Exclusive Interview: Hellforged talk writing and recording “Live at Stag Studios”!

The journey of Essex Metallers Hellforged began in a rehearsal space that evolved into a stage and while others are taking the slow boat to China with the steady waterfall of singles and music videos, this quartet came up with a different plan. Polish the material until it can be played to perfection and then record the cuts live in the studio to create a debut EP that you might consider warts and all but has a real grit and integrity to it. After all, it was enough to open the door to Metal 2 The Masses and a chance to play Bloodstock…

How did your previous experiences writing and recording help to smooth the path of the new record? “We all had some prior writing and recording experience, so it was a relatively smooth process. We all knew the tracks well before we recorded them. We had played the tracks live numerous times, so getting them recorded in the studio was mostly business as usual!”

How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article? “Usually Michael (bass) and I jam out riffs and ideas that one or both of us have. Then we create a loose structure layering the riffs and working out the transitions between them. Then we present those at practice and Matt (drums) and Luke (vocals) contribute and make their own suggestions, Matt creates his drum parts and Luke writes the vocal melodies and the lyrics. The solos come last once I have the whole feel of the song. The process works really well because everyone contributes and it feels like a team effort”

What was it like recording at Stag Studio? Who else was involved in the setup and process outside of the band themselves? “The owner of Stag studios did all the sound engineering including the mixing and mastering. We did run into some issues with the mix, which meant we had to do quite a lot of work with him to get the levels more balanced, which was probably due to recording live”

If you had the opportunity to work with a guest in the studio next time around, who would you like to work with and why? “It would be great to work with a music producer/engineer who specializes in heavy metal music. We want to get that really huge sound for our next record”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound?

“Ben – Ben uses an EVH 5150 guitar with 9-46 EVH strings and an LTD Explorer with EMGs through a Marshall Jcm 800 and 1960av cab, with overdrive, wah and delay pedals, and a whammy pitch-shifter as we have songs in different tunings.

Michael – Michael uses a Shine 6 string bass guitar through an Ashdown mag 300 amp and also uses a Darkglass Alpha-Omega distortion pedal to thicken up the low end.

Matt – Matt uses in his own words ‘an old as shit drum kit and rusty ass cymbals.’ That is a Mapex M-birch 5 piece kit with Paste PST cymbals and Dixon kick pedal”

What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “It would make a huge difference. Gear is expensive! At our last gig my pedal board got covered in someone’s beer, and completely short circuited, leaving me silent, whilst the sound engineer tried to mop the beer away. (facepalm) Cue an expensive trip down to my local music shop to buy new pedals!!”

Live at Stag Studios” by Hellforged is out now and available everywhere you’d expect it to be like Spotify, Apple Music and so on…

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