On the evening of November 19, 2021 in Dilworth, MN at TAK Music Venue, Hemlock headlined and performed with local North Dakota bands, Ashfall from Fargo, and Shotgun Facelift, from Grand Forks. In between Ashfall’s and Shotgun Facelift’s set, we all sat down backstage to discuss what’s going on in the world of Hemlock, a band who formed in 1993 in Las Vegas, NV with founding brothers, vocalist/bassist Chad and drummer Brian Smith. Please note, there is a slightly different lineup in our interview as their two guitarists, Tevon Giannini, and Brian Jackson, were unable to finish the tour, mid tour according to Chad. For the rest of the Violence & Vic-tour, their lineup consisted of Chad & Brian Smith, along with guitarists Timothy Groce, who learned 12 Hemlock songs in a week and a half and is in a Blues Rock band with Brian, called Monday’s Child, and Jerad Johnson, a longtime fan of Hemlock, who learned 18 of their songs in only 2 weeks, who is also in an 80’s Hair Metal cover band with Brian called Stranger Than Paradise.
We opened our interview talking about our Love and Respect for our Veterans watching. Chad shared, “We went to Normandy Beach over in France in 2019 and it’s just such a beautiful, nice beach. There’s houses and then you’re right there and you’re [going] “those poor teenage kids and those young men, and all of that bloodshed.” Chad continued, “it’s crazy to picture and [it’s] heartbreaking too. Then when you’re over in Germany and you see all of the battle fronts and stuff too, you’re like, kind of the classic line, you just want everybody to be peaceful and get along.” He continued, “It is nice when there are people that go out there who stand up for America–
Tim: “So we can rock tonight!”
Chad: “So we can rock at the TAK!”
***TO ALL THE VETERANS WATCHING AND READING THIS RIGHT NOW — WE LOVE YOU!!!!***
In our interview, when asking how Tim and Jerad connect to Hemlock since they’ve only been in the band for the end of the tour, Tim replied, “When I was overseas, and me and Brian were chatting about stuff, they were talking about the new album…And when I heard Karmageddon, the track, it pinpoints exactly my views about how people get divided over the most miniscule things, or have an opinion about…Listen to the track Karmageddon and it’s just an aggressive anthem of Positivity and it pinpoints my views exactly on that. And that ideology about …not saying the hippie mindset, but Peace and Love, and it’s karma, maybe the louder voice wins the argument, well now there’s a louder voice of positivity. So you listen to a track like Karmageddon— not that I wasn’t a fan already, but that whole album sold me!”
In February 2021, Hemlock released two self recorded/produced albums, Karmageddon and Violence & Victory, following up their April 2018 release, XXV, which features their single, Nobody Knows What A Killer Looks Like.
In our interview, Hemlock discuss what it was like writing and recording with no time constraints on their new albums throughout the lockdowns, especially with the thought passing through Brian’s mind, “We’re like, ‘this might be the last time we’re able to record and release anything, who knows, we might all be blown up tomorrow.” Brian went on to say, “I think they’re the strongest albums we’ve ever done.”
Chad replied, “They’re probably the purest Hemlock recordings we have because we didn’t have a deadline or anything.”
WATCH OUR ENTIRE INTERVIEW TO HEAR WHAT ELSE HEMLOCK HAVE TO SAY ABOUT KARMAGEDDON AND VIOLENCE & VICTORY, AS WELL AS THEIR FAVORITE PANTERA SONGS//ALBUMS IN THE TWO VIDEOS ABOVE, AND MUCH MORE!
*Interview filmed by Scot Heinze!