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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hammered Satin - "Velvet Vortex"

"Velvet Vortex" is the sophomore full length by the Los Angeles based Hammered Satin. The album is released on Dead Beat Records and is a huge improvement compared to their first album, Glamorama.

Gone are the hard rock influences. The addition in the band of Elizabeth Boyd who took over on guitar and Victor Penalosa on drums had a very positive influence on the new sound of the band that is now embracing a more Junkshop Glam and Bubblegum direction.

This new album is a real rock'n'roll masterpiece displaying one catchy tune after another and it'll keep you humming the songs for hours and hours.

It was time for yours truly to have a very enlightening conversation with lead vocalist -and also  record collector- Noah Wallace.  

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about Hammered Satin to introduce yourselves? How long are you together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays?

Hammered Satin started in Los Angeles California in late 2010 with Dan Sandvick on Bass and Conor Berhle on guitar. Our first album "Glamorama" was released in 2013. We had more of a 70's hard rock fused with glam sound with our original lead guitarist Conor on the first album. I started to push the band in a more Junkshop Glam and Bubblegum direction like my first two bands, Teachers Pet and S’cool Girls, when Hammered Satin started doing a few 7” 45 singles after Glamorama.

You see, I’m a record collector and I’ve been collecting what is now known as “Junkshop Glam” or
“Proto Punk”. I have amassed a few thousand 45’s of 70’s Glam and late 60’s Bubblegum and have been collecting since the 1990’s when it was simply known as “Glitter Rock” or “70’s Glam”. Mostly European bands.

Anyways, Teachers Pet started in the late 90’s and covered groups like Milk N Cookies, Hello, Kenny, the Boys (UK) and Stanley Frank. Then in the 2000’s S’cool Girls covered Iron Virgin, Angel (UK glam original one), Hello etc. There is even a version of Angels “Little Boy Blue”, which was written by Andy Scott and Mick Tucker of the Sweet, on the S’cool Girls EP. 

Anyways, long story short, Conor left the band and moved back to Baltimore after being in the band for 8 or so years. My girlfriend, Elizabeth Boyd, took over on guitar. About a year ago Victor Penalosa who is also in the Zeros and formerly played in the Flamin’ Groovies, took over on drums. Now the only two original members are Dan Sandvick and I. Don Bolles of the Germs, Celebrity Skin and Ariel Pink etc has been singing backup vocals for us at live gigs and sings backups on a few tracks on the ‘Velvet Vortex’ album.

2) About the newly released full length record "Velvet Vortex",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?

Yeah, the bass and drums were live with scratch tracks of rhythm guitar and vocals. We recorded that to analog tape. We added overdubs of other instruments and vocals after we got the foundation tracks. Dan also played Moog Synth on a few tracks. Beth did some slide guitar overdubs tuned to the Glitter Band tuning with a fuzz pedal. I asked John Rossall of the Glitter Band, he’s on Facebook, how to get the tuning and he told me! There’s footstomps and handclaps and vibraslaps and tambourine. Jonny Bell the engineer played a Farfisa organ on a few tracks to get an authentic Bubblegum sound.

The big difference this time was working with an Engineer who actually listened to me and did research on YouTube of Junkshop Glam singles. He not only knew how to get all the right drum and guitar tones, he actually had a lot of vintage recording gear.

3) Do you consider it should be foolish not to use the nowadays recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

We did a blend of both. It makes the process go faster. Which is helpful when you have to cut corners on a budget. I think we recorded and mixed the entire album in 6 days. My vocals and double tracks were mostly first take so they aren’t perfect but I pulled it off. This album sounds more legit 70’s Glam than when we spent an entire month and 5 times the money!

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

I write the lyrics and the vocal melodies to the songs with basic chord structure on a guitar. The rest of the band writes things like guitar solos and contributes a lot to the composition and finished project that I could never do on my own as a musician.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

I keep it campy, fun, quirky and positive. People like Mike Chapman and Marc Bolan are my main lyrical and songwriting influences. But I like to think I have my own original twist on it. I’m also singing about modern day themes at times so it’s not completely retro throwback. But as 70’s Glam as I can possibly take it!

6) Hammered Satin are described as a "glam" band. Do you agree with this label? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that?

I’m proud of the Glam label. 70's glam is considered proto punk and influenced the entire punk movement. It was born out of the mod psych thing of the late 60’s. Glam also has a 50’s R'N'R throwback sound at times. Bands like Roxy Music also inspired new wave groups like Duran Duran etc. New Wave then sparked the indie rock movement. In my opinion 70’s Glam (NOT 80's) is the best overall genre if I had to choose. If people want to try and turn the word Glam into an insult then they usually are simply not well educated on the history of music. Another big misconception is when people think of the 80’s hair bands when they think of the word Glam. It’s two very different things. I like bands from all eras of music but Junkshop Glam or 70’s glam is my favorite.

7) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the LP?? 

We filmed a new video for the song ‘Planet Boogie’ off the new album a few months ago but it’s not finished being edited still. It’ll be out soon! Hopefully!

8) What can concert goers expect at a Hammered Satin gig? Are you playing any famous cover songs during the concert? 

Hammered Satin rarely does covers. We once did some Bowie songs just after he passed for a tribute gig. We believe in our original songs enough not to rely on covers. If we did do a cover it would be something Junkshop like Pantherman or Bonnie St. Claire etc.

9) Are there any bands in the USA today you consider yourself close to musically speaking?

Not exactly. There’s a few bands that sort of sound like it but they certainly don’t look the part and they may not even consider themselves “glam” anyway. As far as I know.

10) What are the plans for the rest of 2019 as far as Hammered Satin is concerned?

Right now we have some gigs in California. Tonight at Monty Bar in LA is our ‘Velvet Vortex’ Record Release Party at our monthly Junkshop Glam DJ night called Velvet Tinmine.
June 28th we play the Casbah in San Diego. July 5th we play the Burger Boogaloo pre party in Oakland and Eli’s Mile High Club. And July 18th at the Whiskey A Go Go with an original 70’s Glam band from LA called the Hollywood Stars. After that we might go back into the studio and record again. We were planning on touring Europe but it fell through. We’ll get back over there sooner or later!

11) Anything you wanna add?

You can order the ‘Velvet Vortex’ album on vinyl at

Thanks for the interview Eric!! All the best :) - Noah


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