Chimneyside Chats with Voltagehawk

Graphic created by Lucas Seidel Design

Gather 'round the open fire for Chimneyside Chats - a monthly feature with holiday stories from our favorite artists. See what's in their stockings this year as they reminisce on Christmas memories, share their favorite recipe and more! Here's what Voltagehawk drummer Jarrad James had to say: 

So, our Christmas tale is about a very strange way to start a label relationship. When we got signed to put out our first record, the label had only heard one demo. That demo on its own had a crazy story: We got invited to record on the tail end of someone's leftover studio time, which is common. What's not common is how we paid for the time. The guy told us to come hang out and bring some stuff to party with. We loaded into a very famous female country singer's huge studio (to remain nameless) on a Sunday night late at like 11:30 p.m. and tracked until like 2:30 a.m. on Monday. So we ended up paying for that single with a couple 40s, an old dusty Adderall and a set of brass knuckles. The label did not know this.

When they put us into the studio that summer, we began working on our debut EP, and around August they told us they would be releasing an "ugly Christmas sweater" compilation of Christmas song covers. They let us pick first. I asked them if we had to, and they said it would be rude if we said no, so, I went to the boys and told 'em if we are doing this, we are picking the worst fucking song possible...Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You'.' Man, that song is annoying. Good, but so annoying.

So they put us with another engineer/producer we didn't really know, and paid him 600 bucks to get the song done. He had a home studio with a cool huge API console, and the house had been a home studio for one of the guys in Toto or some shit, not an original member, like the fill in drummer. He had a cool set up, but we needed to get into the spirit. So our label manager went over and decorated his whole studio in Christmas decorations in the middle of August. Things were going pretty well with tracking, but Dan started feeling weird.

He had taken a nap on the couch in the lounge, and when he woke up he was all red and couldn't really talk. He had taken a nap in a puddle of cat piss. Guess Dan is allergic to cat piss. So when he goes to sing, his throat can't even open. He roughed through a scratch take. We went out on a smoke break, and he reeked of piss. like, fresh hot cat piss, man. We rescheduled to re-track vocals with the dude, so that we could get a cleanish take. When we went back, Dan would run in and sing real quick and then bail ASAP. We felt horrible and didn't wanna mention to the guy that his place smelled like cat piss. We tried to keep it professional and just make Dan need a lot of smoke breaks outside.

We got through the tracking and got the thing done, and decided it needed a video. So we called our buddy Perry who does Rig Rundown, told him we wanted to shoot our mutual friend Hunter who does this Satan Claws character making a zombie bride. We got creative and shot the video for like 300 bucks, which was mostly makeup and fake blood budget and green screen paint.

When we turned in the video, the label HATED it. They were like "No way" on the Satan Claws idea. Apparently a made up evil version of a made up Saint Nick character that has nothing to do with the Bible is 'sacrilegious' to a melting pot holiday that was originally based on evil Krampus shit in the first place. Go figure, lol.

We put it out anyway. They tried to drop us from then on, and we recently just got the rights back to all that music, so now you get to enjoy some cat piss drenched holiday cheer!

Learn more about Voltagehawk and listen to their cover of "All I Want for Christmas is You" on our Chimneyside Chats playlist!