In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with BITCHHAMMER. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
Basstard Priest: Actually, the band name emerged some time before the band was formed, in another context, and also by pure chance (by mishearing a comment by a friend). But by that time it was already clear that this would be a great band name. As we then started the band there was no question that BitchHammer was the right name for it
– it fitted (and still fits) perfectly for fast, dirty and straight-forward black/thrash metal in old school manner while being not too serious at all. So you have to say in this case it was not hard to come up with a name, we luckily already had one and we also did never think about another name. It would have been harder nevertheless, if the name would not have existed back then, I think.
What was it that made you want to be in a band in the first place?
Basstard Priest: It was simply the urge to play the music that we loved ourselves. You want to know how it feels to play the riffs and
songs of the bands you like by yourself, and from there it’s just a small step to create your own music in the way of all the heroes you listen to everyday. We wanted to try it out and have fun with it. Lots of fun.
Jack Frost: There is always appreciation, fun and a message in the game. Everybody mixes these things in his/her own ratio.
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
Jack Frost: I am always influenced by other music. Sometimes it’s a rather subtle influence, sometimes I just have to play a riff from another band to see what I can make of it and how it changes in the process of me trying to figure out how to play it. The result is oftentimes completely different from the original riff, sometimes it will sound familiar to the ear of your average joe metalhead. It’s hard to reinvent the wheel and it’s not what I’m trying to do in this band. I just want it to sound cool and kickass.
Basstard Priest: You pick the parts which trigger you in one way or another, which cause excitement and simply electrify you when hearing them. Step by step you’re figuring out what rhythmic, melodic and other musical elements are used to make riffs and whole songs the way they are and the way you like them. Then you play with these “bricks” and elements to create your own stuff. You may have an idea, an inspirational moment, say, some kind of melody in your head and then you just grab your instrument and try out how to play what’s on your mind. You collect, learn and filter from the music you hear and like – unconsciously, most of the time. At least that’s how I would describe my way of doing it. That’s a never-ending process, I would say, and it’s also boundless – your influences form you but from there on you can do whatever you like…
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
Basstard Priest: Since we speak of the heavy metal scene I would say: yes. There’s a lot of connection and reflection within these scene. Metal happens worldwide and in the 21st century it’s as easy as never before to connect with metalheads from other parts of the world, get feedback from them and get to know new friends and comrades. Besides all different opinions and some inner conflicts there’s something that unites all the people that are part of the scene. And I think the place you can experience that best is a concert.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
Basstard Priest: The graphic side has always played a big role for metal – it’s part of the metal image, its different subgenres and it underlines the music and its messages. We were always reflecting the old school metal vibe with the band (in our case always with humour and a bit of irony), so the metal imagery itself is an unavoidable part of our band. There are some parts of it that we just can’t ignore and that are too much fun not to integrate. But nevertheless as the band’s members we meanwhile present ourselves not too eccentric. We have a, I would call it, casual metal style, ‘cause this is what we actually are: some normal next-door guys that love metal music and love celebrating it on stage.
Jack Frost: I want everybody to realize that what you see is what you get. No makeup, no clothing like I was living in the past (the eighties are over!), no photoshopping, no fucking shampoo commercial hair, no shit. What you get to see is the guy who plays the guitar in BitchHammer. This how he looks, no matter if he’s off for work or for the stage.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
Jack Frost: They start to get more and more important as we grow older. Once we had metal puberty poetry, now we have a human nature/societal thing going on without putting the finger on something in particular. But I’m even thinking of a political song now.
Basstard Priest: Yes, there are more lyrics with some kind of “message” right now, lyrics that are more thought-out. But some classic tongue-in-cheek metal poetry is still there, classical themes like religion, the metal scene itself and horror stuff. There are maybe more “story-like” lyrics now. Although some lyrics may seem just typical metal stuff, for me they never were there just to “fill the songs with some words”. I want my lyrics always to be fun and/or exciting to read. So there is a certain importance to them. At least they make the whole thing complete, don’t they? The aforementioned themes are influences for our lyrics – and sometimes it’s simply the sound of a riff that spawns the idea of what a song could be about.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
Jack Frost: Every album is a conceptual thing in a way. It’s basically a bag of songs showing what it’s meant to be alive in a certain period of history. Nobody could stop people in the 70’s or 80’s from picking the cherries from an album and not listening to the whole thing and nobody can today. No matter if it’s digital of physical. Those who want to make albums will make albums and those who want to hear them will continue to do so in the future.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
Basstard Priest: There is some “versus” in this discussion, of course. But I think there’ll be coexistence in the future, just as it is right now. Music scenes like the metal scene will never give up the physicalside of the music since it has something to do with values and a certain way to present your art, no matter which useful aspects digital music has.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
Basstard Priest: We haven’t been on long tours yet, but going out for gigs is always fun. It’s of course not always easy and enjoyable, but the band is definitely an entity that works very well together, this is something that helps and I think it’s something that others do recognize, too. We’re said to make as much action as a five-piece band when playing live, so watching and hearing us play is definitely worth it. Our music and the way we play it is simply made for having a great time at a concert – we’re all about passion and kicking your ass. Go check it out!
What lies in the future?
Basstard Priest: Hopefully a lot of cool gigs – also in other countries. I would love play all around Europe just to experience the concerts and people, finally. The new album “Offenders of the Faith” will hopefully make some more people aware of our stuff (and at the same time delight all ‘old’ fans). The album will be released on vinyl, too, in the near future, so that should be the first thing for you to watch out! We’ll then begin to write new songs. We have some riffs up our sleeve, but basically we’re now starting with new material. It will still be crushing old school stuff, but just as “Offenders of the Faith” shows: there may be some surprises.