By Dj Dave Hoffenberg
A lot has happened with Hamjob since my first article four years ago. They’re playing monthly this winter at the Nite Spot in Killington on Dec. 27, Jan. 11, Feb. 22 and March 21. Plus, there’s a bonus Moguls appearance March 14. They’re also playing this Friday at Center Street Alley in Rutland. All shows start at 9 p.m.
This time I got to talk to Zack Jepson (bass, vocals) and Alex Abraham (drums). Connor McGinnis (guitar) rounds out this super trio.
Alex Abraham said you really need to see a full show to be able to grasp all their music. They get asked a lot to describe it and Abraham said, “I could give 100 different answers to 100 different people.” The music they play is a wide variety. Abraham added, “There’s a lot of funk, a lot of reggae and a lot of blues. Then some jazzy soul, hip hop, rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass and a little metal and even some polka. We try and cover every end of the spectrum and make music that’s not so much a genre but a feeling. If it feels good, it sounds good and you dig it, there’s a little something for everybody in there. There’s parts of our songs where the metalheads will love this and then the jazz crowd, the funky people and the jam band kind of folk will get into stuff and it’s all part of the same song. That’s the fun part about this.”
Jepsen said, “We really feed off the crowd and the energy of the room. If we walk in and it’s crazy, it will stay crazy. Our genres may change and the music too but the energy of the music is always in your face. We could be playing a slow song but it’s going to come around and hit you with something to make you dance, jump around or scream.”
The band’s major influence is Primus and that’s who they’ve been compared to. They share many similarities like being a three piece with the bass player as the lead singer. They’ve played whole Primus sets before.
The band started in 2013, split up a couple years ago and now is back and making more music together. They have a digital album out on all the online platforms and been shooting some music videos that you can find on YouTube. They’re back in the studio working on their second album, which will come out in 2020. Abraham said, “We’re more excited about that than playing shows.”
They played their first gig at the Nite Spot two weeks ago and it was a great show. Abraham said, “We were all pleasantly surprised by the turnout. It was fantastic. It was a great combo of the locals and the out-of-towners.”
Jepsen added, “We only had a week to advertise so didn’t know who could make it out but it was a great Saturday night in Killington. We’ve cultivated a strong local following that should keep coming once a month. It’s a great spot, too.”
Jepsen runs the Open Mic at the Alley, which happens this Wednesday, Dec. 18, and then the last Wednesday of the month (Jan 29 and Feb 26.) He took it over after Steve Audsley passed away. Jepsen said, “It means a lot to me to keep the tradition going. Open Mic was the first place we played as a band so it’s cool for me to be able to host that and pass it along and provide that opportunity for others in the area.”
Hamjob owes a lot to Audsley. He was the one in the owner’s ear, pushing her to hire them.
I asked Abraham what he likes most about Hamjob and he said, “everything.” It’s in your best interest to see their show. You won’t be disappointed.
Abraham added, “If I wasn’t doing this, I would probably have to explain why I have so many face tattoos.” He has a tattoo that says “Party” right across his cheek. Not many people can get away with the face tattoo… but he can.
What Abraham really likes is the social aspect of things. He said, “Making friends along the way is my favorite part. People in different towns and states, it’s fun.” He also said playing with Jepsen and McGinnis is the best/worst thing in the world. He added, “They’re my best friends, 100% and we’ve been through a lot of stuff together. Sometimes it’s so great and sometimes it’s a mess. Sometimes we argue but don’t let it go further. Accept it for what it is. These guys are the best time I’ve ever had working with people.”
Jepsen also really likes working with the guys. “There’s such an original aspect of the three of us working together, getting in a room and making music together. The process of that is what keeps me going back. I’ll write a song whether we’re going to perform it or not. The writing process is what’s important.”
I asked him for a favorite he’s written and he said laughing, “No they all suck.” He loves the effect their music has on people and added, “You play a song and everyone’s smiling and dancing. They have a surprised look on their faces because they weren’t expecting to have such a good time. It’s hard not to feel good about what you’re doing after experiencing that.”