interview with Hellfire Club

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How was the band formed? One day Ser and Igor, long time friends, met up and said "shall we put together a band?", so they found a drummer, a bass player and a singer who have been gradually by the current members. In order: Jimbo at the voice, me (PJ) at the bass and finally Marcus at the drums (actually he is the 3rd drummer that we have)

Can you tell about your band? We come from different music styles and we do our best to make these influences work together on a common base and make something with a great punch but possibly not obvious.

Where are all band members from?/Who does what in the band? All of us had several previous experiences in other bands doing different musical genres. The actual formation is Igor - solo guitar, Ser - rhythm guitar, Jimbo - vocals, PJ - bass and back vocals, Marcus - drums.

What was the ambitions of the band when you started? It was, and it still is, playing live and let our music spread out.

Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you? Hmmm... nice one... Let's see: take a base of southern metal, add stoner, groove metal, blues and a hint of prog and a tiny bit of some more extreme stuff... we call it Rebel Metal

Where was your first gig?/Where was the latest gig? The first gig we had was in a local club together with other 2 bands and we had a really nice feedback. The latest one was in Belluno, which is a couple of hours driving from our place.

Who writes your songs?/ Who writes the music who writes lyrics? We do. Instrumental riffs and melodies are normally put together by Igor, Ser and PJ, all the vocals lines are made by Jimbo and lyrics as well. Then it depends: some tracks are composed by just one of us and then we work on it together, some others are composed together since the beginning.

Who has the best since of humor in the band? We are a bunch of funny guys who always like to have a nice laugh, but Ser & Igor is the actual comic duo.

Why did you pick that particular style?/ What are your songs about? We've found common ground between us in the southern/groove metal, so beefy sounds, beefy riffs... that stuff that makes you want to move your head to the rhythm and drink beer or whatever kind of alcoholic beverage you prefer, plus some uncommon variations for this kind of style to widen up the flavour. Jimbo writes the lyrics which are mainly personal, but overall we go from personal issues, to vices, to personal growth.

Do you write your own material? Yes, all of it.

Tell us about your albums? We recently released a 4-tracks EP, titled "01", where you can have an idea about what we do. Actually we have several other tracks that sooner or later will be recorded and we're working on many others.

Tell us about your clips on YouTube? We didn't actually released any official video, goddamned money, and in youtube we just put some of the tracks that can be found in our EP and some home-made experiments.

How old are you?/What got you started in music? 

Me? I'm 32.. and I'm the youngest of the band. All the others are around 40.

You know... you love music, you listen a lot and then you realise that you want to play an instrument and you want to play in a band to play some of your favourite tracks, then you realise you have something to say and that you want to express yourself with your instrument playing your own music and so on.

How old were you guys when you first stood on stage? All of us went the first time on stage when we were teenagers.

What places will you be playing in in the immediate future? We're getting into the warm season, so it's time for open air festivals. We will play for sure in 2 local festivals and we're waiting for other confirmations.

Where have you played from then till now? North-East of Italy and Slovenia. But we would like to push ourselves further away.

Witch band is the best you've seen? I've seen so many of them and really a lot of them were excellent live and I've understood why some of the big names are up there on the Olympus and we call them gods.

Is it always the same songs live? We try to vary as much as possible. Maybe there are 3-4 tracks that we play in every single live.

What are the plans for the rest of the year? Spread out our music, play live and record some more tracks.

Where do you usually play? Mainly North-East of Italy and sometimes in the near Slovenia.

What are your goals with your music? Express ourselves and entertain people with some good tunes and try to play live much more on an international level.

What's the first step when making a new song? Someone needs to come out with a good main riff and from there we add all the rest.

How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums? Are you talking about illegal download? I do understand if you want to download an album to hear it before buying it. If you truly like a band, or a single album, I think that the right thing to do is buying it as some people spent money to do it and to support the band.

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to?

Pretty much we are all fans of the great classics of hard rock, heavy metal and thrash metal.

Jimbo listens pretty much to anything that can be classified as "music" and he has a really wide musical culture in many genres and styles; Ser goes anywhere between dark rock, black, death, folk and melodic metal; Igor is much more focused on groove, thrash and heavy metal; Marcus comes from a indie rock, noise, post hardcore, funk; I (PJ) am a big fan of tek-thrash plus heavy metal, hard rock, classic rock but I quite like brutal death and industrial as well and some unusual stuff.

What do you hold most dear? If we talk about objects, I would say that for me is my first serious bass that I bought something like 15 years ago and the instruments that my father left to me and my brothers.

What would be your greatest fears for the future? 

That we are the last generation to go to local concerts and support the local bands. At least this is what is happening in Italy... everyone is with his fucking eyes glued to their bloody smartphones chatting with friends that maybe are just 1km away instead of meeting up and reading to useless statuses and shit on Facebook and masturbating on tumblr or whatever and listening only to the stuff that comes thru MTV and mainstream in general.

When you are on stage, what do you fear most then? To have no one listening to us.

What would you do if there was no music? I would invent it :-D Seriously I can't think about a reality with no music... we had it since the first men started to hit an empty log with some sticks!

How important are your fans? Fans are vital and they are mainly friends... even if we never met someone before, we never say no to a beer together after the concert. From the fans we receive the energy that actually makes you play better on stage.

What's the funniest/most memorable thing a fan has done for you? Stay in front of the stage and be the only one that was headbanging like crazy with his girlfriend doing exactly the same thing while another one came on the stage and started to worship us on his knees.

How often do you rehearse? We try to meet at least once a week. If it's not for rehearsal is to write new material.

Where do you rehearse? There's a cheap session room in our area or in Ser's personal session room if we need to record.

Name 2 of your own songs you like at the moment? Using My Hands and The Storm

What drives a band that isn't all that famous and renowned to try to make a living on their music and to keep playing? I guess the main motor are the passion for music and a "childhood's dream"

Do you have any webpages? At the moment we're still stuck with our page on FB:

Describe your show, visually and musically? It depends by the lights service :-D It's mainly confederate flags, cowboy hats, powerfull groovy riffs, open wide atmospheres and a lot of energy.

How do you view the music industry of today? If we do not consider mainstream "music" industry which is just a making-money machine I would say it's overflowed with too many bands and most of them have really nothing to say... I don't expect to always find something "new", as it's verrrrry difficult to invent something new nowadays, but I'd like that the bands and their music have an actual soul and transmit me at least something... maybe I won't like all of them, obviously, but at least they are giving something to the audience.

What advice would you like to give other bands?  Work a lot on your sounds... I mean physically... so tune right your amps your effects and make the sounds of every component of the band work together. For me harmony is number 1 rule.

What are the biggest obstacles for a band?  Going back to my thoughts about music industry, I would say that together with the fact that the market is overflown, it's very difficult for a band to emerge. Back in the past it was a great deal of money to invest to have a good recording, so the bands used to make some low-fi demos on cassette to ship to various labels hoping to be listened and that the company would invest on them and there were some places to play live where you knew there was always a talent scout there that could have listened to you. Nowadays is quite easy to do a decent product at a budget price and self-promotion looks like one of the keys to the next level... Or you participate to contests (I hate them) and you een need to pay for it! I don't know how the music industry works in these days, so I don't know what does it make someone listening to you over thousands of bands. Likes on FB? Sales on iTunes? I don't really know.

What is best/worst with playing the clubs? I can talk only about the situation here in the Italian north-east. Several of the live music club disappeared, so what's left is pubs that most of the times are not equipped with a stage and not even with a PA system. So the best thing is that there is a chance that someone new will listen and get interested into the band, worst things is that you need to carry around all your equipment (or if there are more bands, each band will take something), spend money to move around with your car/van, invest a lot of time to most of the times not being paid to do it, not even an expenses reinburse, and , in the worst cases, you even have to pay for your drinks and you do ALL of this just because you like to play your music live. I wonder how's the situation in other parts of Europe, but I guess that here in Italy we have the worst environment for original music metal bands.

What is your favorite crappy instrument? Mine is a cheap ass yellow ukulele I bought for a Mardi Grass  party and actually came out that I really like strumming with it.

It is easier to get inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern? And what are your source of inspiration? As anticipated, we come from many different kinds of music and influences. Mainly we are inspired by older bands.

Have you been in any other bands? Yes, all of us had.

How would describe your sound in one sentence? An old car with a good engine on a lonely road in the middle of an almost deserted landscape but with green hills and snowy mountains on the horizon approaching a little town where everything can happen...good or bad.

What's good/bad with the band? /What genre do you feel you are? One of the best things of this band is that we are friends and there's actually no one imposing himself as leader.

What's your Pre-show ritual? We put the confederate flags on the amps, then Jimbo and me have a shot of nasty whiskey, Marcus drinks a shot of whatever, Igor drinks a beer and Ser drinks nothing at all.

Do you have anything to add? I'll have a beer. Cheers and thanks :-)

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