Interview with Hellgrimm

Interview with Hellgrimm

- in Written interviews

Congrats on ‘Sacrifice’! How does it differ from ‘Ritual’?
Jerry – Thank you, Antichrist Magazine – it’s an honor to do this interview! In my opinion, they are both really good albums. I feel that ‘Sacrifice’ is a continuation of ‘Ritual.’

What inspired ‘Sacrifice,’ and how do its themes relate to today?
Jerry – When I’m writing a song, I’m not particularly concerned about how it relates to today’s issues. If it does, fabulous. I write about what I find interesting. “Scream Bloody Mary” is inspired by Jack the Ripper’s last victim, Mary Jane Kelly, and is a Part 2 of “Jack of All Blades” from the ‘Ritual’ album. “Ouija” warns and entices with the idea of opening doors to other dimensions. ‘Til Death Do Us Party’ and ‘Rock Anthem’ are homages to life on the musician’s road and a call to everyone to join the party. “Skatopia” is a skateboarder’s paradise, located in Rutland, Ohio, where skaters and enthusiasts gather a few times a year for several days of total chaos.

Tell us about collaborating with Mike Heller on ‘Speed Demon.’
Erica – We had the honor of opening for Raven on their “All for One” 40th Anniversary tour in the UK in March of 2023 and Jerry wrote “Speed Demon” specifcally to play on the tour. When we returned and talked about recording this for the new album, I thought Mike Heller’s drumming would be incredible on this track. He agreed to do the drums and he brought the song to a completely different level of insanity! Thanks again, Mike – we love it!

How do you keep your songwriting fresh yet true to Hellgrimm?
Jerry – I have no agenda when I write music. I pick up the guitar at my house every day and create new riffs. Some of them stick and we turn them into tunes. I also watch a lot of horror movies and serial killer documentaries – add in some personal life experiences and Voila! Song lyrics!
Erica – We sing about darkness and doom so you don’t have to!

How has Hellgrimm’s sound evolved over the years?
Jerry – When we first started Hellgrimm in 2018, I was wanting a blues-rock feel – you can hear it on our debut EP. When I started writing for our second EP, “Elysium,” our style got noticably heavier. On “Hunger,” our first full-length album, the sound was heavier, more doomy – we started recording this album a week after the COVID shutdown and such a time of uncertainty definitely colored our sound. By the time we recorded “Ritual,” I was listening to a lot of NWOBHM bands and it really showed on this CD. “Sacrifice” is, in my opinion, where we’ve really hit our stride.

What makes ‘Sacrifice’ quintessentially rock?
Erica – Guitar, bass, drums, and voice all shouting together in sometimes harmonious, and sometimes discordant, triumphant noise – rock and roll!

How has digital media changed your approach to music?
Jerry – Releasing songs for downloads and streaming is the primary way I’ve done music for the past 10+ years. We’ve found that though the vast majority of people stream and download their music, many people still like to buy CDs. They like having that product in their hands – they still like to see the album artwork and check out the liner notes. We’re happy that people listen to our music, how ever they come by it.

What sets Hellgrimm apart in today’s rock scene?
Jerry – I think the main element Hellgrimm has that sets us apart from other acts is Erica.
She is an amazing singer/drummer. When the audience realizes that she is singing behind the drum kit, they freak out. We’ve tried having a drummer and letting Erica just focus on vocals, but we always come back to this arrangement – we like being a trio! We also have several awesome bassists that play with us as they can – George Ortiz, Adrian Cavazos, Josh Pechawer, and Miriam Darnell. We find this is really helpful as people have lives and commitments and Erica and I have flexible schedules that allow us to play out and tour more than most of our fellow musicians.

How do visuals contribute to Hellgrimm’s aesthetic?
Erica – When I’m not performing in Hellgrimm, I’m an illustrator and I do all the artwork for the band. Kelly Abbass was a model/actress/musician friend based in Ontario who helped us with some photos and videos for our previous band, Monkeysoop. We asked her if we could use her likeness for our new project, and Hellgrimm became the warrior featured in our band artwork. I’m a big fan of artists Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Wendy Pini, and Julie Bell, and comics and animation in general – the Hellgrimm album artwork is my amalgum of all of these influences. Though Kelly passed from brain cancer in 2021, with her husband’s permission, we continue to honor her legacy in our album artwork – her image can be seen on the inside cover of the ‘Sacrifice’ CD.

How did you decide on the song order for ‘Sacrifice’?
Jerry – When we finish recording the songs for a new album, we put them on a jump drive and listen in the car. We live in Texas – it’s a huge state and we drive out of town all the time with work and Hellgrimm. If it sounds good in the car, it’s good! We keep changing the order while we’re driving until it seems to flow well.

Any memorable moments from recording ‘Sacrifice’?
Jerry – Every moment is memorable in the studio!
Erica – If Jerry could live in the recording studio and on tour, he would! Those are his two favorite places to be. I love hearing the origins of a song from Jerry’s guitar riffage to the finished product as it’s being tweaked in the studio.

How did Daisun’s collaboration shape ‘Sacrifice’?
Daisun – I’m just the facilitator who chimes in with a few ideas and tries to get all the pieces to work together.
Jerry – He’s being modest – he’s our Bob Rock!
Erica – He’s our Mutt Lange! He’s an amazing muli-instrumentalist who plays in several different bands. We’re really lucky to have had him record Hellgrimm’s music from day one.

What impact do you hope ‘Sacrifice’ will have on listeners?
Jerry – We hope people will identify with a song or a passage, or maybe a few, and that connection will have them listen repeatedly and seek out other Hellgrimm music!

What’s next for Hellgrimm after ‘Sacrifice’?
Jerry – I started writing our sixth album, ‘Resurrection’ the day after we finished recording for ‘Sacrifice.’ We will be going to Puerto Rico sometime later this year to be featured in a Netflix series called “Lowie Mortem – Deadtective” – we’ve got three songs on the show’s soundtrack, including the theme song. Erica and I will be acting in a film called ‘Angel of Death’ and I will be recording a few songs for the film. Hellgrimm’s playing shows in the US and we’re headed to the Chaos Festival in Colombia in July – we’ve got other shows and tours in the works now. is where you can find our tour dates, album updates – all things Hellgrimm.

Describe ‘Sacrifice’ in three words and why they fit.
Jerry – I’ll describe Hellgrimm for you in album titles:
Hunger – the hunger and drive it took to get this far.
Ritual – the ritual of writing, rehearsing, performing, and recording.
Sacrifice – the sacrifices we made to produce this album.

Thank you for the interview – it’s been a pleasure. And thank you to everyone that gives our music a listen and buys our albums and merch. I would also like to thank our endorsers and sponsors – EMG pickups, Busuyi Guitars, Morley pedals, Lang amps, Pedaltrain, Soultone Cymbals, and Bunny’s Wonderland Designs.

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