THERE’S NO 666 IN OUTER SPACE
2007 will be the year of Hella. The California-based group's first release for Ipecac, There’s No 666 in Outer Space, sees longtime Hella members Zach Hill (drums) and Spencer Seim (guitar) joined by an extended line-up. Zach considers the rebirth to be "Easily the best thing we've done under the moniker, for sure."
Hella's re-birth? Zach certainly believes so. "It's a whole different story. It's the most concentrated effort we've ever made. We're perceiving it as - in a non-religious fashion - basically being born again. We're definitely handling this like it's the first record we've ever made. It's not some experiment or project. Musically, it's obvious how it differs from the others. I think it's different in everything - different in spirit, different musically, different people.”
Hella, a champion of the duo set-up (after all, all of their releases up to this point consisted of just Hill and Seim), say the limited line-up was done out of necessity. Spencer explains “We only started playing as a two piece because we couldn't make it work with everybody.” Zach adds “When we initially started Hella, we had an idea that it was going to be a full band, and it didn't happen that way, so we just started out playing as a two piece. It just kind of snowballed, and ended up being a duo for years - but we kept in the back of our minds that we wanted to follow through with our original vision of eventually doing a full band.”
Interestingly, two of the new members aren’t new faces to either Spencer or Zach, as both guitarist Josh Hill (Zach's cousin) and bassist Carson McWhirter were in a pre-Hella band alongside the aforementioned duo. However, when finding a singer led to a dead end, the quartet went their separate ways, and the two-man version of Hella was launched. But upon recently finding Nevada City-based butcher-come-singer Aaron Ross, Spencer and Zach knew that the time was right for a multi-member Hella line-up.
Rest assured, the addition of new members has certainly not taken away from the group’s precision sound - it only expands on it. “It's definitely a bit different, just because we need to keep our parts very interesting and play them the way we want to play. But also leave room for everybody. It's different also because maybe one of the other guys will come to practice and have a few parts, and we'll just start learning their parts - when in the past, we'd been used to either Zach or I would have a part, put them together, and they'd work somehow. Having other input as far parts and song structures is a new thing - not having to rely on either Zach or I, which is really nice,” Spencer remarks.
Although the majority of the album’s songs were freshly penned last year, four highlights - "World Series," "The Ungratefull Dead," "Friends Don't Let Friends Win," and "The Things That People Do When They Think No One's Looking” — were unfinished tracks that were holdovers from the aforementioned earlier Seim-Hill-Hill-McWhirter band. Spencer clarifies the process, “Getting this record together was about updating the songs we wrote a while ago, and just writing all together. It came together really smoothly, I think that we all play super well together - it was meant to happen, I just think it took a few years for everybody to be in the right head space to do it.”
While the album’s mysterious title will be interpreted in different ways, Zach — who came up with the title — sheds some light. “It means what it says - it's putting things in perspective as far as, you can relate it to anything - the cycle of how things get carried away and how the 'mob mentality' happens. When you can put it in a different light, how ridiculous it all seems - how petty and miniscule everything is, in the concept of the universe or space. How things evolve into such a massive brainwash - whether you're a right wing conservative or an anarchist - all these ideas that don't exist anywhere else.”
Despite being off the road for the majority of 2006, the new-look group hopes to make up for lost time, by spending most of the year touring in support of There’s No 666 in Outer Space. Zach concludes, “Everybody that's playing with us now, we're all under the impression that will be playing with us for a long time. This is basically 'our band' now.”
Release date: January 30, 2007