Interview date

March 2007


Yann G


Hi, thanks a lot for accepting this interview for the french metal webzine http://www.auxportesdumetal.com/.
First of all can you please present us the band HYDROGYN ?

(Jeff Westlake) My name is Jeff Westlake on guitars. Here are Jeff Boggs on guitars, Chris Sammons on bass and backing vocals, Josh Kitchen on drums, Julie on vocals. We were joined in 2004, Julie comes from a country band. In Spring 2005 we contacted by Michael Waegener to produce what we call our professional debut release called "Bombshell" and in summer 2005 we recorded and mixed "Bombshell". In spring 2006 "Bombshell" was presented on our website. The official release in United States was Halloween on October 31st. That's a quick version :-))

What kind of musical trainings did each member of the band follow ?

(Julie Westlake) Vocally I had no training. Just, I grew up singing but any professional training I haven't.
(JW)Me personally, I never had a lesson, nothing for me, I'm self taught.
(Jeff Boggs)Self taught with some school.
(Josh Kitchen)For me, I had no training.
(Chris Sammons)Self taught.

How would you define the Hydrogyn metal ?

(JW)We are a melodic metal band. Everything is heavy, that's the music. We attend to have our own sound.

What are the themes developed in the lyrics of "BOMBSHELL" ?

(Julie W) Our lyrics are based on our personal life experiences. The majority of songs on Bombshell have something to do with friendships or past relationships or just life in general.

I would compare Julie's voice with Doro's one and also with Kali's one (the girl singing on THE IMMIGRANT project with Jennifer Batten). Do you agree with me ? Did I forget some other ones ?

(Julie W) A lot of people compare me with Doro.
(Jeff W) I don't compare Julie with Doro. I can't see any similarities between the two, I do see a big resemblance with Pat Benatar. Julie and Doro come from 2 different areas, their approach is different. If I listen to Doro then to Julie, I definitively don't hear the same style of vocal. I would take Julie's voice more from a running Dio type thing, more power melodic driven. Of course she doesn't sound like Dio, but she's in that kind of style. If I had to compare her tone and her style, I would compare it definitively to Pat Benatar.

HYDROGYN plays in a traditional hard-rock of the 80s. Do you think that it is now the time for the return to this kind of hard-rock (following Koritni, Rose Tattoo releases...) ?

(JB) I think it's a resurgance, it's not necessarily a return to the 80s, I think it's more a return to power rock, metal rock.
(Jeff W)I don't want to sound negative but if you actually listen to Bombshell, it's got some flavourings from the 80s but it has very modern sound but as Jeff said, I do think that this kind of music that's coming back will ever be the same as it was, no chance at all. This kind of music is coming back but it will never be as it was. We see that it's coming back via the resurgance of Dio in the last 10 years, Whitesnake came back from nowhere again, Iron Maiden since their reform, Judas Priest... Also with Koritni and Krokus, people want to come back to great groovy metal music.

How did you get to the idea of the cover of BOMBSHELL showing a "bomb" in sexy clothes ? Was it a mean to attract machos coming from the metal audience (Manowar fans :-)) ?

(Jeff W) Julie is the sexy lady :-)))
(Julie W) I think that everything that attracts attention is good whether it's positive or negative. People can think we are a crappy band who sucks but not. Of course we wanted a cover that was eye-catching.

You are an american band. How would you compare metal in Europe and in USA in a band perspective ? And in an audience perspective ?

(Jeff W) American metal is crap, that's my own opinion. It's all about who can make the most noise or talk about Satan during an entire album. I love metal that makes sense, I'm a Motorhead fan but at the same time I like things like Nightwish, I like Disturbed, I'm not gonna play a music that'll be popular today but not popular tomorrow.
I play the music that I wanna play. I think that the european metal is stronger because you've still bands like Whitesnake or Saxon who play great music on a consistent basis.
But in America, a band that's being heard on this year won't be heard next year. That's why we've decided to concentrate our promotion on the european market.
I would like to be bigger in my own country but there's no metal scene in America, it doesn't exist ! For example you have bands who sell 10000 records, but it's nothing because we are 3 times the population of Europe in the USA.

Did you already promote BOMBSHELL in the USA ? Do you have a first feedback on the success of the sales ?

(Julie W) We started promoting in USA first. Basically we released Bombshell to the whole world thanks to the Internet.
(Jeff W) In July 2006 Underclass emailed us to propose us a deal for the distribution on the french territory and since there, the dominos started falling everywhere.

If you had to choose 3 CDs released in 2006, which ones would you choose ?

(All) We don't know...
(Jeff W) Nothing impressed me this year, we're so busy with the band, we can't listen so much.

Ok, let's change the question. Can each member of the band tell us his 3 preferred CDs ?

(Jeff W)1. Accept : Breaker
2. Black Sabbath : Mob Rules
3. Michael Schenker : The Soul Attack
(Julie W) I can't be so specific, I have no idea. I grew up with country, it's very weird from me because I'm lot like a lot of people who buy a lot of albums all the time. I'm very rarely to go to music stores to buy albums.
(Jeff W)Julie has a total different perspective from the other members of the band. When she's writing a sound, it's totally fresh.
(Julie W) I think the latest CD I bought was Josh Grovan. He's a male singer who has a phenomenal voice.
(Chris) 1. Dio : Live Inferno
2. Kiss : Revenge
3. Aerosmith : Nine Lives
(Josh) 1. Primus : Sailing The Seals Of Cheese
2. Kansas : Power
3. Pantera : Vulgar Display Of Power
(Jeff B) 1. AC/DC : Black In Black
2. Judas Priest : Scream For Vengeance
3. Van Halen : 1

You're going to tour with Koritni. What do you think of Koritni's latest CD ?

(Julie W) We've recently heard their stuff on Myspace.
(Jeff W) Good band with strong AC/DC influences ! It will be interesting on stage because we're two different kinds of rock.

You're not so much different, am I wrong ?

(Jeff W) What you see is live, what you hear on Bombshell is not live.
(Julie W) It's totally different live, it's much heavier as on the album !
(Jeff W) And we changed also a lot of arrangements live !

Do you plan to record a live DVD ?

(Julie W) Today we have a DVD shot during the "Strip'Em Blind Tour" that we did in the strip clubs in the US. It's a real cool show.

Is it already released ?

(Julie W) It's available for a pay-per-view online. It'll be released on April, 8th. You can see it right now on our website by paying and downloading it, like streaming.

Would you have some words for the french readers who still don't know HYDROGYN ? How would you convince them to buy Bombshell ?

(Jeff W) Look at the cover :-) !!
(Julie W) It's a good album, you can't ask for a better production. Michael did an excellent job, the music is good. My advice is : Come to see us live, it sounds better and different than the album !
(Jeff W) Music is as good as the cover !

Thanks a lot for your collaboration !