Melted Bodies are a four piece genre-bending, Avant Garde Heavy Metal band from Los Angeles, California. The band is made up of guitarist & vocalist Andy Hamm, bassist Houda Zakeri, drummer Scott McDonald, and keyboardist/programmer/electronics Ben ‘Diamondstein’ Majoy. The name of the band stems from a t-shirt line that Andy had launched before the band existed called Melted Bodies, which then led him to writing songs that inevitably turned into what the band is now.
Here is how the band formed: Andy met Scott while watching a movie in a cemetery in Los Angeles. Andy and Ben connected by running in the same circles throughout the years, while Ben, who is a huge Metal Head, was doing a project called Diamondstein, which is more Electronic Music. Andy and Houda have known each other for years, as Houda played guitar in a lot of Punk bands; at the time she didn’t know bass, but was amped to learn for the band!
Rainbow Llamacorn and The Scream Queen caught up with Andy, who told us he grew up on Cannibal Corpse and a lot of 90’s Death Metal bands, while also Loving Talking Heads, Ecstasy, and Post Punk & New Wave. The initial concept of Melted Bodies was to combine those styles together. Andy commented, “With all the insanity that goes into forming a band, which I’ve been in many. It’s such a difficult thing to get personalities together that work, that want to put the time in, especially doing a little more Avant Garde type of Music, where it’s not like ‘oh I immediately get this’ or this is super easy to do. I’m very, very lucky that we’re able to do what we do and everybody’s happy doing it.”
The first album from Melted Bodies is titled Enjoy Yourself, it is an album they did DIY style, with the help of John Spiker who mixed it. John also mixed their new album releasing on November 25th titled The Inevitable Fork, Vol I. In our interview, Andy shared the memory of how they recorded the album in a “lock-out” over the span of weeks on end, he said while laughing “it’s just like this prison box in this horrible part of town in L.A. They’re in and out, I was sort of the pseudo-producer, so I’d be in there with everybody recording our parts.
A lot of those songs we had for a number of years, and it all came to a head, which all worked to our advantage, because so many of the things started to become such real topics that a lot of people were finally starting to be a little more open to talking about, and we obviously had them on our minds for a while because we had those songs written. So, it worked to our favor we ended up getting– we didn’t tour behind that, we don’t have any backing, we don’t have a manager, we don’t have a label, no publishing…Nothing like that. We still got a good amount of coverage on it and a good amount of attention.”
On Enjoy Yourself, there is a cover song called The Rat by the Indie Rock band, The Walkmen, “They always had a cool style and I wanted to do a cover that was a little unexpected. I remember we used to flip out on the drums for The Rat, I would see them at a festival and I was like, I could turn this into a Thrash thing and then I’m going to do this weird thing for the bridge, so I wrote it out…I was really happy with it and everybody else jumped on board, and then we had to get….Anybody can do a cover in Music, but you’re still supposed to get a mechanical license on the publishing because we didn’t write that song….So, through that I was able to contact their publisher and then through their publisher I was able to contact the guitar player, who I’m pretty sure was the main song writer on that. I was super excited.”
Melted Bodies released a video called Ad People, which is also from Enjoy Yourself. Many of the members work in advertising for their day jobs and wanted to do a Music video that’s an exploitation film on advertising, focusing on pushing random things and seeing how long they can keep people’s attention, rather than focusing on the Music for the visuals.
“Ben was working at a place here and was like ‘we have a small studio in the back’ because we didn’t have any money or anything. So, we came up with these fake ads and played dress up and did it. It’s not a Music video, it’s more so a simple Art film sort of experiment which is hopefully very frustrating. That was hopefully the whole point, we want the viewers to get frustrated when they watch this, because what is going on? Where everybody’s feeding for our attention, and that’s the way these companies are surviving, is how much attention can they get when you’re on your phone or when you’re on your laptop. That one same thing, really, really, fun and we were really happy with how that turned out.”
Andy, who’s always had an obsession and fascination with mouths and teeth, designed the Artwork for The Inevitable Fork, Vol I, “I think a lot of people think are at first sight, they’re like, ‘oh it’s gross’ or it’s very visceral… I think it’s very beautiful. You know, a pile of trash has so many colors in it, a lot of flesh… You can sort of feel it when you see it. I made that with, I bought 300 old used dentures that I found on eBay, and then I got some honey…Then did a neon green backdrop and bought a realistic silicon fake tongue, and then I threaded those hairs…. Gave it a little wig, that’s what those sprouts are. I liked the idea; something about a hairy tongue, putting hair in your mouth, I don’t know why it sort of like gives me an “eeulllgghhh” feeling. It happens all the time. I Loved the idea of a hairy tongue, like what if we all had hairy tongues where it’s always….I imagined chewing food with a hairy tongue. I put that together and did a photo shoot, and I wanted that yeah to be more about the texture and stuff than portraying a specific message.”
The first single off of The Inevitable Fork, Vol I is titled “Therapy” and it is the fourth track on the EP. Lyrically, the song is about the depression of having to pay for a therapist to talk to about your problems. “I’ve been in and out of therapy for a very long time. It’s simultaneously very helpful, I think talking to anybody and being able to vent about things that are very personal, or about things that are bothering you, or things that are making you angry, there’s never anything bad that comes of that… It’s nice when somebody can actually listen, while it’s also been very depressing to me, the thought that the only way I can get that, that many of us can get that, is that we have to pay for it…And it sort of takes away a level of genuine there, because you want to feel like you have people in your Life that want to listen to you and want to be there for you, and want to try and help…Or just listen to have you be able to vent. So, when you’re paying for it, there’s sort of that “well, you have to listen to me. This is a service.”
So, it’s a double-edged sword. I think more and more of us, being more isolated, and being more self-aware of how fucked up we are, not only as Humans, but how fucked up everything is in the world to certain degrees now, and just how much loneliness and depression and anxiety there is out there…And more and more people are open to the idea of therapy and trying it out. But there are so many of us too where it’s, at times I was paying so much money. I mean, you get what you pay for. And it takes a shit ton of money! Insurance does nothing. I was paying out of pocket for a while and then I couldn’t afford it anymore, so that was depressing. So, I just wanted to write a song about it…
I can’t say anything bad ever came from going to therapists and being able to talk about things, but I also always fought with, it’s just becoming more and more now that ‘yeah, unless you pay for it, you won’t get anything. You can’t get someone’s attention unless you’re giving them something for it. And I don’t know, even to think about it now, it’s a sad thought. I have great people in my Life, and I know a lot of us do, but we all know it is… Those things happen in your Life where you just want to be open about it and have somebody listen and it’s hard to find that.”
Andy continued to speak on the subject of Mental Health, “I think people are realizing that positive attitudes and good intentions and glazing everything over with just like ‘think positively about it! It’ll get better!’ everybody is figuring out is bullshit, and then it’s like, you have to take action, you have to actually listen, you have to actually be empathetic, you have to have an opinion where I think still rampant, but is getting better… Forever, it was “ignore the problem, ignorance is bliss.” I used to get that advice a lot of like, “just kill them with kindness” …Killing them with kindness is still killing them. It’s just lying. If you disagree with somebody, tell them you disagree, but talk to them about it, be open about it rather than just a Western society of everybody of stuffing their feelings down, being like “ohh, I’m just saying positive!” Yeah, don’t get me going…”
The second single and third track on the EP is titled Liars. It also ties into what Therapy is about, “that’s more of a general message that most of us are lying for…. If Rainbow Llamacorn and I run into each other at a show and Rainbow’s like, hey how are you? and I’m like, “I’m great!!!!! How are you?!” and she’s like, “I’m doing awesome!!!” and then you both walk away and I’m like, “dude, I had a shit day, my boss yelled at me for something and Rainbow’s like, my dog is sick, and I’m really worried about him, but I don’t want to bring anybody down.”
The verses are pretty self-explanatory of my day-to-day stresses, and fighting self-hatred, fighting anxiety. The chorus is… “I said that everything was all right, that’s a lie. I said that it would be ok, that’s a lie.” And then that pre-chorus is I think so many of us do that for so long that instead of telling the Truth, we decide to all wait in line to self-implode…Which is that we say we’re fine so many times that it bubbles up, and you either end up drinking too much or getting into a fight with our significant other, and all of this pent-up horrible aggression comes out… And in my mind, I picture this never-ending line of all of us waiting at the door to self-implode, instead of just being able to go out there and talk about things.”
Melted Bodies also have quite an elaborate YouTube page. They do things very unorthodox and strange to say the least, including a two-hour guided meditation mixed in with their Club Anxious song. At the beginning, the guided meditation takes you on a sinister journey with the meditation… It sounds as if it were a guided meditation, but very dark…. Andy chatted about the concept, how it was stemming off of the video for Ad People, “where we wanted to do something that wasn’t a Music video, not only because we don’t have the budget for it, but also because it’s a different way of getting somebody to pay attention. So, we did a guided meditation, an excuse to do another painstaking thing that if you can get through it, great, and if not, we’re fine with that too.”
Another video they did is called Acid Drop Halloween, that’s a 30 minute compilation of horror, creepy, and strange scenes… “We did like a Halloween thing… I’m a big Horror fan in general, which has been done a number of times, but it was sort of a take on Halloween III with the mask turning in the black. We had a whole thing, we called it MBTV and it was like…We put together all of our Music videos, we did some other unique stuff and that was one element of it where it was sort of the intro to it. That was fun. That was a really fun one to make. “
“It’s always been our best and at times very difficult being bluntly honest, it comes from a genuine place, which is what is most important in any kind of Art form, it’s generally kind of like who we are, but we get that a lot simultaneously where people either really connect with it and it clicks with them and they sort of understand how dark most of the subject matter is underneath all of it, but that layer of fun and sarcasm that we have painted across things I think sometimes throws, especially in Heavy Metal…I think when we’re playing more of the noise and Hardcore stuff, I think people are more into it… Some of the Metal stuff has been a little tougher for us because it’s such a…which is my favorite…
I was such a huge Metal head and still am, that’s where more of my core is. It’s become such a conservative genre in so many ways where I’m really blown away when people are like, ‘what genre of Metal is it?’ or ‘I DON’T KNOW, I DON’T REALLY GET IT!!!!’ But isn’t that what progressive Music and Heavy Metal was built on doing that? That was why we all got into it was because the first time we heard something that was so different and so aggressive, no matter what the energy was, it was sort of like, ‘this is a genre that pushes people to be uncomfortable’ and in a lot of ways, when I look at the big publications and sort of what’s happening in the top tier of Metal, it’s ….It just feels very stagnant, it doesn’t feel like a lot of bigger bands are still trying to push things… I think that us, and I know that a lot of up and coming, are just like realizing that people don’t just listen to one genre anymore. It’s such an old school…We all have Spotify, we all listen to so much different shit, I think people are…I was hoping people would be much more open minded to it, and luckily, we’ve connected a lot with people who have, and with other people that exactly like, ‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS! I like it….But what it is?’ Does it fuckin’ matter? Does it make you feel something? Then stop there and listen to it!”
“We’ve worked very hard on these songs, we’re very proud of them, and we’re excited to get new stuff out. It feels like it’s been forever for us, and hopefully build upon what we started with Enjoy Yourself, and yeah… We’re just excited and yeah really proud of the songs. I hope people will connect with them.”
The Inevitable Fork Vol I track list:
1. The Inevitable Fork
2. Think Safe