AS a parent and telecommunications careerist, weekends are conflicted affairs. The emails, phone calls and meetings of the working week give way to parental responsibilities and ‘regular guy’ duties around the home. They also provide me with an exceptional opportunity to pursue my personal passion: music.
Under the guise of aspiring journo and interviewer, a chat with Alex Hofmann of the superb San Franciscan quintet, Fallujah, was on the agenda early one Saturday morning. According to the encyclopaedia for the modern age, Wikipedia, Hofmann has been handling vocals and programming for the Fallujah since their start in 2007.
One thing I’ve always found interesting is the tendency for members of brutal, poly-rhythmic post millennial metal bands to cite the influence of overwhelmingly melodic artists. Hofmann is certainly no different. “I could just go on forever. Among many, one of my favourite artists is Depeche Mode. I think electronically oriented music is a little bit more diverse, it kind of lends itself to atmosphere more than metal music does.”
Would Hofmann participate in a musical partnership with the surreal talents of David Gahan and Martin Gore? “That will never happen but I would definitely shit myself if it did. Even if I could get them to do a guest vocal I would absolutely lose my mind.”
Pop music’s influence over the band’s activities extends to the unlikeliest of places. Recounting one hilarious experience aboard a vessel bound for Helsinki from Stockholm, Hofmann says: “I was sitting at this table with a bottle of wine that I had stolen [laughs] from the store. I was watching an Aretha Franklin cover band, just getting tanked on wine. The thing is it was just us (Fallujah) and a bunch of death metal dudes. The second time we travelled the same voyage, it was a Queen Cover band that was playing. It was just a combination of things that I just never thought I would be doing! On a ferry going through fjords, then through the Baltic Sea, on my way to Finland drinking wine on the down-low… illegally. Watching cover bands with a bunch of death metal guys.”
Hofmann is adept in the art of answering questions for curious media types, in preparation for this interview I read many with Hofmann. One question that seemed to get asked, and asked literally every interview is with regard the prevailing blend of electronic music and vicious death metal that is the signature of the band’s sound. ”I kind of like talking about it because it’s more what I am into during my own time. I listen to and create electronic music so if other people can find a way to enjoy it through an interview, then I am not going to shy away from talking about it.” (continued below)
The obvious question then is… who’s good? Who should the reader look out for? “I could go on just forever but (Boxwork’s recent release) Dive Left, Voice Key from France, Vrille from Germany and Sub Motion Orchestra from the UK are great. I also like darker underground industrial stuff too, Bending Rain from Germany is one of my favourites. Also, The Hacks in Clove.
Now I am partial to all sorts of music, particularly French House and dirty electro. However, most of the artists Hofmann mentioned I’ve never heard of and couldn’t find on the ‘net. If you want to listen to the music he mentioned best to hit him up on Facebook!
An unexpected pastime that Hofmann indulges in is the pursuit of culinary engineering… AKA Cooking. “When I’m at home my biggest things I like to do, apart from creating electronic music, is to cook. I think trying to stay busy once we’re home is important and that’s one of my favourite things to do when I am back. I’m always trying to always be creative, always pushing myself to do good, bigger and better things”
Lucky then that Melbourne, a city that Hofmann namechecks as a reason he was specifically looking forward to the band’s Australian tour is considered our cultural capital and home to so many world famous restaurants. “I have so many Australian friends. There have been so many bands that we tour with who are from Melbourne. I think whole (Australian) experience is definitely going to be one of the most exciting tours that we have done.”
Fallujah just finished a crushing tour of Australia supporting Killswitch Engage (review here)
Fallujah’s most recent release Dreamless (’16) is out via Nuclear Blast