Ramonda Hammer is an up and coming grunge-pop band based out of LA. Lead singer and songwriter, Devin Davis was gracious enough to help us get to know the band and what we can expect from them in 2016. Davis’s lyrics are angsty and honest while her band mates, Andy Hengl (bass), Justin Geter (guitar), and Danny Louangxay (drums) back her with energetic, boisterous riffs and beats.
Lemonade Magazine: Hey! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us! Let’s start with the basics – how did Ramonda Hammer get its start?
Devin: In the Summer of 2014, I got fired from a pretty lame office job in Orange County because they didn’t sense my “dedication to the team.” They weren’t wrong, they were just assholes. Anyway, I had been writing a lot of songs about a break-up and my overwhelming depression in the time leading up to that and I just wanted to start a band that could be as loud as my feelings. I decided to move to Los Angeles and I immediately met Andy, as we both moved into the same art compound on the same day. He’s definitely the best musician I’ve ever worked with. He just gets me and what I want out of a song. When Danny and Justin joined last summer, we quickly became this eclectic little family who feel lots of feelings and perform the shit out of them.
LM: Happy coincidences are the best! It sounds like you guys have a blast together. For our readers who don’t know, the name Ramonda Hammer is one of the participants from the reality show, Cheaters. Your upcoming video for “Goddamn Idiot” is based on the same show. (You can check out my review of their video for “Goddamn Idiot” here!) What is it about the show that has inspired so much about your band?
Devin: The show is kind of ridiculous and extremely fascinating. I’m really into analyzing human behavior, so the show itself, as well as the fact that people were so drawn to watch the show, makes for a good case study. “Ramonda Hammer” also just rolls of the tongue well, and it’s a perfectly unique and memorable band name with an amusing story behind it.
With the “Goddamn Idiot” video, I kind of wanted to do something more serious because the Paris attacks had just happened and I was so fucking angry, but when Andy and I were throwing ideas around, he mentioned reality TV and then we both were like “DUDE, CHEATERS!” It’s a comedic way to make a greater point, and it’s a clever introduction to the band. Plus, we have a much more serious music video coming out for our second single “If, Then” later this year.
LM: Humans really are fascinating aren’t they? I can’t wait to see and hear what more you have in store! What other things – musically or otherwise – inspire the band and the band’s grunge-pop sound?
Devin: Although I know we share similar music tastes, everyone comes from very different backgrounds so I can really only speak for myself. I was a young girl in the 90s so I listened to a lot of pop music at first, but then I got really into alternative rock and grunge, but of course you can never un-hear pop music. Plus, the grittier music I listen to is still borderline pop anyways – Nirvana, the Pixies, Pavement, Modest Mouse, etc. Good lyrics are what get me and I love the sound of the human voice when it’s breaking. I’m also inspired by stories; a good film will often make me go home and write a new song.
LM: Speaking of new music, you guys recently wrapped up a Kickstarter campaign for you first studio album, Whatever That Means. How was that experience for you guys?
Devin: It was a LOT of work. It turned out to be very rewarding for us, but it was so stressful during the actual campaign. I’m so grateful for everyone who supported us, but I definitely don’t want to relive that ever again.
Devin: The album is full of angsty anthems, and with the order of the songs, it’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster. Since this is our first album, I can’t really compare it to anything we’ve done previously. We’re just super excited to finally share these recordings and get people feeling some feelings away from our live sets.
LM: From what I’ve heard on “Goddamn Idiot,” I can’t wait to go on that rollercoaster with you. Can we expect to see Ramonda Hammer on tour any time soon?
Devin: Yes! In June we will go up and down the west coast. Tour dates should be announced soon on our website www.RamondaHammer.com.
LM: How exciting! I hope to see you up in Seattle! Where are your dream tour destinations and who would you love to tour with?
Devin: I think I speak for the whole band when I say a European tour would be amazing! For me personally, it would be awesome to tour with Bully; they are one of my favorite new bands.
LM: Fingers crossed for Europe! To wrap things up, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Devin: This is so cliché but so true – DON’T GIVE UP! Seriously, musicians often fail because they quit when things get hard or when there’s some sort of lull. Your relationship with the music industry is like any other relationship, it needs your constant time, attention, and compromise. Keep reinventing if something isn’t working, but never give up.
LM: Great advice, not only for musicians but for anyone passionate about something! Thank you again for chatting with us!
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