I for one don’t wanna go hiking with anybody calling themselves HELLHIKERS. I don’t have the right kinda boots for that. So I’ll just settle for listening to their brand of noise. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Could you please introduce us to the band?
-HellHikers are Beerwolves Howlin’ In Töxic Heat, White Trash Weekend Alcoholic Scum playing HöRRiFic HellPönkRöck. HellHikers are from AaleSin City, a.k.a Aalesund, a small jugend town on the northwest coast of Norway. HellHikers are Rolf Royce -Vocals of Vomit, Vile & Vehemence. Rex Erection – Drums of Destruction, Devilry & Disorder. Roy Redrum – SickString of Sloth, Sleaze & Sinphony and Per Perplex – Bass of Brute, Beer & Boozery.
What has been the greatest catalyst in forming your sound?
-We started out pretty much as a Misfits-worship band in 2003, with some influences from Ramones, Turboneger and Raga Rockers. Today, melody and horror is still intact, but heavy 70’s riffs and drunken decadence has gained considerably more ground in our sound and lyrics. It’s a natural development, since there’s been quite some line-up changes with new members bringing in new inspiration and old members going back their heavy metal/hard rock roots. You’ll probably find just as much Sabbath, Stooges and Motorhead as Misfits in our sound today, and I think our new album “Death Rattle & Roll” goes to prove just that.
How hard is it to record and release new songs?
-Basically, it’s not hard at all with today’s technology and equipment. Any musician can record a decent sounding pop/rock/metal album in their bedroom and release it almost for free on the web. Still, releasing it properly, on a label and on vinyl, is bound to take up a lot more time. HellHikers have used somewhat homemade, but good studios for all our music, but our next release will be done very live, raw and without any fancy apps or click tracks. Mixing and mastering tend to take a lot of time as well, so we’ll try to avoid this as much as possible in the future.
Has digital made it easier to get your music released?
-Like stated in the previous question, it’s easy to get your digital music out there, to get heard and noticed faster today than 20 years ago. You can promote your band a lot easier, and this means of course that there are loads of bands fighting for the big record deal. This again means that it takes a lot more effort to get that big deal I guess, but you won’t end up like a rich rock-star, cause’ nobody’s buying your digital or physical release anyway. So, the digital media is both a blessing and a curse, for sure.
If you release your music digitally, is there a risk that you release songs too soon, before you are ready compared to releasing them on cd?
-Yes, no doubt about that. At least if you’re Metallica. But then again, a really big Metallica fan is going to listen to everything he/she finds of demos, rehearsals, video-clips or fully mastered studio songs on the internet, and still buy the album when it’s in the stores, and go to their concerts. That kind of goes for smaller bands like HellHikers as well. People check out our music on Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube, etc, and if they really like it, they buy the album. That’s the best we can hope for. We used to leak out a lot of unmixed/unmastered material before, but for bands like us it’s just a spoiler. Release the music when it’s properly done, and bands of our size can control these things themselves.
What kind of responses have you had to your recorded music?
-Usually the good kind, and as good as we could expect. HellHikers play HellPunkRock with quite clear references, we haven’t reinvented the wheel. We’re not Kvelertak or Enslaved, and we’re not trying to be either. We play music to get your head banging and beer flowing. People who appreciate this tends to like it a lot, others not so much. But we haven’t read anywhere that we’re total shit either, so that’s a relief, he he he.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-I guess the response we’ve had on Twitter surprise me the most. We have 19.3K followers from all over the world who keeps our page alive and well, and a lot of them drop by and check out our other pages. like Facebook, Soundcloud, etc, so that’s working great. Some of them leave fan art as well, that’s very flattering. Our prom(otion) queen Kitty Von HellKat is running this account from a hidden bunker in AaleSin City, so she deserves all the credits for her ghoul work.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community playing in a metal band?
-We’re not a metal-band, but still part of a great community, a music loving community I’d say. I’m into metal myself, probably the one with the most extreme taste in HellHikers, but we’ve all grown up with Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, it’s in our blood. Most of HellHikers lyrics are inspired by metal bands (Peter Steele of Type O Negative is a huge inspiration), they’re stained with the darker realms of life, and I think a lot of metal-fans can relate to that. But more important, most metal-heads I know have quite varied taste in music, the lines are not that strict, at least not with older fans. Nobody likes a narrow-minded metal-head.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-It always helps. Playing a good gig always catches attention, and it works for us as well. There’s always someone who digs what you’re doing, if you do it well, and we’ve never had a bad reaction on our shows. We love playing live, that’s when we really shine, and we should play a lot more. We usually end up shitfaced as well, so playing live is a great excuse to get wasted, at least after the gig, he he.
What plans do you have for the future?
-We’ll take it step by step. First off, we’re very excited about releasing our new album “Death Rattle & Roll” on vinyl through Target Music Group/Mighty Music. We all grew up listening to vinyl, so this is a big thing for us. It’s our first proper release, and we hope to play some gigs supporting it, we already have a couple lined up here in Norway. After that we aim to record some new material, when the time is right. None of us are 20 years anymore, so ambitions of becoming big rock stars are long gone, if we ever had any. All current members have been playing in several bands since their early teens, a lot of cover-bands as well, so I guess we’re basically music fans playing for the fun, the beer and the love of music. We still like to develop into something we feel is HellHikers though, that is us, that sounds like us and looks like us, in our beersoaked horror-universe, and all positive recognition and compliments for that is always nice. We’ll take whatever comes our way and do the best with it.