Here is the written english version of our interview with John Cobbett (guitar) from the band Hammers Of Misfortune.
Hello Hammers Of Misfortune, we are really happy to have you in the next issue of our Hellzine ! So, here are a few questions. Could you please just note who is answering the questions? I thank you in advance for your answers. Hello, thanks for getting in touch! This is John here.
So, first of all, you are back with a new album this year, “Dead Revolution”, five years after your last album, what happened during these last years? A lot. We lost our rhythm section and found a new bass player (Paul Walker) and drummer (Will Carrol). We played some shows, did a little touring, wrote a bunch of music, made a VHÖL album and made half of “Dead Revolution”. Then Sigrid and I had a baby, and Joe got in a serious motorcycle accident. Things got difficult for a while there.
Can you explain how and with who you worked on this new record? We worked with Nick Dumitru at Light Rail Studios in San Francisco. The album was recorded through an old Trident console, across two-inch analog tape and into a bare-bones pro tools rig. We didn’t have any plugins to speak of, no digital effects. All we did with the pro tools was automate levels, no signal processing. We used a few big reverb plates, and the rest of the effects were done with stomp boxes.
This “Dead Revolution” is out for one month now, what are the first feedbacks you received about it? The reaction has been really good. I’m relieved! You never know how people are going to react…
Also, Hammers Of Misfortune is known for releasing very different albums every time, how do you explain this? It’s just a natural combination of times and circumstances. We definitely aren’t going to put the same album out again and again. It seems to happen naturally, whether we like it or not. I think there are things about our albums that remain quite consistent as well.
And how do you manage to renew your style? Where do you find your inspiration? It’s a good question. Making an album always leaves me exhausted. I like to go back to being a fan, getting excited about music. After a while I get the urge to start writing material. Making a record is a long and difficult process, so it takes a while before I’m ready to commit to it.
By the way, is “Dead Revolution” a concept album? If not, can you explain the themes you evoke through the lyrics of the songs? It’s not a concept album. I guess you could call it a song cycle, but even that would be a stretch. It’s a series of observations, and some stories. There’s some conjuration of the mental hell-scape wrought by online culture and social media. There’s a condemnation of the insufferable arrogance of the tech industry and it’s disciples. There’s a song dealing with malignant gentrification in my former city. There’s a sic fi adventure about fleeing a burning city in a stolen ship. There’s a song about the weather.
Could you please also comment the particular artwork of the album? Its meaning and also who created it? The artist is Robert Steven Connett. I discovered his work while looking around for a cover artist. The paintings already existed. They weren’t commissioned exclusively for our record. I chose the paintings because they called to mind some of the imagery in the lyrics. On the front you can see the confession in “The Velvet Inquisition”, as well as the burning city from “Flying Alone”. The back reminded me of “The Precipice”.
Do you plan to tour soon? And what are your projects in general for the next few months? Touring is probably not going to happen until our son is a little older. We’re open to playing festivals and one-off gigs, where we can just fly out for a few days. That would be ideal.
Finally, do you have a few words for you Belgian fans? Hail Belgium! We hope to see you someday soon!