Thanks to the incredible Angus Rowe MacPherson for making this amazing video for “The Stranger,” the first song on our newest record Public Library. Muchas gracias también a Pilar Alderete por los subtítulos en español!
I’m not going to spill all the beans right now (who wants to clean up all those beans?) but there are some big changes afoot in the musical universe of me, Mathias Kom, and my band The Burning Hell. And no, we are not finally embarking on the promised rap-metal journey you have longed for.
One thing that is happening, or has happened, is that our dear friend and longest-serving Burning Hell drummer Jake Nicoll has exited stage left to concentrate on other projects, especially recording projects. Jake likes the studio much better than the road, and he is very, very talented in that studio. We wish him the best.
Another thing that is happening is that in December we are setting sail across the Atlantic for what may be the last tour of The Burning Hell in the format that you may know us, as a five-piece rock band, for quite some time. Maybe forever? Who knows. But we have never stood still, and while the consistency of our sound and lineup for the last few years has been fun and satisfying, we are greedy for new instruments, new ideas, new languages, even new clothes. Especially new clothes. The upcoming Year of the Rooster will be a year of exploration and invention, a year of lycra pantsuits.
In the meantime, if you want to catch us as The Burning Hell The Rock Band, playing all the golden non-hits from our newest album Public Library, along with a surprise pack of deep cuts and lost favourites from albums of yesteryear, you have exactly 16 chances to do so. Tickets and info: click on “Shows” above. For now: be well, and big love.
photo by Jörg Linnhoff at Hardegsen Castle
Well, our Public Library release tour seems to be over.
Despite the long hours, the lack of sleep, the occasionally terrible food, the relentless self-doubt and questioning of life choices, nine out of ten musicians agree that being on tour is a lot of fun. After 60 shows in as many days, I (Mathias) find myself gripped by that old familiar post-tour blues. I once read in a waiting room magazine that one of the best ways of dealing with the blues is to wander lonely backroads under the Delta moonlight while strumming an old guitar. The second best way is to write it all down.
I think the most exciting thing about touring is that it’s full of the kind of contrasts that you don’t encounter so often when you’re not constantly changing location. Being in a new place every day can be exhausting and disorienting, and when time is tight it breaks my heart a little to feel like all I got to see of Whereversville is the venue we played at and the parking lot outside of it. I live for the moments when we do have time to wander around a new place or a familiar old one, because I know these are the things I’ll remember best once it’s all over: kayaking down the river while waiting for soundcheck in Diksmuide, Belgium; learning about plants with Quintus from our record label BB*Island at the botanical gardens in Hamburg; wandering the beaches near Clonakilty, Ireland. In typical Burning Hell style, we only had one day off in six weeks in Europe, and we spent it on the moors near Manchester shooting a music video and then watching Green Room, a horror movie about a punk band slowly being hunted and murdered by evil Patrick Stewart and his neo-nazi henchboys. These are the magic moments I will treasure forever.
Back to those contrasts I mentioned: on this tour we had the good fortune to play to some wonderful venues packed full of people in Big Important Cities, but we also loved getting to play smaller, often stranger but no less wonderful rooms in places like Elgin, Scotland—where nearly the whole audience stayed around afterwards to initiate us into the bewildering and delightful world of Speyside whisky. And that’s really the thing I miss most once a tour is over—all the wonderful
One of the most wonderful of those people is Al Harle (second from left in the photo above), who bravely agreed to get in the van with us and come on tour as our sound engineer. Having someone of Al’s considerable talent mixing us every night was amazing (he also recorded our new album), but Al comes with the sizeable perks of being a never-complaining road warrior and an extremely fun guy to be around—not to mention an excellent music video director.
A complete list of all the other superb human beings who made our tour memorable and exciting is nearly impossible and probably ill-advised. In a week or two, once my mind-dust has settled a little, I’m going to write about one subset of these folks in more detail: the other musicians we had the pleasure of sharing stages with. Watch this space.
In the meantime, to all the people that came out to gigs, fed us, encouraged us, helped us find parking, gave us tips on which public libraries were the most exciting to visit: thank you. We will see you again. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lonely Delta backroad to wander down and an old guitar to strum.
Today’s the day, gentlepeople: our seventh album Public Library is hereby officially released into the wild, like an endangered slow loris in a breeding program (no tickling).
You can listen to the album here, and should you choose to buy it in digital or physical form you can stay right there and do just that.
If you live in the UK or Europe, you can also order the LP or CD version from BB*Island. If you live in North America, you can order it through Headless Owl, who are also offering a special bundle package of Public Library and Don’t Believe The Hyperreal on LP plus a limited edition 7″ of “Men Without Hats” backed with our cover of the Men Without Hats song “Pop Goes The World.”
We hope you enjoy listening to the album even half as much as we enjoyed making it!
Hello friends, we have made ourselves a new music video for the song “Men Without Hats” from Public Library. The song is about falling in love with music, and the video is about the parts of the music industry that do their best to turn that love into dollar bills.
Just in time for our Public Library release tour we’ll be teaming up very soon with Headless Owl to release a new 7″ featuring our song “Men Without Hats,” inspired by Mathias’ love of that great Canadian new wave band and their formative impact on his brain parts. On the other side, appropriately enough, is our cover of the classic MWOH tune Pop Goes The World. Have a listen to Men Without Hats here.
There’s a great new organization in St. John’s, Newfoundland called Girls Rock NL modelled after the Girls Rock Camp that started in Portland nearly 10 years ago. The idea is to help empower girls and women through music education, and the first Newfoundland camp will take place this summer.
As part of the fundraising effort, Girls Rock NL is hosting an auction, simultaneously online and off, and we’ve teamed up with graphic designer extraordinaire Jud Haynes to donate this one of a kind skate deck based on his artwork for our upcoming album Public Library:
If you want this for your very own, you can bid online HERE until Friday, March 4 at 7:00pm (Newfoundland time). You’ll be supporting a great cause and you might just become the owner of the coolest skateboard on planet Earth.*
*Coolness is not guaranteed, but very likely.