Six Questions With Ramonda Hammer
Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is Los Angeles-based indie grunge-pop band Ramonda Hammer. We have had the pleasure of covering the Ramonda Hammer quite a few times in the past, so we are excited for this feature! If you’re not familiar with them, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
Devin: Alternative grunge rock with all the feels. I’m from a small beach town in Southern California. I’ve been singing my whole life and started playing guitar at 16 when I wanted to write songs about feeling like I didn’t belong where I was. After teaching music for a few years during college, I finally got the courage to move to Los Angeles and start Ramonda Hammer in 2014. It’s been three years now and I couldn’t be happier with my band and where we’re headed.
Justin: We are a grunge band from LA. I joined the band after I met Devin two years ago when we jammed on a couple tracks at a party.
Andy: We play nineties throwback grunge rock pop music jazz. I joined the band a few years ago when I met Devin. We moved into an art compound on the same day, we found out we had very similar taste in music, and she just happened to be looking for a bassist.
Mark: We play grunge, but it’s grunge that’s informed by pop sensibilities. We’re from Los Angeles, or “North San Diego” as we like to call it. Devin, Andy, and Justin had been playing together for a while, but mostly just jamming on Grateful Dead and Lynyrd Skynyrd covers in the garage at Andy’s house. Once I joined, I introduced them to Carly Rae Jepsen’s critically acclaimed 2015 smash record “Emotion,” and the rest, as they say, is history. [Mark isn’t in the band anymore. -Devin]
As an artist, how do you define success?
Devin: I just want to make some sort of a difference in the world, even if it’s small. I get to tour every year and bring new music to people, which is amazing and I hope I can do that forever. I also get to teach at girls rock camp in the summers, and I feel very lucky to do that. Basically, if I can play music, pay the bills, and shop at Whole Foods, I’m happy.
Justin: Success is when we get a “Behind The Music” special.
Andy: Success is making enough money off of your art to afford to sip André out of crystal flutes and eat taco truck burritos off of your best China every day.
Mark: Honestly, success is being able to make art that we love and being able to make rent without having to work at soul-sucking day jobs. But that sounds kinda depressing, so maybe: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill (That was the first result when I googled “success quotes”).
All fine answers, gents!
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
Devin: Probably booking tours and keeping up with social media. It’s hard when you just want to make art, but someone’s gotta do it!
Justin: Staying relevant.
Andy: Networking is tough.
Mark: This one is probably just for me personally, I think everyone else in the band is better than me at this, but I’m terrible at “networking” and just meeting and talking to new people in general. But meeting people and making a good impression and being social is a huge part of being a young musician. It’s all about who you know, and I know like 10 people tops.
Never fear, Mark – looks like Andy struggles with networking, too!
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
Devin: “Destroyers.” It’s dynamic and challenging and the lyrics mean so many different things.
Justin: “Destroyers,” except it’ll be played as a different style every time. Look out for the Skrillex remix.
Andy: “Everlasting Love” would be fun to play for the rest of our career. It’s one of our oldest songs but it’s changed more than any of our other songs and will undoubtedly continue to change.
Mark: That’s a tough one, kinda changes depending on my mood. Right now, I’d go with “Destroyers” Other days, I might go with our smooth jazz version of “Goddamn Idiot.”
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
Devin: Stephen Malkmus, Kurt Cobain, Isaac Brock, my band, everybody I’ve ever met, and all of my own personalities.
Justin: My influences change with the music I play. Right now I’ve been influenced by Nirvana, Circa Survive, Brand New, and Pixies.
Andy: David Bowie, John Entwhistle, Les Claypool, Carol Kaye, Victor Wooten, Steve Buscemi [I hope he’s talking about Steve Buscemi in the movie Airheads specifically. -Devin]
Mark: I dunno, I listened to that Killers album once? [-_- that’s my line. -Devin]
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
Devin:Listening, traveling, watching movies, and cooking.
Justin: Skating and cooking.
Andy:I build props for a living, so I like to build stage props, and design flyers and artwork for the band.
Mark: Drugs? Just kidding, please don’t put that in the article. Ummm, I think running or riding my bike really helps put me in a positive mental space that encourages creativity? Got to love those endorphins.
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