Perhaps last year’s most pleasant surprise for me was Hazzerd’s second album, Delirium. Finally a thrash band that doesn’t focus exclusively on speed and aggression; their compositions are also melodic and technical, bringing old-new color to a genre that sometimes seems a bit monotonous. At my request, the band’s drummer-singer Dylan Westendorp told me about the not-so-distant beginnings, the roles within the band, and where they’re going with the works of their third record.
Well, you set the bar very high for yourself with your previous album Delirium. How can you outshine it with the next one? 😉
Well, we’re writing some of the fastest and most technical songs we’ve ever written, in our opinions. Our goal for this next record is to just make it a total thrash fest, faster songs, more aggressive vocals, and like I said more technical. We’re about 4 songs into the new album now!
What kind of feedback did you get on Delirium from the press, fans and professional colleagues?
Delirium was universally well received as far as we could see. Our fans especially loved the album as a whole. Of course with everything we did get a few average and below average reviews for the album but overall the album was received the way we were hoping it would!
You look very young; how old are you?
Brendan 27, Dave 24, Toryin 23 and me 25.
What kind of rock/metal music have you grown up on? Who were your idols, favorite bands?
We all grew up on the same type of music, idols as kids would be bands such as Van Halen, Metallica, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, Vicious Rumors, Slaughter, Skid Row, etc.
How did you get together?
Brendan and I got together and started jamming/writing songs in August 2012. We found each other via our local classifieds ads online. Tory joined the band in January 2015 after the departure of our former guitar player, and Dave joined 2 years later, in January 2017 after parting ways with our old bassist!
You used up quite a lot of bass players…
I don’t think “used up” would be the right words but for sure we did go through a few bass players and that all boiled down to who we were looking for and the overall mentality of the person, and Dave checked all the boxes!
Right at the start you tried to work with a singer. How so you as a drummer became the best choice for this position?
I started singing due to the lack of vocalists that fit our sound in the Calgary scene. Don’t get me wrong there’s TONS of good vocalists around town however back in 2013 there were none to be found and everyone we did try out either wasn’t what we were looking for or just didn’t show up to the jam. So I got tired of looking and said “screw it” I’ll just sing. And the rest is history!
You beat very complex rhythms, themes on the drums. How can you sing at the same time – and vice versa? 🙂
Lots and lots of practice, consistency and determination. When I started singing I would strictly just do vocals to work on my range and delivery and eventually I started playing and singing and I did it over and over and over and over until I got to an acceptable skill level while doing both. The only answer I have would be practice, ha-ha!
What does your band name mean? (I know the word ‘hazard’ and The Dukes of Hazzard, too… 🙂 ) Why did you choose this?
It doesn’t really mean anything in particular, ha-ha! We chose this name because we wanted something simple and sweet and we came to the first name Hazard X then dropped the X and went with Hazard for a few weeks and then eventually we changed the spelling due to another artist having the name “Hazard” so we added two Z’s and an E making “Hazzerd”.
How are your songs born? Do the guitarists come forward with the main themes or do you put the songs together during the rehearsals?
Usually Brendan, Tory or Dave will come to jam with a few new riff ideas and we build off what they have created. I usually configure the songs, meaning I’m the one who structures the riffs they bring and build them into songs that flow naturally. But yes, most of the material is all written at rehearsal by all 4 of us!
How Brendan and Toryin share the riffs and solos?
From the inception of the band, myself, and Brendan wanted to have 2 lead guitar players pretty much, we wanted both guitars to shine throughout our songs, and have their own solos and stuff like that.
They have a very special guitar sound. How did they create it?
Thanks! They use Marshall JCM 800s for recording our songs.
Your first album Misleading Evil is halfway in time between Victimize the Innocent EP (2014) and Delirium, but I feel it is closer to the first one, while with the new album you reached a new level. How do you see it?
Honestly, with each album we put out we personally feel the next one is better than the last. With Delirium, we reached a much broader audience due to being signed to M-Theory Audio back in 2019. By all intensive purposes, Delirium has been our most successful album to date and we see that as a great thing and we are very glad it has been well received!
Your latest LP was released by an American record company (M-Theory Audio). Do you consider it as a leap forward? Can they support you better than your previous partner World War Now?
Absolutely, we do! We love Chris and all the fine folks at World War Now and without them we wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we are today and we’re so thankful for that! However, M-Theory has brought new things to the table such as, more contacts in the business (promoters, critics, well known bands, etc.) so signing with them has been a massive leap forward for the band for sure!
Do you plan to work with M-Theory in the future, too?
Of course. As for World War Now, we are hoping to work with them again in some capacity!
Musically, are you going to follow the direction set out by Delirium or will there be any changes on the new album?
Our goal for the next album is to not copy ourselves from past outings, we want to stray away from a few things that were more consistent on Delirium. The new record so far is pretty fast with not a whole lot of slow downs and I think that’s the mentality we have going into album 3, make it fast, aggressive, melodic, technical and kick ass.
If it depends on you, when will the next album come out?
We’re hoping for a 2022 release!
What do you think do you have any chance to get to Europe to play gigs after the COVID-19 epidemic?
Absolutely! That is our goal for after the pandemic ends. We want to get over to Europe and play to all of our devoted fans over there!
How could you express: what is the difference between you and other young bands that play similar music?
Well the main difference would be that our drummer sings! Other than that, I would say attitude, drive & determination to try and be the best out there right now! And we’ve still got a ways to go before that!
I wish you all the best and look forward to the new album! I hope it will be at least as good as Delirium!
We hope so, too, ha-ha! Thank you for taking the time to interview us!