Lovehammers: Set Fire From the Ground Up

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Chicago Alternative Rock Band Takes Music Making Into Their Own Hands

As one of Chicago’s favorite alternative rock bands, the Lovehammers took a more ‘hands on’ approach for their ‘lucky’ seventh album, Set Fire, scheduled for release on November 20th. For starters, the album’s artwork was recently chosen by band members Marty Casey, Dino Kourelis, Bobby Kourelis and Billy Sawilchik, who enlisted the help of fans by casting an open-call for designs this past summer.

After a multitude of submissions, it was the design of Shane Duncan and Lisa Edwards, co-founders of Monkey Wrench Studio, Inc. based in Glen Ellyn, Illinois that won the cover. As long time fans of the band, they were inspired by the Lovehammers’ gritty track “Into the Insane” and aimed to create a simple cover while incorporating the band’s existing symbolism.

With a sound best described as a combination of pop-punk with grunge influences, Lovehammers have headlined their own International Tours as well as support for bands/musicians such as Nickelback, INXS, Slash, Chevelle, KISS, Buckcherry, Theory of a Deadman and The Wallflowers. They have played to ‘sold out’ audiences in Chicago and have appeared LIVE on VH1 playing acoustic versions of their songs.

But making a ‘homegrown’ album required far more preparation, planning, creativity and insanity and the Lovehammers welcomed it all. They began by building and engineering their own studio, which is no small feat for a band whose been on the music scene for over two decades and always utilized an existing set up and outside influences to make their music.

Next, their focus was writing, recording and making the album come to life. “We built this album from the ground up - literally!” explains Dino Kourelis, “to avoid outside pressures and timelines, we built our own studio, and took our time, writing, recording and creating this album. It was a huge challenge, but the most fulfilling work we have ever done." While the Lovehammers did their own recording and producing, the mixing and mastering was left to Anthony Focx, a music pro whose worked with Aerosmith, Sick Puppies, Buckcherry, Metallica and Motley Crue.

“Set Fire is a bit of a new twist on the Lovehammers sound. So much was created in the studio as opposed to our traditional approach of jamming out different ideas over and over again. We are excited for people to hear this record!” explains Bobby Kourelis.

Set Fire will be the hardest hitting album the Lovehammers have ever delivered. No lyric was toned down because of a manager’s input, no guitar solo removed at the label’s request due to radio time constraints…together the band members worked incessantly for 18 months to create a group of songs that would blow their own minds. “I didn’t want this album to sound like anything we have done previously,” explains Casey, “personally I wanted to challenge myself in the writing process, making it a combination of both light and dark.”

“This record is the pure voice of the Lovehammers. The trick is to convey a song with conviction and authenticity and that’s a definite in our music because we really love what we do and it is important to get that passion across to the listener,” explains Sawilchik.

What began as a relationship on a baseball Little League team when they were nine years old has flourished into something no one could have imagined. It seems like yesterday when bass player Dino Kourelis was pretending his baseball bat was a guitar and drummer Bobby Kourelis was banging on batting helmets to jam a drum beat with Casey swinging from a chain-linked fence singing his favorite song. Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed.

Set Fire will be released on November 20th and available at, iTunes, and select Chicago record stores.

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Daphne Ortiz
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