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diamonds hadder deaf forever magazine germany interview

Image: An image of "Jups" in the new tower under the oaks.


Good morning rabbits, the closing weeks of winter are upon us. Jups has been coming every night since I arrived here at the oaks. He was quieter at first but now he won't shut up. Ezra just grumbles at him, I think she's jealous. Life under the oaks is no joke. I survived the atmospheric river event last week. There was a mud slide on the side of my place and a few oaks did uproot themselves and run away with a few boulders, but I held fast working on Hadder things. I am a pattern maker after all. Here is a little update:


Breakers Vinyl: Well let me start here. Just before the holidays I signed a deal with “No Remorse” records and started working on the vinyl artwork for the breakers record. However, I decided to move at that time and then my Bella passed and so I was a bit swept up in all those things while working on the artwork in the background. There were weeks I was living out of boxes during the move and then there were weeks I was grieving Bella and helping others with that situation. Eventually things all settled down and I’m just about done now with the artwork. At the moment I have some large actual “proof” prints tapped to my floors at the oaks. Alternate versions of the gatefold and inserts that are slightly similar but different. Mostly layout alterations. I just need a few more days to decide on what I like more. The process is a lot like writing and recording songs. Sometimes things just need to sit while life moves on. The reflection of them sometimes just becomes a little clearer once you’re not involved in the creating process anymore. As an observer, things can change. Most of the breakers record was done in this way. Create and then step back and decide if I liked what I created. It’s a discipline that might go unspoken or unnoticed in the life of an artist, but unless your surrounded by producers and outside decision makers calling all the shots, you’ll have to be harsh with yourself and honest about the work you create. Most great records had great decision makers. The better you get at critiquing your own body of work and discerning the gems from the sandstone, so to say, well.. the more focused and better your art can be I suppose. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but this is my process. Having said all that, as soon as I release this artwork… I’ll get back to video editing and writing music for the next record while the heavy metal wheels of manufacturing start to roll out breakers magic.


Breakers Volume II: Although I’ve been working hard on artwork as of late, I did fire up the war room for the 1st time last week. It will still be a few weeks of sound treating the tower walls and moving things here and there, but noises are starting to come from my little tower under the oaks. I’m very inspired as of late and I hope to have another record done soon. I don’t want the next record to take as long as the first breakers record, but I also won’t rush anything. Like the first record, it will be done when I have the 40 minutes of good songs, if I have to record and track 20 to get the 7 I like… well.. that’s just how it works for me. Considering I have just about another records worth of songs partially tracked already, I’m hoping I can have it ready for early next year. There is a slight chance that once I start rehearsals later in the year, that I will write with a band in place, but for now that’s just wishful thinking. I’ll have to play all that by ear this spring and summer. Regardless, I’m ok with creating it all myself as well. Time will tell.


My Caroline and the Vocal process: I thought I would share some words from a song that might appear on the next breakers record. I have a wild imagination. Sometimes my songs can seem like little movies. It isn’t always easy telling a story in a song, syllables and vowels and letters all need to swim on top of a rhythm. They can’t just be forced onto music. At least that’s what I find. For this reason, some of my lyrics go through various stages of rewrites. They may start as a simple poem or story with out music but almost always need to get translated to a song. Generally, there is a syllable map that I work off, that map is generally created recording vocal freestyle takes. Sounds confusing but really all that means is I sing on a track and the feeling and motion of the vocal in an unplanned and improvisational way creates somewhat of a template for me. Like a road map of syllable placement patterns. I often use these maps to then restructure the stories and words I write to fit over music. That’s my process. Sometimes during the freestyle vocal takes I’m aware of the words in the story and so sometimes things just kind of fall in to place by accident. But I almost never try to fit words into a song that weren’t written to music first. Anyway, this song went through many rewrites in order to tell the story but also to match those words to the syllable patterns of the track. It’s that puzzle that I enjoy the most about writing songs, especially songs with words and stories. In my younger days I thought being a singer was about singing, but really that’s just a small piece of it. There are so many other aspects of being a singer and song crafter and some of those things have nothing to do with your vocal cords and voice training. It’s a long road, the way of a singer. Anyway, here’s a little story about a haunted starship that might find its way onto record #2.


The Caroline

 

Commissioned for a Steller flight

Out beyond the stars

But fate you see, had a way with me

This man without a god

 

I kissed my wife and said goodbye

Little did we know that day

That the hour passed, would be our last

As I sailed away…. into the white

 

Nothing behind me but stars in a silent sea floating in the dark of the night

Circuits still flashing, the screen I’m still as asking, what’s out there beyond the bright

To much to bare now, is it you I should fear out

My window haunting the white

Hard to remember when, this ship crossed the never then, if only I could turn back the time.

 

So I sail to find, things I left behind, into the light….

Beyond the white

 

Power cores failing, the dead captains staring, “there’s a ghost on the screen” he last said

Lieutenant’s gone too, with the rest of her crew, who went missing below the deck

me I’m the last, still steering the doomed craft, I’m sorry I left you behind

I know that it’s you love, who’s killing the crew of, this ship I now call the “Caroline.“

 

So I sail to find, the things I left behind, into the light…

Beyond the White

 

Silver arrow to the gods

oh my queen of the stars.

  

And so my destiny, Lies out beyond the white, into the sea of light…

 

so I sailed into the star

My hands they clutched the cross

Without a trace, I saw her face

As it was the years before

And so these final words I write

Record my final days

Aboard this queen, and the things I’ve seen..

Let it speak of my fate

Out, Beyond the white

 

That’s all for now. It's finals days of artwork design for the breakers record. Looking forward to closing this chapter and seeing what these oaks have to say.

Farewell friends

-j








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diamonds hadder deaf forever magazine germany interview

Image: One of a few mock ups I did in prep for the Rock Hard interview.


Good morning from under the oaks.

Well, I’m almost settled in the new tower. Not quite, but almost. Last night I could hear frogs in the woods as it rained all night. I know Klipso is out there… inching closer to me. It’s a dear sound I remember when I started this record. I hadn’t heard it in a long time. Let me be honest this morning, I still struggle with depression and grief. As much as I strive to climb the mountain day in and day out, at times, it still feels like I’m forever crawling in the river of the canyons. Regardless of my surroundings, there is this veil over me, like a storm. I do believe it will pass, which is a good thing. It’s in those moments of spotty sunshine and clearings that I create some of my best work, it’s where I feed of little moments of hope and infuse them into the art I create. I think I can see signs of this process all throughout the breakers record. Light and dark, light, and dark. I have several friends who also seem to dwell under these same skies the last few years and we discuss the storms now and then, sharing stories and struggles. Your welcome to reach out anytime if you find yourself weathering the same storms. I do notice that it helps me at times to know that I’m not the only one battling these unknown ghosts. I often remind my friends that I’m out there in the dark with them, unseen, but often within arm’s reach. I do notice a little shift in the storms these last few weeks, perhaps a result of midnight Owl hoots, underground oak roots and frog songs, but it’s too early to tell. Each night I’m praying for a kind winter, knowing that spring is marching towards me. Ok, enough of that, let’s discuss Diamonds Hadder a bit.


Rock Hard: The recent interview I did with Rock Hard magazine came out last week. The online version came out 2 weeks ago and I think the printed version dropped last week. I thought I would share it today. I’m very grateful that they would reach out to me and ask the questions they did. When I think about all the bands and heroes of mine who have been featured in this magazine over the years, I cant help but be overwhelmingly grateful and appreciative that they offered to share the story of my dear “Breakers” record. Thank you Ludwig Krammer and all at Rock Hard. I’ve included the English translated interview below.


Returning to the ashes, Breakers Vinyl Update: Back in late 2023, just before the holidays and Bella’s passing... I was fully engulfed in music videos for the Breakers record. I had a master plan. I had just completed all the filming for Long is the Road and was just beginning the final video edits when I was suddenly rerouted to Vinyl artwork layouts for the “Breakers” record. I suppose I could have whipped something together quick and that would have been ok for most people, but not me. Instead I had this notion to scour the images I collected over the years making the record. I thought it was important to include it all, the days before the fire… that magical home above the pacific… that man who first had the dream… the fire… the birth of John Evermore.. the old paint factory, my 200 north possession… the arrival of John Hadder, the tower at 408 and my little door at the LEX where I finished it all. I started this image collage at the LEX and worked backwards, arriving at the burned out images of my home in the pacific last week. Of course this was difficult for me. I won’t lie, I shed some tears last week. Bella looked so happy back then. When I see the man in those pictures, I can’t help but think about what he’s thinking and feeling at that time. During my visit of old hard drives, returning to the ashes of that home, I was reminded of why I started this record in the first place. I’m a man who usually looks ahead, perhaps because I don’t like how I feel looking in the rear-view mirror. Having said all this, I’m done sifting through hard drives and I’m closing out the layout. I’m sure the Lords at “No Remorse” will be happy to get artwork so they can start manufacturing the Vinyl. Soon enough I suppose. Sometime this spring, maybe late spring, I can see that vinyl on my desk here at the oaks with the music and words and images and memories of my time staring out at the breakers. It might just be the thing I need to keep the storms at bay.


Gone: There was a song I wrote during my time at 200 north, it was written for the first breakers record. It was called Gone. It’s a shame that it didn’t find it’s way on this first record, but I’m fairly certain it will show up on Breakers II, or whatever the next chapter is called. I image both records will fit together in a rather seamless way as half of the songs I’m working on for breakers II were conceived during the time of the first record. Songs like “Child of the Sun”  “The Rock King”, “Hiding in the Dark” and “Gone”.  I remember writing and tracking these fateful words below, staring out at the pacific. Much like some of the other words on the breakers record, these really did sum up my feelings about life and loss. In a world so surrounded with fleeting moments, quick things, and changing times… I felt the only real chance I had at that time was to document these days of my life and capture them in words and songs before I’m gone. Using some of the tools I’ve spent my life learning and wielding. That’s what “Beyond the Breakers” is to me.


Gone


“All I see is the silver

and the waves out beyond the break

past the fields of the dream we make.

And though it feels like the end

of the things that could have been

out beyond those golden lights… it’s never gone.

Never gone.”


Well that’s all for today. I recently purchased a “13 printer so that I can do some “Test” prints of the Vinyl layout for the record. I’ll be printing this weekend and talking to frogs by firelight. I also plan on actually firing up the war room this week, it’s about that time. I’ve decided to name the owl outside my windows, Jupiter… or Jups for short. The guardian of the doorway to Evermore. At least one of them anyway, as there is more than one. Why not. May your winters be kind. Reach out if ya need a hand. It might seem dark, but your not really alone out there. Trust me, I know.

Farewell

-j



Rock Hard Interview #1 - January Issue 2024

DIAMOND HADDER

Built on Steel

Hardly any other album has made the underground 2023 as fuzzy as “Beyond The Breakers”, the debut from DIAMONDS HADDER, which was released digitally for free. There was talk of the best Dio work that the immortal had never sung; No Remorse Records, where the jewel will be released on CD and double vinyl this spring, added Savatage and Queensrÿche as noble references. We zoomed to Los Angeles to meet singer and mastermind John Evermore, who guided us through his world while sitting at the piano.

 

John, for anyone reading about DIAMONDS HADDER for the first time, how would you describe your music in two or three sentences?

It is the very personal essence of everything I love about hard rock and metal. For me, the focus was always on singing. I came into contact with metal in the mid-80s and fell head over heels in love with bands like Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Savatage, Fates Warning, Riot, Manowar, Virgin Steele, Queensrÿche and Black Sabbath with Dio and Tony Martin. I still listen to the albums from that time to this day, they are burned into my DNA (looks with a smile at the vinyl covers of Fates Warning's "Awaken The Guardian" and Queensrÿche's "The Warning" that are on the piano - lk). My music is built on this foundation.

 

A friend told me with a wink that the album sounded almost too good to be true. His biggest concern is that it could be AI-generated music that has been fed with Dio ingredients.

He laughs: »I can calm your buddy down. Everything about the music is homemade. I recorded the vocals and instruments for all the songs myself. No AI was used in the making of this record, just blood, sweat and tears. I wanted the album to exude timelessness.

 

Mission accomplished! What can you tell us about the process of creating “Beyond The Breakers”? You actually wanted to start with a band called Tor...

I have to digress a bit: the album was created over several years – in three different places. I recorded the first tracks in the basement of my old house in the Santa Monica Mountains. The house was destroyed by the California wildfires in November 2018. The second part of the album was recorded at 220 North, a former paint factory in East Los Angeles that I moved to after the fire. I finished the album in Lex, a small studio in the city. But you asked me about Tor…

 

Correct.

I met the boys in L.A. right after the fire. While I was making the Hadder record, we formed Tor. We rehearsed several times a week and recorded a full album, but shortly before it was due to come out we split up because some members didn't like the way I wanted to portray myself visually. I committed myself wholeheartedly to my cause - without success. In the end only the video for our cover version of Rainbow's 'Stargazer' was released. Three songs on the “...Breakers” record come from this time. I reinterpreted and recorded them with my original vocals and keyboard tracks.

 

The origin of DIAMONDS HADDER lies in a dream, as you write on your website.

It was a dream I had before the big fire and in which Mr. Evermore appeared to me - that's how it all began. The name DIAMONDS HADDER also comes from a dream I had after the fire. It was written in the roots of a large cypress tree and gradually a story about loss, grief and redemption developed. It is complex and contains traces of reality... To date I have written, set to music and published 16 short stories both on my website and on YouTube. There should be a novel at the end. Then I want to make an album out of it. “Phantom of the Opera” meets “Awaken The Guardian” and “Streets” by Savatage. But maybe I'll make a classic metal album first, otherwise I'll get lost.

 

Now let’s talk about “Beyond The Breakers”. The album tells the story of its own creation, right?

That's the way it is. I turned my soul outside and processed all the melancholy and sadness from that time in metaphors. 'Evermore' was the first song - it came from a poem and the dream in front of the fire. The most important song, the staple of the album, is 'Ballad Of The Dead Rabbit'. This also contains the core message of the record: hope. Our memories are like the light of the stars that shines out there forever. This thought has brought me peace in the darkest times.

 

You are a very visual artist who spends a lot of time in nature, as can be seen from your website diaries. Is that the source of your inspiration?

Yes, I could never live in the city long-term and have now found a house in the canyons again. I simply love this area and was a landscape photographer for many years. Most of the lyrics came to me while I was sitting by the Pacific, near the house that burned down.

 

The graphics for the album are all yours too?

»Yes, I actually wanted to become a fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta was my role model, but I just didn't have the necessary talent. That's why I dropped out of art school, concentrated on music and later took singing and guitar lessons. At the same time, I have always been fascinated by computer technology. Thanks to photography, I have mastered Photoshop and have gradually developed my own technique with the help of some new AI tools. Lord Jules or Julius Ströhlein, a Hamburg artist friend, contributed a lot to the graphics for the novel, which can be seen on the website.

 

You put the album on your homepage for free download last summer. Isn't the financial aspect important to you?

Money was never the motivation, I just wanted to share the album and I'm grateful for how it was received, especially by you in Europe. The best compliment of all came via email from a man who wrote that listening to the album and looking at the website artwork made him feel like a twelve-year-old child again. That’s more important to me than money could ever be.

 

A little digression: What is the Ramsay/Evermore project, which is featured on your website with three songs?

I met Scott Ramsay during the recording of “Beyond The Breakers” when I was looking for a guitarist through an ad. I liked the music he sent me so much that I decided to sing on it. After the third piece I had to make the decision to let it rest for the time being to finish “Beyond The Breakers”. I'm not sure what will happen to the Ramsey/Evermore songs, but I think we'll finish the record at some point. DIAMONDS HADDER currently have priority.

 

The remastered “Beyond The Breakers” album is scheduled to be released on double vinyl and CD by No Remorse in the spring, accompanied by two videos for “Long Is The Road” and “Ballad Of The Dead Rabbit”. What can we expect?

Art doesn't stop with music. The videos are elaborately produced and full of details. I also immortalized Doctor Metal Mike Gonsalves, my great DJ hero from the legendary radio show “Metal Zone” (who died in the fire at the nightclub “The Station” in Rhode Island in 2003 – lk). The recorded version of the album should be something valuable that you can lose yourself in, with a gatefold cover and lots of photos from my life - a complete package that you'll enjoy pulling out of the record shelf, listening to and looking at again and again, just like I used to I was immersed in the cover of “Awaken The Guardian” and Fates Warning singer John Arch’s lyrics.

 

There was always a certain amount of mystery surrounding Arch, even if he didn't wear a mask like you.

He is a magician for me, his lyrics and vocal melodies are unique. I grew up in New England, where Fates Warning are from, and bought "...Guardian" the day it was released, but never saw John on stage. That still bothers me to this day. You can count yourself lucky in Germany that you were able to experience these shows by Arch/Matheos and Fates Warning at Keep It True.

 

Unfortunately, the mystery has largely been lost in the music business.

Social media has demystified a lot of things, including in metal. I don't completely reject the channels, I'm also active on YouTube and a little on Instagram. But I would never want to see John Arch eating a hamburger, if you know what I mean. My home that will never burn down is my website.«

 

When can we see you live with DIAMONDS HADDER?

I'm currently in the process of putting a band together. There are currently two requests from German underground festivals for autumn 2024. I really want to make this possible and put on shows that do the album justice.

 

What is your idea of an appropriate live show? The album screams grandeur and opulence.

I have big ideas for Hadder's live show. And like the record, it's only a matter of time before I get it all together. We will see…

 









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diamonds hadder deaf forever magazine germany interview

Image: A still from the 408 dayz.


Good morning. The owl is talking to me… “rise and shine johnny, fire up the war room, Fire up the War room!!!” Each morning I now cross a creeky wooden stairway descending the twisted oaks to the canyon floor. As I walk I hear the great owl hooting in the darkness. He knows something is coming, as I do as well. Lets talk a bit about Diamonds Hadder.


408: I feel like I’m living in a dream. It’s a quiet calm that’s fallen on me here at the oaks. Boxes and trinkets and wires are all spread out in strange rooms and I’m trying desperately to complete the vinyl artwork amongst the ruins of my move. This week I’ve settled into the final stages of the Photo college I’ve been designing for the insert. Images are thrown about my pine floors… ink jet light cards documenting the years I spent making the breakers record… coated in soot and ash from my nightly living room campfires. It’s a collection of images spanning the life of the record. I don’t really have a choice but to do this. Last night I was watching a documentary on “Mutt” lange and I was reminded that the things I’m doing now, the art for the vinyl, the process, the time spent… it’s all for the cause of this record. Although I’m very humbled and emotionally grateful for anyone who listens to it, this record is for me, I’m not making it for you. Sometimes we can get lost in what we think we’re doing. The initial reason can get blurred over time because we just want things to be done sometimes. Let’s face it, it’s just so damn hard to stay the course on a dream over extended period of time. Time is a real killer. However, although I feel like I’m trapped in the calm and solitary moments of quiet art under my new oaks, I do see a pleasant storm coming this spring and so I must batten down the hatches so to say, soon. This week I arrived at memory lane, down by the 408 images. What an interesting time that was during the record. There are things that happened at that time that I wont really ever discuss, but I will say it was one of the most productive moments of the breakers record in terms of tracking. It was there that I reopened the original version of the “Ballad of Dead Rabbit”. The original version was recorded in the home I lost to the fire. When I first played it in that tower, it spoke to me. Those vocals I recorded in that room downstairs that was now lost. I soloed the tracks and could almost here the room and house in the faint background noise of the track. It was like a ghost talking to me, Mr Evermore perhaps, as I think he was around me a lot back then. I was a bit troubled at the 408. Skirting the line between reality and a man who possibly was going mad. Luckily I had a purpose, “The Breakers”. I recorded “City of Fire”, “Rivers End” and the initial stages of the new “Dead Rabbit” re-write there at the 408. I also shot and edited the video for stargazer, recorded the Ramsay/Evermore tracks and wrote most of the novel there. It truly was a tower of inspiration. My own Frankenstein. By the end of my time at the 408, I was certainly confused as to what the hell I was doing, and ready for a place where I could step away and gain some new insights and perspective on what I had created up until them. That was when I moved to the LEX and finished up “Long is the Road and my re-write of the “Dead Rabbit”.


New Patterns: Well like I said a few weeks ago, the new seeds I’ve planted are starting to sprout. It’s a very small start to something I sense will soon overtake the floor bed here under the oaks. I’m back at the pacific, tracking the makings of breakers #2 during my morning ride into the city, much like I did when I started “Evermore”. My voice feels like a witching rod, leading me to new phrases and words and ideas by the hour. My days are filled with choirs and harmonies while my nights are spent chopping wood and filtering images for the vinyl insert. I’m now in the throughs of something special. Although the graphics computers are alive and well and computing, my war room is still powered off. I’m waiting for a few new pieces of hardware needed to fire it all up. It’s there I’ll finish up the music videos for the Breakers record. The new tower is fairly grand compared to the LEX. I have a tall roof now with true firelight and 4 moon windows above me. Windows for the great owl who I hope will impart some wisdom through his peering eyes. He sits on the arms of the oaks as I work. My own canyon Bubo.


The Cave:


Lyndear “John, there’s one more thing I should show you. I don’t really advertise it, but your welcome to use it.”


John “Ok, what is it?”


Lyndear “Let’s take a walk. When I was building this place, I wanted to have an area away from the house, a special place to store things and to work on projects. Me an Tom we decided to dig into the mountain and create a room nestled in the earth. We framed it with concrete and filled it back with dirt on the outsides when we were done with the foundation. We did our best but the water still seemed to find its way into the room so we eventually abandoned the idea of it. Oh, here it is… watch your step.”


(John and Lyndear come upon a large red door protruding from the mountain slope. A cave like doorway flat against the canyon wall leading to a secret room cut into the earth of the mountain. John opens the doorway and walks in with a little smirk on his face.)


John “Hmmm.. interesting space… “do rea me fa soooooo”… it has great acoustics. Does the electric work?”


Lyndear “No. At one time it did but it hasn’t worked in years. We tried a few things to see if we could stop the water from getting in but we gave up on it. Your welcome to do what you want with it.”


(John’s eyes were gleaming in the dark, the reflection of the red doorway could be seen in his irises. A sneaky grin crossed his lips as his gears were turning so fast you could almost see smoke pouring out of his ears. He turned to lyn and said.)


John “I think I might have a use for such a room. Perhaps in the spring.”


Well that’s all for now. I’m close to releasing the Vinyl artwork. A few twists and turns now and I’ll get back to my videos for the breakers record while the manufacturing elves do their things inside the closing weeks of winter.

Farewell

-J










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