brian Witkowicz) neglects the needs of his wife, Simone (Jenny Ledel), and baby as he tries to invent a flying balloon.
Things start to go awry when a woman paid to stand still like a statue (Maryam Baig) while people stab holes in her begins to talk to the customers. Soon everyone is in rebellion — the performers in the circus-within-the-play against the Talking Man, and the French people against the royals. A charismatic superhero wannabe, Chase Spacegrove (Seth Magill), offers his help. Some characters make their escape into the future, and the second act repeats in another key the basic theme of a search for authenticity in a world of trivial pursuits and brutal force.
A character warns early on not to expect neatness or perfection. On the Eve certainly doesn’t give you those. Its rewards come from its willingness to try anything and its talented cast’s ability to bring off even the riskiest flights of fancy. Harms’ sudden shift from a bewigged flibbertigibbet to a thoughtful if flawed monarch surveying her life, for instance, is breathtaking.
Magill and his wife, Shawn Magill — leaders of the rock band Home by Hovercraft — wrote the songs for the show, and the classically trained Shawn leads the onstage band from the keyboards.
The music brings depth and power to the fragmented, postmodern script. Sara Romersberger’s choreography makes the two Irish dancers percussive commentators on the action, as well. Jeffrey Schmidt’s inventive direction helps the actors make instant transitions from bombastic rhetoric to intimate naturalism — and his innovative visual ideas as set designer contribute to the building sense of euphoria. - Dallas Morning News


"Awesome Things To Do This Weekend"

There’s a performance of Nouveau 47's On the Eve, a new rock musical written by members of the local band Home By Hovercraft and actor and Kitchen Dog Theater company member Michael Frederico. The plot follows the very nearly true story of Marie Antoinette and the world’s first-ever time machine. FrontRow’s Dick Sullivan has the backstory on Home by Hovercraft’s origins and how they made their way to the theater. - D Magazine FrontBurner


"14 Awesome Things to Do In Dallas This Weekend"

On The Eve -- This new rock musical was written right here in Dallas by Michael Federico and Home by Hovercraft's Seth and Shawn Magill. It takes a mescaline-infused look at alternative history, as Marie Antoinette commandeers a hot air balloon time machine with the help of an unlikely gang of collaborators. - Dallas Observer


"On The Eve: "Because Time Travel is Fun""

With as much control as we exercise over our own existence, its retelling is left to those who follow us. In some instances, like Christopher Columbus, an inordinate amount of fame is lavished. For others, like Marie Antoinnete, the story would water down a different tributary, and its path of notoriety would be a cruel one.
But if local band Home by Hovercraft and its co-conspirator writer, Michael Federico have anything to say about it, that's all about to change. And it will take a cast of 18, nine musical numbers, some stop-motion video, two Irish dancers and five to six time-traveling hot air balloons to do exactly that.

Don't worry, they're up for the challenge.
Toppling public perception isn't an overnight task. In fact, creating their new rock musical On The Eve, opening November 30 at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park, has been a theatrical endeavor several years in the making. As a group, they've been friends since college, but after diplomas were doled out, geography limited their collaborative abilities. Michael wound up in New York and husband/wife team Seth and Shawn Magills hopped around, eventually settling their roots down deep in the Dallas caliche.

But Federico returned as well and joined the company at Kitchen Dog Theatre. It didn't take long them to act. They were soon meeting regularly -- to create a revolution, about a revolution.

The music of Home by Hovercraft lends itself to thematic adventure, napsacked with philosophy. Bold and caring, the anthems are designed to envelop the characters of On The Eve, rather than simply drag them from scene to scene. Its being played live, with a full band. So be warned: you might contract a contact epiphany.

The logical question is, Why Marie? What is it about this matriarch that demands a full-blown stage performance, glossed with time travel?
Well, the gang just kinda likes her.

"History has a really bad habit of demonizing certain people, certainly women," says Federico. For Shawn, it's more personal. She speaks empathetically when referencing the former queen, "If I was born as her, would it have been any different for me?" It's a tough question to answer, and that's why they needed a time machine.

Antoinette had connections to the hot air balloon's inventors, and Federico points out that paintings exist of the orbs lingering seductively above Versailles.

They decided that rounding out the production required moving its central characters throughout different placements in time. In part, to show that truth is murked across all eras. And also because, well, "time travel is fun."

What shakes out is an inventive, childlike world that sheds visual layers of inauthenticity as its plot develops. "We wanted it to look like a show in kindergarten, when you have those cardboard waves," says Shawn, chugging her arms around in a circular motion. To get that effect, the show's director Jeffrey Schmidt (the mind behind Theatre Three's stunning production of The Farnsworth Invention), made a series of hot air balloons that carry the central characters throughout the story, while suspending audience disbelief.

They begin rudimentary. "One is a shopping cart he's turned into a junkyard time machine. Another is a little balloon," says Federico. And while assembled to quite obviously resemble props, "there's a charmingness to them," says Shawn.

They refuse the Observer even a tiny peek (Schmidt would "kill them"), but its promised that the final mode of space/time abandon is appropriately spectacular for the show's finale.

If the next three weekends go well (the show closes on December 15), the flame could be turned up for On The Eve. Its authors would like to travel the production around, showing it off in other cities. We hope they do. After all, it isn't often you hear a musical described as "a little Bill and Ted meets 1984 with a dash of Back to the Future." Plus, you can rock out to it. - Dallas Observer


"On The Eve: "Because Time Travel is Fun""

With as much control as we exercise over our own existence, its retelling is left to those who follow us. In some instances, like Christopher Columbus, an inordinate amount of fame is lavished. For others, like Marie Antoinnete, the story would water down a different tributary, and its path of notoriety would be a cruel one.
But if local band Home by Hovercraft and its co-conspirator writer, Michael Federico have anything to say about it, that's all about to change. And it will take a cast of 18, nine musical numbers, some stop-motion video, two Irish dancers and five to six time-traveling hot air balloons to do exactly that.

Don't worry, they're up for the challenge.
Toppling public perception isn't an overnight task. In fact, creating their new rock musical On The Eve, opening November 30 at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park, has been a theatrical endeavor several years in the making. As a group, they've been friends since college, but after diplomas were doled out, geography limited their collaborative abilities. Michael wound up in New York and husband/wife team Seth and Shawn Magills hopped around, eventually settling their roots down deep in the Dallas caliche.

But Federico returned as well and joined the company at Kitchen Dog Theatre. It didn't take long them to act. They were soon meeting regularly -- to create a revolution, about a revolution.

The music of Home by Hovercraft lends itself to thematic adventure, napsacked with philosophy. Bold and caring, the anthems are designed to envelop the characters of On The Eve, rather than simply drag them from scene to scene. Its being played live, with a full band. So be warned: you might contract a contact epiphany.

The logical question is, Why Marie? What is it about this matriarch that demands a full-blown stage performance, glossed with time travel?
Well, the gang just kinda likes her.

"History has a really bad habit of demonizing certain people, certainly women," says Federico. For Shawn, it's more personal. She speaks empathetically when referencing the former queen, "If I was born as her, would it have been any different for me?" It's a tough question to answer, and that's why they needed a time machine.

Antoinette had connections to the hot air balloon's inventors, and Federico points out that paintings exist of the orbs lingering seductively above Versailles.

They decided that rounding out the production required moving its central characters throughout different placements in time. In part, to show that truth is murked across all eras. And also because, well, "time travel is fun."

What shakes out is an inventive, childlike world that sheds visual layers of inauthenticity as its plot develops. "We wanted it to look like a show in kindergarten, when you have those cardboard waves," says Shawn, chugging her arms around in a circular motion. To get that effect, the show's director Jeffrey Schmidt (the mind behind Theatre Three's stunning production of The Farnsworth Invention), made a series of hot air balloons that carry the central characters throughout the story, while suspending audience disbelief.

They begin rudimentary. "One is a shopping cart he's turned into a junkyard time machine. Another is a little balloon," says Federico. And while assembled to quite obviously resemble props, "there's a charmingness to them," says Shawn.

They refuse the Observer even a tiny peek (Schmidt would "kill them"), but its promised that the final mode of space/time abandon is appropriately spectacular for the show's finale.

If the next three weekends go well (the show closes on December 15), the flame could be turned up for On The Eve. Its authors would like to travel the production around, showing it off in other cities. We hope they do. After all, it isn't often you hear a musical described as "a little Bill and Ted meets 1984 with a dash of Back to the Future." Plus, you can rock out to it. - Dallas Observer


"The Story Behind an Unlikely Pop Musical, and the Musician Couple Who Made It Happen"

During this year’s Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase, Home by Hovercraft owned the stage at Club Dada with their effusive, anthemic pop. They appeared too experienced for a band that had just landed on the scene — and for good reason. Home by Hovercraft’s long and peculiar genesis is reminiscent of what famously buoyant PBS artist Bob Ross would call “a happy accident.” To put it another way: when life hands you a marriage, a vintage xylophone, an Irish step-dancing sister, and a tuba you do not know how to play, start a band.

Husband and Wife Seth and Shawn Magill go way back, back to Shawn’s East Dallas backyard, where Seth and his family rented a converted garage-apartment when he was three years old. Both families moved around, but remained close friends. When Seth and Shawn finally got married in 2000, their families, who had been lobbying for a wedding since both were teenagers, couldn’t be happier.

Seth and Shawn’s musical collaboration was incidental to their matrimonial collaboration. Shawn is a classically trained pianist and Seth is classically trained in theater. When Shawn played piano in their living room, Seth asked her if she ever thought of “playing stuff just out of her head.” The songwriting started there, with Shawn growing more adventurous on the piano and Seth contributing vocals and the storytelling instincts of his theater background.

Since then, Home by Hovercraft’s route maps out like a band trying to gain a foothold in independent music, moving first to Austin in 2008, then to Brooklyn about a year later. As it happens, the moves were entirely related to Shawn’s job as a business consultant, but the couple made the most of the geographic opportunities. “It was just hipster boot camp,” remarks Seth about residing in the two notably musical cities. “We just needed to get updated quickly, because we were in our thirties.”

The couple returned to Dalla sat the beginning of 2011, armed with a chest-full of songs and live instincts honed by their performances in Austin and New York. At that point, the couple comprised the whole band, which had always played as a trio: Seth, Shawn and whoever responded to their Craigslist ads for a drummer. Reestablished in Dallas, they enlisted Seth’s sister, Abbey, for her percussive dancing. “I threw down a plywood board and she danced on it,” says Seth. “And I played the kick drum.” Home by Hovercraft would later add a drummer, Max Hartman, and mandolin player, Johnny Sequenzia to complete the band.

Home by Hovercraft’s other instrumental quirks are the product of happenstance and an open mind. During their frequent browsing trips to the vintage shop Millennium, the couple found a rare Japanese Xylophone and a tuba. The xylophone was straightforward enough for Shawn and Abbey, but Seth had little clue how to play the tuba. Rather than looking up the fingerings, Seth elected to find the right notes on the brass instrument through trial-and-error. “He’s basically just playing the sound that matches the song,” says Shawn.

Home by Hovercraft does have one nearly five-year-old EP, titled Seams, to their credit, which Seth refers to as “smooth listening.” “It’s definitely not what we do now,” says Shawn. The band has always intended to record something more indicative of their evolved sound. Yet it was an idea for a musical that grabbed the Magill’s attention and energy first, despite the fact that neither of them particularly enjoys musicals in general. “I just don’t typically like musical theater music,” says Shawn. “I like rock music.”

Billed as an “almost entirely true story of Marie Antoinette and the first time machine,” On the Eve is a musical play by Dallas theater veteran Michael Federico and the Magills, running on the engine of Home by Hovercraft’s songs. An actor with Dallas Children’s Theater, Seth initially got the idea through his work on the production James and the Giant Peach as he started thinking about hot air balloons.

The three playwrights held a staged reading of the musical in November 2011 to an enthusiastic, sold-out reception. With the help of director Jeffrey Schmidt and choreographer Sara Romersberger, On the Eve is now a fully-fleshed production scheduled to open November 30 at the Margot Jones Theater in the Magnolia Lounge: a storied, modest art-deco building in Fair Park directly across from the Chinese Lantern Festival. The musical will feature Seth as a member of the cast, dancing by Abbey Magill and others and, of course, live accompaniment from Home by Hovercraft.

For now, preparations for On the Eve, which will run through December 15, demand all of Home by Hovercraft’s time. But a full-length album, Are We Chameleons, is still on their minds. Shawn is quick to insist that, though the album overlaps with the musical (nine of the 12 songs are featured in the production), the two are not intended to be linked. Most of the songs, even those used in On the Eve, predate the musical. Set to be r - D Magazine


"Becki Howard: "I've Learned That Booking Only Bands You Love Isn't Always the Most Fiscally Responsible Thing To Do!""

Q & A with Becki Howard, Talent Buyer at ATT Performing Arts Center
Seen anyone new lately that raised your eyebrows? I just saw a show this last weekend that had three amazing bands on the bill. First was Home by Hovercraft, who really blew me away. They have a very engaging and energetic live show and I’d highly recommend checking them out. [Dallas Observer, May 2012] - Dallas Observer


"Becki Howard: "I've Learned That Booking Only Bands You Love Isn't Always the Most Fiscally Responsible Thing To Do!""

Q & A with Becki Howard, Talent Buyer at ATT Performing Arts Center
Seen anyone new lately that raised your eyebrows? I just saw a show this last weekend that had three amazing bands on the bill. First was Home by Hovercraft, who really blew me away. They have a very engaging and energetic live show and I’d highly recommend checking them out. [Dallas Observer, May 2012] - Dallas Observer


"Home By Hovercraft - It's a Family Affair"

Seth and Shawn Magill have a great love story. They were childhood friends, and they kept in touch, kind of, through high school. But after college, they met again, on Jan. 1, 2000. And they got married three months later. They have a 7-year-old daughter, Tara, and if you meet them, you can tell right away they are best friends. But if you listen to their music, you won’t hear any mushy love stuff. Their band, Home By Hovercraft, doesn’t really do love songs. “Love is an element in all of them,” Shawn says. But they’re all about the human experience. The Magills discovered they could make beautiful music together shortly after they were married. Shawn is a classically trained pianist. She originally majored in piano at the University of North Texas but later switched and earned a more practical degree, in business. Seth is an actor and acting coach with a singing voice that’s smooth and soulful. Their sound is rock-n-roll with classical roots. “We realized my playing and his singing went together really well,” Shawn says. “About five years ago, we started playing open mics.” Her job took them to Austin for a year, and that’s where they recorded their four-track EP, “Seams”. Later, they moved to Brooklyn, for Shawn’s job again, where they once opened for Marcy Playground. Now they live in Forest Oaks, and they intend to stay. “We’ve been working really slow,” Shawn says. But that doesn’t mean they’re not working hard. Home By Hovercraft has written enough new songs for two albums, so they’re paring those down, and they plan to get into the studio this summer. They’re also working on a rock musical with their friend Mike Federico. They say it’s a period piece inspired by the first hot-air balloon flight, and it involves time travel. The Magills say they are brutally honest with each other when it comes to music, but they almost always agree. “The only problem is, we can’t get away from it,” Shawn says. “We love doing it so much that we would just do that and not eat, which has happened.” Their daughter was given a drum kit for Christmas, and already, she has started a band, “The Sea Flags”, with her cousin. “I don’t know,” Shawn says. “We might be old news pretty soon.” - Lakewood Advocate


"Home By Hovercraft - Rocket (New Music)"

We receive music recommendations on a daily basis. Very few local bands have been brought to our attention more than Home By Hovercraft. The Dallas band is built around the husband and wife duo of Seth and Shawn Magill. The five-piece has a sound that is reminiscent of Beirut, Tilly and the Wall, and Amanda Palmer. Yes, we know that doesn’t make sense, but listen to “Rocket” and you will understand.

This is anthemic music at its best. You will sing. You will dance. You will have a better day after listening to Home By Hovercraft. The group is known to put on excellent shows. You can see them this weekend at Art Conspiracy’s RZN8 at Life in Deep Ellum.

Stream the aforementioned new single, “Rocket,” from the band’s forthcoming album Are We Chameleons. - The Majestic Show


"Home By Hovercraft - Rocket (New Music)"

We receive music recommendations on a daily basis. Very few local bands have been brought to our attention more than Home By Hovercraft. The Dallas band is built around the husband and wife duo of Seth and Shawn Magill. The five-piece has a sound that is reminiscent of Beirut, Tilly and the Wall, and Amanda Palmer. Yes, we know that doesn’t make sense, but listen to “Rocket” and you will understand.

This is anthemic music at its best. You will sing. You will dance. You will have a better day after listening to Home By Hovercraft. The group is known to put on excellent shows. You can see them this weekend at Art Conspiracy’s RZN8 at Life in Deep Ellum.

Stream the aforementioned new single, “Rocket,” from the band’s forthcoming album Are We Chameleons. - The Majestic Show


"Art Conspiracy's RZN8 Pits Art Against Music"

It takes money to make money, and so it also takes money to raise money. Saturday night, Art Conspiracy continued its trajectory with a seed event to prepare for their fall shindig.

Kicking off the night, Kirby Brown's sweet mix of folky tunes and storytelling set the mood early. As arriving patrons played with the speakers incorporated into each art piece, Brown noticed he was having to compete with the art. "In this round of art vs. art, who will win?" he joked to the crowd. Spook Easy's jangly pop impressed and Home by Hovercraft won over the crowd with their filmic melodies. Datahowler's separate performance space made for a pleasing multimedia escape, as his composed beats and light projections drew people in between auctions. - Dallas Observer


"Get To Know Your 2012 DOMA Nominees: Home By Hovercraft"

If you've ever wanted to employ the phrase "hardcore ballooning" and have it not refer to some sort of sex act, Home By Hovercraft have you covered. Helmed by husband and wife Seth and Shawn Magill, the five-piece's music is classically informed, and yet pop in its translation. Their musical components include tuba, piano, mandolin and a step dancer, and they're currently at work on songs for the musical On the Eve, which is about Marie Antoinette, time travel and a hot air balloon. So, naturally, they're nominated in the Best None of the Above category.

Take a listen to "Rocket," the first single off their upcoming album, Are We Chameleons?, for a sense of why their songs are so singalong-able. Seth Magill and Michael Federico, the co-writer for the musical, tackled a few of our questions.

First of all, tell me about Marie Antoinette and how she got into a hot air balloon.
Hardcore ballooning and royalty go hand-in-hand. Marie Antoinette was a big fan and supporter of the first hot air balloon. We're pretty sure that balloon was also a time machine, but our sources on that matter are questionable at best. We can't give away all our plot secrets either so for now the tagline for the musical may best summarize the how: "History Is Revision, Words Are Power, Time Travel Is Cool."

If Marie Antoinette was a celebrity in 2012, who would she be?
Ageless, attractive, gossiped about, and prone to the occasional public outburst. So...Tom Cruise?

Besides Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson and Jersey Boys, what other historical figures deserve their own musical?
Ozzy Osbourne has a Rasputin musical, so that guy is off the table. How about Jesse James, Marie Curie and Val Kilmer.

What do you think about you group being nominated for "none of the above"? Should we burn all genre labels to the ground?
We love the nomination, recognizing the challenge to identify genre for a piano-led band with a tuba, mandolin, and step dancer, who also just wrote a musical. Genre labels shouldn't be burned to the ground, maybe just sanded down a little bit, blended and texturized. We don't happen to fit into one genre easily. Possibly a more fitting category would be "a mixture of the above." (Or maybe we need to tighten up our elevator pitch?) The title of our new album, Are We Chameleons?, speaks to this very notion.

If Home By Hovercraft were a shade of paint, what would it be?
We prefer to leave an impression, so really we could be any paint color as long as it's fresh and someone sits on it with white pants. - Dallas Observer


"Get To Know Your 2012 DOMA Nominees: Home By Hovercraft"

If you've ever wanted to employ the phrase "hardcore ballooning" and have it not refer to some sort of sex act, Home By Hovercraft have you covered. Helmed by husband and wife Seth and Shawn Magill, the five-piece's music is classically informed, and yet pop in its translation. Their musical components include tuba, piano, mandolin and a step dancer, and they're currently at work on songs for the musical On the Eve, which is about Marie Antoinette, time travel and a hot air balloon. So, naturally, they're nominated in the Best None of the Above category.

Take a listen to "Rocket," the first single off their upcoming album, Are We Chameleons?, for a sense of why their songs are so singalong-able. Seth Magill and Michael Federico, the co-writer for the musical, tackled a few of our questions.

First of all, tell me about Marie Antoinette and how she got into a hot air balloon.
Hardcore ballooning and royalty go hand-in-hand. Marie Antoinette was a big fan and supporter of the first hot air balloon. We're pretty sure that balloon was also a time machine, but our sources on that matter are questionable at best. We can't give away all our plot secrets either so for now the tagline for the musical may best summarize the how: "History Is Revision, Words Are Power, Time Travel Is Cool."

If Marie Antoinette was a celebrity in 2012, who would she be?
Ageless, attractive, gossiped about, and prone to the occasional public outburst. So...Tom Cruise?

Besides Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson and Jersey Boys, what other historical figures deserve their own musical?
Ozzy Osbourne has a Rasputin musical, so that guy is off the table. How about Jesse James, Marie Curie and Val Kilmer.

What do you think about you group being nominated for "none of the above"? Should we burn all genre labels to the ground?
We love the nomination, recognizing the challenge to identify genre for a piano-led band with a tuba, mandolin, and step dancer, who also just wrote a musical. Genre labels shouldn't be burned to the ground, maybe just sanded down a little bit, blended and texturized. We don't happen to fit into one genre easily. Possibly a more fitting category would be "a mixture of the above." (Or maybe we need to tighten up our elevator pitch?) The title of our new album, Are We Chameleons?, speaks to this very notion.

If Home By Hovercraft were a shade of paint, what would it be?
We prefer to leave an impression, so really we could be any paint color as long as it's fresh and someone sits on it with white pants. - Dallas Observer


"HBH Played Momo's Last Night"

Home By Hovercraft did a great set at Momo's last night. - Indie Sounds Austin (Peter Harris)


"HBH Played Momo's Last Night"

Home By Hovercraft did a great set at Momo's last night. - Indie Sounds Austin (Peter Harris)


Discography

Are We Chameleons? - LP
Released Mar.12.2013
(Appeared in Top 200 on CMJ Charts)

Seams - EP
Released Nov.26.2009

Photos

Bio

Home By Hovercraft is a theatrically and classically influenced rock band helmed by husband and wife duo Seth and Shawn Magill. Led by indie rock style piano and drums, utilizing a stew of traditional classical instruments like xylophone, cello and tuba, folk sounds of a mandolin and harmonica, and accompanied by a step dancer, they’ve been called "classically informed yet pop in translation" (Dallas Observer) and often compared to indie bands with a classical/folk twist like Beirut, The Dresden Dolls, The National, Tilly And The Wall, and The Polyphonic Spree.

They released their debut LP, "Are We Chameleons?" in March of 2013 to rave reviews, spending time in the CMJ Top 200, described as an "Intricately layered and beautifully melodic take on indie rock" (Beats Per Minute); "A spacious, enveloping wave of sound.... We are hooked. We can't get enough. We want more" (Dallas Morning News); "So bright it’s practically drenched in color" (Muzic Discovery). "This is anthemic music at its best. You will sing. You will dance. You will have a better day after listening." (The Majestic Show)

The album features original songs for On The Eve, a new rock musical earning rave reviews for its recent world premiere, and will receive its world professional premiere with a four week production run at Theatre Three Dallas in Jan-Feb 2014, with music performed live by Home By Hovercraft. The DFW Theater Critics Forum recently honored the show with Best Score, Best New Musical, and awards for Directing and Acting, the most of any show produced in 2012-2013 in the DFW area.

As a theatrical force, their live shows are known to wow fans with “music that lends itself to thematic adventure, nap sacked with philosophy.” (Dallas Observer). “Their wall of sound will envelop you with lush color and swirling fragrance with a beat that will enlist you in its bouncing anthem stomp.” (Theater Jones). “This is anthemic music at its best. You will sing. You will dance. You will have a better day after listening to Home By Hovercraft.” [The Majestic Show]. They've shared stages with The Features, Marcy Playground, Air Review, Suzzana Schoefel, Dan Dyer, Gaelic Storm, The Killdares, The O’s, Daniel Hart, Gallery Cat, John Singer Sergeant, Quiet Company and many others. Upcoming fall shows include them opening for Typhoon and Hey Marseilles, and appearing at festivals such as Fort Worth's Oktoberfest, Pecan Street Festival in Austin, and the Texas Veggie Fair with Erykah Badu in Dallas.