They hadn’t played live in six months and they were nervous for their sold-out show. ‘Did they still know how to do this?’ the members of August Hotel asked themselves. This would be the first time the band would play their newest single, “Disaster and Delight,” live. Their fears would soon fade as the night went on.
“There was a much bigger crowd response and energy,” guitarist Ryan Lammer said. “We ended up closing the set with the song. It ended up being this really fun, energetic way of ending our part of the night.”
August Hotel is a Chicago-based rock band whose drummer is Dean Sinclair, a 2018 graduate of Hillsdale College.
The band had previously released a self-recorded EP in 2017 and plans to release a second in the spring of this year. Their newest single, “Disaster and Delight” was the first to tease their new album.
“It was one that people always liked when we played it live. We would get a lot of people asking when we would release it,” Lammer said. “We could see a lot of that paying off last night now that people have the version they can listen to and are now able to latch on to that song on a recording.”
According to former Collegian reporter Mark Naida, August Hotel has played at Hillsdale five times: the No Date Dance (sponsored by A Few Good Men), Battle of the Bands, Welcome Party in 2015, Broad Street Market in 2016, and Wombstock in 2017.
Senior, and fellow musician Carson Waites, was part of the same fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, with Sinclair. Though Sinclair has graduated, his musical influence still reaches back to the Dale, according to Waites.
“The new single has Dean’s fingerprints all over it. I hear COIN and St. Lucia but imposed in his slightly abstract and deceptively emotional lyrics. It’s infectious; one listen and you’ll be singing about “Chicago fire” all day,” Waites said. “I think the best thing I could say about it is that it sounds like a song everyone would be singing in the Womb’s upstairs sometime in December of 2017. Dean always led the charge then and he still does now, he just does it from Chicago.”
Sinclair wrote the lyrics to the song in January of 2017 after a college breakup. Rather than it being a crooner, Sinclair wrote the lyrics feeling hopeful.
“The song was not used as a take me back kind of thing,” he said. “Two people can sometimes have a bad experience. It doesn’t mean it has to remain like that. A lot of the song is hopeful. Some of the lines might come out as sassy. I don’t deny it. But overall it’s hopeful.”
Sinclair describes the song as a “good sunshine‑y track.”
“Hopefully, it comes out as hopeful. You can listen to it driving with the windows down. It’s a feel-good song. I hope that it’s a feel-good song because it made me feel good after writing it. I felt better,” he said.
Writing the lyrics did not take long for Sinclair since he described it as “one of those songs I just had to sit down and finish on the spot.”