Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hellbastard Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days ?
1. Scruff - Basically, paul beat me to this question below......
1. Paul - We have recently released a new E.P. on CD and vinyl called "Sons of Bitches". Three of the tracks from the E.P. are also on a split 12" release with USA's "Dresden". We have a new drummer now; a chap called Nathan Ellis. He is a very talented musician and a great guy. We had been on hold for many months following the departure of our previous drummer and also, me chopping the end of one of my fingers off. We are now regularly writing and rehearsing and are very much looking forward to getting a new album recorded and playing some live shows.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous recordings?
2. Scruff - Paul beat me to this again! I have to add that next album in we are looking to do away with the 'modernity' of digitised productions, there is no soul. I think our "Eco-War" ep has the best sound of all since I reformed the band in 2008.
1. Paul - It's more of an E.P. than an album, although it's nearly 25 minutes long! It has a very modern sounding production. It has a lot of different musical ideas going and is probably more eclectic than previous recordings. There is an orchestral part on the song "System Whore", which sounds very epic and progressive, I suppose. We have a short reggae style song on there, which we jammed out in one take for a laugh, but thought we'd include it as it's pretty cool! The song "Arcadia" has a tribal feel to it. The drummer that played on the E.P. had a very unique style of playing and it particularly comes across on that song. The title track is a thrashy song with some mad time changes and harmonic ideas which were never explored on previous recordings. If you listen to the new version of "We had Evidence" and compare it to the 1988 version, you can hear how much more competent the current line-up of the band is.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
3. Scruff - I find it really difficult to write nonsensical lyrics,.... as fans of HELLBASTARD will know. There is a mixture of emotions and feelings on "Sons Of Bitches" for sure, "Arcadia" is pretty much about losing loved ones and dealing with it, or at least trying to. The track "System Whore" is self explanatory, The 'hidden' track "Throw The Petrol Bomb" is a tongue-in-cheek rant about revolution whereas "Sons Of Bitches" covers the sheer frustration of dealing with humanity on the most base level.
3. Paul - Scruff wrote all the lyrics for this one. He can answer this best.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
4. Scruff - The band formed amidst the anarcho-punk scene, we all came from the 1970's Punk Rock scene, and naturally enjoyed the bands that came after that. The word "hell" signifies our enjoyment of the more metallic sounds of heavy music, and "bastard' is a very 'punky' thing to say,...... Hellbastard. Most notably my friends around london and hackney (Sons of Badbreath/Eat Shit) had a song called "HELLBASTARD", I thought it was a great name for a band........ it is a signifier of PUNK ROCK and THRASH/HEAVY METAL, really. Even though to this day we still seem to be TOO metal for the punks and TOO punk for the metalheads. Good, it worked.... never fit in !
4. Paul - Ask Scruff. I wasn't in the band then.
5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
5. Paul - For me, every show has something great about it. If the audience is into it, then so are we. It's a two-way thing. It doesn't matter whether we're playing to 10 people or 10,000 people. The performance is always energetic, visual and as musically accurate as we can be.
5. Scruff - Some of the best shows since the band formed are undoubtedly a squat gig in Italy (Napoli) supporting Napalm Death on a tour in the late 1980's...It was jam packed and was just amazing. There was a "house" show in TEXAS in 2009 and that was also buzzing with excitement and adrenalin,.... I'm a very random person and will sometimes do something that nobody expects, this is something I cannot help - it comes from a 'miniscule temporary boredom'. I'm looking to perfect this in future and really start some mental shit whilst playing...... I HATE rules, they make me naturally go the-other-way.
6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
6. Paul - No big ones planned, but probably off to Portugal and Italy soon.
7. The band took a long hitaus, what was the cause of the split up and what made you decide to reform after all of these years?
7. Paul - Ask Scruff.
7. Scruff - I reformed the band in 2008 after I realised that I was not happy with other bands I had created inbetween splitting Hellbastard up in 1991/2 and coming back in 2008. The Dischargers, Moodhoover, Heavy Water, King Fuel, Nero-Circus, Sidewinder,... all these bands made albums and usually toured and something always seemed to be missing. The root cause of the original Hellbastard split was sheer frustration and desperation. Our record label (Earache) pretty much lost all interest and the members were constantly bickering and fighting, it was absolutely useless to try and continue.
8. The band is considered one of the originators of crust, how do you feel about the other bands take took that musical genre to different levels?
8. Paul - Personally speaking, I don't care. I wasn't involved back then.
8. Scruff - I'm really not at all interested, honestly.
9. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of extreme music?
9. Paul - The new record is getting very, very good reviews...which is worrying! We're not used to critical acclaim. Seriously though, people are loving the new stuff, which is great. I do believe it's the best Hellbastard release thus far.
9. Scruff - Paul said it above,........
10. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
10. Scruff - I tried so much to bring something 'new' and 'fresh' to Hellbastard with the song "Arcadia..." and i was really happy with the way it turned out. The day I quit this band is when we re-hash something we have already done, which will not happen because that is just laughable. There are no rules, so we will do what we do,...with a difference. Those are the rules - there are no rules. The less generic the better.
10. Paul - Whatever we feel like doing, really. We have a very talented band nowadays and we are adding a dimension to Scruff's song-writing that wasn't there in the past. We already have some songs ready for the next release. Some written by myself and Tom, some written by Scruff. It is very heavy and groove orientated. Whatever gets released will be honest, that's for sure.
11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
11. Scruff - I got really into country music in 2000, like americana and stuff. I love the banjo as an instrument and accordion, piano, cello and other instruments. I always have though. After writing music with bass, drums, guitar for over 33 years I think that is very much deserved. I have injected little bits of difference in my song writing along the way - for example, on "The Need To Kill" album there are parts that I tried to make stand out, on "Eco War" there is a hammond organ in the track "Woe, The People" and on this new one there is almost a full orchestra on the track "System Whore". To date the problem has been lack of funding to realise perfectly what is in my head, so we have to make do with what we have..... I love the sounds that a band called 16 Horsepower make, and Calexico, and then of course stuff like Swans, and Killing Joke,........
I will always look back to my youth for music I love, the stuff I grew up with..... but occasionally a new band or sound will come along and it'll be like a breath of fresh air. Very rare these days especially in the 'crust' genre we are always lumped in with, Sigh.........
11. Paul - Personally, I am influenced by everything I see, hear and do. I can't pick out any particular bands who have influenced my own song writing. It's Scruff that writes nearly everything for Hellbastard, anyway. I just add bass-lines, guitar harmonies and ideas for the arrangements. I'm going to be contributing some songs for the next release, though. As for music I listen to nowadays; I'm listening to a lot of Type O Negative. I have loved that band for many years. I have just bought the latest Iron Maiden album, which I like, but I generally only listen to heavy music if I'm out running or lifting weights. I'm really into jazz at the moment. I listen to virtuoso bass players like Marcus Miller, Mark King, Stanley Clarke etc...I've been listening to Level 42's "The Early Tapes" a lot, too. It's uplifting and has awesome bass.
12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
12. Scruff - In the last 6 years or so I have really gotten into motorbikes, I am currently doing one up now, from scratch. When it is finished it will definately be a head turner, fortunately I have a friend helping with restoration and welding so I am really lucky. I have a couple of degrees academic wise, and I love languages and learning full stop. I love gardening...ever since I was a kid. I have my late father to thank for that. I am absolutely amazed by cats, I spend a lot of time with my own cat, he is like a surrogate kid to me, I enjoy his company no end. I do have awful bouts with depression - an awful thing about depression is when I lose interest with everything, which is always there, and it gets stronger as I get older, but it has never beaten me yet - I still pick up a guitar in the house and have always got a song arrangement in my head, that has been a constant since being in a band called The Apostles way back in the early 1980's. I do have a couple of musical projects outside this band but because I work full time I never seem to have the time to realise any of them,... they are slowly moving forward though. One is a very metallic sounding band and the outcome will be an album, the other has already been recorded and will eventually become an EP.
12. Paul - Pretty much everything I do is related to music in one way or another. I am very busy with various musical projects right now, so don't have time for interests outside of music.
13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
13. Scruff - Be, not become.
13. Go vegan. You'll be doing yourself, the planet and animals a lot of good!

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