Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hate Storm Annihilation Interview

I saw Hate Storm Annihilation on my most recent NY trip, when they opened for Master and Solstice at the Acheron in Brooklyn. Despite their young age and relative newcomer status, they held their own admirably with the veterans. Since I've always been a sucker for this kind of brain melting, unrelenting death metal, I e-mailed some questions to the band, which guitar whiz/vocalist Craig Schmuhl was kind enough to answer (the band is completed by drummer Konstantin Dermendjiev).

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Hate Storm Annihilation - who you are, what kind of music you play, and a brief run through of your history for those who don't know you.

Salutations! This is Craig Schmuhl of the band Hate Storm Annihilation. I am the guitar player and vocalist of the band. I would consider HSA to be a Death Metal band. Granted, we do stray into the other metal realms for the sake of always trying to keep it fresh. Say, go with more Black Metal styled chord voicings, or even go into the progressive side of things by using odd/less traditional western type meters. But all in all, our primary sound seems to be Death Metal. Me and Konstantin (our drummer) have been playing together now for about 3 ½ years. We have had a couple of different bass players, but for the last year and a half it has been just Konstantin and I, be it for writing or performing live.

DoC: Why Hate Storm Annihilation?

Hate Storm Annihilation (and please, for the users of Google and YouTube, it is 3 separate words) was actually something I had put together one practice after dealing with a bit of a copyright struggle with our previous name due to a Canadian metal band. At the time, the name was made more for the purposes of just having something that no-one else would have thought of. But after having it for a while, we began to realize that the name really couldn’t have been more perfect to kind of describe the overall sound/feel of the band. Fast, aggressive, and musically hate filled, hahaha.

DoC: You're obviously very talented musicians, and the music for Hate Storm Annihilation is frequently very advanced, but do you consider HSA to be "technical"? Why or why not?

Thank you very much. But you know…I really don’t like the term “technical” being used when describing a musical genre. Music is music, whether or not we choose to use more notes or play at a faster tempo is just a personal preference. It’s kind of like describing John Coltrane’s music as “Technical Jazz”. You kinda get what I’m going for? It’s just our take on Death Metal.

DoC: It's unusual for a band like HSA to only have two members. Is being a duo a matter of circumstance or choice?

Hahaha, yeah. I can definitely say that being a two piece is not by choice. All of the HSA music off of the first record was a Guitar, Bass, and Drums. And if we had our way that would definitely be the way we would choose to preform it live. It’s all about finding the right “cat for the gig” so to speak, haha. I don’t want to say too much now as it is still quite early, but in the future, for compositional purposes, it’s more than likely the HSA numbers will be rising.

DoC: Storm of Flames is an amazing album, and very accomplished for a debut. Tell me about the writing process. What were your intentions/goals for the album? Have you reached them?

Thank you very much man. Yeah, Storm of Flames was definitely a good starting point for the band. See, it was a funny record because 50% of it was already done before the band had even gotten together. I started writing the music when I was a Sophomore in high school. You know, just trying to put together riffs/licks in my head, recording them onto my phone, and hoping to get in touch with some serious musicians willing to put in the time and effort to really get the ball rolling. I really could not have been happier with the outcome of that record. It was exactly what we were going for at the time, and I feel like we achieved our goals on that one for sure.

DoC: Storm of Flames was self-released. Why did you choose to go the DIY route? Are you interested in getting signed to a label, or do you prefer to handle your releases yourselves?

I feel like nowadays going the route of self promotion/manufacturing/distribution has become such an important skill in the music industry, ESPECIALLY in the beginning. It really gives you the ability to start off right, creating your own brand/image, making the music on your terms and conditions, build your fan base, and really just being your own boss. Plus it’s great leverage when you’re finally getting ready to making that deal with a label. It can really show a lot about the maturity & responsibility of a band by saying “Yes, we did record, release, and distribute our own record. We have lots of touring experience so it’s not like we’re just going to have a mental break down midway through a tour and drop.”

I do eventually see us going down the route of joining a label, it’s really just all about finding the right people that really understand what we do, and understand that in forming this bond we are going to do our best to support each other.

DoC: You recently toured with Master and Solstice. How did that come about? How did the tour go overall?

Yes we did! It was really just an excellent time. Master, Solstice, and Dismemberment just kicked ass every night. Everyone got along really well and we all just had a blast. We had actually toured with Master the summer before that one so we definitely understood what we were getting into with the “Bearded Freak Show” hahaha. It was definitely an excellent tour, lots of positive vibes every night with lots of people talking to us after our set. Just an excellent time over all.

DoC: If you could tour with anyone, either as headliner or support, who would it be and why?

Oh man…that’s a tough one…well I’ll probably give you two answers for this one. I feel like the perfect band for us to tour with but still get a positive response from the crowd every night would be Nile. I feel like a lot of the people that go for them would probably like us. BUT if we could tour with ANYONE (and I can 99% guarantee that this answer holds for both me and Konstantin) it would have to be Metallica. The love we share for that band is just unhealthy. To be able to share the stage with our metal heroes would just be the most incredible experience ever.

DoC: Please give a PSA for HSA.

“Be Excellent to Each Other.”

DoC: What's next for Hate Storm Annihilation?

For right now, the next step for HSA would just be to finish up record 2. We’re a little over half way through, and although the music on this one is in many ways significantly different than the first, I feel like this record is going to turn a lot of heads and I really just can’t wait to hear what people have to say about it.

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