Philadelphia-hailing rockers Mannequin Pussy have been conjuring music that moves, both physically and mentally, since …
South-east Queensland heavy hitters Hammers are about to head out on tour with Wilmington rockers He Is Legend this month.
It’s another step on what is going to be a busy road for the band this year as they get to work on a new album. Earlier this month they released a professionally-shot documentary about their trip to Central Australia’s Blacken festival that was premiered here on Hysteria and can be watched on YouTube. With their tour only a few days away, we got chatting with guitarist Lucas Stone and drummer Ruckus about the new recording, the doco and their thoughts on social media.
How far along with the album are you now?
Lucas Stone: Probably half a dozen songs that are bones, two songs that are fully complete. We’re starting to mess with the lyrical content and structures and stuff at the moment. Obviously we’ve got a bit going on, but with the pace we’re sitting at at the moment, it should be fully written and structured by June – July with a bunch of the stuff down and ready to record by the end of the year.
H: You didn’t get much time to get the previous one in front of people, so that’s kind of what you’ve been doing since. Have you been playing anything new to get the fans ready for the album?
LS: We’re thinking of doing one on this tour, but it depends on set times. Generally the road testing of new tracks doesn’t happen until you’re pretty close to going into the studio, because by then you’ve been working on it a fair bit in the band room.
H: Every song is a new song to people who haven’t seen you before, but Hammers seems to be building a pretty good following now.
Ruckus: I haven’t counted them!
LS: Over the last year or so, I reckon, it’s gotten to the point where it’s started to cyclically rotate and have a bit of a snowball effect. Obviously you want to grow a following but if you pay too much attention to that, you get distracted. You want to be happy for yourself for getting a following, but also remember why you started doing this shit in the first place.
H: How important has social media been for Hammers in the years when you couldn’t do that much live work?
LS: I hate it.
R: I don’t really know much about it. Lucas is really careful with what we share. And like he said before, if we focus too much on what doesn’t bring us joy as individuals, we’re not enjoying it.
H: The level of emotion there from just bringing that up sounds like there might be a song in there.
LS: I’m pretty sure we’ve already written a few! To be honest, personally – I think social media is the most toxic, poisonous thing, part of the human condition of modern times … ever!
I think it’s done more damage to the human condition than we realise. Obviously we had to reinvent the way we do the business end of music over the generations.
[ Lucas Stone – Hammers ]
H: It certainly does have a lot of downsides.
LS: I think it’s done more damage to the human condition than we realise. Obviously we had to reinvent the way we do the business end of music over the generations. Coming from the record label-run, agency-run ethos when bands were getting ripped off like crazy to this DIY kind of ethic and having to promote yourself in this over-saturated, under-appreciated scene, it comes down to us really focusing on using those things as tools in a positive way while still understanding the fucking poisonous thing it is while you’re doing it and maintaining an awareness that, as a band, nothing matters without the music that you share in the room and on the stage. I could do without it tomorrow!
H: You released your documentary The Kooks of Hazard recently. Was that something that was planned out as part of that tour adventure?
LS: It just kind of … happened. I think it was one of those conversations we had in rehearsals, that we should film this thing, and then I think it was someone else who was supposed to come with us …
R: It was Colin Jeffs of Ten Swords Media. He’s brilliant. Good looking too. He was supposed to come with us, but because the festival was postponed – a couple of times – he could no longer do it. James, the guy we took on the road, we had met him as a band once before he came away with us. He came and shot a show at the Woolly Mammoth and got some good footage and seemed like a really good dude, which is good if we’re going to be in a car with him for a week!
LS: He’s a pretty tall lad too, so he takes up a pretty good amount of real estate.
R: We’ve been mates for a long fucking time – like, a long time. We’d meet him as a group once, so he jumped in the deep end.
LS: He slid right in perfectly!
H: The doco was premiered here just before Easter. Was there a plan to have a showing for the fans prior to that?
LS: We originally had a screening booked at a local venue. We were going to have a private ticketed screening a couple of weeks before the release but it fell through for licensing reasons and we’ve got so much coming up we just put it in the too-hard basket for the moment.
H: Is it only going to be a YouTube thing?
LS: That’s the only way we can really do it at the moment. We tried a few different avenues, like putting it into some film festivals and stuff because it came out pretty good. We never know if we’re actually funny or not, but we thought it was pretty good!
R: But that doesn’t mean anything!
It was pretty entertaining watching you guys sweating it out on stage out there at Blacken.
R: It was definitely hot! I was just glad I was under the shade.
L: We just got the hottest slot in the desert of the whole festival. Throw the Queenslanders in the hot box for the day! It was fun. We had fun, still!
Catch Hammers with He Is Legend at the following dates:
GOLD COAST // Wednesday, 17th May // Mo’s Desert Clubhouse
BRISBANE // Thursday, 18th May // The Zoo
SYDNEY // Friday, 19th May // Crowbar
MELBOURNE // Saturday, 20th May // Stay Gold
ADELAIDE // Sunday, 21st May // Lion Arts Factory
PERTH // Wednesday, 24th May // Badlands