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An Interview With Hellaphant

A new single release from Hellaphant comes through triumphant and with vivacious energy that becomes so quickly infectious that you end up turning it louder and louder as the track plays on and it's all done with a nearly perfect production and balance of edginess that lets the band beat themselves while they deliver their rendition of a legendary punk rock track.

"They", originally performed by Misfits, absolutely comes through as a love letter to the original and was able to really infuse their own counterpart with that classic drive and aesthetic very well.

Anyone who's anyone knows who Misfits are and if you grew up listening to them as I did then you'll know that there's been plenty of covers out there but there's been few that really show passion for doing it right and being able to hold true to that original sound but also bringing in your own feel and keeping things tight and well produced as well.

I think that's one of the biggest aspects that I love about this track aside from the performances themselves.

Just the sheer fact that this was produced so crisp and full-bodied but never loses that feeling or edge that the song boasts.

Here's the thing, when you're covering a song from a band like Misfits, you have a little bit of free range to do what you will because the original recordings are obviously older, and these guys were a steppingstone punk band with somewhat Lo-Fi style recordings.

So you can cover a song from a band like this super lo-fi if you want to and make the track sound like it was actually recorded in the early 80s but, I like the approach of taking that whole aesthetic and bringing it into now so that you have the same feel and the same drive but the recording of it is right up in your face and high quality.

The track itself and the performance on it is stellar because you get the feeling that these guys were actually recording them live on the floor simply because it's almost as if the players are feeding off of each other's energies the entire time.

Now, I'm not sure if this is actually how it went down but it sure feels like that when you listen to the track itself and I think that's really important because with a song like this you have to be able to capture that impact and energy correctly.

You also have to be able to capture that attitude.

So, there's a lot going on with a cover of a song like this because you have to have that presence there otherwise it won't work, and you won't be delivering what you want to which is everything because you can tell these guys did this as a passion project.

I wanted to bring this up simply because people think covering a Misfits song can't be that tough right?

No. There's a ton that goes into it and a lot of it has to do with how you're performing the song by all parts. drums, bass, vocals, guitars.

And also, vocally you have to have the right attitude otherwise it'll just come off weak.

These guys pull this track off so damn well that I like it just as much as the original I think.

This was an killer rendition of a track I've listened to a thousand times and I loved it.

With the release of such a killer cover, we wanted to have a sit-down with Ellaphant to find out what drove them to record it and what might be coming up next for the band.

Here's what happened.

RAG: Okay, let's start with "They"! This portrayed that classic punk tonality and was done with attitude and loads of energy! How did this release come about?

Gary here. We had been asked to do a Misfits tribute album a while ago and unfortunately it didn’t happen. We had the bones of what we were doing already. At that point Chris (bass) had suggested making the song all inclusive as a nod to LGBQT+ friends so we did. The chorus is a reworked version from an acoustic version I heard on YouTube by I think his name was Alisondro (but not sure. I couldn’t find it again)

RAG: How did this all start for you as a band?

Years ago, my friend Mat and I were playing ice hockey and suggested writing some music. We had both moved to London On and just connected. We wrote some stuff and then it grew. Matt had a good career as a DJ so he stepped away and over time the guys all came into the fold. Chris joined first, and a guy who introduced Chris and I got Scott (drums)to join. After that we had a few guitar players but Jay and I knew each other and he asked to join when we were looking for a new guy. Been that way since.

RAG: What kind of things really inspire you to create?

Skeltons of the songs usually come at the strangest times. Walking the dog, watching TV or after buying a new guitar. Lyrically it is influenced by what I am dealing with. Whether it’s me personally or people around me etc.

RAG: This release has some great approaches to it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?

My influences range from early metal (Metallica, Raven, etc) and a lot of stuff like Tge Replacements, Big Drill Car, GameFace and SoCal punk, then add some Texas is the Reason, Jeff Buckley, Elvis Costello, Elliot Smith and on and on. I listen to a lot.

What are you doing when you're NOT working on music? I take care of the band stuff, emails, merch design plus I own and run a Merch company so, I’m printing or designing etc.

RAG: Who's in all your headphones right now?

A Wilhelm Scream. love those guys!

RAG: Are you all doing any live performances right now?

Yeah. We just finished a small east Coast tour and have a local show as a benefit for Toys For Tots and then in TO on Dec 23rd to cap the year off. The label is working on getting back on the road in the new year. Can’t wait.

RAG: Do you guys record these at a big studio, or do you have a home studio set-up?

We have been bouncing around at studios. But we seem to have made our home at the Sugar Shack. A small studio with a good vibe and it’s great for me creatively. We work with Simon Larachette who ends as part of the band when we’re there. Bouncing ideas off one another plus he knows what I want when I say a wall of angry guitars.

RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

Next up is the release of 2 videos for “Got the Mime”. And “Orphan”. Plus, we’ll be in the studio to work on the next album.

RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

Thanks for the support, thanks for giving us your ears and thanks for coming in this ride with us.

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