Interview with KS Hammeraxe of Toxemia by Dave Wolff
What attracted you to playing drums in the black and death metal styles when you became a musician? Do you play other instruments or are you exclusively a drummer?
It all started when I was in sixth grade. I first learned to play guitar but nobody wanted to do the drums back then. So I decided to take the path being the fiend behind the kit. What attracted me to extreme music is its technicalities. The creative yet destructive sound of that machine gun blast and artillery assault on the bass amazes me. I said I wanted to try that. All in all I just want to learn that speed and power and apply it in the kit. Luckily I was able to do so.
In your experience as a drummer, how long did it take you to develop speed and power? Did you learn the various variations of blast beats and fills? In your opinion, is there a certain level of talent and ability required to be a good death or black metal drummer?
It took a lot of practice and experience to achieve the skill that I have right now. When I say experience, I am talking about the musicians that I played with. Being around with good bandmates that are creative also helped me develop my pounding skills. Not just the speed and power but also the style and the approach. Being around creative musicians inside a studio as we jammed or recorded a song made a lot of impact of what I am today in music writing. Different variations of blast fills was learned as I covered some songs to enhance my skills’ also the evolution of how I do my drumming happens most of the time whenever we write new songs. As we try to fit the drum sound to their riffs, I have developed different styles in blast beats and fills. I am still on the path of learning new stuff within the drums. It is a big world of different drum variations and styles and as I play and listen every day, I am still learning. For me there is no certain level of talent to be able to play good black or death metal music. Just be creative, don't play like you are the center of attraction as you write songs, play with your bandmates as one machine, Play as fast as you can, be as eerie as you can on the DOOM parts and make sure that you count hahaha.
Describe the connotations of the name of your band, Antihvmano. Explain how you came up with the band's name and how long it took you to choose it?
Settling for a band name took a while. I never had the full participation but I told them that it should sound something out of pure madness. Something that will not be easy to digest since we are not aiming to really get some “listeners”.
Describe Antihvmano's latest EP, "Impregnated Demon Eyes Gazing Upon a Catholic Rosary Failure", its intended impact, and what you intended to achieve with it.
It all started when M.C called me to do the drums again since they were continuing this project. I can say that one of the intentions I am trying to impose here, personally, is HATE. Basically the lyrics and style of the music of Antihvmano is all about hate, horror and annihilation.
In comparison to most black and death metal bands, Antihvmano's songs are much shorter. Did the band deliberately do this to stand out? Or did the songs just turn out that way?
Well it naturally came out that way. Then we decided to keep it that way. No more additional exaggerated crap. Just straight forward bombardments and artillery fire sound.
In how many of Antihvmano's releases did you contribute to the writing and recording? Why did you decide to leave the band, and what were the reasons behind your decision?
It all started when one of my buddy asked me to record some drum tracks and so I did. I am the guy behind the kit for the two releases they have. Regarding the song writing all I do is the drum part. I just give them some ideas what maybe a good topic to discuss in a song and that's it.
Considering that you live in the Philippines and Antihvmano is from Sweden, how did you go about recording drum tracks and lending them to the band?
Well I record the tracks in the studio and send them the files. They are the ones mixing and editing it.
You mentioned not having much interest in getting many listeners for Antihvmano. Who are you trying to reach in terms of having a fan base, and why is exclusivity important to you?
Nope we are not interested in getting a fanbase. For me personally, playing music is one way to express my hate and madness into this world. If people will hear and dig it, then alright. But no... we, and especially I don't play to impress any crowd. If you see me going fuckin’ crazy on stage, that's me going wild, haha, enjoying what I am doing on the kit hahaha. I just do this for my own fun and satis-fuck-tion. Fuck underground bands seeking the approval of the many!
You are the drummer for the Philippine death metal band Toxemia. In what capacity did you become involved with them, and on how many of their recordings do you appear?
I lost count of all the recordings I was involved with but I started playing for them way back in 2007 as a session drummer. It all became official way back in 2009. So basically all the materials that were recorded and released from 2009 and this up-cum-ing albums will be me hahaha... Watch out!
Since you began with Toxemia, were more extreme metal fans hearing about your work?
That I cannot say. I am a part of the third batch of members of Toxemia. They already had their music spreading around the underground scene when I took the drum throne. Maybe not recorded pro or in a formal studio, but they already had it circling around the demo-tape-CDR trade that was happening earlier before I joined them. With different listeners like people from the punk scene, hardcore scene, grindcore scene, black metal scene, Death metal scene etc. They already established their name as an existing entity in the underground community in and out of that country. Maybe I can say we had some additional listeners when I joined, since we had that chance to write and record more songs and be released in different formats in different countries. Spreading the toxic of our filthy music like plague from the time we recorded our EP “Cavite's Beast” up to this date.
How many releases have you appeared on by Toxemia? The more familiar you became with their approach to playing, how much easier was it for you to work with them? In the same regard, have you benefitted from playing shows with them?
I lost count of the releases that I played drums for Toxemia. We had tons of EPs, Splits, singles and compilations that was unleashed for those years that I am the guy behind the kit. It took me four compositions before I got used to what Toxemia want to really sound like. I have different influences behind the kit that I want to incorporate as I do the drums. From grindcore, black metal to death metal. As a young guy behind the kit you want to cater all these beats and sequence to your composition. But of course you need to balance it where it fits. The benefits on doing the drums for Toxemia is meeting new bands for we are very active when it comes to accepting invites from underground labels, production or local small festivals. I was able to expand my knowledge about the underground scene since I was able to meet more people who shares the same passion.
As a result of your involvement in Toxemia, what are some of the bands, labels, and festival promoters you have come into contact with? Are you finding new opportunities to play some festivals that you have never played before or finding additional labels to distribute Toxemia?
There are too many bands to mention, both old and new. I can say that it was indeed an adventure playing for Toxemia for I was able to share the stage with other bands I looked up to, both local and international bands going on tour. I was able to meet new promoters, fanzine and webzine writers showing interest in having us interviewed or playing at their events. Maybe I can name the top four events on my mind. “Brutal Carnage” for example is one of the local events being held in our country. I was able to witness its start way back when I was in high school. “Hardcore Fest” is just titled as a hardcore fest but all kinds of extreme genres are available on that show. “Zine Fest”! We just played here weeks ago. I was too fuckin drunk that time hahaha! “Aural Massacre” in the north and “Food Not Bombs” in the south. That makes it five events we are invited to yearly. Meeting new labels who helped us release our materials is indeed fun. The cool part is some other labels outside the country and even bands were able to trade their CDs or cassettes with us. Maybe the biggest opportunity for me is that I get to trade some of our records with different labels and bands, both local and international. In that way I get to learn more about the underground scene and the music of other bands we play with.
What other bands have you worked with? Did you play session drums or were you a full member? Are there any releases that best demonstrate your ability to work with them?
I was also involved in other projects but the same instrument, hehe. I was able to do the kit for a grindcore band named “Warat” where during the time that I started doing the drums for them, for I am a part of the second wave of members of the said band, we recorded at least twenty five songs that were released as an EP, a split tape and one full length under different labels, both local and international. I am also the suspect behind the kit for a stoner band named “Shaman's Bud”. We were able to release two demos in CD format and one full length in cassette format under Still Ill Records. As I mentioned, I wanted to do more on drums and extend my capabilities so I formed a two piece project band named “Morgue Attendants” that plays the elements of Black and Death Metal with the help of my good old buddy from Shaman's Bud. We were able to release one EP in CD and in cassette format. In addition to these bands. I did a few sessions with different bands for the past few years for sometimes they are in need of a drummer to play live on shows. For references of the records of those bands I mentioned check out the links below.
Shaman's Bud: https://www.youtube.com/@camellingusrecords3502
Morgue Attendants: https://morgueattendants.bandcamp.com/album/demo-2018
In addition to the bands you have worked with in the past and present, are you still on the lookout for new groups to work with?
For now, no. But if a friend offers me to do a short drum track for his songs, why not. As long as we will not be playing live, haha. I am more focused on re-animating the bands I am involved with.
How stable is the club scene in the Philippines, as well as the label and zine industry? Do the majority of Philippine bands seek to be exposed outside their country or do most prefer to remain exclusive? What are some of the zines worth checking out at present?
So far the independent productions/collectives are active nowadays, especially productions behind the hardcore punk scene. Accepting and organizing shows from foreign bands and local bands promoting their albums in forms of tour. Shows being held in different locations but not mainly on clubs. I can say that it is alive and active when it comes to shows and events. Yes of course bands from our country would like to be heard and even play outside our country. Example is Toxemia. We have signed up to different international labels for the reasons of spreading our filthy music to different fiends and ghouls outside the country who shares the same passion with the so called underground scene. To name a few fanzines worth checking out here are some who are still active nowadays: No Bullshit Zine, Tripalium Zine, In Dark Purity Zine, Guttural Sickness Zine, Siege, Gran Peligro, Scrawl Shop, Eargamzine, Manong Fanzine, Molotov Fanzine and Konspirazine.
Assuming the zines you mentioned are still being printed, why has the demand for traditionally produced fanzines not diminished in the Philippines despite the emergence of webzines and podcasts? Does this include young fans of extreme music as well?
They still print hard copies. That is the cool part it. They also have webzines and some of them even do Youtube interviews. I am not aware about the new generation of kids nowadays if they are still buying hard copies of fanzines, but on my end, I still do. For me it’s keeping an archive. We also have “Info shops” in different locations where you can still read hard copies of different fanzines, both old and new.
Which of those zines have you maintained contact with to this day? Is there any exposure given to Philippine bands that you are aware of? Has the print quality remained relatively unchanged or has it improved? Are snail mail fliers still effective in promoting fanzines?
I am still in touch with most of them. The reason is they’re always present on those events I mentioned. The print quality has improved of course, due to Photoshop which is nice! I hope we can send you some of those local fanzines we have here for you to really get a firsthand experience of their writings.
Do the majority of zine editors use Photoshop to print their zines, or do some of them use other programs worth mentioning?
well I know a few who uses Photoshop and some in Microsoft Word format, example is me I use Microsoft Word and way back then a software for news writing back in my office haha. Some zine writers are still practicing using cut and paste collage style which I find more interesting.
Is there anything new coming from Toxemia in the near future? What label or labels will handle the release of the album when it is released? Do you have any information you would like to share with the readers about it, such as the songs recorded for it and who designed the cover art?
We have an upcoming single that will be released by Threshold Records and the cool part is the artwork was done by Glynford Cabarse. We have an up-cum-ing album that will be unleashed by Soulgrinder Zine/Soulgrinder Records. Stand by for more details for that! Haha! Cheers to all our comrades who continues to support our mu-sick globally! Stay intoxicated... and for the rest FUCK OFF and DIE!