My Hamartia – Rolling Raw and Real

Saturday, 14th October 2017

Discovering this New England band with ties to western MA and northern CT at a local show, My Hamartia manage to captivate because of their infectious blend of groove metal with traditional, thrash, and modern elements. Obvious followers of versatility within the metal movement, their debut album Death Death Death Part 2 delivers gut punches one moment, then sails into addictive melodies/hooks the next – unafraid to inject clean vocals or fluid guitar soloing if necessary to enhance the arrangement.

Firing off a set of questions to the band, all four members (Patrick Halligan – vocals, Sean Adamson Jr.- guitar, Philip Parker- bass, and Gabe Cyr- drums) would give answers regarding the development of the band’s groove metal sound, signing with Awake Records, their outlook on live performance as well as how they tackle promotion/social media to make their presence felt in a crowded marketplace.

Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us regarding the formation of My Hamartia- and did you know straight away that you as a band were going for a style that would blend together old school and new school concepts for your groove metal platform?

Patrick Halligan: I joined My Hamartia about 2 years ago even though the original line up got their start back in 2012. I didn’t know right away what stylistic changes were about to occur after joining because I brought in a mixture of cleans and screams which I feel ad a necessary dynamic to our music. I also think that because everyone in the band has a variety of musical backgrounds we are able to harness a lot of key influences we like and blend it into what we call My Hamartia.

Sean Adamson Jr.: The band officially started in the fall of 2012 with four members. We had our drummer Gabe, vocalist Jeff , and two guitarists Josh & myself playing on 8 string guitars. We had that lineup for about a year until we realized that we were making limited progress with our vocalist and parted ways. We found our second vocalist Matt shortly after and made a demo and began playing out frequently. He played with the band for a year before moving away. Around six months had passed when we found Patrick and he has been our vocalist since. We went into the studio during 2016 to record our album and had finished the drums and my rhythm parts when Josh quit the day he was to go in and records his parts. I ended up recording his parts along with the bass on the album when the bass player we were bringing in wasn’t working out. We luckily met Phil and he took over on bass and recorded some additional material before we finished the album in 2017. From the start the idea was to be different. I grew up listening to several genres of music and never had a reason to not mix it up. I even played in a funk band at one point, so that even has an influence here and there.

Philip Parker: As the newest member to the band it’s probably better to answer by giving you a quick bio and how I joined the band. Pat, our vocalist, and I have been friends since high school. We formed our own three-piece metal band, Shrapnel, in 1996 and played together until we all went our separate ways in ’99. We always shared a strong musical connection and had a style that was very power/thrash. Now let’s fast forward to 2016. Through Facebook I saw that Pat had joined My Hamartia. It had been about 17 years since I last saw Pat so I decided to surprise him and make it to one of his shows in September ‘16 to listen to his new band. That’s when I heard My Hamartia for the first time and I was more than impressed. I saw how they combined an old school metal style that I’m used to playing with a new school groove style that I listen to more of these days. Only 3 months after I saw them things were not working out with their bassist so they let him go, leaving the door wide open for me. I knew this would be a perfect fit for me. So I put together some material and auditioned in Feb 2017 and I am now stoked to say that I’m the bassist for My Hamartia… By the time I joined all the music had already been written and recorded but the album had not yet been released. I did add a little bit of extra bass material to the album just before it was released.

Gabe Cyr: We knew right away that we wanted to blend groove metal with various other sub genres of metal. We had many discussions in the very early moments of the band that included trying to figure out which aspects of metal we liked/disliked and where we wanted to begin our journey as a group. Personally, I knew even before we got together for the first time that I wanted a very heavy foothold in the groove vein to be the foundation of what we were going to do as a band.

Dead Rhetoric: Can you tell us how you gained the interest of Awake Records and how you feel things are going so far with the label?

Halligan: I have had the privilege of being friends with the owner and operator behind 1410 Media and Awake Records for several years. After joining My Hamartia I introduced everyone to Will Beale who remains one of our largest supporters and advocates. Through blood, sweat, and tears I think together we put out an amazing debut album and will continue to look in that direction for future endeavors. I have no complaints and I think we are doing as much as we can in a very bottom-heavy industry that is saturated with a lot of amazing local talent.

Cyr: We (made) contact with Awake Records through mutual friends that our current line-up had with the owner/operator, Will Beale. We enjoy working with Will and he is a strong supporter of our efforts while suggesting very practical ideas and methods to approach our sound and image. He’s a great guy and working with him is very easy and fun. Plus, he has cheese balls.

Dead Rhetoric: How quickly did the material come together for your debut full-length Death Death Death Part 2? It’s quite a thought provoking album title – do you feel you will revisit part 1 at some point down the line in My Hamartia history?

Halligan: After joining the band I had the honor of revamping some songs lyrically that already existed. The only ones that I didn’t touch were “As We Fall “written by Sean, and “Everything Is About Zombies Nowadays” written by Gabe. I would say the material itself came together pretty quickly once we started hitting our strides. As far as the album title, that came from the brilliant mind of Sean. If you don’t have a thought provoking album title then you might as well just self-title it. If I had to guess, you may see a Part 1, but that will be reserved for much later down the road I feel. One may never know!

Adamson Jr.: We had been going three and half years when we went in to record the album. As mentioned before the first year we didn’t get much accomplished with our first vocalist and had only finished three songs musically, but had a few ideas that would later be used in songs written over the next two years. The album title is taken from the film Brainscan. In it they’re kids watching a film during a horror movie club at school when the principal walks in during a gory moment and tells the kid running the club to go his office. The principal asks what the film was and the kid tells him the title. So, we named our album after a sequel to a film that doesn’t exist. We don’t have any plans to call the next title Part 1, but we are bouncing funny ideas around for the next one.

Cyr: The music was written over the course of about 2-3 years, I think, with vocals being finished in the latter portion of that time. Each song first being finished in structure and then honed into a finished piece through collaborative efforts on all our parts. Things were stalled while seeking a vocalist that had a real sense of commitment and put forth the effort required. At first there was no bass guitar; just two 8-string guitars. We picked up a bassist after struggling with a few different vocalists (one working out for a time) but as soon as we hit the studio we realized that we needed to find another bassist while one of the guitarists quit, suddenly, due to his personal life stresses. Sean recorded the bass tracks for the album and we found Phil to play bass almost entirely post production of the album. There will be no Death, Death, Death Part 1 unless we can brainstorm a ridiculous and annoying way to bring it to fruition, (laughs).

Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel you learned the most regarding the process of recording this material – were there any specific transformations or ‘ah ha’ moments that took place to make certain tracks that much better/stronger?

Halligan: What I learned the most during the recording process is holy crap this album is brutal. In all seriousness though, there were a couple of ‘ah ha’ moments, specifically when it came to having to create some of the melodic harmonies in most of my cleans. It’s also amazing how much a rage filled scream far away from a directional mic can impact a quiet whisper in a song.

Adamson Jr.: At the end of “Warfare” Josh had a riff in there that was really cool and when I had to record it because it wasn’t coming out like I hoped. I eventually simplified it using the root notes from his riff and played it twice using octaves and twice using minor 3rd harmonies. It went from being a good riff to an extremely intense build up. That’s my favorite on the spot moment recording the album.

Cyr: For me, there were very little a-ha moments while recording the album. Most were during the writing process as I realized there were easier or more sonically pleasing ways to approach my drum parts. In the studio, there were a couple times that I said, fuck it, and simplified a portion just to keep things rolling as I sometimes run into moments of just not being satisfied while writing or recording. Occasionally, I’ll hear my drum tracks played back after recording that I thought would sound great and realize it must be reworked. For the most part, everything came together quickly while in the studio. I finished my drums for the 11 tracks on the album in a day and a half. Will being very accommodating and making me feel comfortable and never rushed. He also has cheese balls at the ready for my consumption during the entire process.

Dead Rhetoric: One of the things I noticed regarding your songs is the ability to blend multiple sub-genres without sacrificing the quality of the arrangement at hand. Is this something you are conscious of because of an appreciation for everything from thrash to hardcore, groove metal to modern acts, as well as the crevices in between?

Halligan: I think this was mostly in my subconscious. We honestly were trying to create a unique sound and blend various styles. I think you can appeal to a larger fan base giving the listener a variety of things to focus on and appreciate. We never want to be considered a run of the mill or cookie cutter band so switching it up is critical to that success.

Adamson Jr.: There isn’t a type of metal that I haven’t liked. I like to use everything that I can for song ideas and that includes plenty of inspirations from outside metal as well.

Cyr: Yes, I would agree that we are aiming to be conscious of our goal and ability to blend various subgenres. We strive to bring forth our favorite aspects of every era and style of metal while maintaining music that is pleasing to the ear, heart, and soul. We want our music to move people while having lyrics that vary between absurd (“Everything Is About Zombies Nowadays”) to very personal (“Intent To Defile”) and comments about social concepts (“Warfare”). We even attempt to show our love of dark poetry with “The Telltale Heart” which is an homage to Edgar Allen Poe.

Dead Rhetoric: Who developed the video concept for “Warfare” – and how do you feel about the medium these days, as it seems very important to get a buzz going about the band in a visual way through YouTube and other social media platforms?

Halligan: The video concept of “Warfare” was a joint effort and really our first attempts at creating some buzz surrounding the release. I think we recorded everything in a couple of days. The longest part was all the war footage that Sean was very masterful at organizing. When you can provide a visual aid to your music I believe it’s more impactful and memorable. We hope to create more and better-quality videos in the near future. I am definitely interested in exploring lyrical videos with dynamic topography and programming as well.

Parker: In this day in age with all the smartphones, tablets, internet, and social media in the palm of everyone’s hands, getting our material up somewhere in cyber space is the best way to be discovered, heard and seen by music fans. Kids don’t buy CD’s anymore, they log into iTunes, Spotify, or YouTube, etc. “Warfare” is just the start of what we are hoping will be many more to follow on social media.

Adamson Jr.: The idea of putting in combat footage was an idea shared by the entire band. I found as much footage as I could find and edited together enough to last the length of the song. Later Will from Awake Records filmed everyone individually performing the song and edited that footage together with what I had given him.

Cyr: The video concept for “Warfare” mostly came from Will Beale of Awake Records. We do understand that multiple mediums are important for being a performer in any sense in the modern day. We are currently working on more videos and experimenting with various styles and moods therein.

Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe My Hamartia when it comes to live performances – what do you hope to get across to the audience? What have been some of your favorite places to play or shows to date?

Halligan: I believe we deliver all the energy and emotion that we can with our live performances. We really strive to deliver the same album quality in a live environment because that’s what people want to hear. Some of my favorite places we have played are Shenanigan’s Pub, Westfield MA, Cherry Street, Wallingford, CT, and The Tank in Agawam. Also really can’t wait to play again at the 13th Floor!

Adamson Jr.: I hope that people find the performances energetic and the music played tight.

Parker: Playing live is when it’s time to show how much fun you’re having and sound your best as a band because that’s how people remember you. They also get a chance to see who you are and get a feel for your personalities, (you) can’t get that from listening to a CD.

Cyr: For our live shows, we hope to show our love for playing and our love for metal music. We hope to showcase our unique ability to create sometimes technical, groove oriented, thoroughly enjoyable metal that can inspire others to see the evolution and history of metal in one moment. My personal favorite venues are The Palladium (Worcester, MA),13th Floor (Florence, MA), Cherry Street (Wallingford, CT), Maximum Capacity (Chicopee, MA), and The Waterfront (Holyoke, MA). We have our eye on quite a few other venues in we have yet to perform.

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