With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to HELLGRIMM. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
Jerry – Hellgrimm’s music delves into the darkness of addictions, death, and demons with stories both fictional and based in truth. Everyone battles demons in one way or another – this is war music. I like to hear that our music inspires people to pick up instruments and do their own thing. Our drummer/singer, Erica, gets a lot of compliments, especially from women, that she inspires them to get their music projects going.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
Jerry – Prior to starting Hellgrimm, we had a comedy rock band called Monkeysoop that we started in 2002. In recent years, I started writing darker, heavier music and we felt we needed a name change to go along with the new direction. We tossed around a few choices and we finally decided on Hellgrimm – we’ve always liked this word since we used it as a title of a song from Monkeysoop’s debut CD back in 2003.
Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
Jerry – So many bands have influenced me throughout my life. When I was learning guitar, I was into Black Sabbath, Ted Nugent, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Alice Cooper. These days I love all those bands and many more, including Clutch, Lucifer, Steve Vai, Venom, Kreator, Celtic Frost, Coven, Rob Zombie, and about a thousand others. I’m also really inspired by the sounds of everyday life, movies, and television. Some of my favorite ideas have come from horror movies.
When you formed did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?
Jerry – See Question 2.
I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
Jerry – We still mainly release full-length albums. I still tend to buy CDs myself – I don’t buy individual songs very often. We haven’t ever just released one Hellgrimm song at a time.
Erica – Occasionally we release a single (mostly in our previous band, Monkeysoop) and we’ve had mixed results. I’m with Jerry – I usually prefer to have a full album myself. We still sell physical CDs – some fans like to have a product they can hold in their hands. But streaming and downloads do make up growing amount lot of our sales.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
Erica – The name Hellgrimm is actually the woman on the cover of both of our CDs – she’s based on the likeness of our friend, model/actress/singer Kelly Abbass from Ontario, Canada(kelleyabbass.com). The backstory is that Hellgrimm is a daughter of Hades, God of the Underworld in Greek Mythology. She’s a warrior who helps wrangle the souls that dwell there and is handler of Cerberus, the three-headed Hell Hound. Sexy and strong and fair, she balances out the sour whims of her magnanimous sire while keeping the dead at bay.
We chose to go with this theme of a character after studying 1970s/1980s album artwork – many rock and metal bands used the art of Frank Frazetta, H. R. Giger, and Boris Vallejo as inspiration for their own artwork – we did, too. Our music recalls rock and metal of that time, so our album art pays homage to these musicians and fine artists. We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from the album art. We are looking at new band merchandise featuring the Hellgrimm character to debut soon.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
Erica – We started playing live together in 2004 – social media has been around since we started playing together, so those rules were there almost as long as we’ve been at this. We tend to favor Facebook, but we’ve always promoted through various social media outlets. We still make flyers and pass them around as well, but we’re not doing it as much as we should these days.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
Jerry – I play in a band because I’m a writer – I write music all the time. Sometimes a new song every day. I’ve been doing this nearly my whole life. I don’t really do this to be part of a scene – my goal is to write music and play it and hopefully connect with some people who like what I’m doing.
Erica – When I played in marching band in high school (I was on trumpet back then) it was exciting to hear people cheering for the show. I enjoyed being part of a group that entertains people. I draw caricatures of people at parties and events when I’m not playing in the band. I’m a life-long performer and I love what I do.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
Jerry – I have toured most of my life in different bands, and I believe touring and gigging is still the best way to get the name out. As Hellgrimm, we’ve played a lot of great shows since our inception in the fall of 2018. It’s great to see different cultures and spaces and meet people all over the globe – touring is my addiction. I’d be on the road all the time if it was possible.
Erica – We had several shows and a two-week US/Canada tour booked for June that we had to cancel because of the pandemic. We’re booking some shows close-to-home for the moment and we’re hoping to reschedule the tour when we’ve got the all-clear to travel.
What will the future bring?
Jerry – We’re recording our next full-length album called “The Hunger” as we speak and we’re looking into different Hellgrimm merchandise items like Ouija boards, skate decks, possibly a graphic novel, and other goodies. Check out facebook.com/hellgrimmband for the latest band updates.
Jerry – Thank you so much for interviewing us, and I would like to give a big thank you to all of our fans and our sponsors and endorsers and our friends around globe.
Erica – Huge thank yous to our friends and families who help push us forward 😉
! Thank you, Battlehem Magazine, for the interview!