Bloody Hammers - Anders Manga

Bloody Hammers - Anders Manga

The timing of the release of the new BLOODY HAMMERS may seem out of season – Halloween would have been more appropriate – but on the other hand, there is always time for some good music. After all, you can still enjoy some creepy stories around a bonfire during those cool summer nights with “The Summoning” spinning on a dark corner. METAL KAOZ managed to drew Anders Manga out of his dark lair (well, not literally) and had the following discussion about the making of the album and about the band’s immediate plans among others. Come on now, forget about trick or treat, and keep reading.


Bloody Hammers - Ander Manga

Hello?
Hey, METAL KAOZ!

Hey Anders, welcome to METAL KAOZ, this is Dimitris.
Hi Dimitris, where are you calling from?

I am calling from Chicago.
Ok cool, how long has METAL KAOZ been around?

If I am not mistaken, it’s been around 8 years.
Yeah, I know METAL KAOZ, it is a hard working site. Congratulations on the site and also for staying around. I know there have been new sites but most of them have come and gone, but you’ve hung in there.

Thank you very much Anders for saying this. I am sure you know this is a labor of love as there is no money involved.
Exactly, it is tough. Even on our side (laughs). If you go on this to make money, you are up for a big surprise.

However, without money involved, I get all the degrees of freedom I want as I do not have any record label breathing down my neck to rate an album higher than I would like to. So, pretty much, I listen to anything I like; just like the new BLOODY HAMMERS LP.
Did the label bother you to give it a good rating? (laughs)

No man, this was one of the albums I liked to write about.
Ok, got you (laughs).

I saw a Facebook posting that you have a contest running with the winner getting a spirit board. Did you really make that?
Yeah, I and my wife, who is also in the band as Devallia, are doing woodwork making stuff for people who are strange like us (laughs). We have an Etsy store and that what we did. But yeah, we made that and in fact, it was carved into oak; we normally make these things out of pine but for this one, we used oak so, it is a little bit rarer.

How do I find your Etsy store?
It is called DrabHaus. [click HERE to visit]

Cool, I will check that out. Speaking of making things on our own, I would say that BLOODY HAMMERS seems to be like a DIY project, right?

Yeah, absolutely.

You have your name even in the photo-credit of the promotional pictures.
(laughs), yes you are absolutely right.

Did you produce “The Summoning”?
Yes, everything is done in my basement (laughs). Everything is done in my house and in fact, all of my albums were made in my small cabin where we also do our woodworking. I have to sweep aside the sawdust to work on music.

Also, on Facebook, which has become the all-seeing eye, I read a fan’s comment saying that the album’s cover artwork reminds him of the Italian Horror movie “The Devil’s Wedding”, so is there any connection with that?
Yeah, this is actually a still from the movie which is now in public domain. In fact, the album’s cover artwork is a collage of different movies but the Italian actress is from that movie. The guys holding the torches are from another movie by Gerard Damiano but, the title of the movie escapes me right now. This is what we are into; we love the 70s and the 80s Horror movies and especially Italian stuff.

I can definitely see the connection. Is there any relation between the album’s artwork and the songs or maybe there is a theme connecting the lyrics?
Well, I am a very into this. I am involved in another project call TERROTRON which is heavily influenced from Synth scores from Italian Horror movies like from Fabio Frizzi, Lucio Fulci and stuff like that. This is all instrumental music and I make fake names to make them look like soundtracks but in reality they are not, because sometimes people think they are (laughs). Anyways, I am into this scene that some people call it Trash Culture or just Trash Movies.

Really? Because I could easily say that this term is more applicable to nowadays Horror movies…
(laughs) Well, we enjoy these movies and the creative DIY spirit like Jess Franco had when he was making movies. This is also our spirit, and we will do whatever we have in order to make an album. We just want to do it; we may not have the money like AC/DC or POWERWOLF with their state-of-the-art studios but we do the best we can. This is not a business and we are not making a lot of money out of it.

I definitely see your point. So, how long did you work on the album?
The winters up here, where I live, are very isolated. I live on the top of a mountain in a cabin right in the middle of nowhere and we get snowed in a lot. I tend to work on music through the winter as we get stuck a lot because our driveway is steep so, most of the times we cannot go anywhere (laughs). I started at the beginning of winter [2018] and I finished the album in early January before giving it to Napalm Records, like in mid-January. They liked it and wanted to release it, but they did not have an available calendar slot. So, we have been waiting all this time to see the album being released.

I have heard many bands saying that, it may take more than 6 months for the record label to release an album even if they have it on their hands but frankly I do not know why…
There are so many bands and albums coming out so, I guess they have to plan accordingly although to be honest, I do not know either. Initially, they were talking about August or early Fall but I was like ‘I cannot wait that long’ (laughs) and fortunately they moved up the date a bit.

Did all the songs you wrote make it in the album? Or do you have release worthy material?

Oh yeah, I write a lot of songs and I have also a lot of vocal ideas. These are just vocal melodies and this is what typically comes to me first. For example, one day while I was making breakfast and out of nowhere or the cosmos or whatever, the chorus for “Now The Screaming Starts” popped into my head. So, I run to my phone, turned on the recorder and I just mumbled the melody. And I started building the song around that melody. I have a lot of stuff like that in my phone; tons of recorded mumbling and I chose usually the ones I like the best. And there are also the leftovers that can be carried into the next record.

Awesome, although you should change the story about “Now The Screaming Starts” and instead of saying you we remaking breakfast, you should say something like ‘I was in the middle of a ritual or hunting in the dark’ something scary…
Yeah, I should do this because it sounds was more interesting. Maybe, I was on the Ouija board and then the spirit told me to write a song and that’s how it started…(laughs)

Well, in that case you will have to pay royalties to the spirit…
(laughs) That’s right…

In the album, there are also two songs from your solo album, right?

Yes.

So, why did you pick “Beast Is Coming Out” and “Welcome To Darkness” for the BLOODY HAMMERS album?

Well, my electronic Dark Wave project does not get much exposure. It is just me and I release the music only digitally and therefore, does not have the reach Napalm Records does. I like a lot those particular songs, and I wanted to have them on vinyl. I believe they have a chance outside my little electronic project. In the grant scheme of things, no one knows those two songs and in fact, you are the first one who actually asked me about it. I don’t think many people know this.

Oh my goodness, I feel special.
(laughs)

I was trying to find differences between the recordings but to be honest, I didn’t find any.
Yeah, you did not find changes because I did not make any. I did put real drums, guitars and that’s pretty much what I did. I like to keep my project Low-Fi but for BLOODY HAMMERS there are real drums and guitars.

Speaking of the ‘old’ sounds you like to have in your music, I believe the album’s title track has some '80s inspired - almost - Synthwave influences so, how did you bring all those elements in BLOODY HAMMERS? Was this done intentionally or it just happened?
It just happened; this song however, was going to be for an ANDERS MANGA record but it did not make it, so I had it as a leftover although I thought it was a good one. When I started working on the BLOODY HAMMERS album, I pulled that out and finished it. This is all about my musical taste, that is all over the place; I like Metal but having grown up in the 80s when Metal was big and so was New Wave. My first records, when I was 8 years old, were from Gary Numan and BLACK SABBATH. “Cars” from “The Pleasure Principle” record was a huge influence to me and plus, I live down the road where the Moog synthesizers are being made. The company that makes those is here in town so, it is kind in our culture to love the Moog sound and want to use it. I remember when I first heard the album “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, there is a song there called “Who Are You?” and it is just Ozzy playing his Moog and it’s got that sick Moog sound, you know, and I just love it. For BLOODY HAMMERS, I try not to use them too much but sometimes, I do and that particular song is actually on a Jupiter… so I pretty much do whatever I want (laughs).

Well, you should do whatever you want because in the end of the day, when an artist feels good about what he is doing then, good things happen. With that being said, I also appreciate and understand that some bands are doing the same thing all over again but at the same time, I appreciate when a band sounds honest and inspired.
What makes me happy, what makes me shy away and recoil from getting any more famous is… I would never want BLOODY HAMMERS or any of my projects to become a business. Because when this happens you have a lot of people relying on you, there is the management, the roadies and all these people rely on you to keep the same formula that is working, you know. For example, AEROSMITH can never do a Synthwave album or bands like BLACK SABBATH cannot experiment too much because they have to keep the business alive. BLOODY HAMMERS is not business and I don’t look into making money out of this and because of that, I feel the freedom to do whatever I want and hopefully the fans will follow. If they don’t like some songs that’s cool. You will drive yourself crazy if you try to please everyone.

Absolutely. Another song that really stuck with me was “Condemned, The Prisoner”. There is an almost Bluesy backbone to that. This is almost the definition of Doom when the lyrics talk about the gallows.
I am glad you say this because initially… well, I put it on the record because, I like it but there was not a lot of feedback and I guess, this can be considered as taking too much of a chance with this song since it is not quite Metal or whatever. Not many people have heard the album but still, it makes me really happy hearing you say this.

You said this in the beginning of this conversation, that nowadays, there are so many new album releases that it’s impossible to keep track. On top of this, I think people are “fast-food” listening to music if you know what I mean.
I see what you’re saying but I also think this is a really cool time; I have been around for while and I remember the time when the record labels were kind of the gatekeepers of what gets released. Now, it is more of an even playfield and there are more bands out there so, I would say it is more good than it is bad. The only bad thing is that there are so many bands that it is hard for the public to check everything out, as you said. There could some really cool bands that go unnoticed because they don’t the spotifys or whatever.

Speaking of buying new music do you know whether the purple vinyl of “The Summoning” is available in the US?

I think it has been already sold-out in the US. The website says it is sold-out but I think it is still available in Europe. Last time I heard, there were talks about trying to get some more from Europe but I don’t know if that will or has happened.

Most of the times and especially for those special editions we have to get them as imports here in the States. The distribution has not improved much; who knows, maybe the market is not strong enough. I have no idea.
I do not know either. The colored vinyls seem to sell quicker. I am more of a black vinyl kind of guy. I guess, it is more nostalgic for me because when I was a kind all the vinyls were black so I tend to like it that way. But I know that all the collectors out there love the different colors.

Yes, you are right about nostalgia and vinyl and in fact, I remember there were some really thin vinyl records… (laughs) My goodness… They would bend if you were just holding them…
(laughs) Yes, I remember that too. I was impressed when I signed with Napalm Records and got the first album on vinyl because it was so thick like 180g and it felt really nice.

Do you know if the album was mixed differently for the vinyl version?
This is more on the mastering of the album. The only thing I get out of my studio is for the mastering. This was done in Fascination Street studios in Sweden. These guys are really good and they have a special way of mastering the album for vinyl. To be honest, I am not technical enough to understand the difference but, they swear that there is one (laughs).

Well, I don’t understand it either but, sometimes and especially for re-releases you can hear that sound of the vinyl is not that good like it was directly copied from the CD. Anyways, what are the touring plans to support “The Summoning”?
At this point, we are short of waiting for the album to come out and see how people will like it. But there are some booking agents out there looking to see if there is a touring package that we can jump on. The last time we toured, we were headlining and it was good turnout but I would prefer to go out supporting someone bigger, just to get in front of a bigger audience. So, we are trying to see what other bands BLOODY HAMMERS may fit with. Behind the scenes, my booking agent is trying to see what is available most probably for this Fall.

Do you have any other music-releasing plans? Even under your solo band?
Yeah, I am working on some stuff for TERRORTRON and for ANDERS MANGA. I am always making something, it is my favorite hobby.

I think that wraps this really nice discussion, Anders. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to METAL KAOZ.
Absolutely.

Hopefully, we will get the chance to see BLOODY HAMMERS live here in Chicago.
Definitely. In fact, we had a tour with CHURCH OF MISERY and we went through Chicago but they could not get into the country because of their Visas of something, so the show was cancelled. I hope next time this will happen.

In that case, you have to try again. Have a wonderful weekend, Anders, and congratulations on the album; I really like it.

That’s great, Dimitris, thank you too!