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A Dirty Dozen with HAMMERHEDD – April 2021

| 9 April 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Helmed by brothers Henry (19), Eli (17), and Abe Ismert (14), HAMMERHEDD deliver an almost veteran-like presence that could only be achieved through true workmanship. Fans and newcomers alike will instantly admire their ambitious trappings that honor some of metal’s finest vanguards. Critics are quick to note the obvious influence of acts like Gojira, Meshuggah, and Mastodon on their sludge-heavy sound.” We get the guys to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We think that there are a lot of hidden influences that fans who listen very closely can figure out; the album is pretty dense riff-wise.  It definitely isn’t the most accessible listen even for seasoned metalheads.  The songs are super long and can sometimes start to sound like ‘riff soup,’ but the more you listen to it, the more you’ll see the method to our madness a little bit!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

What got us into music was watching our dad play music with his brothers.  Our parents are very musical (our mom plays piano and our dad guitar), and music was always on at our house growing up.  We loved listening to Led Zeppelin, Rush, Boston, and tons of other bands growing up, but we really started to take a serious interest in music when our dad showed us his Metallica CDs.  From then on, all we’ve wanted to do is play music for a living.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

There have been a couple of ‘eras’ that our collective music tastes have evolved through. Roughly speaking, we were obsessed with everything Metallica (and Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, etc.) from about 2012-2017, then from there we discovered Gojira, and subsequently Mastodon, Meshuggah, Tool, Opeth, etc. that lead us to where we are now.  We have gotten more and more progressive in our music tastes and in what we write since then.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Right now, they would probably be Gojira, Mastodon, Meshuggah, Tool, and Primus.  Those are the current ones, although we have always and will always be influenced by bands like Metallica, Rush, Led Zeppelin, The Police, Boston, Cake, Paul Simon, Megadeth, and more.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Brent Hinds for a solo! He’s an absolute beast, as well as a constant influence on our writing.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We would describe it as a fuse of progressive metal and 80’s thrash roots.  We don’t mind comparisons to other bands, even if we disagree with them because everyone hears us in their own context. As long as they’re listening, that’s what matters most!

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Abe has the best singing voice, so he’s the ‘campfire song’ guy.  Eli and Abe both like to cook, and none of us can drink yet!

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

All three of us are on a HUGE ‘Police’ kick right now.  We rediscovered them this year and have been absolutely blown away by Stewart Copeland, not to mention Sting and Summers.  Our ‘starstruck’ moment with The Police this year was hearing the song “Driven to Tears” while we were all driving somewhere.  We pretty much had our jaws on the floor when that reggae breakdown riff came in.  That re-triggered our Police addiction for sure.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part about being a musician is just jamming with each other! The feeling of locking in on a new riff or idea is the greatest feeling in the world, and it isn’t even close.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I can’t think of any answers to either of those questions haha!  We haven’t done enough interviews for us to be tired of answering one specific question yet.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There are a ton of live shows that we wish would have gone better, but you live and you learn!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Henry: Hemispheres by Rush.  I want to see them piece together “La Villa Strangiato;” legend has it that they tried like 40 times to record that song live, but ended up giving up and just did it in three parts.

Eli: Moving Pictures by Rush.  I also want to go back and be a part of the writing sessions for this album. They wrote it in a countryside residence, and it sounded like the greatest time in the world.

Abe: Rust in Peace by Megadeth.  I want to witness Marty Friedman nail those solos, he was on fire that album.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Playing live! All we want to do is play live.  Although it’s kind of nice to be able to just jam and write riffs, we still want to play live so bad.





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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