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Interview: Hammer No More the Fingers

Almost exactly two years after debut Looking for Bruce, the second LP from Durham’s own Hammer No More the Fingers, Black Shark, comes out April 5 on Churchkey Records, with a release show tomorrow at Motorco Music Hall starting at 9 p.m. Recess’ Kevin Lincoln spoke with bassist/vocalist Duncan Webster and guitarist Joe Hall about the new record, having fans in England and their pride in being part of the Triangle music scene.

How do your think your sound has changed since Looking for Bruce? Black Shark seems like more of a rock album.

Duncan Webster: I think it’s a little more open-sounding. At the time, we were jamming more often and, I don’t know, it has a lot more build-ups; it’s a lot more dynamic. It has a groovier sort of feel to it, a bigger atmosphere.

Joe Hall: Just the flow in general—before we got into the studio, we demoed everything a lot and decided on an order. We just knew how the whole record was going to move. Track 5 [“Thunder n’ Rain”] has kind of an epic ending, so we were envisioning that as the end of side one, and you flip it over and it’s the beginning of side two. We were just more prepared, and it’s more mature and we’re a better band because we’ve been doing it for that much longer.

Right, you can definitely hear on Black Shark that you guys get into a groove, and this album seems a little more punk to me, too. Last time we spoke, we talked a lot about the Durham-Chapel Hill scene and how you guys fit in, and I’m curious how that’s evolved.

DW: I feel like this is the best music scene in America. It’s the best one I’ve encountered.

JH: I would definitely agree with that. I’d say we’re biased because we’re from here, but the amount of inspirational things going on here, not just music—Durham is totally on its way up. It’s always been the dirty stepchild of the Triangle, but now I feel like people are really starting to appreciate it, with Motorco opening up and Fullsteam, the Skate Park, Marry Durham.

DW: There’s a lot of Durham pride, for sure. Everybody’s friends with each other, all the bands get along and try and help each other out. The bands and venues have a close relationship, the bands and local artists.

And you guys are going to England after this album drops?

DW: Yeah, we have another label there called Inhaler Records. This’ll be the second time we’ve gone out there; they put Looking for Bruce out last February and we did a two-week tour. This time we’re going for three-and-a-half weeks, I think. We’re looking forward to getting over there more often, twice a year at least.

JH: I think rock is pretty big there, the kind of rock we play is pretty big. There’s a lot of American bands who weren’t big here that went over there and did their thing and got huge.

DW: Everyone we know out there are sweethearts. This time we’re playing some pretty crazy venues… I have no idea what they expect. Maybe they know something we don’t know, maybe we’re huge over there (laughs).

So, you’re working on the next record—where do you see yourselves going from here?

DW: Just, keep touring, moving to England maybe? (laughs)

JH: Our label over there is trying to convince us to move to London. I’m definitely for it, we’ll see how our tour goes over there. We’re still young enough to just up and move and live wherever.

DW: But if we don’t, we’re hoping to get a booking agent and get on a larger label and do it how [Durham folk-rockers] Megafaun did it: play a ton, bust your ass.

JH: And we’ll be back in the studio this fall to record, hopefully a full-length, but if not, an EP. I think we all are kind of upset that it took two years to put out something else; there’s no reason for it to take that long.


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