INTERVIEW WITH PETER JURT OF HELLBROS
Date: December 1, 2015
ADVERTISING THEMSELVES AS CANADA’S LOUDEST ROCK BAND, ONE LISTEN TO HELLBROS’ EP ‘GOODTIME MACHINE’ WILL HAVE YOU THINKING THAT THE BAND MAY WELL BE INDEED RIGHT WITH THEIR MARKETING THEME. IF YOU DELVE A LITTLE DEEPER AND LISTEN TO THE BAND’S NEW EP ‘CALLING ALL GIANTS’ — YOU REALIZE THAT THESE GUYS ARE THE REAL DEAL. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH HELLBROS’ FRONTMAN PETER JURT AND QUICKLY FIGURED OUT THAT THE SINGER / GUITARIST HAS A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOUR.
Sleaze Roxx: Hellbros have just released a new EP called ‘Calling All Giants.’ I find that ‘Calling All Giants’ is a much more mature sounding record than ‘Goodtime Machine.’ How would you compare ‘Calling All Giants’ with ‘Goodtime Machine?’
Peter Jurt: It was a pretty natural evolution. A lot of the tunes on ‘Goodtime Machine’ were super old already before we recorded them and for that record, we wanted to be as simple and straightforward as possible, with lots of hooks. ‘Calling All Giants’ is a darker, more nuanced record and in many ways closer to our early batch of songs except over the years, we became more competent at our instruments so it worked. That being said, we will be back with some fist pumping party anthems. The kids love it!
Sleaze Roxx: ‘Calling All Giants’ reminds me a lot of what Newsted came up with for his two releases before the group disbanded. Are you familiar with Newsted and if so, what are your thoughts in that regard?
Peter Jurt: To be perfectly honest, none of us were familiar with his work but I checked it out after the review came out and it’s obviously flattering being compared to Newsted. The band rocks hard!
Sleaze Roxx: Hellbros did an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign for the new EP ‘Calling All Giants.’ What made you decide to go that route and do you consider that the campaign was a success?
Peter Jurt: We’re poor and we gave our last record out for free so we thought if people like us, they might give us money since we have none. And yeah, it worked. We raised enough to pay for most of the record. Thanks everyone!
Sleaze Roxx: Hellbros have made their previous album ‘Goodtime Machine’ available to be downloaded for free. What made you decide to do that and did you reach your goal of one million downloads of that album?
Peter Jurt: When we released ‘Goodtime Machine’ — we had no idea what we were doing. Since we had no label to release it, we thought let’s just try and get it out there to as many people as possible. We have not yet come even close to reaching our goal of one million downloads but we’re still trying!
Sleaze Roxx: Although I have yet to experience Hellbros live, I understand that the group brings a lot of theatrics to its live performance. What can people expect when they go see Hellbros play live?
Peter Jurt: Yeah, we like to ham it up. Josh and I have this banter people seem to enjoy because we’re assholes. Christian has his high voltage power fan that sends his hair into a hypnotic dance and Spag is a space alien which offers some entertainment value. Basically, we’re just having fun up there, so people can expect fun.
Sleaze Roxx: I understand that you also have a career as an actor, writer and film producer. Since when have you been doing that and do you think that your film and acting skills translate into assets for Hellbros? If so, how so?
Peter Jurt: I’ve been working in film for about ten years now. I’ve had a few short films in local film festivals including one featuring drummer Josh playing a janitor. I find the acting helps the stage performance and I directed our video for “Father Time” so that’s paying off. I just try to keep things fun and making silly videos with your pals riding tricycles in grim reaper out costumes through Ottawa’s Byward Market at two in morning is just my idea of fun. Also you may at some point see a Hellbros feature film.
Sleaze Roxx: Hellbros’ early promo shots on the band’s Facebook page has the band members doing various crazy poses on a tennis court. Tennis and rock and roll are at least connected through Metallica’s Lars Ulrich whom I understand used to play a lot of tennis before switching to music. Being an avid tennis fan myself, who in the band, if any, is connected to tennis and if so, do you still play tennis?
Peter Jurt: Years back, we rented this creepy old house in Vanier [part of the city of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada] dubbed the Hellhouse which was right near some tennis courts and we went through this phase where we would finish rehearsal and go play tennis. At some point we decided that it would be funny to have a photo shoot on the court where tennis rackets become guitars, a no-brainer eh! So we called our pal Ben Welland to snap some shots and the rest as you can see is history. I’d like to mention that my brother Christian and I have rekindled our love for tennis this past summer. We played a bunch and I let him beat me a couple of times but generally I whoop his arse. We’re Swiss so tennis is mandatory fun. Did I mention we like to have fun?
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] What are Hellbros’ future plans for the rest of 2015 and 2016?
Peter Jurt: In September 2015, we released a self-titled full length on Bad Reputation Records which is based in France. We took our favorite tunes off ‘Goodtime Machine’ and ‘Calling All Giants’ and Frankensteined them into this killer record which we would like to release in North America. So we are searching for a label to make that happen. We’re also doing a European tour in June and are back in the studio in January to record a new single. Other than that, we plan on doing some Ontario and Quebec [Canada] dates and a music video or two are in the cards. Oh also, Spag got married and Josh is getting married! Christian and I are super single and not opposed to three ways with the willing. We’re brothers so that’s gross.
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] Is there anything that we have not covered that you would like to add?
Peter Jurt: I think we covered most things.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — what are your three all-time favorite albums and why?
Peter Jurt: First would be ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’ by Iron Maiden. I stole this record from my sister when I was eight and that title track blew my fucking mind. I even recorded my own version of it but at eight, my chops were pretty limited. I finally got to see them play it live at Bluesfest in Ottawa in 2012. Hellbros also played earlier in the day and it was pretty magical and not just because of the mushrooms. Second would be ‘Lucifuge’ by Danzig. I bought the cassette at a garage sale and holy fuck! Everything about it rules. Hail Satan! Third would be ‘In Utero’ by Nirvana. This is the first time I anticipated an album’s release. It also inspired me to start writing songs. Killer record!
Thank you to Karina Davy of Neurotic Entertainment for connecting Sleaze Roxx with Hellbros.