As I know absolutely nothing about KVLTHAMMER but found their name cool I had to interview them. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
-We wrote songs over a period of almost two years whenever Dustin was home from Skeletonwitch tours before thinking about a name. Everyone had ideas, but nothing that was unanimous. When “Kvlthammer” was brought up I think everyone was over the discussion and it was dumb enough (i.e., not too serious) and looked interesting enough when written out, so that was it.
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
-Nate Olp, Dustin Boltjes, and I started the band as a project in the winter of 2011. We wrote the first three songs (‘Pathless’, ‘Habitual Offender’, and ‘Hate Is Not Enough’) at our first practice. Our buddy Roy Hayes played bass for awhile, then Bob Peele joined the band in his place when we recorded the self-titled album. After awhile it was harder to schedule practices and shows with Dustin being on tour so much, so we mutually agreed that finding another drummer was best and Josh Shrontz joined the band in August of 2014.
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?
-Much of it is subconscious for me rather than mimicking someone else’s work. I think a lot of that is cumulative experience where eventually you find your own style or sound when writing, even if it has a direct line to your influences. Kvlthammer treads through a pretty well-established sound, which is intentional, but I’d like to think we don’t sound exactly like Motorhead, Celtic Frost, Venom, etc. and our songs are more of a tribute to our influences, less of a rip-off. When I write parts or songs to contribute it’s not as hard as some other bands I’ve been in because the music is pretty direct. We work out whatever riffs or songs any of us have come up with in the practice room and if everyone is feeling it, we finish it.
When you are in a band does it feel lkke you are a part of a worldwide movement?
-Not to me, no. I think the idea of a “worldwide movement” is a romanticized view of metal or punk’s past. I’ve been in bands that toured a lot and have done a European tour once, all of which was great, but the camaraderie with other bands or people I’ve met through playing music is more personal. Plus, when you end of playing the same places in or near the city where you live there’s not much of that feel anyway. We’re a long way from the days of obscure demos, tape trading, and writing letters now.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-Not that important. I’ve always been into the aesthetics of other performers or artists, but I can’t really get down with putting on a costume. The music has always been the thing that should speak loudest in my opinion. There’s nothing coordinated/planned in regards to the band’s image. Promo shots are the worst, and so far we haven’t done one.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-I’ve only written lyrics for one song in this band, which is a new one that will be on our side of the split cassette and 7″ with Sacred Leather. Nate writes lyrics from a more realistic place drawing on his own experiences, but in kind of a stream of consciousness flow. I really like his lyrics and phrasing.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-I think it’s as relevant today, but in a different context. Musicians still “write for format” even if their music will be released digitally, and the underground rebooted the popularity of physical mediums that were considered dead by major labels (i.e., cassettes and vinyl) that has led to a boom in their popularity again. Maybe not cassettes as much, but definitely vinyl. I don’t think there’s a real case for the argument that digital distribution is killing physical formats, just making them less profitable. People bought records and tapes in the 70s and 80s because that was how you got music, there wasn’t a place to hear music for free outside of the radio. So, yeah, sales may not be as heavy as they were 30+ years ago and there’s also less opportunity for musicians to make a living and have any financial longevity. However, digital distribution platforms like Bandcamp are incredible to me because you as an artist have a direct line to your audience (and some cool ways to reach new fans) while pricing your music how you want. If you’re smart about how you operate there’s far more potential now as a musician than there was 30 years ago.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
-I don’t think it will ever end. You’ll always have people who prefer one format or another, but I don’t see physical formats going away anytime soon. Digital seems like it will be a mainstay indefinitely, but having worked in several record stores over the last decade I can say from my experience that CDs and vinyl are still selling very well for some genres.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
-At this point we’ve only played outside of Indianapolis once, earlier this year in Columbus, OH with our friends Sacred Leather and Fever Nest. I don’t see us being a full-on “touring band” in the future, but some one-offs, weekends, or short runs for sure.
We try to keep it moving and bang out the set quickly to keep the energy up when we play live.
What lies in the future?
-A split with Sacred Leather that will be released on cassette in August and as a 7″ record later this year. We’ve been working on new songs for our second album and we’re about 75% of the way to having all the material together.