Hypervolume Interview

Hypervolume guitarist/vocalist A. Human was kind enough to answer our questions.

LOMMCan you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
A. HUMAN: I’ve been working on this project since the demise of my last band INTERCONTINENTALBALLISTICMISSILE. I was writing songs, buying effects pedals, and playing solo gigs under the name MULTIDIMENSIONALHYPERVOLUME. I liked playing solo, but there is nothing quite like live drums, so in 2018 I asked FABIAN A. to drum for me. He and I go way back, we’ve both been in bands since we were kids and we hang with a lot of the same people. I knew he was in a bazillion bands already, but I needed someone who could pick up the music quickly and act professionally, and I knew FABIAN’s reputation as a serious musician. Since then we’ve shortened the name to HYPERVOLUME, played a bunch of gigs, and recorded a full-length album and music video.

LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?
A. HUMAN: Well, FABIAN caught the virus in April. It landed him in critical care in the hospital for a month, with quite a bit of rehab after. Luckily he has recovered and life goes on. With all the horror stories going around, its hard to complain about it, but our plans for releasing our debut album, doing shows, and touring got flushed down the toilet. It’s been difficult to try to release an album in 2020 when you can’t do shows to promote it, but we’re trying to be creative and sniff out opportunities where they exist. I’m funding the whole project out of pocket and right now our finances are WAY in the red!

LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
A. HUMAN: Absolutely, and we’ve always got a few projects cooking. We are planning to go into the studio on Wednesday to record a song for a compilation called ANGRY PEASANTS that will feature 30 local bands from Chicago and will serve as a fundraiser for the local venues. The song we are recording is called “Struggling” and it will feature guest vocals by DR. JUSTIN CUMMINGS, the current mayor of Santa Cruz CA. We were in a band in high school, and this tune just seemed really appropriate for 2020. HYPERVOLUME is also releasing a music video on November 20th, and our debut album “CONCEIVE’ will be released on Dec. 4th. So yeah, we are busy!

LOMM: What does your genre means to you, why did you choose this genre?
A. HUMAN: Though we are definitely a metal band, we don’t fit neatly into any of the typical metal sub-genres. We’re too slow to be thrash, and not Sabbathy enough to be doom. We have too many weird clean parts to be death metal, but not enough weird timings to be prog. But we are definitely a metal band, no question there.

I’ve always been in metal bands, it’s like a way of life. I’m a weird angry dude, but I don’t show my anger too often. I’ve got to get it out somehow, before it becomes malignant, and playing heavy riffs and screaming helps release some of that energy.

LOMMHow did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
A. HUMAN: Well, I moved to the middle of nowhere to go to grad school, and had a hard time finding cool people to jam with, so I started writing songs with a drum machine. My buds in PALE HORSEMAN used to throw an annual camping-and-metal show called BEARD METAL FEST. They asked if I wanted to play and told me I could use their equipment. They are the kinda band that brings full-stacks to dive bars. The thought of using a Mesa stack, a Peavey stack, AND an Ampeg bass stack simultaneously sounded like fun! So I bought a few pedals to make it all work, being able to afford it all thanks to recent divorcees on craigslist, and that’s how I started using three amps.

The themes in my lyrics haven’t changed since high school. I have always thought our culture was a dumpster fire bent on disconnecting us from reality so that we become more-and-more dependent on an economic model that thrives on the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people to produce consumer goods designed to be thrown away in a pit of toxicity. We breed and clearcut, breed and strip mine, breed and overfish, breed and erode. Everyone knows, few care, most are strung-out on convenience and terrified of change. We fuck the systems that sustain life on plaet Earth to make money, and we deserve every calamity that befalls us. There is a better way of life. there has to be, but I’m not sure most people, myself included, would be ready to make the changes necessary.

LOMM: Are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve
A. HUMAN: I am thrilled with the quality of our debut album ‘CONCEIVE.’ I’ve been playing in bands for decades, but this was the first time I put up the dough for a decent studio. We recorded with DAN KLEIN at IRON HAND AUDIO in Chicago; that guy has a great ear for metal! I’m honestly shocked by how good we sound on this album! And the artwork, holy shit! My good bud Janna Weddle of Bezel and Thread designed the cover, a kaleidoscopic vagina, and etched it into brass using acids. How fucking metal is that?!

LOMMHow has the overall reception been?
A. HUMAN: The album drops Dec. 4th, but those who have had a sneak-peak have only had kind words. The most common response I get from friends has been “Holy shit, this is you?” We’ve had a few blogs do write-ups about us, and most of them say something like “they’re breaking the mold,” which was not exactly the intent, I just blend a lot of genres of metal because I like (almost) all genres of metal.

LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
A. HUMAN: Our tour plans for summer 2020 were scrapped early. 2021 isn’t looking great either. We played twice at COBRA LOUNGE in Chicago. They throw a party every year honoring Fabian for being Chicago’s most prolific drummer. He’s in several bands including FIRST JASON, JOHNNY VOMIT, SQUARED OFF, VICIOUS ATTACK, BATTLE ROYALE, and SPARE CHANGE. We all play back-to-back every March at the FABULOUS FUCKING FABIAN FEST, which also includes an art show and chastity-belt-grinding burlesque performances by AMMUNITION between the bands. FFFF5 was the last show in Chicago before COVID restrictions.

LOMM: What do you see for your future? How is it looking?
A. HUMAN: I’m really looking forward to gigging, making more music videos, and recording another album. COVID can’t last forever, and this band has a ton of momentum!

LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
A. HUMAN: I write all the music and lyrics, for now. Sometimes I write subtle lyrics with deeper meaning. Lines like “I fell in love with the river, it taught me who I am” can be interpreted by different people in different ways, but for me the line is straight forward. I have a master’s degree in freshwater ecology, I love canoeing and kayaking, and studying rivers has literally helped me understand myself and my place in the universe. They are dynamic, constantly changing, yet they stay true to their course, just like me.

Other lines are more direct, like “The world is fucked, it’s all your fault, it’s getting worse” because sometimes I like to bludgeon people with truths about their lifestyles.

LOMMWhat bands do you draw your inspiration from?
A. HUMAN: I was initially inspired to play music by local high-school punk bands. I saw people my age that looked so cool being on stage, playing three chords, and hollering at people. When my tone-deaf ass saw the HOLY WHORES for the first time, with JOE ROEBULL screaming his head off while wearing a Nixon mask, I though “shit, I can do that!” More recently, local bands like SCIENTIST, BOATMAN’S TOLL, OF WOLVES, and PALE HORSEMAN have been pushing the limits in our local scene, and I draw an immense amount of inspiration from their persistent output of top-grade metal. 

In fact, I love local bands so much that I started producing compilations called ANGRY PEASANTS about a decade ago. VOLUME 10 will be released in December and will feature 30 metal, punk, and stoner rock bands from Chicago and beyond. It’s going to be a fundraiser for the local venues that are suffering under the COVID restrictions.

LOMMWhat’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
A. HUMAN: I’d be lying if I said that I never consider the listener when writing music, I want these tunes to rock, but this has never been about having fans or ‘making it.’ I do this because I have to. It’s an impossible impulse to resist. I honestly could give less-than-a-fuck about what other humans think. Like it? Great! Hate it? Whatever, bite me.

LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
A. HUMAN: My previous bands were all very talented, but each had its flaws. When I was in my first band I was to broke to afford rent, let alone studio-time. We were a great band, but all of the DIY recordings we made sounded terrible. My last band was also talented, and our DIY recordings were ok, but drummer issues plagued us. Our first drummer quit for religious reasons (seriously), it took nearly 3 years to find our second drummer, but he quit before we released our first album.

So, honestly, this album is the greatest accomplishment of my music career, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let the ‘Rona keep us from making it a grand success.

LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
A. HUMAN: I want everyone to send some love to their local venues. Go buy a gift card or a t-shirt or make a donation. When this shitshow of a pandemic is over, we are all going to want to see some live music again, it’ll be a shame if 90% of our stages are closed down.

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