It’s been a while since we’ve heard music that really echoes the feeling of “those things that go bump in the night.” Yet that’s just what Bloody Hammers offers. These American horror/occult rockers bring a pale shade of gloom and eerie melody to amazingly catchy pieces like “Spearfinger” and “Moon-Eyed People.” I knocked a few times on Devallia’s crypt and she arose to tell me a bit about the new album, some of the band’s influences in both music and lyrics as well as what influenced her to write such moody, gothic keyboard passages. We also had an interesting debate about modern and classic horror. So curl up with a warm glass of blood, as you partake in the offering of your soul to these words.
First off, how do a bunch of guys get together and start playing keyboard laden southern gothic metal? What inspired you guys to go for this sound? And where did the name come from?
Devallia: The name came from the song “Bloody Hammer” by Roky Erickson. As for the band, all of the songs are written by Anders and I record the organ. Doza has also worked on a few drum tracks and Bill joins us for live shows. The sound of Bloody Hammers was inspired by southern Baptist congregations burning the metal music collections of their children at the behest of TV evangelists in the 1980s.
I sense that Type O Negative is a huge influence to the band. How big of an influence are they really to your sound, and what other bands do you think might have incorporated to the sound of Bloody Hammers?
D: Type O Negative never really influenced Bloody Hammers, but we are flattered that people compare the two. Anders is a music junkie, so he has a broad range of influences, from various genres, spanning over a few decades.
The new album, Under Satan’s Sun seems like a return to form in the vein of your occult laden material, this one being inspired more by horror films and obviously the Satanic ones (which they barely make these days, for some reason) as well as some Lovecraftian elements. Tell me a little about the concept for it.
D: We live in the mountains of Transylvania County, NC. This area is rich in folklore and legends. Many of the songs were inspired by these old stories, such as Spearfinger, Dead Man’s Shadow and Moon-Eyed People.
Tell me about the recording of Under Satan’s Sun. It seems like you guys are recording these discs in record time. Spiritual Relics just released last year. How in the world did you guys manage to put it together it so quickly?
D: Spiritual Relics was a collection of older songs that Anders had, with a few newer songs sprinkled throughout. It was a sort of a prequel to the self-titled album, if you will. Spiritual Relics was recorded almost immediately after the first release, while we were working out our first tour dates. Under Satan’s Sun came about very suddenly, when we moved to this area. Anders immediately felt inspired and the new songs flowed out, almost as if channeled from an otherworldly source.
As far as lyrics go, tell me a little bit about some of the stronger topics on the record. What influenced these lyrics in particular?
D: It is difficult to determine what the stronger topics are because everyone has different tastes and we are too close to the songs to dictate what is better than something else. We already discussed a few tracks above and we just released a video for “Death Does Us Part” so I will talk about that one. The story is about a couple who committed some horrible crimes and is cornered by police at the top of a mountain, at a spot known as Lovers Leap. Watch the video to find out what happens next.
What are your top five favorite records of all time?
D: My musical tastes are mostly founded in older dark electronic and industrial. Some of my favorites are Coil, Skinny Puppy, early Thrill Kill Kult and Ministry, along with some Einsturzende Neubauten.
I’m curious if any of you guys have had an otherworldly or unexplainable experience. Do you think there’s stuff out there that we are not yet aware of?
D: I’ve had lots of unexplainable experiences, but I mostly attribute those to a misunderstanding of my surroundings, combined with the nature of my mind to automatically venture to the darkest possibilities.
What can someone expect at a Bloody Hammers show? Who have you guys had the honor of performing with?
D: When at a Bloody Hammers show, expect a spectrum of heavy, melodic and moody songs. We feel there is something for almost everyone in the set. The highlight of our experiences so far has been our invitation to play at Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Festival. So many great bands played there and we are honored to have been part of it.
Any touring plans yet? How ready are you guys to get back on the road?
D: We are about to embark on our first European tour, starting at Freak Valley Festival in Germany. We will be in various cities for two and half weeks, and ending at Download in the UK. We are also particularly excited about playing at Cassiopeia in Berlin and The Underworld in Camden.
Do you guys plan on doing any material based on Steven King or Clive Barker’s myths? I’d like to hear your take on the cenobites from The Hellbound Heart or Pennywise from IT.
D: Inspiration comes at the most random times and often from unexpected sources. Anders never says “Ok, at 3 am I am going to sit down and write a song about Cthulhu.” He has skeletons of songs floating around in his brain and he fleshes them when he feels inspired.
What do you guys do when you’re not playing music? Are there any other bands you play in, or any special hobbies that you guys have?
D: When we are not playing music, we are usually watching horror movies or hiking in the mountains. I like photographing woodland orchids, so Anders goes with me to keep bears from snacking on my scalp.
People keep talking about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. The government might use it for population control or something. But if that day ever came, what would you guys do?
D: The idea of putting outward facing treadmills at each window and door is the best solution I’ve seen so far.
Your music seems to go well with horror films, particularly on soundtracks. Most good ones seem to go right to Blu-Ray/DVD/stream these days, but do you think that you’ll ever be approached for a soundtrack?
D: Anders did have a song on “The Vampire Diaries” TV show. We just found out there is a remake of “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” coming out later this year. It was a complete coincidence, but maybe if it’s not too late…
Finally, what are your must-see-before-you-die films as far as horror is concerned and what do you think of modern horror films versus the classic age of horror films?
D: There are so many great independent horror films. Rec was really good, as was V/H/S. We also both really like the work of Lucky McKee. In my opinion, modern independent horror films are better than much of what was out there before 1975 (there are exceptions, of course). Some of the older movies tend to drag at times. On the other hand, my main gripe about modern mainstream horror movies is the casting seems to be based solely on sex appeal, as opposed to acting ability. Vampires sparkle and werewolves have abs. Julian Beck, Sissy Spacek, and Angus Scrimm would likely not have been cast in mainstream horror today and that is a damn shame.
Thanks for answering my questions and for a very entertaining occult rock album. You guys could really go far, there’s no mistaking it. Glad to hear that Napalm picked you guys up and can’t wait to hear more in the future! – Eric
D: Thanks for giving Bloody Hammers a listen and for taking the time to interview!
Get your hands Under Satan’s Sun here: http://bloodyhammers.bandcamp.com/merch