EP: The Grind
Artist: House Of Hatchets
Release Date: 19th May 2017
Hailing from Edinburgh, House of Hatchets are everything you would expect from an Alt Metal group; drop tuned, driven guitars, fast and furious heavy drums and a blend of scream and sung lyrics. Formed in 2016, this is the band’s debut EP and already they are placing the bar pretty high. We have interviewed the band this week, which you can find below.
The band say they have a large pool of influences and that is evident in the varied style of each track. For example the third track on the EP ‘Never Broken’ sounds like it could be a Killswitch Engage song. This gives you a feel, not just for the tone of the band but also the high production values as the EP was mixed and mastered by Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For a Friend, Twin Atlantic).
To listen to ‘The Grind’ is anything but! All five tracks have honest effortless lyrics and a raw power and energy that is infectious, one playthrough is just not enough. This is definitely one for fans of Bring Me The Horizon, Funeral For A Friend, Beartooth and Killswitch Engage. Or indeed if you just like your alt metal best played at 11.
It is early days for House of Hatchets, though with the band already stating that they have other material ready for a possible 10 track debut LP, I am eager to hear what they drop next.
House Of Hatchets are:
Chris Allison – Vocals
Jamie Parker – Guitar
David McIntyre – Guitar
Frazer Parker – Drums
Pete Cook – Bass
Even with short notice, the band kindly took some time out of their busy schedule to be interviewed by me, Teri Morris. Here it is;
Hello, House Of Hatches!
Thank you for accepting our interview today.
You must be excited about releasing your new EP “The Grind”. How are you feeling about it now?
Jamie – Buzzing. A lot of work has been put into launching the band. There are SO many new acts coming out all the time so we always make sure everything we do is done to a high standard. We are proud of the EP for sure but have already started writing new material that we reckon is going to give us another dimension and take things to a new level.
Frazer – Very excited. This is ultimately a culmination of hours spent enjoying a hobby. We are just average lads who have come up with our take on alt-metal so giving other people the chance to hear them has been satisfying. It’s been a good learning experience as well – it’s helped us figure out what kind of band we want to be and has given us a clear direction for new records.
Awesome! I believe you released a single “Sleep” from the EP first. Could you tell us why this track was chosen?
Jamie – We felt it had the widest pull. Think of it as ‘entry level HOH’. We felt if we started too brutal and heavy we may scare people away which is what we don’t want this early! We know that at the end of the day there will always be people that get scared when they hear the word ‘metal’ but we reckon there are people who just need a hug and told ‘hey, it is ok to dig heavy music, friend’. Sleep has a really catchy sing-along chorus whilst still have big riffs and a mad breakdown, the best of best worlds, really.
Frazer – It’s a good hook for the rest of the EP and has the right blend of catchy vocals and hard hitting riffs – a good mix to strive for in any song. We wanted a track that people could sing along and move around to.
Okay. About the lyrics, how important is it to you?
Do you normally write from your own experiences or something just comes up in your mind?
Chris – Lyrics are very important to all of us in HOH. Yeah I do write from my own experiences, or try to work through some catharsis. I draft and redraft, note and sketch continuously.
Quite a craftsman, you are! Could tell us about the journey of making “The Grind”?
Frazer – It’s been an eye-opener for me. To get the tracks sounding the way you want them requires a lot of attention to detail, a lot of refining and harsh truths. We don’t really go easy on each other when composing. But I think that’s crucial if you really want to get the best out of your ability… provided you can take the sort of criticism constructively/on the chin.
Jamie – Likewise. Honesty is key not only with everyone but also yourself. There were a few ideas we really struggled with and in the end thought if an idea was that difficult to evolve – it needs to go. Brutal honesty helped us refine our ideas and in turn get the EP sounding exactly as we wanted. I am always aiming to refine and improve what I do when writing so there will always be a case of ‘what if I changed this riff/that rhythm’ etc, but, have learned to stop cramming in as many notes and squeals as possible. Keeping it more simple and raw, playing to all of our strengths – being honest about these elements has been huge and will serve us well going forward.
It’s great to hear your attitude about your music.
Well, do all the songs on “The Grind” contribute to making one story, or a message if you like, throughout the EP?
Chris – There is not a narrative as such, but certainly there are over arching themes of dark states of mind, struggle and victory over demons. The majority of us have been/will go through through sh*t stuff at some point. Hopefully people can form their own interpretations of the tunes and use them in their own way.
Do you have a favourite track of the EP?
Jamie – “Too Real”, because I love playing the opening riff live. It is a class way to open a gig.
Frazer – It would be one that I enjoy playing most live. Having said that, when planning shows we like to make sure that every track feels good to play as well as to listen, move to. So assuming we’ve put the work in pre-show, all of them!
Yeah that’s my favourite too. I would love to hear it live one day!
Going to some random questions now! Could you tell us how you all met up and became a band?
Frazer –Jamie and I would meet up every so often a few years back and play different stuff. I hadn’t touched a drum kit for the best part of 5 years up to this point and Jamie hadn’t played much on the electric for a while but once we got into a rhythm we started to hear things we liked and decided to take things up a notch. Probably fair to say the band became a thing about 18 months ago when Chris joined us. Jamie and I being family helped us get that consistency in terms of playing… there was no escaping him! and Jamie gets the credit for recruiting the band we have just now as he studied with Chris & David in the past.
Jamie – Yeah it seems to be the way, we never intended on making a band at all. We literally just wanted to play some nu metal and chill. As Frazer says we started in a super relaxed way but wanted to improve. We then started coming up with our own material and it grew from there. It took a while to get the band together and I reckon the key moment was getting Chris involved. It really became a ‘band’. And yeah – there is literally no escaping me, I’m everywhere.
Who are your influences? Does everyone in the band listen to similar music?
Jamie – Growing up it was heaps of Nu Metal. Incubus, Linkin Park, Blink 182, Funeral for a Friend, all that stuff. There was a period when I genuinely thought there would be no more new music I could relate to as much as those bands. That all changed when I discovered Of Mice and Men’s first couple of albums, Bring Me the Horizon, Beartooth and a few others. These bands are a big inspiration for us. They are all well and truly killing it.
Frazer – We all have our own preferences, but I think we meet in the middle which helps a lot. Growing up during the height of Nu Metal definitely had an influence on how we write music. Seeing bands like Deftones, Incubus and Funeral for a Friend in the 00’s struck a chord in me for sure. Metal has changed a lot since those days, particularly from a production/manufacturing perspective but there are still tonnes of bands out there that are winning – Beartooth’s first album was absolutely unreal and Bring Me the Horizon have nailed it – both inspire us.
I can relate too that.
How did you decide on House Of Hatches as your band name?
Frazer – Two things – alliteration and symmetry. We like them both.
Jamie – Amen.
How do you normally go about writing your songs?
Jamie – I usually start by riffing into ProTools. Whatever I dig I keep, whatever I hate I bin. The keepers I send to Frazer with a basic programmed beat so that he can gauge the general vibe. He then composes/tweaks beats and we meet up and go to town on the tune. Once we are happy with it musically and a track is ‘bookended’ I work with Chris. His lyrics are class and we thrash out heaps of ideas, usually demoing vocals in my car in the middle of nowhere. When we were demoing the vocals for The Grind one night the police actually rolled up thinking we were up to no good – of course we had no idea what they meant. When we told them we were writing metal they demanded proof so I just blasted metal at them. Was a weird night.
Frazer – It’s continually evolving but it’s usually a linear process. The key for us getting an idea down into some sort of musical template. Jamie will then work on structure and generally attempt to evolve the track. Once we’ve got something concrete I’ll then put a beat underneath it and the process of refining begins – at the same time Chris is working on lyrics. At some point we’ll meet to put everything together, critique, and refine some more until we’re happy.
Are you planning to tour around the country this year?
Jamie – Right now, we are playing more locally. But in time we will be looking to expand across the rest of UK for sure.
Sounds great. What should we expect from your show?
Jamie – We want people to leave the venue and think ‘holy shit – I want to do that again!’ But we are also totally cool if people just want to come to watch. We’ve all been to gigs where a band have been arsey or had a go at a crowd for being pretty chill. I’ve always found that really ungrateful – these folk have paid for a ticket on a rainy night in November and just want to see you do your thing. Who gives a shit about what they do. There will be people who want to go mental which is awesome but if you want to come and sip a pint whilst leaning against a wall – bash on!
Frazer –Fan experience is important and everyone has their own idea of what defines a good experience. Some people like to lose their shit, some people like to hold a beer and nod their head. I’m cool with both and fall in the latter camp. Our music is what it is and you can expect our energy on stage to reflect the tracks on the EP. You can also expect more than just us playing tracks from our record. Repetition for a band and predictability for an audience isn’t great so we try to enhance the record in a live setting as much as possible. Most good bands do this and personally I don’t think you can beat it when a band play something new, different or unexpected during their set. You’ve paid to see a show and a show is what you should expect.
Promising! Is there anything else you would like to say?
Jamie – At the end of the day, we are normal lads wanting to play music to fellow humans. If you come to a show, come say hi. Interact with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, we want to hear from you!
Thank you for your time! And good luck!
To find out more about House Of Hatchets, visit their sites using the links below;
Official Website: http://www.houseofhatchets.com