-- Hammeramp gets shredded! --
On March 31st I went to a bar near my home called the Platte Batterie in Zottegem. The local hard rock act Hammeramp was giving a free gig that night and vocalist Dieter had contacted me a week before to ask me to promote his band. Since I would be seeing Hammeramp on Rock Balegem in April I was more than interested in having myself a little pre-party with the guy’s from Hammeramp! After a very enjoyable gig I went outside the bar with vocalist Dieter and drummer Claude to discuss Hammeramp’s origins and influences, the inspiration behind their freshly released demo single Scars Don’t Fade and their upcoming major gig at Rock Balegem!
BMS: Hey there! Tell me how Hammeramp came to be?Dieter: Things started for us in 2015 when Boris Aspeele (brother of Dennis “Fixxer” Aspeele), Claude and me decided to jam together! We’ve been close friends for a long time and often spent time together in a music bar in Zwalm called Muziekcafé De Giraf. We played a couple of try-out gigs and during one of our rehearsals, Boris’s guitar amplifier began malfunctioning and he decided the best course of action was to grab a hammer and smash the damn thing! We all laughed and decided we would call ourselves Hammeramp! Unfortunately Boris left the band because he wanted to pursue other musical directions. As a tribute to him for providing us with our name and helping us kick-start Hammeramp we always keep his blue guitar on stage during all of our gigs.
BMS: That’s a beautiful origin story! Tell me, is this your first time you guys play in a band?Claude: In the early 2000s I played in a local act called Sneaking Suspicion, Ken and Aron also have past experiences as musicians.
Dieter: And for me and Thomas it’s our very first band.
BMS: And you’re doing a good job thus far! So, what are Hammeramp’s main musical influences?Dieter: The guys and I have many different tastes in rock and metal. For instance, I’m a huge thrash metal fan and take inspiration from the Big 4 of thrash metal, as well as acts like 5FDP, Stone Sour and Godsmack. On the other hand there’s Aaron who digs a lot of metalcore and Thomas has an appetite for classic rock.
Claude: Nowadays I listen to a variety of music genres. Both rock and metal.
BMS: I see, that’s a lot of different influences. But I did notice tonight there’s a certain dynamic and team spirit between you guys. Your style has an overall hard rock feel but still retains heavy metal elements. It feels engaging and to the point.Dieter: You know, the thing that makes Hammeramp unique is that we all work on songs together. There are so many bands in which one or two members write all the material and then send it over to the others for them to learn. But we decided from day one that all five of us would equally contribute to Hammeramp’s sound. And as a result we end up with songs that everyone in the band enjoys playing and we stand together as one on stage!
BMS: And I think you’ve made your point clear here tonight! Now, a few days ago you published your first demo song. Scars Don’t Fade, tell me something about it.Dieter: It’s one of our first self-made songs. During our first two try-outs we only did covers, however, we’ve always had the ambition to write our own material as soon as we had built up enough experience of playing together. Now, we’ve already got a few songs written but the track Scars Don’t Fade has a lot of emotional value to me. I’ve written the song’s lyrics and they’re inspired by the dark times I went through a couple of years ago. Although I managed to leave the past to rest and found new direction in my life, I’m formed by my past experiences. The memories remain and that’s how I ended up writing the lyrics for Scars Don’t Fade.
BMS: I love it when people write songs based on personal experiences. It makes everything sound so convincing and relatable.Dieter: Another thing we love about working together on Hammeramp songs is that with every tune we write we learn something about ourselves as people and as musicians. It’s a really interesting musical and personal journey! Adding to this great brand and its members are the 3 crew-members who help us in so many ways and create a support team for us every time we go out to a gig. A big thanks to Livine, Domien & Steven!
BMS: I’m sure they’ll fully appreciate your kind words! And today you played in a small but packed venue! Did you enjoy playing here in the Platte Batterie?Claude: Oh yeah! It was a night beyond our wildest expectations! A bar filled to the brim with enthusiastic people and I was also very pleased with the sound quality during the gig. As a drummer you’ve got to be able to hear the other instruments and vocals and it’s a good thing the amplifiers were stacked up behind me so I had no trouble in maintaining the necessary rhythms.
BMS: So you’re pretty flexible in terms of logistics. Very clever! And next week you’ll be playing at Rock Balegem! Looking forward to it?Dieter: It’s going to be the biggest venue we’ve played thus far! And we’re honored to share that stage with the likes of Solitude Within, Deafcon, Beuk, Beyond The Labyrinth, Ironborn, Shaarghôt and headliner Spoil Engine! We’re going to give the crowd our absolute best..as we always try to do!
BMS: And me and my friends will be there to support you! Tell me, what are your plans for Hammeramp after Rock Balegem?Dieter: We’ve got several shows coming up next Spring and Summer! But our main focus is on the very near future and we aim to improving ourselves as musicians and stage performers and expanding our fanbase. And next week’s Rock Balegem festival will be a great place to do that!
Claude: The most important thing for us as Hammeramp is to have fun! To have fun playing together on stage and in the rehearsal room and to have fun meeting new people who dig our stuff. Like you, for instance!
BMS: The pleasure’s all mine, guys! Is there anything else you wish to add before we wrap up this conversation?Claude: We’d like to thank Roy and Filip Morre for bringing us here tonight. I grew up in Zottegem and the Platte Batterie is one of this town’s most beloved bars. For me, this gig was a true homecoming! Also a big thanks to “Let It Happen” and Dennis Aspeele!
Dieter: First of all, we want to thank everybody who’ve supported us by coming to our gigs and also thank you for interviewing us! We’re very happy you enjoyed tonight’s show and we’ll be giving you another dosage of groovy hard rock & metal next week at Rock Balegem!
BMS: I’ll see you there!
Hammeramp - Scars don't fade