All hell has now officially broke loose, because I’m interviewing a semi-black metal band! I normally can’t stand black metal but Hammers Of Misfortune has gotten my interest and based on that perhaps I’ll give the whole genre another chance. Hammers of Misfortune tells the story of the concept album “The Bastard” with the use of black metal vocals, female vocals and then some clean vocals. Musically it mixes things up too……one second they sound like early metal, then the next a in your face black metal band then suddenly they change to a NWOBHM band all in one song! John CobbetT is the man behind this unusual band and it’s sound. It must be good if I didn’t hit the skip button whenever I heard black metal vocals!
Prof.ManiC: Firstly, how did you come up with the name Hammers Of Misfortune?
John Cobbett: Hammers Of Misfortune was originally a song title; we later decided that it made a good band name.
Prof.ManiC: How did you come up with the concept for the story in "the Bastard"? How long did it take you to write and record?
John Cobbett: The story sort of grew in my mind over a few months, and then when I put the group together I spent a week or so really fleshing it out. The story developed around an original premise, which was kind of an environmental revenge fantasy. The whole thing took about 5 years to write and record due to conflicting schedules and bad luck, then another year after that to get the artwork finished and get it put out. It was a pain in the ass.
Prof.ManiC: Are there any hidden personal feelings being expressed through out the story? like having goofy parents? a distaste for the timber industry? or is it just a cool story?
John Cobbett No, nothing is really hidden in there at all. It's obviously an expression of the anger and frustration that comes from watching the destruction of all forms of life on this planet for the benefit of the lowest form of life on this planet. I get along great with my parents, by the way.
Prof.ManiC: On the song structure I noticed you didn't use a lot
of repeating choruses, you just said what you had to and moved on to the next part of the story. Hence breaking a norm in metal. Did you plan this from the start or it just happened as you started writing?
John Cobbett: It was partly planned, in that we wanted to use themes for the different characters throughout the album, and have those themes appear in different forms depending on the situation of the plot. On the other hand, that's also my style of writing. I don't see any point in repeating stuff over and over again, I like to develop stuff
Prof.ManiC: .Musically, how did you decide to mix acoustic guitars, black metal, folk vibe, and all the other influences? How did you decide when to use what to get a certain feeling for a song?
John Cobbett: Again, the plot influenced a lot of that. The instrumentation sets the mood for the scene. Most of the time, the song decides what it needs in a way, because that’s how I keep hearing it in my head. Basically, I'm not at all concerned about black metal or folk influences. I just made the album how I wanted to hear it.
Prof.ManiC: Why record on a analog 8 track?.
John Cobbett: Actually, we were forced to do it that way, because we didn't have enough money to go into a real studio. It was a DIY thing...
Prof.ManiC: I heard the rough demos of the new stuff you posted on the band website and it sounds pretty good. Will there be another cd? What will be the general direction of it? (concept?)
John Cobbett: The new album is more of a "song cycle". There are still themes that recur throughout, but no real characters. It's more like a bad dream... The songwriting is way more developed, the arranging is much more advanced, and overall it's much weirder. Expect more of a doom atmosphere, and much more fucked-up lyrics.
Prof.ManiC: Why bring Mike Scalzi aboard? Are you guys that good of friends? Or do you just respect his talents that much? What’s your opinion of him as a guitar player?
John Cobbett: Mike is a great singer and guitar player, and we work well together. Mike was an obvious choice when putting together The Bastard, and subsequently became a member of the band.
Prof.ManiC: Did you use any kind of effects on the vocals on the cd? if so what kind?
John Cobbett: Just the usual stuff, some compression, here, some reverb there. There were no harmonizers, pitch transposers or other gadgets, if that’s what you mean.
Prof.ManiC: Did you or will you do any touring for Hammers?
John Cobbett: Yes, but I don't know when. Right now we are involved with trying to finish new album, and then we will be shopping it to labels. Maybe next summer.
Prof.ManiC: Are you still part of Slough Feg?
John Cobbett: Yes, I am still in Slough Feg. S.Feg has a new album coming out in a few months. It's called "Traveller", and it rocks!
Prof.ManiC: What’s the San Francisco Metal scene like? What are the best local bands in the area?
John Cobbett: There are a lot of great Bay Area bands: Ludicra, The Gault, Asunder, Creation Is Crucifixion, The Fucking Champs, Impaled, Exhumed, Amber Asylum, Brocas Helm, Dekapitator, Artificium Sanguis, to name a few.
Prof.ManiC: What kind of bands, books, movies or whatever influences your lyrics? music? your personality?
John Cobbett:

Musically, I'm influenced by everything I hear, in a way, but I try not to be too influenced by anything. Bands that I can definitely point to are Thin Lizzy, Queen's first 3 albums, Bowie & Beatles (for songwriting genius),
Pink Floyd, early Mayhem and Dark Throne, Iron Maiden, Venom, and classical music. I can safely say that my lyrics are influenced by E. A. Poe, Mother Goose and Baudelaire . As far as books go, I've been reading a lot of Balzac, Huysmans, Flaubert, Jarry, Hugo, etc. I'm not influenced by movies at all, but I've been known to be influenced by TV commercials before.
Prof.ManiC: When your battling your own emotions regardless of if it is anger, depression or confusion what do you do to take your mind off of it? what gives you peace of mind in hellish times?
John Cobbett: My girlfriend, my dog, reading, work (I like my job), alcohol, and playing music, of course.
Prof.ManiC: any final comments?
John Cobbett:

Yeah, I guess check out our websites:

www.hammersofmisfortune.com

www.ludicra.org (my kind of black metal band)

www.slough-feg.com (Slough Feg site, duh!)

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