The Hubris Interview

Could you first introduce yourself/the band and tell us how it came to be?

Jonathan Hohl (Guitar, composition, production) – We are hubris., a post-rock band from the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. Nathan, the drummer, and I have been playing music together for over a decade, but we first started in a metal band which was heavily influenced by post-rock. Eventually, we decided to give a proper “post-rock” band a go, albeit with our own music influences. On March 13th of this year we will be releasing our third album.

How would you define not only your sound but the creative character of the band?

Nathan Gros (Drums, composition, production) – We try to incorporate literally everything that we listen to into our music. As mentioned, Jonathan and I started our first band in the metal genre but before that we both listened to different genres of music (e.g. my father is an African music percussionist). We end up with post-rock that quite clearly is not post-rock in the stricter terms because it is heavily influenced by so many other styles. What is post-rock is that we start all our compositions with a basic post-rock quartet (i.e. 2 guitars, bass and drums) and that the compositions aim to foster introspection. But then the drum patterns that I usually come up with sound very much like what you would hear in a hip-hop tune for example.

Are there any previous musical experiences for band members and how have they been embraced in what you do now?

JH – Well, yes as we’ve just explained regarding metal music. Also, Matthieu, Lucien – the two musicians that we always play live with – and I studied Jazz. Although they do not strictly have a hand in the composition per say, having played with them – personally for many years – has definitely had an impact on me and the way I understand music or compose it.

Is there a particular process to your/the band’s songwriting?

NG – So far, it’s been nothing but pure chaos. We’ve been trying to improve for every album, but there are always elements that we don’t pay as close attention as we should, and it ends up with us having to kill ourselves eventually to repair the small mistake. For the fourth album that Jonathan is composing at the moment, we are trying to stick to a strict plan, so we do not get caught up with an overwhelming workload towards the end of the production.

Would you tell us about your latest release?

JH – Metempsychosis, our third album is to be released on March 13th of this year. It is very much in the lines of Apocryphal Gravity our second album, although we have tried to incorporate so more styles that we like or play into this genre of music. For example, the track Dionysus contains a disco-like drum pattern for the first riff.

What are the major inspirations to its heart and themes?

JH – The one and only big inspiration that I go dig up for is Greek Mythology. I have studied it at University (i.e. at the time when we first started the band) and it remained this way to this day. I like not to get lost in what is available to me in terms of inspiration and the fact that I can go back to a specific and definite source of inspiration is quite liberating actually. I am of course referring only to their stories or themes but going hiking for a whole day is as inspiring as anything else. I simply make sure that I cater this inspiration to myths.

I am always intrigued as to how artists choose track order on albums and EP’s and whether in hindsight they would change that. What has been the deciding factor for you or do songs or the main do that organically?

NG – So far, we have always tried to have our albums be listened to in one go. It means that all the transitions between the songs have to be flawless and very much decided and/or worked on early in the production process. Sometimes Jonathan would compose a song and use the last few chords of that said song to compose the next one, which then makes the transition somehow create itself. It makes performing live a bit more difficult, because then we have to decide whether we play two songs or more from the same album one after the other or whether we abruptly cut one and place another song in-between.

What do you find the most enjoyable part of being in a band and similarly the most cathartic?

JH – Probably the experiences and emotions you share with your mates on stage. If I could choose to keep doing only one thing in music, it would 100% be to play live. What I think is the most cathartic experience as a musician is having had the best moments composing a song you love and then present it to an audience for the first time. Release parties are always so paramount because almost the entire audience discovers some of the songs for the first time, so you try your best to give out the best of experiences.

NG – I guess most enjoyable part as being in a band is to have something where you can express yourself and your feelings without being judged. I have so much respect and gratitude for my band mates because I know they give their 100% each time we play music, even for a simple rehearsal at 8am after a short night of sleep. I know I can trust them because they are like family, and I know they will always be here when needed. The most cathartic moment must be when our albums get delivered on my doorstep, simply because I know there is no more turn back on the mixes or anything else linked to the album. I mixed the last three albums, and this was probably my last, because I want to be more focused on the music and less on the small details (that actually gives you bad insomnias…) of the mixing aspect.

For anyone contemplating checking you out live give some teasers as to what they can expect.

NG – We try to stick to the album quite religiously, there is not much room for improvisation. The only difference with the album – with the exception that it is ten times louder – it that we usually add a lot more dynamics than the actual songs. Some of the lead guitars are also a bit louder, to make it more interesting live. Most importantly, we literally kill our necks on stage every single time. No exception. We always put ourselves in a performance mood and go as crazy as the music transports us.

What has been your most thrilling moment on stage to date?

JH – Our tour manager in India had been working day in day out to make the tour come to fruition and we did not really know how to thank him as we did not have much to offer except music. It was about 4-5 months before Metempsychosis was to be released, so nobody – except him and the label – had had a listen to any of the new songs. We made the decision the same day of the concert to actually perform one of our new songs live, just for him. We spent hours that same afternoon right after the soundcheck to make sure that all the backing tracks, click track etc. were on point. At about the end of the show, we took the opportunity to say a few words to him and then dedicated this song, Dedalus, to him before we started playing the song. It was the first time we played it live and we had not rehearsed it for weeks since we were not going to play it for the whole tour. Perhaps we did not play it as cleanly as we could, but the energy and emotions were so intense.

NG – I would say it was on our last tour in India when we played in Bangalore at Fandom. We had all the elements that makes a show a great show: good gear, good sound-system, good vibes and the best audience we could imagine. This was the first time I saw people imitating the drum parts, singing the guitar melodies and screaming when we ended a part (not even a song). We were tired and I was sick on that day, but as soon as we got on stage, all the pain went away and who knows how, we played one the best shows of the band’s history.

Do you have live dates coming up?

NG – Yes, a few shows here and there (April in Belgium, May in Germany), but most importantly we have our release party that will take place on Friday 13th of March at Fri-Son in Fribourg, Switzerland.

What else can we expect in the near future?

JH – We are working on our tours for the second part of the year, but we cannot say too much about it just yet. Also, as mentioned earlier, I am already composing songs for the fourth album and we are really confident about the potential of these future songs.

What are the major inspirations to you sound wise and as a musician?

NG – I take a lot of inspiration from artists such as Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, The Contortionist, Moderat, Young Widows and so many other artists from many genres. This might sound weird, but I do watch a lot of YouTube or Instragram videos from drummers to get inspired. The drumming community is amazing because there are so many people eager to share their knowledge.

JH – The people that influence me the most soundwise are not from the post-rock scene at all. I am a big fan of Queen of the Stone Age’s guitar sounds, but I don’t think fuzz would match that well in our music – I haven’t tried it yet, but who knows. There is that guitar player from Nashville, TN called Jack Ruch who I have been following for quite a while. His tones and ideas are flawless.

And finally, what song or release would you say was the spark to your passion for music?

JH – All the songs that I have looked up that I thought sparked my passion for music where released after I believe my passion for music emerged. So, I don’t really know unfortunately.

NG – I started playing music at 6 because my dad was playing African percussions, and at this time he didn’t have any albums but only songs he would play live with his band in small venues in Switzerland.  My parents bought me a drum kit when I was 7 because I transformed my plastic toy kitchen into a drum set (that got broken after a few days “playing it”). The funny part of this is that I didn’t try on purpose to transform this toy into a drum kit, I was just having fun with something that sounded cool to me.

Many thanks once again; anything else you would like to add?

JH, NG – A massive thank you to anyone who’s supported us over the course of hubris.’ existence. Perhaps our lives without hubris. would be a bit less stressful, but god knows how grimmer it would be too!

Check Hubris out further @

https://hubrisband.bandcamp.com/   https://www.hubrisband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Hubrisband/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Anger As Art – Ad Mortem Festinamus

AAA_RingMasterReview

Listening to and basking in the furious unbridled thrash spawned onslaught of Hubris, Inc. back in 2013, there was a moment where thoughts wondered where Anger As Art could go from there to eclipse the might of their acclaimed release. Quite simply it seems, the Californian quartet racked every element of their sound, from aggression and creative tenacity to adrenaline and individual imagination and come up with another inevitable crowd pleaser in Ad Mortem Festinamus.

Formed in 2004 by vocalist/guitarist Steve Gaines (Abattoir, Bloodlust, Tactics, Bitch, Dreams of Damnation, Pagan War Machine), Anger Of Art is a band unafraid of showing its roots whilst savaging ears with its own individual collusion of raw thrash and insatiable speed metal. The years and releases have seen the band becomes more creatively bestial and gripping, as proven by 2013 album Hubris, Inc. and even more imposingly now within its ravenous successor Ad Mortem Festinamus. Equally, the band’s melodic and sonic enterprise, which springs as effortlessly from the band as senses crushing ferocity, has also evolved into something as insatiable and creatively virulent to captivate like a high class hooker within a war driven landscape within their new offering. In Ad Mortem Festinamus every element of the band has hit new heights to emerge a psyche twisting irreverence of vicious rock ‘n’ roll which for us Anger As Art’s finest moment yet.

It all starts with the album’s title track, a relatively brief incantation of voice and portentous ambience which soon breeds an imposing sinister lit tapestry of intrigue laced with a pent up hostility which is just waiting to erupt, something it does in Pissing On Your Grave. The second track initially lays down a bed of rhythmic and sonic traps before bursting with unrestrained animosity through ears, in turn marauding through emotions and sparking the imagination. Gaines’ vocals leads the looting of the senses amidst a torrent of crushing riffs and searing grooves offered by his and Dan Oliverio’s craft upon guitar strings. Rhythmically the swings of drummer Rob Alaniz are welcomingly intensive whilst the bass of Eric Bryan incites primal instincts, each adding to a tremendous and spirit rousing encounter more than matched by the following Aim For The Heart. Just as predacious and uncompromising, the track rhythmically picks at the already placed bruises whilst sizzling on the senses with sonic imagination and a great blend of vocal rapacity across the band.

art_RingMasterReviewAs expected, the pair of Tombward and L.A. State Of Mind show no mercy next, the first the most grievously enticing and volatile tempest so far upon the album whilst its successor is barbarous punk infused metal out to devour and annihilate anything in its way. Both tracks find a fresh gear for the album in their individual ways, the twists of imagination in the first a rival for the sheer irresistible and brutal rock ‘n’ roll of the second, though even so, the pair do get a touch over shaded by the similarly frenzied and venomous Unknowing, Undead. The great physically and emotionally caustic vocal pairing of Gaines and Bryan roar spitefully within the song’s blistering storm but just as easily wear the web of sonic invention which escapes the guitars to magnetic effect around them.

The album is nothing left than a series of highs but an inescapable pinnacle is the rousing anthem of Hammer, Blade, and Twisting Fire. It is a sure fire call to arms for spirit and energy driven by a relentless and deliciously nagging bassline. The track is like a brawling celebration on the eve of battle, with liquor like hooks and grooves extra intoxication before We Hurry Into Death becomes the vehicle for ears and imagination to dive headlong into a barrage of adversarial thrash fuelled rancor.

Anger As Art barely gives time for a breath to be swallowed let alone calm to approach body and emotions, Two Minutes Hate living up to an extended version of its title with its unsympathetic and combative animus of sound and intent. A moment to regroup is given by Praise Of The Firehead as it opens with a great melodic caress of guitar aligned to an earnest lure of clean vocals. In time though, its heart and underlying intensity bursts free in a mighty bellow with the song continuing to merge mellower reflective moments with angst soaked crescendos thereafter. Wrapped in volcanic melodic flames, the song, if without quite lighting personal tastes as forcibly as many of its predecessors, easily captivates as the band reveal further inventive exploration of ideas.

A final trespass of tumultuous energy and imaginative adventure is uncaged by Dim Carcosa; the track the link between the band’s unrestrained thrash intrusions and the more tenacious imagination of the last song, and ultimately another pinnacle of Ad Mortem Festinamus.

In many ways, fans know what they will get with Anger As Art, but with each release the band always surprises and provides a fresh encounter as they push themselves. There are many reasons why thrash metal excites so many of us and now Ad Mortem Festinamus provides yet another unopposed excuse to express that ardour.

Ad Mortem Festinamus is released March 11th via Old School Metal Records across most online stores.

http://www.angerasart.com   https://www.facebook.com/angerasart/   https://twitter.com/AngerAsArt1

Pete RingMaster 11/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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