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INTERVIEW: ANDERS MANGA of Bloody Hammers, July 2016

| 30 July 2016 | Reply

When checking out new music, I occasionally step out of my comfort zone and really dig a band I wasn’t previously aware of.  A couple years ago, one such band was Bloody Hammers.  Band founder Anders Manga has grown and evolved without totally changing the rock sound of the band.  With a new album on the horizon, I was offered the chance to speak with Anders to discuss the new album and much more…grunge-IMG_6090-cmyk

Toddstar: Well, first of all, I want to thank you so much for taking time out for us. We really appreciate you clearing your schedule for a few minutes for us.

Anders: Oh yeah. Absolutely, man, absolutely. Just hanging around.  Publicist has me packed up today.

Toddstar: I’m sure he does. Well, I mean, he’s got you packed up for a good reason. Let’s talk about the biggest thing in the world of Bloody Hammers right now: the upcoming release of Lovely Sort of Death.

Anders: Yeah, there it is.

Toddstar: What can you tell us about this album that a Bloody Hammers fan may not pick up on the first or second time through the album?

Anders: Wow, let’s see. I don’t know, I’m so close to it. It’s hard for me to put myself in these shoes. It’s a little different, you know? When I started writing the album, I noticed pretty quickly a lot of the ideas that were coming out weren’t exactly what I’d done before and it was going a little… it was like, “Well, maybe I should put this album in a different name. Maybe it should be some other project, I don’t know.” We don’t want to put boundaries on Bloody Hammers. We’ve had a few records and we wanted to experiment and do something different. Napalm, you know, they liked it and they thought it wasn’t too far out from what we did before, so we just went with. Yeah, I mean, it’s a little different, but it’s more varied, I’ll put it that way. In my opinion, the songs are more varied and kind of run through a lot of different moods and atmospheres. It’s not all kind of rock n’ roll. Before, it was just kind of… Under Satan’s Sun, the last album, to me was just kind of a hard rock album and it didn’t stray too much from that.

Toddstar: Personally, I think this is the best effort so far.

Anders: Thanks.

Toddstar: I own all the other ones and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. Going through the track list of this disc, first of all, you did a great job of putting the songs together so that you create that kind of moody ride through the tracks. Looking at the songs, are any of these songs, Anders, that just fought you tooth and nail while you were trying to write or create these songs?

Anders: Oh, yeah. Those songs I just throw out. You know, if it doesn’t come quick, if it doesn’t flow out. One time I read something about Nick Cave, who I’m a big fan of, he sets a time – he has an office where he’ll go and he’ll write songs from this time to that time. It’s like a schedule. I can’t do that. If I go down to my studio and I go, “I’m going to write a song,” it’s terrible, you know? The best songs come to me are out of the blue when I’m just warming up or, you know. When I least expect it, they just come flow out. If I’m stuck on something or something doesn’t quickly come, I know I probably shouldn’t force it and I should probably just delete that.

Toddstar: That makes sense. With this disc, you got into a little different sound, as you alluded to. Something, in my mind, a little more ethereal. You’ve attributed that in other press releases and interviews, too, along winter where you live. Is this something that’s just been buried inside of you, or is this just kind of the next step in who you are as a creator?


Anders: Well, I think that album… I don’t know if you know, but I did sort of electronic, dark wave stuff the last decade under my own name, and I do soundtrack stuff. I live near Asheville and in Asheville there is the Moog factory. It’s a local influence, you know. You know, you go in the Moog store and you can’t afford anything in there because it’s like $3,000 for a machine. I love the Moog sound and when I was a kid, I remember hearing “Who Are You?” by Black Sabbath and the Moog, it was just so heavy. I wanted to use more Moog and I wanted to combine that with the big fuzzy guitars. Once you start messing around on the Moog, you can’t help but be inspired by some of the sounds and the atmospheres. I just went with it, you know? I think it’s a mistake to try to worry about what other people think. I don’t try to write songs. I just try to write songs that I like. I think that if I achieve that, then maybe other people will like it, too, but I don’t try to go, “Oh, okay, what are the people going to want to hear?” As far as… I love AC/DC, but if you get into an AC/DC record, you know exactly what you’re going to get. It’s not going to throw you any curves. I guess I never really want to get caught up in that formula and I just want to go with whatever I want to do. That’s the best way I can explain it.

Toddstar: It’s a great way to explain it. You do something a lot of people say they can do but most people probably couldn’t do, and you actually work with your spouse. I know my wife and I would kill each other after a couple days. I mean, how do you approach the creativity side of your guys’ relationship, making it part of your relationship yet keeping it separate? Obviously, you’re kind of the leader. How do you run that fine line?

Anders: I don’t know. It’s just something that organically happened. We’ve been playing in bands together since 2005 and I don’t know. It just worked out. We’re both pretty laid back people and we don’t fight or anything. You know, we’ll disagree, I guess. It works out pretty good, you know. She’s a good friend. I don’t know, it works out well for me, but I understand what you’re saying. We can work together, no problem. Everything works out.

Toddstar: That’s great. You gave me a perfect segue – touring. Up here in Detroit, I’d love to see a Bloody Hammers show. I mean, is there any plans to take this out on the road, especially here in the US in the Midwest?

Anders: Our booking agent is sort of looking into what kind of opportunities there is out there. Since record sales are down, everybody’s on the road, it’s getting harder to tour. We’re not a well-known band, but these days well-known bands are touring with other well-known bands. It’s hard to get that opening slot. There’s a lot of pay a place stuff going on, there’s a lot of buy on stuff that’s happening. We’re just kind of looking around at what opportunities there are. I don’t know if we want to do a headlining thing right now, but we would like to try to grab some opening slot with somebody. We’re working on it.

Toddstar: Cool. I read somewhere, Anders, that you said this is definitely your favorite album so far in every way. What about this release really gets you to where you – because so many artists say, “I’ll always cherish my first album,” or “I’ll always cherish my first single.” – what about this album just strikes you to where it’s your favorite so far?

Anders: I know I like the atmosphere of it. I like how it’s sort of calico but it fits together, too. I guess it’s also the freshness. I like new material. All artists like their new material, but I think it’s that I didn’t hold back or worry about, like I said before, what other people were going to think. I didn’t try to cater to a scene, I didn’t care if it didn’t fit in a box or not. I know I’ve seen people say it’s Gothic doom, psychedelic, hard rock, like they don’t know what box to put it in. I love that. I love that they do know what section to put it in.

Toddstar: I put it in rock n’ roll. That’s where I put it.


Anders: It’s just a rock album, yeah, exactly. It’s just a rock album. I feel like in Europe they like to tag it with some sub-genre. It’s got to fit in some box. Like, “What festival are you going to play?” We don’t know. “Are you going to play a stoner rock festival or the Goth festival?” It’s a little more organized, I guess, but I don’t like to be organized. I just like to do whatever I want to do.

Toddstar: I don’t blame you. Bloody Hammers is one of those bands that you guys are visual, from the videos to the album covers. Is that just something you just lend to being another creative side of who you are, or is that something you see as a necessity in today’s music world? Where does that visual side come from, Anders?

Anders: The visual side is probably just… I grew up with some pretty intense albums. One of my first records was Number of the Beast. I remember staring at that record forever and going, “This is awesome.” It’s the fun part, putting the image around there and just having fun with it. I guess just being a fan, myself, and influenced by the stuff I come up with. Stuff with I come up with; I was more entertained with Alice Cooper and people who had that entertainer side. The ’90s, like stuff like Pearl Jam and stuff like that was a real drag to me because they looked like people I just got off work with or whatever, you know? There wasn’t any effort in the show side of it. I guess that’s just it because I growing up I loved The Misfits’ imagery, and Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, all that stuff. Even like the Goth stuff, like Sisters of Mercy, and Bauhaus, and all that kind of dark black and white stuff that they would do. I don’t know, that’s a tough question. It’s just something I do. I don’t really think about why, I just go in with my gut on that.

Toddstar: Cool. It works for you. Again, I love the imagery in the videos. Some of them left field, but it works with the music. Looking at your career, Anders, like you said, you were doing music a long time before Bloody Hammers. If you could go back and pick one or two things that you consider a misstep or something you would have done different in your professional career, is there anything you would change?

Anders: No, because I don’t consider it a career. It’s just something I- some guys go play golf, I write songs. I don’t think of it as a business because it’s not. Back in the day, it was a business, but it’s not a business anymore. People who are making music nowadays are making music because they like making music, I think. There’s no financial reward, really, in music anymore. Yeah, there’s nothing, really. I can’t think of anything that I would have done … I think that maybe back when I was doing stuff under my own name because Anders Manga is a weird name, and maybe I should have done that under some other name. It should have been a band name or I should have put some… Instead of releasing it as my own name. It’s a weird name and it doesn’t translate well in other countries. Maybe I’ll pick that.

Toddstar: Well, cool. That makes sense. We know you’ve got a lot going on. Again, we appreciate the time that you gave us. We wish you so much like with Lovely Sort of Death. We love it. We hope everyone else embraces it the way we have.

Anders: Yeah! Thank you. That’s awesome, man. I appreciate that.

Toddstar: I have yet to find a bad song of the ten. Again, we wish you well. We wish you safe travels until we can get you here in Detroit.

Anders: Yeah, definitely. What’s the place to play in Detroit?

Toddstar: Man, there’s so many of them and they’re constantly changing. Lately, bands of your genre or close to your genre are playing either The El Club or The Loving Touch, which used to be an old massage parlor.


Anders: Oh, nice.

Toddstar: Yeah, it’s kind of a cool place. Exactly. Listen, again, we wish you well, man. I thank you for the time and I can’t wait to get you up here in Detroit.

Anders: Thanks, man. I appreciate it. We’ll talk again.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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