Friday 26 August 2016

"Like Converge played at Half Speed": An Interview with Hammerhands & Exclusive Song Premiere of "Thunderchunk"

In 2013 Toronto’s Hammerhands’ released an undeniable powerhouse of a record. The band’s debut full length “Glaciers” exhibited Hammerhands’ sonic dominance in a submissive scene. The band continued to turn heads, playing numerous shows, proving to their growing audience that men of average height can create giant sound. Hammerhands subsequently released a cover EP called “1995” which paid tribute to the year that the band’s initial spark of musical inspiration occurred.

Despite “1995” being an entertaining and engaging love letter to the past, it was not enough to fill the chasm of anticipation created by the release of “Glaciers”. After three years of waiting for new material, Hammerhands is releasing their second full length “Largo Forte”. “Largo Forte” is a huge step forward for the band without departing from the elements that define Hammerhands

The record often digresses to unsettling nods to Italian genre film scores and Cohen-esque vocal styles, juxtaposing crushing jams with cinematic atmosphere. Hammerhands establishes an auditory narrative with “Largo Forte” that takes you on a fulfilling journey that is both beautiful and blasphemous. With “Largo Forte”, the future of Hammerhands seems promising. The band’s off-kilter approach to their distinct style creates a new dimension to their musical canon. As the band continue to push themselves down the road of devastation, one can only be curious as to how they will top something so bold and interesting.

Largo Forte” will be released on September 15th and today we offer you the first taste of this exceptionally bludgeoning new record, in the form of “Thunderchunk”.  We also hooked up with Collin from the band to get the low down about their history, the recording process of the record and why they sound like “a Converge record played at half speed"”.  

SL: Can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Hammerhands

Collin: Jon and I started playing together as 13 year olds, and went through various terrible musical phases until forming The Love and Terror Cult like ten years ago. We ended up playing a lot with NJ's bands Dance Electric and Strawman Fallacy. For some reason, all those bands seemed to dissolve around the same time, so it seemed natural to join forces. Our previous bands were all spastic and hyperactive, so we made a conscious effort to go in the opposite direction. We recruited Justin because he's awesome and always moshed the hardest at our shows.

SL: For folks unfamiliar with your band, are there any bands, on the scene past and present that you would use as a reference point band to describe your band, and is there anyone who  continues to inspire you and push you to try new things?

Collin: A review of our previous record said we sounded like "a Converge record played at half speed" and I've always liked that description. I think The Melvins have been a strong influence for some time, but they're kinda like The Beatles of sludge, and any band within the genre owes some debt to them really. Some bands within our scene that we take inspiration from are Godstopper, who we frequently have the pleasure of sharing the stage with, and Mare who we used to play with in our older bands and in many ways inspired us to start doing what we do now.

SL: What can you tell us about your upcoming record and where do you feel it sits within the context of current heavy music scene

Collin: What I'm hoping will come across with this new record is a sense of diversity. While I love the idea of extreme music pushing things to the limit, I find too often that bands of our genre will get stuck on a particular sound then ride it out until it's exhausted. We tried to take this record in as many different directions as we could while still maintaining a common thread.

SL: What was the mood in the camp going into the recording of the record

Collin: It's been overall a pretty relaxed process. We don't have any deadlines to meet, and we do all the recording and mixing ourselves, so we've always been able to work at a pace that's comfortable for us. We took our time writing the songs until we were confident that we had something solid, and we took the time working on the tracking, mixing and mastering until we felt it sounded good. And we've ended up with something we're all quite happy with.

SL: What can fans look forward to from you over the next 12 months? How is your schedule shaping up?

Collin: No immediate plans just yet. Looking forward to being able to break out the new tracks at gigs and seeing how they're received. We'd like to eventually put the record on wax, so if anyone would like to help us out with that, hit us up, please!

Hammerhands will play a release show on September 16th in Toronto with Godstopper and Foreigns.

“Largo Forte” track listing;

1). Eighteen
3). High Plains
4). Largo Forte
5). Mezzo Grave
6). If You're Not Part Of The Party, You’re Part Of The Problem
7). Where We Go 
9). The Hardest Thing

Band info: Facebook ||Bandcamp