Interview with Anders Manga (The Bloody Hammers)

Recently, I caught up with the lead singer of the Bloody Hammers, Anders Manga, over the phone (and on the air if you caught it!) from his home in North Carolina. We talked about a multitude of things, including his band’s new sound, his previous solo work, his working relationship with his wife, his switch to Napalm records, and his cabin in the middle of nowhere on a mountain in North Carolina, and the Moog factory close by!

The Bloody Hammers new album, Under Satan’s Sun, comes out June 10th in the United States. Look out for this great album and its many Vinyl editions!

Website: http://www.bloodyhammers.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BloodyHammers

Preorder Under Satan’s Sun: http://shop.napalmrecords.com/bloodyhammers

(The following interview was transcribed from a phone interview, and edited for clarity. Listen to the interview here: https://soundcloud.com/chilenodude/anders-manga-of-the-bloody)

Hello Hello, I am Felipe Moreno, Metal Director here at KAMP Student Radio, I’m here on the phone with Anders Manga of the Bloody Hammers. They have a fantastic new album that coming out soon, what’s the name of the album?

Under Satan’s Sun

What inspired you to make Bloody Hammers music more Rock Fuzz sounding, as opposed to your solo work, which is more Goth, synth-type rock?

To me it’s the same, I just replaced the keyboard with a frickin’ guitar. It’s similar as far as the mood and the atmosphere. But maybe that’s just me. I’ve done several electronic things, and dark wave things, death rock things, and I just wanted to do something else. In my younger days I played in hard rock and metal bands, so I was looking to get back to that, and just have some fun.

Have you had more fun with this type of music? Have you found you’ve had a greater reception to this as opposed to your solo work?

Yeah, so far, there has definitively been a lot more media outlets and things like that for this type of music. Its all kind of shocking to me, really, because the first Bloody Hammers songs were recorded in my home studio and thrown up on Bandcamp, so I didn’t think anything about it. And then the next day I was getting emails! I got an email from Soulseller records, this Dutch label that wanted to put it out. And I just said, “okay! Put it out!” And I didn’t think much about it. And the ball just kept rolling and rolling! All the vinyls sold out before [the album] was even released. So I was like, “wow this is pretty cool!” It’s different because the other stuff, nobody really listened to (laughs), so the difference is that people are actually listening to this.

You’ve released your solo work under your own label, Vampture. So after working with Soulseller, and now Napalm Records, do you see yourself going back to self-publishing?

Yeah probably. I’m always going to do stuff. I just like writing songs. I live in the middle of nowhere, in this place called Transylvania County in North Carolina on a Mountain. I’ve got a little cabin up here with a studio in the basement, and I just go down there and record. I’ll always be doing stuff; I’ve been doing stuff for years.

[Concerning his solo work] The thing is, the electronic music and the synthesizers and that kind of influence definitively comes from the area, because the Moog factory is only 45 minutes from me, and that’s where the synthesizers were made. It’s just kind of in our culture here to be into that kind of stuff.

What inspired the move from Soulseller to Napalm Records?

I was just finished with the one album deal with Soulseller. It was kind of a one-off thing, and I had been talking to Napalm in the background. They had more offers, and are a little bigger label, with a bigger staff to help get [music] out for a larger distribution.

After working with a lot of independent labels (Soulseller and Napalm Records are both independent) would you consider a deal with one of the big 4 record companies if they came knocking on your door for Bloody Hammers or even your solo work?

It all just depends on what the deal. I don’t even know who’s left anymore actually. Is Sony the only company left? Roadrunner?

They must have bought each other out by this point.

Exactly! (laughs) I don’t even know. Our album is distributed through Universal in Europe, which is pretty cool.

Bloody Hammers is your current project, how is your working relationship with your Wife? How much input do you allow her to have on this project specifically?

Oh anything! She’s sort of the producer; she helps me [by] being the quality control. She’ll tell me what’s good, what sucks, and what to keep working on and what not. She also plays the organ and the keys on the album. So she’s definitively involved with all of it.

So you collaborated with your wife when you were writing music for this new album?

Yeah, usually I’ll write a song and then I’ll start recording it. Then she’ll hear just the basics of it, and she’ll just say, “well, keep working on that one,” or “Delete that one,” that kind of thing.

Have any of the other touring members of Bloody Hammers had any collaboration with the production of your music?

Not really. My drummer played on three songs on the new album, and that’s really it. They live five hours away, the band that I play with, the touring band; they live five hours from me, so it’s a little difficult to get together regularly.

It’s hard to get a drum kit up the mountain

(Laughs) exactly. And everybody is into just bluegrass and stuff. I haven’t met people who are into what I am doing. It’s either electronic music or bluegrass, one of the two.

I’ve noticed that you appear to have a great affinity for Europe. How is the music scene different over there than it is here?

There seems to be more interest there in what I am doing at this time. It’s tough to say, we got invited to play Download festival this year, which is crazy for our first trip over there. But in the States its been great, its just they seem to be a little more into this type of music over there right now. The United States is such a huge place, so there’s some awesome stuff happening here too. We just played Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin, and it was crazy packed, so that was nice to see. So there is some good stuff happening here.

How excited are you to play Download Festival? That’s huge!

Yeah, it’s crazy! They just hit us up and said, “Hey, you’re pretty cool.” My booking agent over there emailed me and said, “Hey, Download wants you.” And I was like, “okay, (laughs) that sounds good!” Because you know, when I was a kid, I remember like the whole Iron Maiden Monsters of Rock, Donington Park, and all this stuff, so that’s awesome.

Do you see yourself as leading a resurgence in this interest in classic, pure rock bands? Because the sound on the Bloody Hammers new album reminds me a lot of Black Sabbath, your very rockin’ bands. Do you see yourself as part of a movement?

No, not really, I just do what I do: write songs that I like. I figure I’m going to listen to this stuff for the rest of my life, so I better like it myself. I don’t really think about whether somebody else is going to like it or not. I just figure if I like it, then somebody else is likely to like it.

Its tough to break a band now! People have really short attention spans, and there are so many bands, anybody with the Internet can publish their band. It’s a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing since there is so much competition.

What does America have to do to keep Anders in the United States? You’re playing shows in Europe like Download Festival, are there any plans to take the Bloody Hammers on tour in the US?

Yeah, I think we just got to seep into the public consciousness. Talking to you, we’re doing that a little bit of the time, but right now, not a lot of people know who the hell Bloody Hammers is. So, we just got a lot of work to do. But yeah, we’ll be definitively putting something together for the US, so hopefully we’ll be out there this year.

I read in an interview with Guitar World that you mentioned your love for Vinyl, you mentioned that with your first album with Soulseller, the vinyl sold out immediately. Can we expect a Vinyl release of Under Satan’s Sun?

Yes, they did several colours and the red colour has sold out already. But there’s a white, black, yellow, a bunch of different colours. Its gatefold, 180 grams; Napalm don’t play around, they put out nice products.

You mentioned that you were in Austin, TX recently. I live in Texas myself, I’m not an Austin native but I like to pretend I am. How awesome was Austin?

It’s an awesome place! It probably has the coolest people around; it’s definitively a cool area.

I know a lot of up-and-coming Metal bands, in fact, one of my good friend’s band will be playing the Red Bull Stage with you at Download.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to meeting everybody. Huntress is also there, they’re on Napalm, and they’re also playing the same stage as us, so I’ve been looking forward to meeting Huntress.

What’s your advice for up and coming metal bands and artists who want to go the Anders route and play Download and have similar success? How do they get their music noticed?

I would say, do whatever comes to your soul. Don’t worry about who’s going to goof on you, just do what comes naturally, let it flow out of you. Don’t try to sit down and say, “I’m gonna write a song that sounds like these guys,” borrow from all your influences, borrow from 30 of them, but do what you feel. I’m just writing songs that I like, and that’s what I think is important, and if you like what you’re doing, its likely that other people are going to like what you’re doing.