Local lads (well, to us anyway… some of them) House of Hatchets take the challenge today with a group effort as our Band of the Day…
Jim: Edinburgh born and bred.
Pete: I’m from Newcastle, however, I don’t have the accent and sound as far removed from Gazza as you can get.
Lewis: I’m originally from Stone in Staffordshire. It’s quiet and the low underground metal scene in Hanley kept me busy.
Chris: I’m from Bo’Ness.
How did you meet?
Jim: Me and Fraze are cousins.
Pete: It was being in Manchester which led to me joining the band. The guys had a bassist lined up to join but when the first gig came about he couldn’t make it. I’m studying at the Royal Northern College of Music with said guy’s brother so they put me in touch. Without me – there would be no band..
Jim: Aye, right. Yer dah sells Avon, mate!
Lewis: I met the other guys through Pete, who I knew from music college. He was in the year above me and by chance a moment came up where he needed a dep for House of Hatchets, and here we are!
Chris: Jamie and I met at college, it wasn’t until a few years later that he started the HOH project through which I’ve met the guys.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Jim: Me and Fraze are cousins and have always been into the same music. We always meant to get round to trying something out musically.
Frazer: Yeah we just wanted to have fun with it. We started doing covers of a few Billy Talent songs (laughs!) and eventually got onto writing our own stuff. That was around 4 years ago.
Chris: I had reservations about doing anything else musically because at the time I was really busy. But when Jim sent me what he and Fraze had recorded I was a man possessed. Getting back to writing was difficult but those initial drafts he sent me evolved into our EP – The Grind. We found our sound and worked on it HARD. We built up our new album which we are all incredibly proud of, and I’m so grateful to have managed to make it with these guys.
Lewis: I joined after the band was already pretty solid, Pete studies at the RNCM with me and he asked me to dep for the Silverstein gig just before Christmas 2017. I wanted to absolutely kill it and I was so happy when I was asked to join and become a full time member.
Pete: Yeah as I said before, the guys needed a bassist as the one they had lines up couldn’t make their first gig. The rest is history!
Jim: When Lewis joined it really felt like the setup was complete. It then felt like a band. That was last Christmas, and even though we existed as House of Hatchets prior to that, it was that Silverstein show that really brought everything together.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Frazer: We went through a few. House of Hatchets we felt was strong. Cutting and to the point. Heaps of good possibilities in terms of logos, merchandise, stage backdrops, etc.
Jim: We liked the feel of it on the tongue. I like the symmetry of ‘HOH’.
Chris: Robert Bloch who wrote psycho wrote a book called the House of the Hatchet. There’s a rough lineage there.
What are your influences?
Chris: For me I think that anyone can influence you, even if it is as simple as – ‘I never want to sound like them’. Lyrically I appreciate people like Richie Edwards, Bruce Springsteen, Jim Morrison, Michael Stipe and many more. Vocally a large variety, I think I could listen to Aretha Franklin sing the phone book, I love Bjork in all her fearlessness. Mike Patton is an influence as well as Corey Taylor for the rougher noises.
Jim: Oasis and Blur. Incubus. David Bowie. Slipknot. Funeral for a Friend. Killswitch Engage. Queen. Beartooth. INXS. Anything that moves me – I’m into it.
Frazer: Deftones, Incubus, Funeral for a Friend, artists that Jamie’s mentioned there. List is BIG.
Pete: Trivium, Bullet for my Valentine, and Slipknot introduced me to metal, however nowadays, I take a lot of inspiration from the more Progressive spectrum of metal. Bands like Tool, Dream Theater, and Sikth.
Lewis: Personally a lot of guitar driven music, Megadeth, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Yngwie Malmsteen were highly influential, Randy Rhoads being the all time inspiration of a true musician.
Describe your music.
Chris: It’s big, loud, and can be quiet and introspective. It is very real, and sometimes raw. It’s also hooky and melodic. The chemistry of what we all bring to the table and the harsh smelting that we use to right makes the music even more pressurised and volatile. Yann Martell spoke about the difficulty in description. He talks about trying to describe a pear to a someone who hasn’t seen one and how impossible it is. I would encourage someone who is aurally impaired to lie down on the floor, turn the bass all the way up and the treble all the way down and let the rumbles jolt them into their own experience. Imagine being a sadomasochist and getting your teeth drilled – that’s the best I can do.
Frazer: What he said!
What makes you unique?
Pete: We aren’t heavy for the sake of heavy. We focus foremost on songwriting, taking influence from a vast array of music.
Chris: I think we are different because of our level of artistry and how it’s teamed with a ‘down to earth’ emotionality. I’ve never heard anything quite like us. “I want to hear beautiful melodies telling me terrible things” – a quote by Tom Waits that I feel sums us up. Some of the subject matter is deeply cathartic and confession for me lyrically, but we try and deliver that in a way that’s understandable and accessible, even if its not palatable.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Chris: There’s a large amount of catharsis in my words. I feel a need to create and I use words to do that. Sometimes I throw them around, smash them together, or tear them up. But I hope there’s a truth, a clarity and that its relatable to someone somewhere.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Chris: Our live show is rehearsed until it is in my bones. There is no fat on any of the set. It has large twists and turns. It is epic as fuck.
Lewis: Every time it is full of energy, we connect with the audience, there is no false persona, what you see is who we are.
Pete: We have a precise set. It’s tight and rehearsed, we try and capture the clarity of studio recordings in the live situation.
Jim: Yeah what Pete said there about capturing the clarity of the studio. For me there is nothing worse than hearing a recording and loving that so much, then seeing it live only to be gutted as it is fairly guff. We want to take what we’ve created in recording, be true to it but make it even more energetic, even bigger, even better if possible.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Frazer: A flamethrower mounted on the head of a guitar. Legit. That happened.
Jim: Pete eating a Greggs mid-set and a Ron Jeremy lookalike playing bass for a support band.
Chris: At one of our first shows the headlining band were happy to let a guy climb onto the barrier and attempt a crowd surf. He dived, he hit the deck at full force. Then just got up and started dancing like it was all fine.
Pete: My dah selling Avon at his own merch table. Kidding, probably the flamethrower guy.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Jim: A PRS Custom 22 and a Gibson Les Paul Custom. Both with a Bare Knuckle Nailbomb in the bridge. Live I use a rack mounted Kemper through the PA with a Marshall 4×12 for onstage sound.
Frazer: DW drums, Zildjian cymbals.
Chris: ONE BIG VOICE.
Lewis: Ibanez RG870 and RGA7.
Pete: I use an Ibanez Sr1200 and a SRFF805. Daddario NYXLs on both. Those basses absolutely sing. I don’t use much in the way of effects, but I go into an EBS compressor, which just tightens the sound up, and makes it pop a bit more. The secret sauce of my tone is the Tech21 NYC SansAmp. It’s sculpts my sound and adds the perfect amount of bite. I swear by it. My amp is a Markbass little Mark 3, it’s tiny and lightweight, but has a real clear sound that doesn’t get in the way of my sansamp.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Chris: Our new single “Burn” and the upcoming album Reach. This is the album I have been making in my head forever. The single is out, it’s amazing. I love it, we love it and you will love it.
What are your plans for 2019?
Chris: Crush our enemies, conquer all, and ban all use of currency all over the world. Aside form that looking forward to playing these album tracks, meeting more people, traveling around and rocking out.
Lewis: Play some heavy riffs for one. Tour, promote, connect and also carrying on my studies, metal as fuck am I right…
Jim: Promote the new material, tour, play some sick shows. Just generally do as much cool shit as we can together.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Chris: I would like to see us do all three. That’s how egotistical I am when it comes to House of Hatchets. I think I would like to see a band open for us that are good on record but awful live, and to support someone magnificent so I’d always have a good story to grow old with, gather round children and let me tell you in 2019 we blew this band out of the water and paved the way for this.…already giant band…
Fraze: To be completely honest I have met and worked with some great people over the years and if you are on a three band bill everyone is usually really cool. So I have no preference as long as they ain’t dicks
Pete: Gojira are absolutely killing it, and their live sound is tremendous, it would be immense to open for such a veteran band. There’s a wee band from Newcastle called Perceptions, it’s early days for them, but I think they got some good potential.
Lewis: Slipknot, no fucking doubt. The anger, the emotion, the pain, it’s truly inspiring, and then to open for us I’d have to say five finger death punch, just cause the vibe of the night would be euphoric.
Jim: I would want Oasis to support us and for us to support Slipknot.