BLOODY HAMMERS: Southern Gothic Mountain Fuzz

Bloody Hammers

Southern gothic mountain fuzz. You read it right. That is how Transylvania County, North Carolina based Bloody Hammers describe their work. The duo comprised of Anders Manga and Devallia have just put out their third studio album called Under Satan’s Sun, and Prog Sphere talked with them about it, their way of working and future endeavours.

How would you define your mission with Bloody Hammers?

Anders Manga: My mission really is to write and record songs that I like. It turns out a few other people like them too, which is always nice. Other than that we’re just taking it as it comes as Jim Morrison once sang.

Under Satan’s Sun is your third album in just three years. What can you tell me about the creative process that informed this new album?

Devallia: We live in the mountains of Transylvania County in North Carolina. This area is rich in local folklore, and this was a huge inspiration.

Were there any differences in your approach for Under Satan’s Sun compared to 2012′s self-titled debut album and last year’s Spiritual Relics?

Anders: Spritual Relics was mix of older tracks that I had never released, along with some new songs. Under Satan’s Sun is a much more cohesive collection of songs that fit together more as a theme.

Have you managed to make any new discoveries in terms of songwriting on Under Satan’s Sun?

Anders: I think I’ve learned to be a better engineer in the studio. I think this album sounds much better sonically than the other two, so I’m always learning in that way. As far as songwriting, not so much, because I just let them come out of me naturally and try not to think or analyze them too much.

What evolution do you feel Under Satan’s Sun represents for the band comparing with Bloody Hammers and Spiritual Relics?

Anders: Now it’s taking Bloody Hammers from a recording side project to a live touring entity! It started as just something I did for fun, but now I have a full band and the stuff has really come to life when we play live.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when writing Under Satan’s Sun?

Anders: The biggest challenge was getting the right guitar tone. I struggled with all kinds of different mics and fuzz effects but in the end, the winner was just a simple SM57 shoved against a warm orange amp.

For the purpose of releasing Under Satan’s Sun, you signed with Napalm Records. What do you expect from this collaboration with them?

Devallia: Napalm approached us about signing with them shortly after the release of Spiritual Relics. It just seemed like the next logical step. Our experience with them so far has been amazing. They have a great staff of experienced marketing people all over the planet, so we can just focus on the music.

Bloody Hammers - Under Satan's Sun
The music, as well as the imagery, is reminiscent of the 1970′s. Tell me something about the artwork design. Who crafted it and how does it complement the overall sound of the album?

Anders: I wanted something that would feel like a comic I bought as a kid, like Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt. I pieced the album cover together from vintage adverts. It works well with the songs since each is a short story.

What is your way of documenting the music while it’s being formulated?

Anders: It’s just me with an acoustic usually on the sofa in the basement. I mumble melodies and riffs into a little recorder until something cool happens.

How do you go about channeling your inspiration into writing?

Anders: I know many writers put lots of thought into writing, but I really like to keep my mind out of it as much as possible. I find the best stuff comes to me from some cosmic place when I’m paying the least attention. It is just a stream of consciousness.

What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

Anders: I think everyday life makes a big impact in one way or another.

With a band like Bloody Hammers, are there any limitations to how far your sound can stray from the sound you established?

Devallia: As far as we are concerned, there are no limitations. Anders just writes songs he likes. If he likes them, it is likely somebody else out there will like them too.

How would you describe what you do with Bloody Hammers to someone who didn’t listen to you before?

Devallia: This is something we have sort of struggled with, trying to think of a way to describe it. For now, we have settled on southern gothic mountain fuzz. The songs are heavy, but melodic.

Bloody Hammers: Anders Manga & Devallia

Bloody Hammers: Anders Manga & Devallia

I suppose that the name of the band was inspired by Roky Erickson’s Bloody Hammer. Is it right?

Anders: Yes, we are a southern band and Roky is a big deal to most of us who grew up loving psychedelic rock and hard rock.

It’s obvious that Bloody Hammers’ sound largely relies on the 1970′s hard rock. Name few albums that inspired and influenced your work with Bloody Hammers?

Anders: We don’t sound like these albums but some of the ones who inspired me to play years ago would probably be Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid, Rush‘s Moving Pictures, Gary Numan‘s The Pleasure Principle, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Twisted Sister‘s Stay Hungry, Sisters of Mercy‘s Floodland, every Alice Cooper album… So many!

What lies in the future for Bloody Hammers? What do you hope to achieve at the end of the day?

Devallia: We really just want to enjoy the experience of writing songs and playing them live!

Anders: Yeah we’re pretty simple. At the end of the day we just enjoy this and take it one day at a time.

Catch Bloody Hammers on the European tour in May and June. Dates are below.

Bloody Hammers tour poster


Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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