Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Enter Studio Records


Who doesn’t like something shiny and new? If you thought Joe’s Apartment, a local music hub in downtown Vancouver was spiffy before, Hammer Records had a chance to check out its make-over at the brand new venue, “The Studio” this past Saturday night. Located on Granville Street at the corner of Smithe, this venue was hard to locate at first glance. Upon further inspection I discovered the place was below what would have been a bright neon sign, screaming the venue’s name “The Studio”, but unfortunately for opening night, was not lit up. Had it been lit up it would have been easily recognizable on the bustling streets, showcasing Vancouver’s night life.
Upon entry to the venue the velvet ropes and bouncer like detail made it feel like a very legit and fancy arrival. When entering the building I immediately noticed the assortment of records displayed on the wall for sale, which I thought was a great idea for décor and possibly for impulse buy shopping, but then again when you go clubbing there really isn’t much room for a vinyl in your clutch purse or back pocket. The door woman inked me with a trendy “I <3 Studio” wrist stamp and away I went.
The gigantic chandelier hanging in the center of the room has been and always will be a staple at this venue. The chandelier center piece paired with the exposed brick and back-lit opaque glass behind the bar gave off a glamourous and sophisticated, rock star style which made it feel like you were seeing a band in someone’s expensive home studio. Though the décor seemed very eloquent it didn’t shy away any type of crowd. People that attended the show ranged from your typical pop punk princess, to a 40 year old rocker and even a Kevin Smith looking dude.
            Before the bands took stage I made my way over to one of the two bars available. The smaller bar near the entrance was equipped with your basic well drinks while the longer more elaborate bar just a few steps inward, had everything from draft beer to your fancy cocktails. When I asked one of the bartenders what type of mixed drink she would recommend she chose a Blue Hawaiian for me, which was delicious and moderately priced. Though she seemed new to the bartending experience she was friendly and helpful when choosing a beverage.
The venue itself ran like a runway model, long and slender, which didn’t leave much room for seating but somehow they managed to fit in quite a few spots for guests to take a load off. I noticed overhead there was an ample amount of space upstairs that was unused, perhaps in the future Studio’s management will put in extra seating for guests that don’t feel like being right in the throes of front stage floor action. The stage was very accommodating for the bands and provided enough room to give them flexibility with their stage presence. Behind the performers dawned a backsplash riddled with old amplifiers and stereo speakers which gave a unique touch to the vibe of the place. The bathrooms though hard to find at first, were found located around the corner of the entry and down a flight of stairs (a problem for most with a few drinks in them), but once downstairs I found it to be a quiet solace with trendy graffiti painted doors, and a clean and functional room.
The overhead audio between performances was clear and reverberated nicely in the space adding to the overall atmosphere. Compared to some of the smaller divey-type of venues local acts play in, the audio engineering was much louder and audible. It was definitely a higher caliber of performance because of the money spent on audio gear. One guy actually had his ears covered, whether it was because rock music wasn’t his cup of tea or it was just simply too loud for him is up for discussion, but based on the bands’ stellar performances I will bet on the latter.
The Studio overall had a sleek décor and a fun atmosphere for all types of music lovers. If I was a musician I would definitely want to play a show on their stage and as a guest I will definitely return. Joe’s Apartment may have been a crowd pleaser but I think it’s safe to say that The Studio was widely received and will be around to stay. For more reviews on venues, artists, bands and events keep checking us out at Hammer Records.



Article and photographs by Julia Monk

julialynnmonk@gmail.com

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Getting Witchy

Witch Of The Waste just released their new EP Made Of Teeth. This album puts the waste in wasteland, in a good way! If you think of Mad Max, or any post-apoloclyptic  movie, then this would be its soundtrack. We had a super quick chat with guitarist Peter Sacco about what Witch Of The Waste has been up to!

Hammer Records:
What has been a highlight from the last year for Witch Of The Waste?

Peter:
The biggest highlight for last year was getting this ep recorded. The way we went about writing it was a completely new thing for everyone. As well as opening for bands we look up to and going a good festival run of Canada.
But also establishing ourselves in our own city was a big task, but was awesome.

Hammer Records:
What has been one of your favourite shows you’ve played with the band so far?

Peter:
Gojira.... 100% 

Hammer Records:
What's coming in the future for the band?

Peter:
We have some things we have never done before that we are about to announce really soon. But nothing we can talk about just yet.

Hammer Records:
Who would you like to share the stage with within the next year?

Peter:
Not only just share the stage but to tour, we would love Black Dahlia Murder, Old Man Gloom, Fallujah, Everything I Die. Those bands come to mind first. But we would generally love to just tour with any of our favorite bands.

Keep you eyes and ears open, listen to the album and prepare to get wasted!



One Queen To Rule Them All

We love bands that keep pushing to new heights. Queen Cobra is the definition of such a band. Treating every show as if its their last, rocking as hard as they possibly can, and treating the audience with respect really puts them in our good books. We had a quick chat with Brianne, lead singer for Queen Cobra, about the band and its future.

Hammer Records:
What has been a highlight for Queen Cobra in the last year?

Brianne:
We recently recorded our new single "Love Like Mine" with Murray Yates of Echoman Records. It was a wonderful experience and Murray was amazing to work with. We are hoping to push the song and make it popular amongst rock fans locally and internationally.


Hammer Records:
When can we expect to hear a new album?

Brianne:
We are currently writing new tunes and are hoping to do a full album within the next year.


Hammer Records:
How has the band’s sound evolved since it's first formation?

Brianne:
We have had a few changes in our lineup over the past few years and as those changes come in to place the sound seems to evolve too. We've always been a blues based rock band but I feel like our song writing has simplified and we've dropped the more complex arrangements to give fans the singable, true rock n roll experience. 


Hammer Records:
How has it been working with Rednyne Productions?

Brianne:
Rednyne Productions have helped us put on some great rock n roll shows and they've billed us with some killer local bands. Our relationship with Rednyne continues to grow as they keep pushing us to work hard to achieve our goals. They're great guys and we are thankful that they approached us with a contract last year.


Hammer Records:
What can we expect to see in the future for Queen Cobra?

Brianne:

The future is always uncertain but one thing I know for sure is if there's a stage to play, Queen Cobra will play it!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Chasing The Devil


Vancouver thrashers TITANS EVE their third full length 'Chasing The Devil' featuring seven stadium-esque sing along thrash anthems including fan faves 'War Path' and 'The Grind' plus the band's epic instrumental 'Stranded' is OUT NOW! June 12th. Engineered by Eric Mosher (AC/DC, Buckcherry) plus mastered by Jeff Waters of Annihilator'Chasing The Devil' is an evolution from the band's previous releases 2011's 'The Divine Equal' and 2012's 'Life Apocalypse' that took the band touring across North America and Europe where they shared the stage with Korn, Anvil, Kill Devil Hill, Arch Enemy and Voivod among many others. 

"Introducing our new album Chasing The Devil!!!! Enjoy it my metal brothers and sisters, We are proud of it! See ya on tour! We will be hitting the road to bring this headbanger to your doorstep so follow us for dates to be announced soon. In the mean time, play it loud and share with your your fellow metal heads!" comments vocalist / guitarist Brian Gamblin.

Jade, More Than Just A Pretty Rock

Jade Nixon is a proud supporter of everything music, as well as being an evening presenter on The Zone. We know every band’s dream is to hear themselves on the radio. We managed to snag a quick interview where she gave us a first hand look into the world of The Zone.

Hammer Records
What inspired you to join the radio community?

Jade:
I was inspired to join the radio community from a young age, I've actually wanted to be talking on the radio since I was five. I said to my mum, while standing on the coffee table, dancing to a song on the radio. The music finished and a woman came on, I yelled 'MUM I WANNA BE IN THE RADIO LIKE HER'. 

Hammer Records:
What separates The Zone from other radio stations?

Jade:
What separates The Zone and other radio stations is our team. The Zone is real people, having a real conversation. Every DJ is them self both on and off air. We go to events and shows and support our community like no other. We also like to make our decisions based on feedback from listeners. We answer our phones when we are in the studio, we chat with whoever wants to chat. Basically we are a very passionate team/family, we love radio and we love whoever is listening and supporting, I think it shows too!

Hammer Records:
Do you find you’re able to support local music and events while working at The Zone?

Jade:
I think I am more than just able to support and play local music at The Zone.The Zone is a HUGE supporter of local talent and events!

Hammer Records:
If a band wants to get on the radio, what advice do you have for them?

Jade:
We have a fantastic Zone Band of The Month program, where local musicians can apply through our website and once chosen, are the band of a specific month on our website, social media and on air. We play their songs and eventually round them all up for a couple showcases. Which highlights each of the band/solo musician! The Zone also supports local music outside of the Zone Band of The Month program, any local artist can send in their music to our Music Director Bryan Capistrano. He will give feedback to the musician(s) and listen to their music. We also have The Zone's INBOX where four times a day Mon-Fri we play a song and encourage those listening to give us feedback and go onto our website to place a vote on The INBOX vote-o-matic. As well we have songs we feature a few times a day out of four songs a week, some local, some not! Basically we have many avenues for local bands and new music to be heard. 

Hammer Records:
What has been one of the biggest highlights while working at The Zone?

Jade:
Choosing one of the biggest highlights while working at The Zone is hard, there have been countless unreal moments in the past five years. I think I'd combine all the on air shows, emceeing at Rock The Shores and Rifflandia, meeting my favourite bands and interviewing some, as well as the opportunities I've received since my very odd and rare start at The Zone. 

Hammer Records:
What is one of your favourite local acts?

Jade:

Ahh!!! I don't want to choose one local act I love, because we are surrounded by SO MANY!! And I love tons, to pieces. But one man that deserves way more love, kudos and support would be Sam Weber. I swoon over his music allllll the time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

All Hail The Altermind

Starting a new project is never easy. We know that simply writing some songs with friends and playing them around town will only get you so far as a beginner band. No matter how many years you've played your instrument, or how successful your last project was, your current band is still a new band. Doing it right and preparing a proper recording, image and brand for your band before you hit the public are all great steps to start with.

Michael Murray has been working on his new project, now called, "Altermind," for over a year, and that's not counting all the time he has put into writing the material. We had a chance to have a quick interview with Michael about his new project.

Hammer Records:
When can we expect the reveal of the new band?

Michael Murray:
We finish recording our debut EP on June 17th at Raincity Recorders. We have everything ready to go right now (as far as merch, social media, websites). We are just waiting until the EP is finished to release it all to the public. So, I'd say, it's safe to say June 20th will be the big day when we FINALLY, officially reveal Altermind to the world. We are super stoked and anxious for it!


Hammer Records:
Can you tell us the line up?

Michael Murray:
The line up consists of myself on both rhythm/lead guitars and backing vocals, Kame'e Alise on lead vocals and piano, Jeff Reiter on drums and we are currently on the look out for a new bassist.


Hammer Records:
When will we hear an album?

Michael Murray:
June 20th. We will release the single for the EP and in the following week or so you can expect to be able to purchase the entire EP off iTunes or our social media, or a physical copy from any of us!


Hammer Records:
How does it feel to have written most of the material for the album by yourself?

Michael Murray:
As for the writing of the debut EP, I'd say we all put in equal amounts, pretty much. Yes, I'm the main songwriter, but I let Kame'e do her own thing with lyrics and she writes all the piano parts. Which, she does an absolutely amazing job at. Jeff's an incredible drummer, so, I give my suggestions to him as to what I hear for the rhythm sections and he takes my ideas into consideration, adds his own spice to it and then a song is born. We all write 100% from the heart. We definitely hope our music will reach out to people and that people will relate to our music. To be quite honest, I think you can hear in a lot of the songs that they have a deep meaning to all of us.


Hammer Records:
What other bands can we compare your new band's sound to be like?

Michael Murray:
As for our sound, it's tough to say. We're not metal, we're not hard rock. It's like an infusion of the two. I think the best way to describe it would be an angry and heavier 'Evanescence' meets 'Halestorm.' You can hear all of our influences in it though. Lots of Metallica, Three Days Grace, Evanescence and Breaking Benjamin type vibes for sure!

So there you have it, be on the look out for this new album and be sure to catch them live when you have a chance!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Off To The Rat Races


I remember hearing the first tracks from Take Heart and just thinking, these boys are going to go far. Here we are, years later and their newest video for "Rat Race" just blows me away. Professionalism, attitude and songwriting really shines through. Great production work on both the song and the video. Reminds me a little of Alexisonfire mixed with Misery Signals. 

Check out their Facebook page HERE.