Recently, I got to talk to Mr. Ed Warby, drummer of HAIL OF BULLETS. These guys are one of the band’s out right now that helps me restore my faith in heavy music and that it can still be done right, and HAIL OF BULLETS’ death metal onslaught is nothing short of killer. The man also produced their latest Metal Blade release, On Divine Winds, and did a superb job. Warby’s incredible drumming comes at you like a machine gun opening fire, and the band shows no remorse all throughout the album. Read on as we chat about their upcoming shows, his influence for getting into metal in the first place, and of course, his dream tour that he’s booked for us all to see. Get into these guys!
Alex Gilbert (SMNnews): Your new album Divine Winds is out now via Metal Blade, and seems to be getting a ton of buzz. You even reached 75th, entering the German album charts. That’s great to see! You guys must be pretty proud, huh?
Ed Warby (HAIL OF BULLETS – drums): Are you kidding? We’re sky high! It’s always scary to work on something for such a long time and putting it out there to be judged, the first few days when the reviews start coming in I’m usually a nervous wreck, every time. But fortunately everybody seems to like the album, so we can relax now, haha!
Alex: The band has a few European dates before the end of the year. Aside from the Maryland Death Fest for next year (which is totally killer, congrats!), any other tour plans you can let us in on?
Ed: Not yet, we’re working on more bookings at the moment. A tour would be nice, but only if it’s relatively short. We tend to focus more on one-offs, fly-in shows that take us to different countries without having to get on a bus for weeks in a row. This way of working has proven to be very effective for us.
Alex: Related question. Where are some of your favorite places HAIL OF BULLETS has played so far, and where are some of the places you are most interested in playing for the first time?
Ed: Spain was amazing, and so was the US. We’ve been to quite a few countries already, but for some reason we haven’t played in Scandinavia (particularly Denmark, Sweden, Norway) yet so we’re hellbent on going there next year, no matter what. Apart from that we always enjoy playing Germany, and we plan to return to Finland as well after last year’s unforgettable Jalometalli fest.
Alex: Your music video for “Operation Z” is badass, and really shows the intensity of the band in a live setting. Do you have plans for any more music videos off of On Divine Winds?
Ed: Maybe, we’ll see. This one was filmed at the Summer Breeze festival, and we were fortunate to have a full camera crew at our disposal, but obviously that’s not always the case. Besides, videos have lost much of their importance for metal acts like us, so we cannot afford to invest too much into it. This one turned out great though, it’s very simple but somehow it really does capture what we’re about.
Alex: Mr. Ed Warby (that’s you!) produced On Divine Winds, and gave the album such a raw, heavy, and uncompromising death metal sound. It’s massive! How was it working with the man?
Ed: Oh I just LOVE working with myself, haha! I’m sure the other guys enjoyed making this album with me as producer, one of the reasons we decided to do it this way was a general dissatisfaction with the more detached way of working in a studio, and the stress of having to finish everything within a pre-booked 3 or 4 week period. This time we could work whenever we felt like it, and I was able to deliver the parts to Dan exactly the way I wanted them to be, full autonomic control. It did get overwhelming sometimes and in all I worked on the album for 9 months, but it makes me even prouder of the final product. Of course I can’t take credit for the pulverizing mix, that was mainly Dan Swanö’s achievement.
Alex: What made you interested in heavy metal, and who were some of your influences growing up?
Ed: I think it was a picture of Gene Simmons in a magazine, when I was 9 or 10 I cut it out and put it on my wall but I hadn’t heard the music yet. So with my next allowance I went to the record store and bought Gene’s solo album (yeah I know, not the greatest introduction to KISS, but hey) and my sister was kind enough to buy me Double Platinum a while later. After that I started collecting all their albums and soon I got into Rainbow, Deep Purple, Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, etc. The love for more extreme music was born when I first heard Venom. I couldn’t stop playing the In League With Satan 7″ and through that I got in touch with the other Neat/NWOBHM bands… I literally devoured all this new music and a life-long passion was the result.
Alex: Back into the history of HAIL OF BULLETS. You guys have been around since 2006, and have released 2 full lengths, and 1 EP. What does a HAIL OF BULLETS setlist look like? A good mix of the old songs and the new songs?
Ed: Yep, exactly. The first shows we did we only had our debut album to draw upon, so we were happy when we could add the EP tracks. Now with the new album out we’re faced with having to drop some older songs in favor of new tracks, but we’ll keep rotating different songs to avoid getting stuck in the same setlist. Fun is an important factor in HoB’s existence, so we really want to keep it as interesting and challenging for ourselves as possible. It’ll be fun to play the new songs though, really looking forward to that!
Alex: When we come visit you, where’s a good place you recommend to go to a concert, grab a bite to eat, party it up, etc.?
Ed: Hmm, not my hometown Rotterdam, that’s for sure! Not much happening here metal wise, you’d be better off looking up Theo in Amersfoort (which is were the HoB story began).
Alex: I remember the legendary Silenoz quoted this about HAIL OF BULLETS. ”When you think there’s no hope left for brutal music, where every band sounds the same, HAIL OF BULLETS comes along and just level everything with the ground. Pretenders – move over!” – Silenoz/DIMMU BORGIR. Seeing that come from such a reputable individual in metal must’ve felt great seeing?
Ed: That was a great one, and I’m sure it helped us a lot in getting our name out. So if you’re reading this, thanks again bro! I think we got a good buzz among our peers as soon as we had the promo out, it’s so cool to check your MySpace and get a message from one of the guys in Cannibal Corpse or Six Feet Under saying how much they dig HoB! Unreal, to be honest…
Alex: Here’s a fun and tricky question. If you were to create a dream tour, who’d be on it? Feel free to go all out if you wish.
Ed: I wouldn’t mind being part of a “best of the old school” package consisting of Bolt Thrower, Entombed, Autopsy, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse and us. And I think all of us would gladly give up a nut to play some dates with Triptykon, as we’re all MASSIVE Celtic Frost fans. And in a totally unrealistic scenario opening for KISS would be a dream come true… hey, one can dream right?
Alex: Another fun question. What are some of your guiltiest pleasures that one wouldn’t expect to see on your ipod?
Ed: I don’t have an iPod… but if I did I imagine you’d be surprised to find Norwegian pop lords A-ha on there, or possibly some Kylie Minogue and Lady GaGa. And it would probably have a lot of country and bluegrass on it, my biggest passions outside of metal. Picking your jaw up off the floor yet…?
Alex: Last but not least, you guys have a great new album with On Divine Winds, have a great home with Metal Blade Records, and a lot to look forward to. How does the future look for HAIL OF BULLETS?
Ed: Pretty bright I’d say! I knew when we started this band that we had something to offer that was sorely missing from today’s metal scene, and lucky for us enough people seem to agree. And as long as we can have this much fun and success making exactly the kind of music that we want to make I think we’ll be around for a while…
Metal Blade Records
By Alex Gilbert