Full of Hell is an experimental hardcore band that lies somewhere in the realms of powerviolence, sludge metal, and grindcore. Their sound is hard to classify into a distinct genre category, which is a refreshing feat in the hardcore scene. When it comes down to it, Full of Hell’s experimental and collaborative nature sets them apart from a saturated genre. Over the course of their career, they have collaborated with Japanese noise legend Merzbow, sludge metal outfit The Body, and fellow brutalists Nails, the latter two within the past year. Not only have these collaborations diversified Full of Hell’s sound, but also their audience, so much so that Full of Hell’s most recent split with Nails reached number two on the Billboard Singles Chart, an impressive accomplishment for any artist. Mind you, this is an experimental harcore band.
I talked to Spencer Hazard, Full of Hell’s guitarist, about touring with some of their biggest influences, career aesthetic goals, and their newest upcoming album.
Phillip: How is the tour going?
Spencer: Pretty good so far. We had the day off today and we have done four shows now, and they have all gone surprisingly well, especially since they are the first of the tour package. It has been good so far.
P: How have you been passing the time on tour?
S: This time around, usually our go-to podcast, “Last Podcast on the Left”, which is just a paranormal murder mystery. It can be annoying sometimes, but it is entertaining and just better than sitting in silence. Sometimes we do sit in silence. Just so everyone can relax or nap. Music choice depends, we do not have set albums we listen to, just whoever is in the front seat.
P: I saw that you guys got stranded somewhere in California?
S: We couldn’t finish the rest of the tour with Entombed because the weather conditions were so bad in the northwest. We got into the mountains of California, and there was a blizzard and we couldn’t cross the overpass, so we just had to turn around and had to cancel four shows, and basically had to hang around for four days in the rain and snow.
P: That was the end of a different tour?
S: Yes. The tour we are on now is with Immolation and the Cavalera Brothers, just playing old tour songs and the “Roots” album.
P: What is it like touring with Immolation?
S: Oh dude. It is awesome. It is cool being able to tour with such legendary bands. To us they’re legends, but with any band, you just meet them and they are totally awesome, normal, down to earth people. It is just cool when you meet your peers and they act like they are on the same level as you, and not like rockstars and divas about it. Immolation are super awesome guys, they go out of their way to help us out, talk to us, and hang out and everything.
P: Had they influenced you musically?
S: Yeah actually from their new LP… We have one song where we would joke and say that the riff is the “Immolation riff”. We haven’t talked to them about that, they don’t know. (Laughs)
P: Have you toured with any other bands that have the same level of influence on you that Immolation has?
S: I mean obviously we just got off tour with Entombed, and we are named after one of their songs. So that was pretty surreal to be able to tour with a band that we are named after.
P: Swans is cited as a major influence on the band. What kind of impact has Swans had on Full of Hell?
S: Sonically we are obviously different. There are slower tracks where we try to take more of that vibe, just like doom oriented and dissonant chords. We take a lot of influence from certain bands, aesthetically. Even in the way that they run their careers and things like that. We think it is awesome how many years Swans has been around, and how they’ve been able to push themselves with every release. That is more of an influence on us rather than the music. Just since they are able to continue to push themselves and continue on and keep experimenting and evolving with every release. Inspirational. Granted, our goal is basically to keep challenging ourselves. We don’t want to say that we will change our sound with every release, we try to evolve it. We know our place and where we came from, we just want to keep pushing ourselves, and writing music that we want to hear. That is the goal. Write music that we enjoy and push ourselves creatively.
P: You guys have a new album coming out this Spring.
S: Yeah, I think there might be a date now… I am not 100% sure, but I know it comes out in May.
P: Have you been playing some of the new tracks from that album on tour?
S: Yeah we have been playing three of the new tracks so far. One of the songs we have been playing for a couple of months now. We first played it when we played a music festival a couple of months ago.
P: How receptive has the audience been to the new music?
S: Yeah I think they [have received it] well. It is more along the lines of the stuff we did with the Amber Rote 7” and the Nails split. Still our style, but more death metal and death grind influence added in.
P: I saw that the Nails split actually placed on the Billboard charts?
S: Yeah, which is very surprising for our style.
P: How did that happen?
S: It was a 7”, so it was classified as a single release. It sold enough copies online and through pre-order and first week of sales that it was able to place on the Billboard charts, and surprisingly got to number two. We were right underneath some boyband. Billboard let the label know. The way billboard works is through the bar code on the back of the release, and when it gets scanned, it lets the label know how many copies were sold, and depending on that, it determines your place on the chart. The label told us, and none of us could really believe it.
P: Have you guys landed on the charts before?
S: I think the Merzbow collaboration was on the underground or metal charts a couple of years ago, but it was super low. I think it is pretty easy to get on Billboard at this point, especially in underground music like indie and stuff, but the Nails split was at the top all around singles, which was very surprising. Number two.
P: You guys have collaborated with The Body, Nails, and Merzbow. Does the new project have a collaboration element?
S: We do have a couple of guest spots, from our friends and people in other bands we’ve looked up to. Nate from Converge is on a track. This girl that just went on tour with Code Orange sings on one of our tracks. We wrote all of the songs. We are just adding our friends to them. Just some cool guest spots and stuff.
P: What is the length of this project like?
S: There are eleven songs on it I think… Normal length for one of our LPs. 22 minutes or something.
P: Anything else about the new album that you can share?
S: The release date is still pretty far… Can’t say too much. We are revealing stuff starting in a couple of weeks. We will start to premiere tracks. But I cannot really talk about much until then.