The St. Louis, Missouri biker prog outfit Voidgazer are in the spotlight for this week’s Meet The Band. Their latest album is Dance Of The Undesirables. Drummer Kyle Hammer introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Voidgazer.
Kyle Hammer: Austin (Rakey, guitar) got the first lineup together in 2015 sometime, and with a few changes along the way ended up with the crew we’ve got now. A couple winters ago he and I were roommates, and I heard the struggles he was having and offered to step in if he needed any spots filled. I filled in on bass for a couple months, but I liked what he and Omar (Olivares, vocals) had going on so I moved to drums permanently, at which point we found Mitch (Bussone) to play bass. He had the nicest gear, picked it up the quickest, and the most agreeable personality so that was a no brainer.
Describe the songwriting process for Dance Of The Undesirables.
Voidgazer gets off on blending modern sounds with old school influences, so we have lots of riffs that are our take on X genre. Everyone comes from different backgrounds so it’s really like a melting pot of all the juicy sounds out there.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I sat and worked on my parts for a couple months, a couple hours a day so I was very stoked to get in there and just laid my tracks down in a couple takes with just a couple punch ins, which saved me some bucks in the end. We had a couple buddies come by to hang while recording, and they got way too drunk and we had to kick them out, which was goofy. You gotta be going pretty hard to get us to tell you off. And it was incredible to watch Austin laying his solo tracks down, just take after take. The way he plays lead is very soulful and I could tell he was putting his whole heart into it every time.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
We call it biker prog. We try to blend dumb guy bulldozer riffs with angular galaxy brain riffs. Like a psychedelic freight train with a big ole spike on the front of it. Like your neighbor’s loud motorcycle that wakes you up in the middle of the night.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
We dabble in tales of serial killers, religious icons, the woes of dealing with other humans, and pretty much anything that sounds tough or scary is on the table.
What led you to go the independent route for the album release?
We just want to get the record out there. It’s a new leaf for the band and we don’t want to crowd source it or rely on labels or anything. That’s not to say we wouldn’t be super into that, because I think any reasonable band’s goal would be to become huge famous rock stars and all that, but right now our mission is just to make cool tunes and just keep building.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
I wanted the folks that knew us before this to reconsider what they thought they knew about Voidgazer, and I want folks that don’t know us to find out that heavy metal in 2021 is still growing and mutating.
What has been your most memorable Voidgazer live show?
Our CD release show had to be a standout. Our biggest show yet, right out of the first big wave of re-opening, we rocked hard and the folks really gave it back to us.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Right now we are playing here and there but not plotting anything major. We did a show in Des Moines and a couple locals, but we are kinda gushy at the moment.
How did you get started in music?
My dad played in cover bands, and I wanted to be like him so I just picked up whatever instrument was around, and found out the drums were kinda easy to get ahold of for me.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Pantera, High on Fire, Mastodon, System of a Down, Black Sabbath, and probably some slam bands with names too vulgar to print.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Megadeth on the United Abominations tour in 2007. Heaven and Hell was in town, and Megadeth was great but I wish I had gone to Heaven and Hell.
How did you pandemic affect the band, and you personally?
It gave us time to get caught up on everything for the album. We were able to do things at our pace since there was no imminent rush. I think it made people appreciate bands a little more in general.
How is the metal scene in St. Louis?
There are tons of killer bands, like Railhazer, Stormruler, Summoning the Lich, Bastard, Fister, the Lions Daughter, Hell Night, the list goes on.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I’ve been listening to Judas Priest Defenders of Faith a lot lately. Really love how cutting edge that record sounds after the ones proceeding it and before they went full synth. Lots of killer riffs on that record.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Make sure to check out the video for “Jesus Take the Needle” on our YouTube channel!
(interview published August 28, 2021)
Watch Voidgazer – “Jesus Take The Needle” Video