"some music was meant to stay underground..."


Interview with Hurtlocker's Tim Moe

Chicago's HURTLOCKER released their debut LP “Fear In A Handful of Dust” in 2005 on Napalm Records, offering up an all-out sonic assault of ones senses, clearly showing everyone around the true metal community that they're a name to reckon with for the future of metal as it moves forward out of the emo-fied, pop sweetened crap heap of bands that are merely using the great genre's name to try and pawn itself off as the real deal. They have enjoyed some strong radio play off Chicago's largest rock station, 94.7 The Zone, being put in rotation among the elite names of heavy music such as Lamb Of God and Anthrax and are now in preparation to record the next album, in hopes of finally pushing themselves to the top of the game and onto world tours where they rightfully belong. I am pleased to present the following Q&A with their guitarist, Tim Moe.

Rocket: Are you originally from Chicago, Illinois?

Tim: Most of the band is from the Chicago area and suburbs. Grant was originally from Texas and moved to Chicago about ten years ago. We have been based out of Chicago for the last 9 years of the band but we have definitely thought about relocating. Chicago has never been really good to us, though we have plenty of fans here. But we have been through a few member changes and finding musicians in Chicago hasn’t been easy for us.

Rocket: So when did you first start playing the electric guitar? And did you take any lessons or are you pretty much all self-taught?

Tim: I started playing right around the time I was 18 and getting out of high school. I began taking lessons at a local music shop and I am glad that I did. I took lessons for two years then went on my own way. It is a good way to get playing, some people can just pick up stuff and play instruments but I definitely needed some help from the start.

Rocket: Who are some of your biggest playing influences? Past or present.

Tim: As far as bands go I am a huge old school metal head. I listen to Demolition hammer, Slayer, Testament and stuff like that. I have always been a big fan of Alex Skolnicks playing even when he started playing in his jazz band that dude just shreds. I like Marty Friedmans playing style.

Rocket: What kind of guitars are you playing live and in the studio?

Tim: I have two guitars that I use the hell out of. I have a Jackson Randy Rhodes with Emg pickups and an ESP custom with Emg pickups. I use the Jackson primarily but the ESP gets plenty of time in the studio.

Rocket: What kind of amp rig?

Tim: I have a rack system that I have built over the years. My sound starts with a Digitech 2101 processor , with a Rocktron Pro Q enhancement system running through a BBE sonic maximizer and an Alesis M-EQ 230 with a ADA power amp for the volume. I run this rig through 2 Randall 4x12 cabinets with the jaguar speakers.

Rocket: Hurtlocker's debut album “Fear In A Handful of Dust”, with accomplished producer Zeus (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall) has been crackin skulls across this planet since its release back in 2005 and for me its still a very relevant work due to the sheer brilliance in its utterly ferocious musical delivery. Basically, that means it smashes my face in whenever I put it on, which is exactly what I am expecting from any metal I listen to really. That's the whole damn point, right? Afterall, it is called 'heavy metal'. Yeah, I myself clearly put this up there with stuff from SuperJoint Ritual and Slayer, that is how impressive it is to me, bro. The album is still available for purchase online at Tower.com, correct? Where else can fans pick this up?

Tim: That’s just it most stores can order it for you if they do not carry it, I know it can be found on cd universe but if you go to your local music store they can special order it for you. I have been told it is hard to find and that is something we need to address with our label for future reasons.

Rocket: This is the first one you guys released under Austria's Napalm Records. Tell us more about the record deal with these guys. Exactly how many records are you going to release with them under this arrangement and how has the working relationship been up to this point?

Tim: We have three options, one of which is going to be exercised here shortly we just sent a demo of new material to them for the next album. As for the work relationship , it has been good. There is a language thing that occurs from time to time but they have been good to us. We are their only US band and this market is still new to them. Hopefully we all learned a lot from the first album and what not to do and the next one will run more smoothly over here.

Rocket: Now the album was done by accomplished producer Zeus of Hatebreed and Shadows Fall fame. This dude is right up there in my mind with Erik Rutan and Machine as being the best of the best. Was it a cool experience working with him and will you use him for the next collection of hell hammering tunes?

Tim: Zues was a great guy to work with. We had some issues with the tracking that we did here in Chicago and Zeus fixed everything. We flew out to him for a week of just mass drinking and grilling and just listening to metal and you see why the guy is where he is. Just amazing working with him. We would love to work with him again but we need to see what our budget is like for the next album, but if we get a chance it’s a no brainer.

Rocket: That's the perfect segue way into this next obvious question, Tim. When can we expect a new album from Hurtlocker? I think this next effort could possibly launch this act straight to the top of the metal world, with other big names like Lamb of God.

Tim: Well, we are in discussion with Napalm for the next album. We have already started the writing process and that is going along very nice. We plan on tracking around 11 songs for a new album maybe around mid April if everything works out.We have about 7 of those songs done and we are tweaking them. I would hope we would get a chance to tour after the album, we never got through the States and I think that didn’t help with getting our name out there. I think this time we need to tour the hell out of the album and see where that gets us.

Rocket: I'm all about trying to help the entire metal scene out, even the names that are really just getting their feet wet, you know? How else are they going to get anywhere without someone giving them a nudge, you know? Who are some of the upcoming metal acts that you've seen around your local scene that impress you?

Tim: Low Twelve has a real good sound , we have played a show with them and we were very impressed with them. Withering Soul is another local black metal band that tears it up. If you ever get the chance to see these bands take it, well worth it.

Rocket: Sounds killer. I appreciate you giving up those names. Last year was a great one for metal, thank Satan. Ha! All sorts of radical stuff got released from Cannibal Corpse all the way down to even Iron Maiden throwing their hats back into the ring. What was your personal favorite?

Tim: Right now I would have to say the Suffocation album. These guys are so under rated . They are just incredible. I just recently saw them live and they are just crazy tight . The new Vader is badass also, 'Impressions in Blood', just Vader doing what they do best.

Rocket: I like to have fun with this next one. You guys have obviously toured the shit out of the place, sharing bills over the past years with notable names like King Diamond and Agnostic Front. What's the funniest damn thing that's ever happened to you while performing?

Tim: I had a problem with my rig, the processor kept switching programs on me during the set. I have some presets but this thing was jumping all over the place. We would be doing a song and right in the middle it would switch to a clean tone or some crazy flange effect and it happened all set. It would hop right back after like a second or two but it was annoying. After the show some kid was telling me how cool it was that we were throwing different things in songs like that. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was just gear malfunction.

Rocket: Haha. Tell me, how can fans get involved as a street team member for this band? Is that something you guys even focus on really? Some bands do, some really don't seem to give a shit. Which I think is absolutely retarded. You need those foot soldiers out there spreading the word by any means necessary. You can't simply rely on radio play and internet promotion alone, wouldn't you agree?

Tim: Yes I would agree, when you play this type of music it is necessary to spread the word by any means possible If there are any fans interested in doing some street work just drop us a line at www.myspace.com/hurtlocker1 and we will get in touch with you. We are always looking for people to help spread the word.

Rocket: So with the lineup in disarray for the moment are their any plans at all to do some upcoming shows?

Tim: Like I said before right now we are going through some down time with shows. Getting ready to record is our number one priority right now. We are also down a few members. We are using an old friend as a drummer and our bassist and 2nd guitarist left the band. So if you know of anybody shoot them or way. We just have never had a great time replacing members here in Chicago, hopefully things will change.

Rocket: Right on. Well, I have a good feeling about the future of this great metal band. Thanks very much for taking the time out to do this with me. Go ahead and give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.

Tim: Well, thanks to TMD for the opportunity, and to all the fans around the world we are nothing without you. Anybody reading this get your ass out and buy a copy of 'Fear In A Handful Of Dust' if you don’t own it already, metal bands only survive by album sales.

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