Magic Hammer’s premiere album is hard to describe, but I’ll try anyway: Most Extreme Ultimate Thunder sounds kind of like a DDR 5th Mix machine and an Initial D arcade cabinet had a secret child and immediately put it up for adoption, where it was found by whichever one of the dudes from DragonForce is the most talented and raised into the partying-est teenager the world ever saw.
Eric Brown is Magic Hammer. He’s also RainbowDragonEyes, and to you, the Bytejacker viewer, he’s the guy who barely said anything during our joint Blip Festival interview of him and Anamanaguchi. Luckily, he’s back, and this time he has a lot to say. Read on for our interview with him about Para Para in Tennessee, being made to force your audience to dance, and how his next album may actually destroy the world.
Alright, so fill in the blanks for me: “Magic Hammer is __% Eurobeat, __% power metal, and __% _______.”
Magic Hammer is 40% Eurobeat, 328% power metal, and 666% EXTREME PARTY EXPLOSION TIME TIL DEATH FOR LIFE.
You clearly have a passion for Eurobeat; both Magic Hammer and Rainbowdragoneyes have pretty heavy Eurobeat elements to their sounds. How did you get into Eurobeat? Tell us the story of the first time you heard it!
I’d be happy to, kiddo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was during a casual visit to Japan some years back when I stumbled across it for the first time, and I quickly became obsessed. I had never heard anything like it before– it was really speedy and catchy, lots of ripping synth leads, and absolutely top-notch production. It’s anyone’s guess as to why it sat so well with me at the time, hailing from a strict Metal background and never really having any serious interest in dance music. Or anime, with which it is commonly associated, I really can’t stand anime. The euro beats were something totally new and intriguing to me, something I wanted to pick apart and analyze, and figure out a way to completely destroy it.
When did the idea to combine these genres first hit you? Everyone who hears Magic Hammer agrees that it’s a shockingly natural fit. Is that just the nature of high-energy music?
Perhaps it is… if you want to know the real truth, I never approached it that way. At the time I was just becoming interested in writing and producing music, I started out simply attempting to write Eurobeat, and even released a few tracks via compilations via an Italian label run by a leading Eurobeat producer. But that got real boring real quick, I wanted to do something more interesting and I wanted complete control over it. This was maybe a year or so after exploring and listening to the genre quite a bit, and it had all but lost its’ magic.
I decided the lyrics were awful, basically exactly like a poor Google translation sung with a thick Italian accent, and I had to sift through more and more boring garbage songs to get to the real hits with the real hooks. The more I listened, the more I knew what I needed to hear and I just wasn’t getting it. Too much of it is written and produced too quickly, simply to be handed over to the Japanese overlords to be released to their own standards on generic compilation discs, in just about the exact same format for almost 20 years.
SO, as I kept writing, I kept kicking it up a notch at a time and the result is Most Extreme Ultimate Thunder.
It took about a year I think. I had a couple of the songs written already before Magic Hammer existed in its current state, and it wasn’t until I had a few more down that I realized I was getting close to having a whole album’s worth of material. The whole process was a learning experience for me, I’m hoping it doesn’t take that long the next time around but I wasn’t going to (and still don’t) rush through anything just for the sake of getting it done. Balls to the wall or no balls at all, that’s what I always say.
Where does the name Magic Hammer come from? Something tells me it’s not as simple as it sounds.
The true beauty of it lies in its’ simplicity. It is not a reference to anything specific, it just came to me one day, so I searched around for a bit and was somewhat surprised to discover it wasn’t already claimed. I wanted the name to fit the music, and as the album was coming together I was writing the music to fit the name. I honestly have no clue what it would be called if wasn’t called Magic Hammer.
What a live Magic Hammer show consists of has apparently changed a great deal since I lucked into catching your first live show last December. That first performance at Public Assembly in Brooklyn was just you, a guitar, and an iPod, if I remember right. Now, I hear there’s a full band and, according to this video, para para dancing. Can you break down what exactly Magic Hammer live is these days?
It has indeed blossomed into a full band, which was my intention from the very start. My time on this Earth as a musician has always been spent playing in bands, so I took all my experiences from that and tried to approach this new endeavor in the same light. Myself, 2 shred masters on guitar, and a bass playerman hold it down on stage forever and ever, which creates a totally different dynamic than performing solo and makes this already ridiculous music 10,000 leagues more ridiculous to see on a stage alongside rock and Metal bands. The dancers were a special appearance for The Hammer’s Nashville debut, and I hope to get them involved in more of the bigger shows we do around town.
Who was choreographing those para dances? They’re incredibly elaborate and awesome!
Indeed!!!! Mike is the man, and Para²Mahou is his crew. It’s all original choreography by him, he’s an amazingly talented dude, and it blew my mind to discover they are based just 30 minutes away from Nashville. They hit up all the nearby anime conventions and do performances and panels and stuff pretty regularly, which is rad on its’ own but especially so considering their odd geographic location… Tennessee is not exactly known for its ParaPara scene. Then again it’s also not widely known for its Extreme Dance Music scene. So, you’re welcome, Tennessee.
It went swimmingly, the crowd started to fill out throughout the evening and by the time we took the stage there was a good deal of people in the room, and a few others looking on from beyond the open door. MH had 3 guitar players that evening, since Doug (the dude with the ultimate facial hair) (who moved away recently) was back in town for the weekend, and I wasn’t going to play without him. I noticed a bunch of familiar faces in the crowd, as well as a good deal of newcomers.
It is kind of understood that in Nashville (“Music City”), everyone is a musician and thus nobody really cares about music, especially if you are doing something other than pretentious indie rock or “heartfelt” singer-songwriter garbage… people just stand there at shows, petrified to move around or act like they are enjoying themselves. At one point I jumped off stage, grabbed some dude’s arms and had to show him how to wave them above his head. I don’t know if it was the fact I have given up trying to get people around here into letting loose a little bit, but I spewed a little more hate than usual at the crowd, which is of course very witty hatred and I always come off as the “endearing pissed-off guy.”
Whatever. Nashville is tapped. I thought I could teach them a thing or two, but what I didn’t realize is you can’t teach someone not willing to learn.
Do you have any more live shows in your immediate future?
None that are planned at this time, but I’m hoping to do one or two more in town before I move to Denver in mid-December and have to put a new band together and start all over.
Are you ready to talk about a second album yet?
Not just yet. Maybe a little. I’m working on a couple other projects and doing a bunch of remixes for some contests and other various reasons (always uploading completed tracks to my soundcloud page), but I’m just now starting to think about the second album and how I can make it outdo Most Extreme Ultimate Thunder in every way possible. It’s going to have a back story, and segue a lot better with the help of some orchestration, I’m doing away with all the pop-style lyrics and sticking to epic storylines and an even heavier fantasy element with more guitar shredding and more everything. Also because I wasn’t even sure what Magic Hammer was going to be in the end, all the music I’m writing will be within my own singing range because I plan on handling all of the lead vocal duties this time around. It makes more sense for the live show when I’m singing instead of just playing the tracks with someone else’s vocals on them. Just, please be careful, it is going to explosion everything.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Eric!
Want to grab Most Extreme Ultimate Thunder? Head over to magichammermusic.com, where there are about 4 billion ways to download it.
And hey! What do you think of this music, anyway? Those of you who haven’t been explosioned out of your chairs, leave us a comment below letting us know your thoughts!