Hans Gruber and the Die Hards - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Chris of Hans Gruber and the Die Hards. We discussed the writing and recording process for upcoming album, ‘With A Vengeance’, how the three singles from the album “represent different styles that best represent the variance in our new tones”, favorite lyrical moments in the album, collaborating with Ska Punk International, the cassette release for the album, and more. Check it out below.

You recently announced your new album ‘With A Vengeance’. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process for it?

So Kurt and I are writing machines at times and we had a good chunk of the record demoed before we left for tour in Jan 2020. When we got back we took a few days off and then went into rehearsals. After 35 days of touring we couldn’t have been more locked in. Learning the new songs and jamming also got the creativity going and a few more songs birthed themselves. We get into the end of Feb, beginning of March, start tracking and then bam, pandemics and lockdowns. This led to the remaining bits of the album being recorded a few months later here, some more months later there, sprinkle in the letting go of two members, and almost two years later we have a finished product! 

You released “No No Bronto” from the album. Can you tell me about writing that song specifically? Why did you choose it as a single?

Years ago I learned about the history of the brontosaurus not existing, and even with that knowledge there was this U.S. arrogance to keep the ruse going. I only recently had heard (back in 2019) that a few years prior scientists decided they had enough of a new species close to what we knew as the bronto, and officially classified it. This song was probably written within 30 minutes of that discovery. 

When planning how we would roll out the album, we wanted to do 3 songs with accompanied videos, and we wanted each song to represent different styles that best represent the variance in our new tones. Our first single sonically had some kindred spirits with the first single from our last effort however, with “Bronto,” we wanted to showcase another side of us, that heavier ska core we like to fancy. 

You also released a shirt inspired by the song. Who came up with the design for that?

That’s a Kurt/Chris combo there! Bad Religion is one of my favorite punk bands and I knew right away we needed a “Bronto Buster”. I mentioned to Kurt what I had in mind, and the design you see is not my original vision at all, clearly it’s better! I never thought of the bronto escaping its confined circle, clever girl!  The second I saw that image I knew we had to print it. 

Do you have a favorite lyrical or musical moment from the album?

I know we each have our moments and lyrics we love, for me lyrically it’s in “Bronto,” cause I got Kurt to sing “paleontological supremacy”. Musically it sits between the bridge in “Vril Society,” or watching NJ, who played sousaphone on a few tracks, get so excited that written in was the “Devil's Interval” (a tritone) and he got to play the lowest notes possible. Weirdly, none of us remember the next hour and the mess we awoke to inspired another song about walls and/or blood on the album. 

Which song was the easiest to write and on the other hand which took the longest to finish? 

Well one song was written mostly by my best friend and I twenty years ago, and another Kurt had floating around since before I ever knew him. So those for sure. Longest to finish? It’s hard to nail that down because the album was recorded in such a unique and broken apart way. So all of it? Lol

You’re working with Ska Punk International for the album release. What made you want to work with them and how has the experience been so far?

Everyone in my life knew Chris Reeves before I did. Kurt and Rosey had chatted him up prior, my wife and her social channels had connected with Chris and SPI. The buzz was that Chris was a rad and passionate dude. One night the band and Chris got on a video chat and just talked business and then some… a lot of then some. Mostly then some. And you know what? Everyone’s right! Chris really has been such a great positive force in the release of this album and we couldn’t be happier to work with and, hopefully, help grow with SPI. Also, since we saw the blood writing on the wall, we knew vinyl had died and needed this effort on cassette now more than ever. 

You’re releasing a cassette for the album. What can you tell me about the packaging and layout for it? Is there any chance that you’ll release the album on vinyl?

Cassette you say? We went full OG, multiple panel J card, lyrics and all, on a red coloured cassette (that’s almost sold out!). We are not sure if vinyl is in this album's release future, but if anyone reading this would like to discuss putting out said album on said format - we’re listening and bribable via multiple (3) five pound bags of dried New Mexican red chilies. 

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

We recently announced a mid west tour that starts in May. And more tours will follow. But for now, visit our socials, share the dates, the videos, buy stuff, gas money is super cool kid status, floors on tours are adorbs, or just dance listening to good tunes.

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