As much of us older metal fans hark for the days of tape trading, vinyl records being king and that all CD’s should be burned, the internet has blown all of these days to smithereens. The internet however does have the potential to expose bands to a much wider audience easier than ever before. It was here that I was scrolling through new bands on Youtube when I came across a band called Hammerhedd from Kansas City. This may not seem unusual – discovering new bands on the internet – but when I discovered that Hammerhedd are a bunch of three brothers, now aged sixteen, fourteen and eleven playing thrash metal to their heart’s content, I had to investigate further.
Hammerhedd were formed seven years ago and, yes, you read that right and you know what this means. The band were formed when the lads were nine, seven and four years of age! Much of their earlier years were playing Metallica, Sepultura and Annihilator covers and Hammerhedd last year released a debut EP of their own material called Essence of Iron and with plans for an album in the near future, I simply had to find out more.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We are from Kansas City.
Before you are sick of being asked about this, how old are you all and how long have you been playing together as a band?
Our ages are 17 (Henry, guitar), 15 (Eli, drums), and 12 (Abe, bass). We’ve been playing together since about 2012, so around 7 years.
Hammerhedd released a debut EP Essence of Iron in November 2018. How does it feel to put in all your blood sweat and tears and get your music out there?
It feels great! Once we got it out and over with, we felt really good about it. Although it was only 5 songs, we thought it was a good starting point for the band in a sense.
With the EP, do you think you have found the sound you want for the band or will you keep experimenting?
We will definitely keep experimenting. Although the roots of our sound will most likely stay the same, we are still trying to find a sound that is new and different from our collective influences.
As Essence of Iron was released last year, have the band continued to create new ideas for songs? How would you say they have compared that of your debut?
Yes, we are always writing and coming up with new ideas since we don’t tour yet. We have about 2 and a half songs done for our next release as of now. Comparing them to Essence of Iron, I would say that they are more technical, intricate, and aggressive. We have a much larger pool of influences than we did when we wrote Essence of Iron, so the next release will definitely sound different!
What are the lyrical themes from the EP? Is there a main lyricist within the band?
The lyrical themes are mostly things having to do with process of thought. The main lyricist of the band is Henry.
Being brothers and living in the same household, how often to you play and record music together?
One of the main benefits of living in the same house is that we get to jam just about every day. We mainly just try to play until we come up with an idea we all like, then riff on that for a while until we have the skeleton of a song.
How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Hammerhedd a band where all members contribute to the songs?
Well we basically go into our jam space with no expectations, then we just mess around with patterns, riffs, and beats. There is no one main songwriter, all the songs are constructed in the jam space together.
Being a three piece and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?
While we each have different influences, I would say we pretty much all write in a similar vein. We like combining our influences and see what comes of it each day.
How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the small things like school? Do you have plans to go on bigger tours and further afield in 2019?
School is definitely the main thing keeping us from being able to tour or do more shows, but we are starting to talk about doing small tours after we put out our next release- we’ll see what happens!
So what is a Hammerhedd live show like? How does it feel to play in front of people in your back garden to having now played major festivals?
We are always working on perfecting our live show – after every gig we talk about what could have been done better, and we try to fix it the next show. As for how we’ve grown a bit since playing shows on the street and in our lawn, it feels great to start playing some ‘real’ shows. We love playing live and can’t wait to start doing it more often!
So what are the plans for the year ahead in 2019?
If everything moves along smoothly, we plan to finish recording the new album, then start booking shows for 2020. We have a couple of shows later this year including Full Terror Assault in Illinois, but not too many. We are trying to focus on writing so we can get the album out as soon as possible!
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?
- Mastodon – Remission 2. Gojira – The Link 3. Death – Symbolic 4. Strapping Young Lad – City 5. Meshuggah – Chaosphere
- Boston – Boston 2. The Beatles – Abbey Road 3. Havok- Conformicide 4. Audioslave – Morphine 5. Rush – Caress of Steel
- Gojira – From Mars to Sirius 2. Mastodon – Leviathan 3. Meshuggah – Nothing 4. Boston – Self Titled 5. Vektor – Terminal Redux
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
Thanks to all who have listened to us or supported us! We appreciate you very much!