Interview: Spencer Seim from Hella and The Advantage

A long time ago, in what seems like another lifetime, I was fortunate to have met and toured a few weeks with Spencer Seim who was the guitarist and co-founder of the legendary Sacramento band, Hella. Spencer and the ripping Zach Hill on drums were one of the fiercest guitar/drum duos ever created. The duo had just turned their band from a two piece into a four piece and were opening a tour I was a part of, that was headlined by System Of A Down and Mars Volta.


I had heard about Hella in the early 2000's from my old bandmate, Manny of Distortion Felix. Manny gave me a copy of a demo Hella had sent him, because they were considering recording in Manny's studio that we had built with our Distortion Felix record budget (yes, back then you could take your $10k from the label and build your own studio!). I couldn't believe how wild and intricate a guitarist and a drummer could be. They were an absolute sonic onslaught and I was an instant fan.

Cut to years later on this tour with SOAD and TMV with Hella opening, and you have three weeks that would change my life. I remember like it was yesterday, Cedric, Marcel and I went into the floor of the arena when Hella went on the first night of the tour and we were blown away and dancing and screaming for them! I don't think SOAD's audience totally got what Hella was throwing out there but we did and all I knew was that I was going to get 3 weeks of an opener throwing their hearts into every minute up there on stage.


The other great thing about this tour is that I remain friends with every dude in Hella. Jonathan Hischke was playing bass for Hella and he, as you may know, has been on Pedals and Effects numerous times, remains one of my best friends and is a huge bass inspiration. Dan Elkan was also in Hella at the time and he and I were in a band after Mars Volta called Zavalaz with Cedric. Dan remains one of my closest friends and musical influencer. Zach Hill is now driving Death Grips, one of Nick's and my favorite bands going today (Nick is lucky enough to have contribute guitar to some of their records) and though I don't see Zach that often, we text and I am fortunate to have done one record with him (Grupo Nuevo).

Now Spencer, I reconnected with after seeing him at Dan Elkan's wedding and I always wanted him on Pedals and Effects. Nick, on the other hand, is obsessed with his childhood heroes, Hella, and as you will see in his excitement in our video, did a fantastic job hitting Spencer with all the specific nerd questions that any fan would want to hear.