Interview with Chris Damien Doll and Sandy Hazard (Doll Hazard)

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DOLL HAZARD, thats Sandy Hazard from Vancouver / Canada und Chris Damien Doll from Oslo / Norway. They have recently released an album called “Transatlantic Meltdown” together – although they live 7200 kilometers apart from each other. Reason enough to have a little chat with both of them.

Manu: What a nice surprise: The masterminds of two fantastic bands (SUiCiDE BOMBERS, DIRTBAG REPUBLIC) decided to do something together and make us a gift with “Transatlantic Meltdown” – an awesome piece of work. Please tell us something about DOLL HAZARD and how this “happened”.

Sandy: Why thank you Manu. DOLL HAZARD is myself and Chris Damien Doll culminating years of rock n roll experience to produce a ball busting album. Chris and I had talked about recording a song or two over the years, but never really seriously until about 2 years ago when we chatted about it in a bit more detail. A song became a few songs, then became an EP, then we thought…what the hell let’s do a whole album.

Chris: It’s really cool how technology has made this possible. I remember reading about it a few years ago and when we started talking again now I was like “wait… we got all this shit already! We can actually do it.” From the time we got serious about it, everything seemed to move ahead really smoothly and the plan to do a full album was there before we started writing the songs. I’m glad we finally did it. We are both physical-copy guys, and so are the fans of our bands, so it’s very cool to have an album out.

Manu: You live 7200 kms apart from each other: What are the difficulties anout recording an album together under these circumstances?

Sandy: We had to make sure our recording setups were perfectly aligned settings wise and I laid down a click track to make sure we could line everything up when we were passing recording files back and forth. That eliminated any issues we’d have with the recording process. Time zones was another factor….we’re both nighthawks, but the 9 hour time difference posed a few challenges, but we worked around that without much issue. Really having everything figured out before we started recording helped us immensely.

Chris: Sandy is the tech savvy one, but I already had experience recording like this too, so I think we worried more than we needed. Stuff pretty much aligned up perfectly from the first try, which was way cool. I hate being stuck on technical problems and thankfully none of us were. The time difference means that we can honestly say we’ve been working around the clock on this. It was always fun to wake up in the morning and listen to what Sandy had done his previous day

interview 20171209 DollHazardBandPhoto

Manu: How would you describe each other’s style?

Sandy: Chris is a hybrid of CHUCK BERRY influenced rock n roll. Along the way he had dinner with HANOI ROCKS and a delicious W.A.S.P. Crown Royal Brule for dessert. On the way home Chris ran into some punks and was indoctrinated into their fold. By the time he got home he was a shitmix of the best elements of music.

Chris: Hahaha… That’s a fantastic answer! It’s kinda hard to nail down Sandy’s style as he has done so much different stuff tool. I am tempted to say he is straight in your face gritty rock’n’roll, with a serious punk edge, which would be true, but he was also a big part of the MCRACKINS, who had great pop sensibility, and their last records were masterpieces of layering and production. As a drummer Sandy is right in the pocket, but also very diverse and can easily whip up several different ways of doing something, as a writer he has a great sense of both melody and punch and as a singer he has that great snotty way of delivering his words and great ideas for harmonies and vocal layering.

Manu: Chris, “No Valentine Cards” reminds me a lot of the TRASHCAN DARLINGS. Would you agree?

Chris: I know what you’re getting at, but… no. Hahaha. It’s just me writing songs, really, and some will come out like that. …Valentine… is written on a major chord, with the minor as a tasty 3rd and a driving vocal melody that suits that kinda chord progression. Most of the TRASHCAN DARLINGS songs were major chord songs too. But, if you listen closely, you can hear those kinda progressions and melodies here and there with SUICIDE BOMBERS as well. Hell, even a few of the songs I did for RONNY PØBEL has those kind of progressions

“Chris is a hybrid of CHUCK BERRY influenced rock n roll. Along the way he had dinner with HANOI ROCKS and a delicious W.A.S.P. Crown Royal Brule for dessert. On the way home Chris ran into some punks and was indoctrinated into their fold. By the time he got home he was a shitmix of the best elements of music”

Sandy Hazard about Chris Damien Doll

Manu: How has the reception of the album been so far?

Sandy: It’s been really great so far. We kept this a well guarded secret for the past two years, so it was quite a surprise to fans of both of our bands when we dropped the news of the album. Early reviews have been very positive and comments from radio DJ’s that have spun the album have given us some pretty high praise. We’re really proud of the album and made it our mission to make a record that we’d each love.

Chris: I am used to working on albums with full bands and rehearsals, so you have 3 or 4 other guys there talking about the songs and the recordings and all that. Sometimes you even play a song or two live before you record them and get instant feedback from the fans. This time it was just the two of us, and later on Maria Maxwell who did a tremendous job mixing and mastering the album, so it was a very small “crowd” of people who were heavily involved for so long. What I’m trying to say here is that it’s been way cool to get all the praise in the press. We know the album is great, but it’s rewarding to get confirmation. I can’t wait until the fans get to hear it!

interview 20171209 DollHazardSandyHazardManu: Are you planning on any live gigs with DOLL HAZARD in the future?

Chris: How much have you got? Hahaha Nothing is impossible, but it seems highly unlikely. It would be a logistics nightmare.

Manu: Any plans for touring in Germany with any of your bands?

Chris: SUICIDE BOMBERS played Berlin as part of the European Sex Tapes tour. It was great to be back there. I was all over Germany at least once a year with the TRASHCAN DARLINGS, but haven’t been back since. A lot of the old fans and friends made the treck to come see us and, although my German is a little rusty these days, it was a great time. We are hoping to come back and maybe do a longer tour next time, but so far nothing is booked. We played the Wildfest in Belgium earlier this year, not quite Germany, but close enough right? A lot of Germans came for that too and it was awesome meeting Marc (THE REVOLVERS; LOVESHOCKS, 2ND DISTRICT etc) again. He’s a good friend from years back and I really enjoy his music.

Manu: Since I know Chris doesn’t like to be asked which is his personal track on the album, haha, I will ask something different: Which work (band, album, song) of the other do you like most and why?

Sandy: I hold a special place for TRASHCAN DARLINGS “Peggy Sue is Dead” That was the very first song I heard that Chris was involved with. I absolutely love it and sought out whatever the band had put out that was available. That was also around the time I met Chris and became friends with him about 10 years ago.

Chris: There are several. I was floored the first time I heard DIRTBAG REPUBLIC and was so happy Sandy was doing his own thing and delivering the goods. The MCRACKINS record… fuck I forgot the name, but the one with “Summer Of Life” on it… is by far my fave record of theirs and the one that was new when I first got to know Sandy, but my all time fave song he’s been on is an unreleased PRETTY BOY FLOYD tune called “Black And Blue Avenue.” You can find it on Youtube. Great song! Hell, I could go on… We’ve been friends for a long time and always big supporters of the each other’s work.

Manu: Since the end of the year is close: Which are your personal Top 3 Albums of 2017?

Sandy: In no particular order JUNKYARD – “High Water”, SUICIDE BOMBERS – “Suicide Idols”, STEVIE R. PEARCE AND THE HOOLIGANS… Lots of others i’d add up on the top as well

Chris: Fuck, I gotta remember to check out that JUNKYARD album too! No order here either: DIRTBAG REPUBLIC – “Downtown Eastside”, VAIN – “Rolling With The Punches” and JESUS & MARY CHAIN – “Damage & Joy”

Manu: Which bands from your home country should our readers definitely check out and why?

Sandy: THE HEADSTONES – unsung Canadian hard rockers that aren’t well known outside Canada. THE WILD – very hard working AC/DC flavored band from my province making big inroads touring with AIRBOURNE in Europe and the States. ART BERGMANN – Canada’s answer to Paul Westerberg…he’s a punk legend here. TEENAGE HEAD – Another legendary punk band from Toronto this time. Think RAMONES with a more 50’s flavored brand of speedy punk. Warners Canada just issued a remastered double album of their selective discography and it sounds fantastic…and hey THE REVOLVERS covered their song “Ain’t Got No Sense”

Chris: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE ZUGLY is a really cool band with music right on the edge between punk and hardcore. My friend Ivar, who used to be in Silver, sings for them. They have great songs and a ton of energy. Also check out CRUEL INTENTIONS. Mostly Swedes in the band, but they are based in Oslo, I think. They just signed a record deal and will release their debut album next year. Great guys and great sleazy rock’n’roll music.

Manu: I didn`t know Ivar is in this band, damn I have to check that out!

Chris: He wasn’t on the first album, but he sings on the second one. Both are very very good

“I was floored the first time I heard DIRTBAG REPUBLIC […] but my all time fave song he’s been on is an unreleased PRETTY BOY FLOYD tune called “Black And Blue Avenue.” You can find it on Youtube. Great song!”

Chris Damien Doll about Sandy Hazards music

Manu: If you were allowed to pick: Which band would you like to open up for on a tour and why?

Sandy: Probably Michael Monroe’s band. I saw the lineup with Dregen and thought that was one of the coolest bands I’d ever seen live. Got to meet them afterwards and all were very nice guys. Rich Jones is in the band now, so it’d be cool to have another former Vancouverite to hang with and tell war stories.

Chris: MICHAEL MONROE would have been great! I think KISS would have been cool too.

interview 20171209 DollHazardChrisDamienDollManu: Sandy, what is new with DIRTBAG REPUBLIC and what are your plans for the new future? Chris, same question regarding SUICIDE BOMBERS and RONNY P?ØBEL…

Sandy: DIRTBAG is pretty organic…we are still planning to do some videos for the record…those got sidelined just trying to line everybody up. We were actually jamming last week on some new tunes for album 3. We’ve got about 15 songs already that are really solid. We’ll weed it down to 10 and have an album out either late 2018 or early 2019. We’re pondering getting the live show happening as well.

Chris: SUICIDE BOMBERS got a great new lead guitarist this summer and we are currently working on songs for the next record, as well as rehearsing the old ones and some never-before-played-live songs. It’s too early to talk about studio or release date yet, but it’s already safe to say that the next record will be another masterpiece. We are looking to play shows in late spring next year and we’re all dying to get out there again.

Manu: What about RONNY PØBEL? You are about to release a new album?

Chris: Yes, “Like Kald” is our 8th album, I think. It will be out in January next year. If you like the other records, you’ll love this. Same style, same band, new songs

Manu: Sandy, we talked privately a bit about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, since it was the theme of DIRTBAG REPUBLIC`s album that was released in April. Do you want to tell our readers why you choose this topic and what life is like in DE?

Sandy: I’m a write from personal experience type of songwriter and also observational. The Downtown Eastside was observational for me. the DTES is basically a 6 block..maybe more radius of downtown Vancouver that has been riddled with drug/alcohol/prostitution/mental health problems for the past 30 years. The provincial government is completely responsible for this fiasco when they shut down the main mental hospital “Riverview” back in the 80s. This forced a bunch of people into the DTES who relied on that place for help. A lot of those people turned to drugs etc and the cycle just keeps repeating itself. I wrote about things I’ve seen happen around the area and one song was from a perspective of being a homeless person living down there…not that I’d ever know what somebody in that position is really going through. They’re finally reopening the mental hospital next year, so hopefully that’ll give some people hope out of an endless cycle of despair.

Manu: Is there anything else you want to say?

Chris: Fuck, yes! I want your readers to know that they can check out our albumteaser, with excerpts of a few songs, on youtube. CDs can be bought from our website. That’s about it. Nice chatting to you, as always

Manu: Nice chatting with you, as well. Thanks for your time!

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