Latest updates:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. Please join or login if you have joined before.

MT @ Facebook

Not logged in

Users online

57 guests

Welcome to our newest member, willtravers

Hittman's Dirk Kennedy: "I think it's time we finished the sentence. We had so much promise and never delivered on it because of the powers that be…"

Interview with Dirk Kennedy from Hittman
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 20 August 2020, 12:40 AM

Wow, it has been a while, and to be honest, even though some might say the timing isn't that hot, needless to say that their comeback was needed. The 80s Heavy Metal starlets, Hittman, return to the Metal scene bounded by their past heritage, sending a message that their will be done, the 80s will return, and strong. Due to the comeback album, "Destroy All Humans", signed to the Greek No Remorse Records, Steinmetal had the privilege to talk to vocalist Dirk Kennedy about the past, the return, the new album, the current scene and more…

Hello Dirk, it is amazing to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

We’re doing very well, thank you, considering the pandemic.

So, as it would seem, it would take a reissue of what has been known as a classic, I might even add an iconic, debut album, and a successful appearance at one of Germany’s strongest old school Metal festivals for Hittman to return to the scene officially? Other reasons that helped you decide that it was the right time to return and show your worth once more?

We had already felt the creative juices flowing before the Keep It True Festival. But that cemented the feeling of acceptance for the band, an exceptional experience. Once we started writing, we knew we had much to offer and it felt fresh and wonderful to be back writing those kinds of songs.

Let’s do a little recap please, what exactly happened to Hittman after the release of your sophomore, "Vivas Machina" that led to the disbandment of the band?

Well, we toured in Europe as you know. We felt we were making great strides but in the end. We didn’t get the label support of the booking agencies to place us on tours or festivals. This led to not much happening, no steam, no movement. So we just kind of drifted apart.

Were there any contemplations if the band would be returning mainly for shows and rather not writing new material or were you all set that it was a full time return to action on all fronts?

First it was just the nostalgia, but Jimmy and I decided to write and see if we had anything to say.  So a decision was made early on to come back fully.

Coming back to the Metal scene after so many years, and watching what has been going on whether in your local American Metal scene or in Europe, how do you see Hittman fitting in with its view for the old school?

As far as I know, the metal scene in the USA has been dead for ages. Kids listen to Hip-Hop and only till recent times have they discovered the older music and embraced metal again. It's really picking up and I think it might have a bright future. I think the style we play is very much classic. Metal. So, it's not part of a past. Power metal will always live, it's pure.

As a comeback album, Hittman is releasing “Destroy All Humans”, portraying that things aren’t really going well, and apparently, if we won’t be careful it is going to be even worse. First of all, before I dwell with you on the content of the album, how did it feel to sit down with the guys and write the tunes? How did it feel to record again after all these years?

The title track is really the only song that deals with the subject matter. It was basically a contemplation of the state of American politics with a slight Sci-Fi edge. It was exciting to be working with my Hittman family again. It was instantly comfortable and we were very productive.

Did those times in the studio raise any memories of the past, back in the band’s earlier days when you started recording your material? Was it like a closure?

Always. We were a band that made albums in big expensive studios. Tape machines, analogue. So today its all-digital and somewhat isolating as were not always in the same place but deliver the music over the internet. It's not the same, but we were on the phone all the time talking and using face-time. We're all over the US, so that was the only way to do it. John and I live nearby so he came to my studio, Jimmy did his thing in LA and Greg came to his.

With a rather bleak view of mankind’s future, a subject that was selected to be the main stage of “Destroy All Humans”, I sense that you aren’t certain that we will be staying here for a while aren’t you? Is our destruction imminent, pretty much like in the Terminator movies? To be crushed by robots, our own creation?

Something like that, listen, that song has a message. If we don’t take a hold of our leaders and check them, they will try to grab as much power as they can especially now with the current administration. We need to put humanity first. Money and power rules too much of this planet.

Generally, is it just lack of realization or mankind just simply likes to dash forward towards its own demise? What is your view on that?

It’s the Fermi-Paradox. Why haven't we detected other intelligent species in the universe? Because it's likely we will destroy ourselves before we achieve the ability to do so. Sure, they exist, but never in the same Point in time.

With Hittman showing high quality US Metal prospect back in the 80s, continuing to an extent in the early 90s, “Destroy All Humans” might be a continuance of the debut album, yet its modernized freshness also makes it somewhat different. Has something changed in your perception towards Metal music that led to some of the creations on the new album? Would you call it a kind of progress, a milestone made?

Actually the opposite happened. We didn’t listen to modern productions, or styles. So, in essence, we just continued with what would have happened in between the debut and "Vivas Machina". We went for a classic production without all the modern digital enhancements. Most records today. The vocals are so loud and compressed; the music takes a back seat. We wanted this album to sound like it was 1988, Big, rich and expansive.

What would you say influenced you guys while in the songwriting process? Any modern outputs that also led you to fractions of music within your old school doctrine?

We made a pact. Only our original influences would be present on this album. The bands that made us want to be a band in the first place. So nothing after 1990. So it's Maiden, Queensryche, MSG, KISS, Sabbath. The bands that influenced us.

With the experience that you have as a songwriter, would you say that you implemented lessons of the past within “Destroy All Humans”, took things to the next level?

Yes!! While it's never smart to say this is our “best” album, its ok to say, "hey, I’m a better songwriter and have more musical knowledge at my disposal" and that is true.  We’re better at our craft. But not as young. Being young makes you fearless and that's what we tried to achieve, to find the fearlessness in the music. "Vivas Machina" was the result of many years of musical experimentation. Orchestra, cinema etc. This is pure Power Metal on a grand scale. So next level? I hope so

The two old songs re-recorded, “Code Of Honor” and “Out In The Cold” were easily made, as the direction of the music told the tale right from the get go. Were those considered demos that never saw the light of day? Why weren't those included on the debut self-titled as those could have been good bangers back in the day?

Who knows, maybe the label, us not sure. But both of those songs were to be on “precision killing” the supposed 2nd album we never got the chance to make. We were put on ice by the label and couldn’t record for 4 years. If we had made a new album in a timely fashion, believe me these songs would have been on there. We resurrected them as a tribute to Michael and because they're so good. They needed to be heard. And there are more too.

 “The Ledge” is what I recognized as your calling card displaying modern driven Metal with bits of Hard Rock / AOR, catchy and marketable. Do you believe that songs like this one could work no matter the era they are released in? Btw, your vocal performance is simply exceptional on this number

Well, thank you. Hittman always had the ability to write catchy songs. It was a part of our appeal. Yes, its classic metal, but it's also radio friendly. We love catchy melodic music. It's part of our DNA.

The closing tune, “Love, ‘The Assassin’” is a picture of your ambition to strive beyond your origins. This song gathers the release’s antics and overall direction, which at the end is no less than diverse. What is your take on this song?

"Love, The Assassin" is a song we had to make because it was collaborative. John and I got together with Greg and Jai in NYC and jammed it. I recorded a video of it and got to work, it was harder to write because all the pieces didn’t fit and had to be constructed. I then sat down with John and we mapped it out. I worked so hard on that one because I knew I would be proud of it. Then we sent it to jimmy and he added his stamp and Voila, a real collaboration. It was rewarding. It's also very cinematic. I love that, it's my favorite song on the album.

With all that has been going on with Covid-19, I guess that time is what you have in plenty in order to start writing your next release. Is there such a plan to use the time while it is not possible to perform live for the moment?

We have a lot of songs that didn’t make this album, not because they weren't good enough, it's because we knew we’d be making another one and some songs felt like the next one. We’re always working on things and the dialog is open to all for new things.

Do you see Hittman going forward in the coming years, trying to ascertain some of its 80s glory, while also touring Europe for instance?

I think it's time we finished the sentence. We had so much promise and never delivered on it because of the powers that be. Well, now we all control our own destinies and we can make it happen with hard work and resolve. I really hope to play all the big festivals, maybe get a shot at Opening for a big band (Hello Steve Harris!) so we can bring the music to the people.

Dirk, it was a sheer pleasure to have you. I was glad to know that you guys are back, and your return was made fruitful with a great release. Cheers sir.

Thank you so much, its so nice to chat and we’re looking forward to bigger and better things. Here’s to 2021 may the touring be plentiful and the music divine. Cheers



You do not have permission to rate

Metal Temple © 2000-2014
Yiannis Mitsakos

Designed, Implemented and Hosted by PC Green