Hermano - A chit chat with HermanoI recently reviewed the new Hermano album, and was asked to do a mail interview. See the results below! Check out Hermano at the Effenaar on Nov. 17th!
For those who somehow never heard of Hermano, please introduce yourself to our readers.
'Hermano is a group of five friends from various backgrounds …we began testing the combination of the 5 of us in a room as a project in 1998. We quickly realized that we had something we dug and wanted to make it an official band. We all have a history in different bands …John was in Kyuss/Unida/Slo-Burn, Dandy was in Dock Ellis, Mike was in Disengage/Earshot and Chris and I were in Supafuzz.
The music is honestly just pure rock, no bells and whistles, no fancy producers, just the sound the five of us make together.'
What does the name …Into The Exam Room mean?
'We had some major life changes while making this record. Some wonderful …some tragic. Chris and Dandy had new babies, which was amazing! …John and I went through divorces, which is always a tough road. Mike had something similar going on in his life…the struggle of life itself had really pulled us all into in to other's lives as friends on a daily level. We were sharing and being real with each other as always. The music and lyrics came from that …the honesty, the pain, the joy. The combination of the lives we lead. When we had finished the album John really wanted the title to reflect this honesty, the deep interview view that each song now had. All the tracks had very personal meanings, we needed a title that reflected that. Ram came up w/ the title and John asked us to consider …Into The Exam Room, we thought it was perfect.'
How long did it take to make this record, from concept until the final recordings and were there any rocky paths?
'Many months …and yes, many rocky paths. Again, life is life. It moves and flows daily. We are all parents first, kids and family, that's the priority, as a band we are friends first, that is the heart of our sound. We had some tracks floating around from the last album writing sessions that we all couldn't let die, we had some new tracks coming in from all of us as we were releasing the live record and DVD and then we really kicked into gear to focus on creating an honest album. This was the first chance we have had to make an album without a focus on other bands. Hermano has become our "main band" for all of us, this added a depth to the songs that we knew would take us into new landscapes sonically. I love how it ended up. The actual recording was completely over a span of a few weeks, each of us taking only days to track our parts without the other guys around in regional studios. The mixing was done in eighty hours and delivered to the guys at Suburban to spread to the world. The rocky paths that happened along the trip on personal levels added to the intensity of the record and the pure heart that I think it has.'
Do you consider this album a follow up in a straight line from the last album, or did you deliberately alter course?
'We make a decision to have no boundaries. Play from our hearts. We don't fit a particular genre or style in our hearts, so we decided to enjoy that. We all turned in whatever our hands had created. We took the 24+ songs that had been created to create an overall album that we thought would capture our hearts. The songs that really stuck out to us. We make music and records for us, we are always honored when other people dig what we've done, but to be honest, that's not the goal. We all love music, and share a great deal of respect for each other. We want to create music that makes us go "hell, yeah!". We are all diggin' this album. It was an honor to work on it with the guys. I am a blessed boy, for sure.'
Do you guys have favorite songs to play live?
'All of the tunes are fun in their own way. We get to play live so rarely that they all feel so good to us. We really get to bring the songs to life live and that is a joy. As a musician it still amazes me to play with Mike, Chris, Dandy and John, and be supported by folks like Ram, Igor, Karen and everyone at Suburban records, what a trip! I play riffs that float around in my head. Chris kicks out a massive beat, Mike doubles the heavy-ness with a tone and style like no other, Dandy pulls the sound together with his smoothness, and then Johnny destroys the foundation with his amazing character and voice! I feel like I'm 15 years old every night we get to play! It's absolutely a trip to me, I owe them all so much for letting me have this in my life. A very down to earth and common life that every once in a while escapes to enjoy Hermano. A treat indeed!'
What do you think of the evolution of stoner rock?
'I'm not sure what bands really come under that title. I don't get to involved in labeling art. The underground music and art scene is very much alive, thanks to people like you for spreading the word. Art continues to create. The music that surrounds our lives evolves as we evolve. Some bands don't …on purpose. I'm cool with that. It would break my heart to hear AC/DC playing outside of their sound. My son, Evan, would flip out too, he's just discovered them at 9 years old!'
What is your favorite recording/performing gear? (amps, guitars, drumkit and etc.)
'Gibson Les Paul Custom, Marshall Plexi Amp with Burlap Front Marshall Cabintes loaded with Green Backs, makes me warm just writing about it!'
Which one do you prefer; The Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
'Both. Amazing groups with two different realities.'
What bands did you grow up with?
'Oh, man… too many to remember in a single mention – some are: Itchy Brother, Cactus, Mountain, Kiss, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Ozzy, Misfits, Chicago, Black Sabbath, Generation X, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Bluegrass Revival, ok, I have to stop, I'll be here all day.'
Which are your favorite bands?
'I really dig Muse, Allison Krauss, Clutch, System of A Down, Susan Tedeschi and many, many others….'
Which country or festival is special for you guys to play?
'All of Europe has special moments for us at this point. We love Spain…we played a boat in France. We played a wine cellar in Germany, so many great moments in our lives.'
What does Hermano hold for us in the future?
'A full-on tour in a few weeks. Other than that, we take it as it comes. We don't plan far in advance, we just enjoy what we have when we have it, it works for us that way.'
Any last words for our readers?
'Thank you all for supporting the underground, spreading the rock, and keeping the scene alive for all of us! The underground does not survive without your hearts and passion to seek it out and nurture it. Thank you so much for doing that with us. We're right there with you! See you in a few weeks!!! Dave