Continuing our epic interview with Hedra, the band discuss touring, Norwich bands, and their plans for the next year.
Jim – Ha, ‘negotiation’. I like the choice of words. We’ve had a fair few arguments as all bands do, we’re in a relationship and we have to face each other often with frustrations but we do treat each other with respect too. If someone tells me to take a step back and give them some room that’s what I’ll do for them, but I’m a very focused and driven person with music. I’ll bypass everything important to get it done.
It’s some weird illness I have, it doesn’t have to be perfect it’s just got to be done. If I don’t like it I’ll say and when that comes to music it’s not a personal attack ever. I actively encourage it for anyone to say what they want from music. If Kamil wants me to have a deep vocal part I’ll try it for him, if Chris wants to write the vocals or sing he can do it, if Kamil wants a Depeche Mode influenced part in a song we’ll do it, if Chris wants a 12 minute guitar solo song on the album we’ll do that!
Chris – Yes to both, it’s normal I think. We have all these ideas that we want to try and put across. We try to negotiate without falling into arguments as I think sometimes the pressure of wanting to make the best can lead to some bands falling out. The new music we are writing is completely different to Mind Dimension but not in an opposite direction, just with more melodies and intelligence in terms of the ideas put into it.
Jim – “Suggestions” is the word we should use rather than negotiation or arguments, often because there are always lots of those! I hope no one else says ‘no I don’t feel I’m writing the music I want’ because if they do they haven’t suggested very well!
Kamil – Usually it’s all about feeling. We all have different influences. The point is to know when or where you could use them. Mix them with other member’s ideas to achieve an unexpected effect.
So, no, Jim – “compromise” is the word!
Jim – I won’t argue with that!!
How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the everyday jobs? Do you have plans to go on bigger tours and further afield in 2019?
Kamil – Of course, but right now we have to concentrate on the new album.
Jim – But it has been extremely difficult. I’ve found that often I’ve spent time trying to find a place to get a gig only to find that a member can’t do it which is really quite annoying for me as playing live is why I do music. I enjoy the other stuff but I like the experience of revisiting places and seeing friends in different towns.
We have our own van but it needs repair currently so I’m going to get that done soon and then we’ll see. The funny thing is we’re getting approached more often lately than ever. I think it’s because of Badgerfest, that gig went down so well it’s made a big difference to how we may have been perceived before and we were recently approached by an agent that wants to help us get on the larger circuit. I’ve known him for years too so it was nice to come out of the blue like that.
Chris – We would love to tour and do some big shows and even travel outside the UK at some point though. Yes, having jobs can be hard but it also helps to fund the travel, the gear and the recording side of things.
So, what are the plans with the rest of 2018 and the year ahead?
Chris – To finish writing the album and recording it and to make it the best we can.
Jim – Yeah to finish the album but for me personally I want to start putting on the underground bands in our area a bit more. I’ve got a huge desire to get people involved in what we do with the label and the promotions group we run. We were a bit relaxed this year due to various disappointments with previous members but all in all it’s up to them. They’re gone so onwards and upwards. I want us to do more shows, get more live footage, interviews etc. for people to see, and devise a way to get more people sharing our music too.
I’m 44 now and I’m seeing more people I know drop dead from heart attacks than I ever thought I’d see at my age so I’m really keen to get moving just in case I don’t see tomorrow! Everyone will at least know it was when I wasn’t sitting on my arse waiting for a gig to happen.
A total revamp of the band structure too, removal of all social media and start from zero point and see who’s really interested once this music gets done.
Kamil – Of course but right now we have to concentrate on new album.
How hard is it for a metal band like Hedra to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non-stop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back in?
Jim – I think it’s really easy to look at it two ways. There are many bands out there now that are easily exposed. Could be a lazy band, could be a hard working band, the person looking at the band page on Facebook isn’t going to know if the band is even true or not. Look at Threatin for a recent example.
Lazy won’t sell merch, lazy won’t sell CDs or bother to try, lazy stays at home typing interviews when he should be putting money where his mouth is!
This is why I want it all scrapped and to put us all at point zero. We’ll start from fresh and people can add themselves to the band’s page instead of this hoping to be seen.
When we first started using social media it was a numbers game four years ago we thought that was the way. Things have changed now and we’ve gotten to know a lot of real people by going out there and playing (although there are still a few bands getting booked for numbers of likes).
Those people support us and tell others about us and we’re really grateful, that’s where our survival comes from, not the money side. That side is irrelevant to a degree. You can’t look at money as being the success factor for a band. The success comes from playing a great gig and meeting new people and seeing the familiar faces in a different town. There’s nothing more fulfilling than that, people caring for you and the music you do 300 miles away – awesome!
Everything art is a hobby until you no longer treat it as a hobby!
You just can’t think about survival in a band like the sale is everything. I’d be gone if I had no choice but to think about the money.
Because there are so many bands out there and social media is here we get to see the struggles but we also get to see that there are also bands making it just as well. No one should think it’s all over for music because it isn’t, it’s just opened smaller doors to pockets of people instead of one big exposure.
What’s missing though is the conversation about music. Because you can just share it online you might feel the talking isn’t needed anymore, but it really is. Not everyone sees the same posts do they?
I see more posts online (when I’m not out and about) about the old greats than the new out there. That’s a big shame because the greats don’t need that or care to see your posts, they’ve already got the exposure. The new bands need to be shared and adored as much and they’ll more than likely see it too. That’s what talking about music was good for before the net and also when some people do see it they aren’t embracing it and visiting it because they think they’ll see it online anyway.
I’ve got mates touring the world in bands earning a living too so it really does depend on many things, and the ways to make them happen. Having a night shift job isn’t one of those ways so a huge amount of sacrifice will always be required. Do you hire a bouncy castle for your child’s birthday or do you know if they would be just as happy with a pile of boxes anyway, because we need more band merch? That sort of thing many people now wouldn’t know how to answer sadly.
It just depends on your priority in life really. I often get told I’m deluded. I think people that think it’s ok to put money in someone else’s pockets are deluded too. I say go out and do it properly if you can find the right members, if not don’t waste our time!
Chris – We talk and communicate, we have made many friends and we like to keep those in the loop. Financing, yes, we sell merch and our EPs. We work in the week, we do what we can, with what we can.
Being from Norwich, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend?
Jim – There’s a few bands I’d recommend, yeah. We’ve got some great bands here. Norwich, Norfolk, Suffolk wherever really, I don’t really count home as the place for praise as much as the bands playing everywhere but home.
We’re always happy to help or recommend anyone when asked. I’ve driven them to gigs with the gear for them for nothing but fuel and a few beers or £30 a night for a tour. Synaptik, The Killing Culture, VendettaHCUK or bands outside Norfolk like Callous Caligula from Uxbridge have used our band van for tours. There’s a lot of great talent around. Personally, I just wish I could see them out and about in more places really, but it is hard to get the shows now.
I think the country needs a strategy, perhaps a community band van or something. Or venue owner gig swap nights instead of relying on promoters all the time because a lot of those will only book the bands they already know of meaning no risk to spread the bands around the country more.
Chris – Norwich does have some epic music and bands. I would say Synaptik are pretty epic with their progressive style crazy drum grooves and wizardy guitar licks. I saw a show recently with CrawlBlind from Lowestoft where they put on quite a show for Halloween, if you like your hardcore in your face chugs (I just cannot stand that fucking hardcore flinging your arms and kicking shit, like guinea pigs who pop when excited).
A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
Jim – They were all fun thank you, I enjoyed the opportunity. If I was going to bring 5 CDs to a party I’d bring Strapping Young Lad’s City album, Slayer’s Reign in Blood (‘cos Slayerrrrr), Prodigy – Fat of the Land, Beastie Boys – Ill Communication and Pantera – Far Beyond Driven for a great night out!
Chris – Black Label Society – The Blessed Hellride, All That Remains – Victim of a New Disease (RIP Oli), Light The Torch – Revival and guilty pleasure, maybe a Dean Martin album Dino and Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory.
Kamil – I’ll bring a radio and play an 80‘s station!
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
Jim – Yes, keep supporting and sharing those radio shows, podcasts, friends’ bands albums, ones you like, tell us about them, be some band’s PR, be something else if you’re not already something else. For every big band you spend money on, mirror that cash into smaller bands. Just an idea, you don’t really have to at all, I know. I’ll get me coat!
Chris – If Tom had 5 apples and ate 3, what colour is his front room?