Beneath Bath’s cultured streets lies an eclectic array of music, including the metal/hard rock band, HAEMARIA. Writer Nic Crosara interviewed the band to give milk readers an exclusive insight into their music.
The three-piece band is made up of guitarist and lead vocalist Oscar Merry, bassist Hannah Holder and drummer Tom Crabb. Together they create a fierce new sound with influence from the likes of Dorje, Muse and Deftones. Their new EP ‘Distressed’ was released today and with another in the making plus an upcoming tour they are definitely one to watch – head over to HAEMARIA’s website to get a taste of their vibe.
HAEMARIA sat down with me to discuss the local music scene, their experiences as a band so far and their hopes for the future.
You met at Bath Spa University, but how did you know you wanted to be in a band together?
Oscar: My sister told me, “If you find a drummer, do not let them go!” So, as soon as Tom told me he was a drummer, I was like, “I don’t care what genre you play, I’d like to do this.” We got to a practise room and [the music] was much heavier than we expected. Then when Hannah played us ‘Aeromancy’ by Dorje, I just started smacking Tom’s arm saying “We need her!” So, we chatted to Hannah, and since day one it has been the three of us.
How do your experiences as a metal band differ from those of the indie pop/rock bands in the area?
Tom: We’ve had a couple of gigs where no one has turned up. I think for other people you have to be in a certain type of mood to go and see a metal band.
O: I think the audience, the fan base. They’re dedicated and a hell of a lot of fun. People always give metal a bad rep but in actual fact they’re some of the loveliest people to be at a gig with. It’s also a genre that lets us have this release. We can release all these pent-up feelings on stage in a way that other genres don’t let us do.
Have you ever felt pressured to soften your music for the local audiences?
T: We do like that softer side, without thinking about what other people to hear. We wrote ‘Double the Dosage’ ages ago, we love that song to bits, but it is one of our most peaceful and quiet songs. It is also one that links to our musical influences.
Hannah: The harder stuff is slightly more niche which gets the more ‘metal’ fans involved. But we wanted to have stuff that we knew would sit quite comfortably playing on rock-oriented radio stations.
What was making your new EP, ‘Distressed’, like? And how did the name come about?
H: We were 11 hours into our 12-14 hour recording day. We’d been in the studio 30 or 40 hours that week. We went outside for a breather and I said, “this album recording is just distressing”. We kinda looked at each other and all said “Distressed!”
O: Making ‘Distressed’ was eye opening. We learnt about our sound as a band and had lots of time to reflect on how far we’d come since writing these songs.
T: It’s really given me an interest in mixing and mastering, as well as training my ear to listen carefully to everything we are about to record. It’s made me think about hearing music in a new way.
How do you see yourselves evolving in the future?
O: We always evolve. I think every band does.
H: Learning the management and production so that we don’t have to do it with someone else. But with someone else we would do even better. This next EP is going to be really different because I want to try a load of new techniques and really expand on what we’ve been doing. We want to play festivals and stages at Download. They say it takes 7 years to make a band: I’d like to think that we’d be living off it and doing this professionally by then.
Hannah, as a female in a very male orientated genre and industry, how do you feel your experience differs from your bandmates? How do you push through any negatives?
H: I think it’s too early to say properly right now because we are in the university bubble and most of our audiences are our friends. Once we are playing to audiences where we know no one, that will be quite telling.
Normally when you look at metal bands, they are all guys that tend to be tall, bearded, lanky sort of emo-looking people. With the music that we play and the imagery that is around us, we are sort of playing to the more feminine side.
In terms of experiences in the industry we haven’t had to work with managers or labels yet, so I’m not sure how that will affect us. But I know that if we’re in the wrong kind of area it will be telling quite quickly with how fast they put me down for my ideas.
You perform at events which help to promote bands with female members. How are these events rewarding?
O: It’s cool to share the stage with the bands we have at these events. Unfortunately, some people react badly to these events and say that they are not needed.
H: They will say we don’t need an event like that because women are already in music and they don’t see the issue. I think it’s a very common, ignorant view and it’s not just shown by men.
Girls are actively discouraged from getting into the tech side of music. I remember when I did my A Level, I applied to do it and music teacher said: “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” And I was like, “Well I’ve already applied, I’m on the course, I got the grade, why wouldn’t I?” He was like, “There are a lot of boys in this class.” And I was just like “There are all boys in all of my classes, that has nothing to do with my decision.”
We had a big lecture on the expectations of appearances in a band, and from that we know that what is expected of a woman is double what is expected of a man. It is subtle but the more up the ladder you get the more these things are inflicted on you and that’s why I think we need nights like those. They are important.