Hack The Mainframe are Newcastle's freshest time fighting, 90's melodic skate punk influenced, well... punks really. They are cheeky, snotty, extremely immature and absolutely one of the most entertaining bands you'll see. The band has just released their debut EP 'Trapped Online' and it sounds bloody great. They are super tight and the songs are catchy as hell. So catchy that they'll have you hating coriander without even knowing why. We caught up with Paddy Dempsey of the band, who after sitting on the sideline for so many years, is now having the time of his life.
HTM are a pretty new band, but there are some old heads in there. Tell us a bit about who’s in the band and where we might’ve seen you before.
So, HTM is made up of Heath Rowley (singer) who was in legendary Newcastle Punk Rock band "Wiseheimer" we decided to start the band because I was sick of being a roady/merch guy. I called up Leroy Markwell who is previously known for not a lot, drinking and partying maybe? We needed another guitarist so I called up Nick Oberg who I'd met previously at a few shows his old band "Pants Optional" had played. I knew they had split up and he was a rad dude so he was in on second guitar. At first Heath was gonna play drums and sing but he is too old and got puffed out too quickly during the fast songs so we recruited Kye Smith who after a few ripper jams we promptly fired so he could go on tour with Frenzal Rhomb. Next we met up with Zac Thomas from Pants Optional and after the first jam we knew he was the guy. Great drummer and better guitarist than anyone in the band as well!!
The band is obviously inspired by 90’s melodic skate punk, but were there any particular bands that were key influences when forming HTM?
When we started and Heath was drumming we made the conscious choice to be a slower, Teenage Bottlerocket style band so he could sing and play easily. But when we decided to go with a specialist drummer, the decision was made to write faster more skate punk style songs like our favourites. 88 Fingers Louie and early No Use for a Name I know is a big influence for Heath, Oberg loves Bigwig and A Wilhelm Scream, Leroy loves weird old hardcore like Conation. Zac loves Lagwagon, NOFX, LRF, I like Pulley, and most of the other bands I've mentioned plus Wiseheimer which of course was always going to be a big influence on our band with Heath being the main songwriter. When it comes to jam time we all kind of agree on the sound that we like and mostly it's easier to just do what Heath says. Hahaha.
This is your first band but I know you’ve been a fan and hanging around the scene for a long time. In particular you’ve roadied with Local Resident Failure across Australia, Europe & Japan. What does it feel like for you personally to be actually playing on the stage doing your own thing?
For years I watched on, helped carry stuff and sold t-shirts and with Heath's encouragement I was like, "You know what? Bass has gotta be easy, let's do it!" I quickly found out bass is not easy but it sure is fun being in a band. The best thing besides playing shows is having music/band conversations with all those guys that I looked up to and I kind of feel like I'm an equal and a part of something really cool. Guys like The Feff, Dal, Smitty, (all Local Resident Failure) and Brad McDougal (Life.Love.Regret, The Dead Walk!, FMD) and you guys at the studio (general mad snakes,) I kind of feel like I'm a part of it now and not just a fan.
What’s been your favourite or most memorable gig so far?
My favourite show so far would have to be our show with Nerdlinger/LRF/Friends With The Enemy in Redfern at 107 Projects. The venue is an art gallery by day. It reminded me of a lot of the Japanese venues LRF played in. The crowd was awesome, the other bands were great, the sound was awesome, was a great time all round and we got kicked out of the venue at the end of the night after trying to take a photo with all 4 bands jammed into 1 elevator. Fun times.
You’ve also been able to contribute to the writing, penning some of the lyrics. How does it feel to be able to scratch that itch after being a fan for so long, particularly collaborating with someone you’ve watched and respected for years in Heath?
I started off writing some silly lyrics and Heath would put amazing music to them which in itself was all time to hear something I've written turn into a song. (See "Fuck Coriander" & "Bukkake Blues") Heath has been a mentor to all of us through this whole experience not just with the music but with his Pappa Heath guru life advice. Heath loves adding bits to songs, taking away parts, re-writing whole songs after I've spent the whole week learning them!! Haha. All in all it's made me a better bass player and song writer. I've recently penned a few serious songs in collaboration with Heath and we all think they are some of our best songs so far.
You’ve just released Trapped Online. Now that it’s out there how are you guys feeling about it and how do you think it’s been received?
We are all super stoked with how the EP turned out. It's great to see all the hard work pay off. The Feff (Michael Ferfoglia) spent a lot of time mixing and re-mixing it to get it just right and Mat Taylor did a stellar job with the mastering. We can't thank them enough!! We've had only positive feedback so far and hopefully it gives us a solid platform to build on with future releases and scoring some tough to find support slots!!
What’s next? What can we expect from HTMF in 2017?
Next up we will record another 5 song EP which may turn into a split record with Sydney band STFU. We will be playing only a few shows early on in the year as Heath will have a new baby to look after. Around midyear we will really let loose on the unsuspecting public with our new songs and super tight/loose live show!