Steve and Daz were interviewed recently by Robex Lundgren (official). If you wish to read the interview at Robex’s Blog, then you can head to the site here.
Have any of you played in other bands?
Steve: I personally haven’t been in any other bands
Daz: Yes been in various bands through out the years, still in another band at the moment
How is it that you started playing music?
Steve: I’ve always wanted to. I always used to emulate the bands I loved when I was younger, making guitars out of Lego and making stages out of dining chairs. But I started properly just before I turned 16 and some of the Metallica riffs my uncle taught me how to play actually stuck.
Daz: I started to learn the drums when I discovered rock music at age 17, I used to play along to my favourite tracks by Guns n roses and Bon Jovi etc.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?
Steve: I’m Steve, I’m 29, nearly 30 ,and I front the band playing guitar. Our other guitarist is Andy, and he’s a couple of months older than me.
Daz: I am Darren Kelsall, age 39 and I play the drums.
Have you had other previous members?
Steve: We’ve had plenty, too many to list really.
Did you make music even when you were young?
Steve: I started writing music when I was 16 I think, or 17. I suppose it depends what you class as being young.
Daz: From the early days of being in bands, I have always contributed some song lyrics.
Where are you from?
Steve: We all live near Wakefield in the UK, though that’s where the band is based.
What year did the band form?
Steve: As Hamerex, it formed in August 2004. I was trying to get a band going before that under different names.
What’s your style of genre?
Steve: We’re just a heavy metal band, but we do venture in to Thrash or Doom if you like. We’ve all got different influences so we’ve got a lot of variety in our music.
What inspires you?
Steve: Music mostly, but something or anything exciting I find really inspiring and ideas can just come out of nowhere.
How often and where do you reherse?
Steve: We rehearse weekly in Wakefield.
How have you developed since you started with the music?
Steve: I think we’ve come a very long way to how we started. My songwriting abilities I think have improved greatly from say 10 years ago, though I still love some of the old stuff we have. Right now with how we’ve been writing the new album and how thinngs have changed in the last year, I think we’re quite a different band.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band?
Steve: Video games are my other big interest outside of the band and music.
Daz: I love fishing & spending time with my wife at the caravan.
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that?
Steve: Yeah, I mean we won’t turn our noses up at a booking agency or manager, but we’ve been stung before so to speak, twice actually, so any deal has to be right and benefit the band first and foremost.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that?
Steve: Again, if there was a major label offer or a label that could actually do something for us then yeah, I don’t see why not, but we set up our own label because of two bad experiences, one of the situations is still ongoing, and we need a lot of trust, which of course I know needs to go both ways, but if it doesn’t benefit the band or can’t do any more than what we can do ourselves, it’s not worth it.
What made you decide to make this music?
Steve: My love of the genre when growing up. Iron Maiden and Metallica were my two biggest inspirations musically, especially when I was very young. I love the melodies, vocally and musically and that’s what I want to be able to do, not just do nonsensical thrashing and sticking in as many notes as possible or screaming.
Daz: making music / playing in bands was a natural progression, this was mainly due to the love of music.
What are your songs about?
Steve: We’ve done a bit of mythological, lyrics based on hell and devils and some things you may kind of expect. But we’ve also written about climate change and natural disasters, apocalytic, end of the world kind of thing as well as a couple of songs based on stories and real life.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics?
Steve: We all have a hand in composing, at the moment I’ve been writing a lot of the lyrics for the new album and most of the last E.P., but it’s still early yet with the next release.
Do you start with the music or the lyrics?
Steve: It varies. Mostly it’s been the music first, but I have written some music surrounding lyric ideas.
Do you compose in a certain inviroment?
Steve: Not really, I mean it’s not going to be easy if you’re constantly being interrupted or have a lot happening around you to the point you can’t focus on what you’re doing. The way we’ve approached this new album though is to sit down together and write or jam whatever comes out and put together a song structure. Vocally I’ve come up with ideas for the new stuff at home after listening constantly to the demos we’ve done. For me it’s a bit out of my comfort zone as I’ve never written with other people before, but I’m really loving it. Some of the new music is a bit unexpected from what’s come before. We’re not sure how our fans will take to it but it’s been a very exciting and inspirational experience so far.
Have you done any covers live?
Steve: Yeah, we’ve done some over the years. We’ve done Metallica’s Enter Sandman, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Master of Puppets and even part of Ride the Lightning, Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast and Wickerman, Anthrax’s Madhouse and Anti-Nowhere League’s So What, which obviously Metallica covered as well.
What language do you sing in?
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs?
Steve: The least, probably 2 or 3 people. The most, I reckon about 300 to 400.
What ages are most of your concert attendants?
Steve: It varies. There’s a lot of the fans that were around during the height of NWOBHM and Thrash in the 80’s so we get them in while we do get some people in their teens or 20’s coming to see us.
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary?
Steve: There was a time where we did stick to the same set list, but it got a bit boring. We try to change things up a bit though keep some of the favourites in. It’s a bit tricky at the moment with changing the set around a bit as being the frontman is still quite new to me and learning to sing and play the songs on guitar is one of those challenges I have to get through. That and most of this year has been focused on writing new material so we’ve not really ventured that much in to learning much of the older material as we are now.
Do you have a regular place you play live often?
Steve: The Snooty Fox in Wakefield’s probably our most regular place, though we try not to play much more than twice a year now.
What was your first gig like?
Steve: Mine was quite scary. I’m not the most outgoing or confident of people and being 19 and having to play and sing for the first time live in front of a few hundred college students was definitely an experience. I loved it though.
What was your latest gig?
Steve: Our latest was back in March at the Snooty Fox.
Have you had to cancel a gig?
Steve: Unfortunately yes.
Where have you played live this year?
Steve: Just the Snooty Fox in March.
Where do you plan to gig the comming year?
Steve: We’ve only got plans for two gigs. We’re playing at th Wharf Chambers in Leeds with Ultimate Thunder, Alice in Thunderland and Skies Turn Black on 17th October, then we’re playing at the Fest of Hades we’ve put on at Warehouse 23 in Wakefield with Aonia, Sacrilege, Promethium, Kaine, Desolate Pathway, Seas of Scarlet and Coyote Mad Seeds. Really looking forward to that one.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale?
Steve: I think we’ve nearly always had merch on sale, since 2005. We’ve got T-Shirts, CD’s, Guitar Plectrums and Badges. We’ll be getting more merch in the near future.
Where can people buy your merchandise?
Steve: At the moment, most of our merch is available athttp://hamerex.bandcamp.com.
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days?
Steve: I don’t really think much of it. It’s all down to preference and a lot of people, and I find it’s more rock and metal fans, prefer physical items such as a CD, Vinyl or even Cassette Tape. I think as long as you download legitimately from a band or artist so they’re at least getting something back from everything they’ve put in to paying for studio, rehearsal time and production. If people manage to get hold of a free download, I think they should at the very least buy the bands release if they do like it. At the end of the day, being musician and performer isn’t effortless. Yeah we love what we do so it isn’t exactly work but you wouldn’t expect a plumber to work for free.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this?
Steve: It’s changed it a lot. A lot more than I think the labels expected and they didn’t get a head of it. I mean you can look back nearly 15 years when Metallica stood up against Napster and got slaughtered for it, when in hindsight and seeing how things have turned out they were right to do so. There’s a lot of websites out there that do post up thousands of bands’ music for free without consent, including ours, and you can’t really do too much about it. It’s easy enough to create a website and stick an album up for free. Though saying that, now you’ve got Spotify, iTunes and many other retailers to sort of fill that void to listen to music legitimately. Also, it’s easier for bands now to set up their own labels and release their music digitally and physically, including Bandcamp, effectively eliminating the need for major labels. There’s two sides to the coin so to speak.
What do you think of my work?
Steve: It’s great you’re helping to get bands a bit more recognition by interviewing them and giving them a bit more of a voice.
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business?
Steve: I’m not sure much is certain when it comes to the music industry, but I’d certainly hope it may gain us a couple of fans who may not have necessarily heard of us before and give a bit more insight in to the band.
Do you have any role models or idols?
Steve: I have a lot of respect for the guys in Maiden, Metallica and Priest among many other bands, and they all influence me in different ways, not just musically but in performance as well. James Hetfield and Bruce Dickinson, are definitely two of my main inspirations both vocally and James for guitar playing.
Why do you think that they exist? Steve: I think because they were at the forefront of something big, new and exciting at the time.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today?
Steve: I can definitely find inspiration from older bands, especially if they bring a new album out I find exciting or see them live. I can also find it in newer bands such as Promethium or Kaine. Both are excellent bands and they’re putting out some great music. Both have inspired me in one way or another.
Daz: All my favourite bands inspire me (metal, rock and punk bands), there are times when I feel I do not want to carry on making music or playing in bands, but again the love of music drives me and listening to some kick ass tunes makes me feel positive in life.
What have been your biggest obstacles?
Steve: I think certain previous members I can consider obstacles in someway or other, past mistakes, inexperience, myself. There’s a lot of things I could list as an obstacle as there’s always something you could probably see as holding you back. I don’t think there’s much in the way of obstacles for us right now, even though we don’t have a bass player, and it’s probably the freest we’ve ever been.
What advice would you give other bands or artists?
Steve: Never give up. If you’ve got a vision, go for it. Even though things may seem bleak at times, and you want to call it a day, there’s likely to be a time when you’ll look back and be glad you didn’t throw it all away. I’ve been there, and 6 years later we played one of the most memorable gigs we’ve ever done.
How do you get psyched for a gig?
Steve: I think I’m usually just raring to go when we get there. I try to do a couple of vocal warm ups at least before we go on but I’m usually just eager to play.
Daz: I have played many gigs over the years so playing a gig is just a normal thing to do, however the larger the event / audience…….more I play & give to the gig.
Do you have any new material?
Steve: Our latest E.P The Last Ride is out now and available to buy on our bandcamp site athttp://hamerex.bandcamp.com, as well as iTunes, Spotify, Amazon. We’re also over half way in to writing our third album which will be out sometime next year.
What are your web sites?
Steve: www.hamerex.com is currently down at the moment but we’ve got www.facebook.com/hamerex,www.reverbnation.com/hamerex, www.google.com/+hamerex, www.youtube.com/hamerex, http://hamerex.tumblr.com andwww.twitter.com/hamerex.
How can people reach you?
Steve: You can send us a message or tweet at any of the websites above and we’ll respond. We’re also reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your plans for the future?
Steve: Finishing writing and recording the new album is the main thing on the agenda right now and we’re not really looking too far ahead in to the future, except it will probably lead to some sort of touring in support of it. Another thing we’re interested in doing is recording an album with around songs of older material we feel really deserves a better quality of recording. Apart from that, there’s not much else. More often than not ,we reveal plans publicly and then they don’t seem to work out.
Do you have something to add?
Steve: I’d just like to thank all our friends and fans for their support for the last 11 years, and we hope to them all soon, and would like to thank you for interviewing us.