EMQ’s with HYDRAFORM
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Denver, Colorado based Progressive Hard Rock/Metal band Hydraform. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
We are Hydraform, from Denver, Colorado, and we play what we think sounds like “progressive groove metal”. The band formed in 2011 when Jay (guitar) and Tyler (the original drummer) started jamming together in college under the name Eiron, and recruited Carter (vocals) and John (bass) a few years later, renaming the band Hydraform to reflect every member’s individual interests and contributions to the group’s sound. In 2019, Tyler left the band to focus on his career and family, bringing Matt into the fray right before we were slated to embark on a two-week tour across the United States in support of thrash heavyweights Overkill and Exhorder.
How did you come up with your band name?
The idea comes from the Greek mythological creature, the Hydra, which is a fearsome beast with multiple heads. There have been all kinds of depictions of the Hydra in mythology and some of them say that each head has its own personality, which is the philosophy we like to bring to our songwriting process. Each of the members of the band have drastically different musical sweet spots, from mid-2000s metalcore to classic Americana and bluegrass, hip hop, acid jazz, and everything in between. We try as a group to reconcile our vast differences in influence to create a sound that’s heavy, fierce, and powerful.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We’re based out of Denver, Colorado in the United States. Denver, if you’re unfamiliar, has a reputation of being a pretty artsy city along the likes of Portland, Oregon. There has always been a really vibrant local music scene in this town, and rock and metal are definitely a huge part of that, even if you don’t see a lot of local metal bands blowing up on a national level. There’s a big underground music community here and we can really feel the love and support from people in the community who want to support their friends and neighbours who are creating music.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
We have a three song EP called “Chained” that we’re getting ready to drop on June 26th, and we have just going released the title track. We’re really excited for this release, because we recorded it in Ashland, Oregon with the legendary Sylvia Massy, who has worked with bands like Tool, System of a Down, and A Perfect Circle, who are all huge influences on us, and we really think these three songs showcase some of our strongest songwriting yet.
Who have been your greatest influences?
We all have different influences, like I said before, so this list could be huge if I really wanted to get super deep into it, but I’ll try to keep it concise: Lamb of God, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, and whatever the hell we’re listening to on a given day!
What first got you into music?
We all have parents who either were musicians themselves or just were musicophiles, always listening to music and encouraging us to find different artists and sounds to check out and dig into.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
When we were on tour we tried super hard to get Marzi (Montazeri, guitarist in Exhorder) to come on stage with us and rip a solo on one of our songs. Being that we were just a baby band on that tour and never had a lot of free time, we couldn’t make it happen, but we’re going to really go after him to get him featured on a song one of these days!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
We really want to play Aftershock and Download. Aftershock just because we think we’d really fit in with the vibe of that line-up, since last year’s festival had so many of our favourite bands on the bill, and Download because that crowd is always fucking insane, and it would be incredible to play shows outside of the US.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Nobody gives us gifts, or has yet, so we’re still looking for submissions for this one!
Actually, that’s not completely true, we got a bottle of cheap whiskey after a show on our last tour from a fan. That wasn’t weird though, it was just really nice!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
We know that the world is a crazy place right now with the pandemic, civil unrest, and everything else that 2020 is throwing at us, but we’re working really hard to write new music and better ourselves as a band, because performing is the one thing all of us truly love, so if you ever get a chance to see us live, we promise you won’t regret it.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Neil Peart. He passed just last year and he was such an important musician, both as a drummer and as a songwriter/lyricist. When we found out that he had passed we were devastated.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Performing is easily the best part of being a musician. Getting onstage and forging a connection with a room full of complete strangers is an incredible feeling.
The worst part is dealing with all the behind the scenes bullshit and how hard you have to work to get people to take you seriously. A lot of people think musicians and artists will be stoked to give their work away for free or for promise of “exposure” and that’s a sentiment that needs to die a slow, ugly death.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Make it easier for musicians to make a living by monetizing their content. Increase their streaming revenues from basically nothing. It’s really difficult to make money as a small band in an era when people are streaming all of their music and not buying as much physical media.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Blink-182’s self-titled record from 2004. We even made an April fool’s joke this year about us recording a full cover version of that album, which probably pissed a lot of our more metalhead followers off, but it is what it is!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl, for sure, even if it’s just the collectability aspect of it. It’s a great avenue for bands to be creative with their artwork, limited edition coloured pressings, and so on. Plus, people are back to buying vinyl again which makes it a great opportunity for bands to sell more physical merchandise. And all of that is before you even start talking about the sound quality debate; some people will buy vinyl and never actually play the record, they’ll just buy it to own the physical artwork and whatever splatter/colour variant and then stream the music digitally.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
On our most recent tour we played at the Aztec Theatre in San Antonio, and just getting to the venue on time was a total nightmare. We had wrecked our van the night before by driving into a massive pothole on the highway in the middle of Texas oil country, and we blew out three of the tires on our rig. We got a tow into the closest town at two in the morning, slept for four hours, and got up to get the van fixed up so that we could get to the gig. We barely made it, rolling up to the venue ten minutes before Exhorder finished their soundcheck. So, we get to the venue, scramble to unload and set up all of our shit, and play the show running on almost no sleep after wrecking our van the night before, and the audience for that show was just awesome. It was the first time on that tour that people came up to the merch booth and took photos with us or asked us to sign their shirts and CDs. We’ll always remember that show and the fans we made in San Antonio.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Well, all of us have day jobs. Denver is an expensive city so it’s tough to make a living as a musician. Jay negotiates ad contracts for a newspaper, John is in charge of organizing canvassers, Matt is a bartender, and Carter works on and off as a stagehand while also going to school for recording arts. So, while we all do stuff outside of being musicians, nobody wants to do that instead of being a musician. I think the closest we would like to come is working in the industry somehow, maybe as part of a road crew or something like that.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Eddie Murphy, Tom Delonge, Richard Pryor, Bernie Sanders, and Bigfoot.
What’s next for the band?
We have our EP release coming up in two weeks, and then we’re just going to be sitting on our hands waiting until we can play shows again, since live music is cancelled indefinitely due to COVID-19. We’re writing music, refining old ideas, and working on plans to record some more stuff and have some kind of steady stream of content until we can get back to playing shows.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
What the hell are Jaffa Cakes? Oh, I just looked them up. They look like cookies (sorry, biscuits!) to me. Is this a topic of debate in the UK? Like whether a hot dog is a sandwich?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Make sure to check out our new EP, available on all the streaming platforms on June 26th, and keep an eye out for our new music video for the single ‘Chained’.
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