Blow The Scene recently caught up with Full Of Hell guitarist Spencer Hazard for an in-depth interview just as the band prepares to play a series of highly sought shows this weekend with parent record label A389 Recordings hosting their Ninth Anniversary Bash. The annual event will see reunions by influential bands Catharsis and Left For Dead plus Despise You, Integrity, and more. Full Of Hell has made a splash over the last couple of years as a promising up-and-coming bands full of energy and aggression with the musical chops to match. Bridging influences that include grind, hardcore punk, d-beat, metal, sludge, and more- The band has been on an upward trajectory painting 2012 year-end top lists with their current split with Code Orange Kids.
In this exclusive interview, Spencer gives Blow The Scene readers insight into the making of the band’s latest release and forthcoming material for A389, including equipment picks and recording processes. He discusses tour and daily life, as well plans for 2013 and much more.
Without further ado, let’s here from Spencer.
Joshua BTS: Greetings. Thank you kindly for taking a few moments with Blow The Scene readers from around the world. Let’s get things rolling by having you introduce yourself and your musical weapon of choice with Maryland’s metal-infused, grind punks, Full Of Hell.
Spencer: Hello, my name is Spencer and I play guitar in Full of Hell.
Joshua BTS: In 2012 you released a number of split 7″s, including one with Code Orange Kids that painted our year-end top lists. After releasing your last full-length, Roots Of Earth Are Consuming My Home, in 2011 via A389 Recordings– Why the decision to release several EPs across a number of indie labels instead of another traditional LP?
Spencer: Most of the stuff we do we plan way in advance. So some of these ideas for splits had been presented during or around the time that the LP was either being written or recorded. Once the LP had come out we finally decided to get these other releases into motion. Some of these splits were very last minute as well, like the Guilt Of split for example. A389 presented us the idea and we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be able to release a record with one of the members of Eyehategod. Also we didn’t want to release another LP right on the heels of Roots of Earth.
Joshua BTS: Two elements of the band that seem to be recurring themes in interviews and press on Full of Hell is A. How young the band is. And B.- How pissed off the band is. Which leads me to my next two questions. Being in your late teens, and early 20s- You’re really not all that young anymore. I mean rock ‘n’ roll has long been led by the youth. It’s not like you guys are a bunch of 13-year olds shredding. Do you feel like the rookies out there or do you feel you’ve established your presence as a band at this point?
Spencer: I feel like we have established ourselves to a certain extent, but there is always more to accomplish. There are always places we haven’t been yet and ideas we have yet to put into our music. There is always room to expand,explore and grow.
Joshua BTS: What are some of the motifs found within your lyrics and where do you draw your lyrical inspiration from? Is it a combination of personal and political? And if so- Can you expand? I know you mentioned that Dave is only one with “parents in the picture” in interview with Cvltnation. Would you say the members of the band come from tumultuous upbringings or am I misinterpreting that quote?
Spencer: In all honesty I have no idea what half of Dylans lyrics are about. We usually come up with the music and then let him do his own thing. I think we all come from decent family backrounds. Of course every family has baggage and none of us really go into our personal lives with each other, but a lot of our families are present and help/support as much as they can.
Joshua BTS: I notice in live settings Full Of Hell incorporate a fair amount of electronics into your live set. How did the decision come about to work in these additional electronic elements with the music and what are they exactly?
Spencer: I wanted to have the noise element ever since the very beggining of the band, but at this point and time we had a completely different line up and not everyone saw eye to eye on certain ideas. Most of the bands we look up to have had that element in their music so we figured we should try to expand on that idea and incorporate it into our sound as much as we could.
Spencer: We always go to Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations studios in Baltimore. He’s the best.
Joshua BTS: What is it about this studio that draws you back? Do you test yourself and step out of your comfort zone by trying new things with different recordings?
Spencer: Kevin is easy to work with and an all around great guy thats why we keep going back. We can tell him exactly how we want something to sound and he’ll do it or suggest something to make the track sound even better. We usually don’t step out of the comfort zone when it comes to the recording process, we discuss how we want everything to sound prior to entering the studio and try to practice the songs as much as we can so the process is smooth.
Joshua BTS: Any special or unique pieces of equipment that you employ when in the studio or a live setting? What does your rig look like?
Spencer: I usually try to use all the same stuff in the studio as I do live. There will be a pedal or maybe a head that I only use on recording, just to usually make the recording sound clearer. I hate when bands can’t emulate the sound they have in the studio live though. That’s why I try not to stray too far when it comes to equipment set ups. I always use my Orange Rockerverb 100 in both recording and lives settings no matter what.
Joshua BTS: One of the things that struck me about your last Philly performance with Gaza, was how well your sound was balanced live. Guitars were not over-powering the drums, and everything hit quite evenly making for a great set. It would appear that your live sound is very important to you. How do you accomplish such a balanced live sound? Is there one amongst you who directs that ship?
Spencer: No matter what setting we are playing in wether it be a basement or on a stage with actual sound equipment, we always make sure to line check. There is nothing worse than going to a show and only able to hear bass or vocals. That’s why before every set we make sure to hit open notes to see what needs to go down and if our drummer can actually hear us. Before we started doing this every set we had some disasters because Dave could not hear the guitar/bass over his drumming.
Joshua BTS: When you are not busy touring and playing music- What do your daily lives look like? Do you hang up the axes after tour and hit the day job? What do you guys do to unwind?
Spencer: After every tour we try to work as much as we can or try to find jobs that can accommodate us for the time being. Even if we don’t have any shows or tours coming up we usually try to practice at least once a week and write as much as we can.
Joshua BTS: As a younger band on tour- What were some of the lessons you learned early on that dictate the way you manage current tours and the band as a whole? I know you’ve had some trying situations in Europe with faulty vehicles and impoundment in Germany..
Spencer: Mostly we have learned how to manage our personal finances on the road.
Basically that means live by the bear minimum. When it comes to band situations, we always make sure the shows are promoted properly. Just because the show is booked doesn’t mean people know about it. So we try to promote that we are coming through town online as much as we can. As for Europe, we always make sure the van, permits and gear are all inline before we even buy tickets. We know too many people that have disasters when they go overseas because one little thing was overlooked.
Joshua BTS: When you are on tour- What are some favorite food stops? Any dietary restrictions in the band such as vegans or edgers?
Spencer: Anywhere cheap. That usually means Taco Bell or Wendys because they do offer vegetarian options.
Joshua BTS: Apart from music- Are there any other arts you guys are focused on?
Spencer: Just music that I know of. Everyone in the band has multiple side projects that take up down time when Full of Hell isn’t touring.
Joshua BTS: We’re looking forward to catching you guys live again next weekend at the A389 Bash. How incredible is this line-up and who are you looking forward to seeing?
Spencer: I’m excited to see almost all of the bands. I’m excited to see a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in a while. I’m mostly excited to see Despise You though.
Joshua BTS: What does Full of Hell have coming down the pipeline in 2013?
Spencer: We just finished up recording our 2nd LP so keep an eye out for that in a few months. Besides that a lot of touring and probably some splits later on in the year.
Joshua BTS: Awesome. Do you know who you’ll be releasing through and when the album will be out? And does it have a name?
Spencer: The LP will be out through A389 of course. At this point we don’t see a need to work with anyone else. As for a title we have some ideas, but we don’t want to reveal anything yet because we are always changing our minds when it comes to that type of thing.
Spencer: We wanted the record to be more grind influenced, but experimental at the same time. I think we captured those vibes with this recording. To me its a combination of everything we liked from our splits with Code Orange Kids and Calm the Fire put into a full length. Everyone who has heard it so far says its alot more cohesive than Roots of Earth and I would have to agree with them.
Joshua BTS: Thank you kindly for taking a few moments with Blow The Scene readers from around the world as we look forward to keeping up with your future endeavors. Any final thoughts?
Interview by BTS Editor-in-Chief, Joshua T. Cohen.
Photo BTS Staff Photographer, Anne Spina for our exclusive FOH Gallery