MATT HARVEY (POUNDER): “We Have Lots Of Material And We’re Already Pretty Much Sitting On What Will Be Album #3”


Breaking Your Ear Drums

It’s only been a year since the release of Uncivilized, the debut album by California metalheads Pounder. The band is back with more in-your-face Heavy Metal anthems on their follow-up album Breaking the World, set for release on January 29, 2021 through Shadow Kingdom Records. This contributor got an advance listen and it rocks. I’ve already pre-ordered a vinyl copy for myself. I caught up with Pounder vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey to find out what makes Pounder tick and more.

Metal Express Radio: If I knew absolutely nothing about Pounder, how would you describe the band’s music to me?

Matt Harvey: I think just “Heavy Metal” would do it.

MER: When and where did the band form? And what inspired the name?

MH: The idea for the band has been kicking around for well over a decade at this point. I’ve had a long-abiding love for traditional Metal, and I started writing material for the band in about 2014 or so. Alejandro and I were talking about doing it for a while, and then I met Tom and once he got involved, things sort of accelerated. That was in 2017 or so. The name started as a joke, honestly. I would be on tour with my other band(s) and we’d be at the middle of nowhere at a gas station and someone would inevitably ask “Hey, y’all in a band?” and I’d tell them the band was named something really over-the-top – Pounder was one of those names, and it sort of stuck.

MER: On January 29, 2021, Pounder releases their second album Breaking the World through Shadow Kingdom Records. Can listeners expect a continuation of your 2019 debut album Uncivilized, or a little something different?

MH: I think it’s both a continuation and a little different. I think we’ve gotten better at writing and executing stuff, and the material has a little different vibe this time around. There was nothing like the title track on the first record, that’s for sure. It’s still very rooted in traditional metal and NWOBHM, but with some additional flavor. The most important thing is that I think it’s better than the first album.

MER: Can you discuss what the songs are about….

“Spoils of War” – I had the title kicking around for ages and originally I thought it was gonna be like an anti-war song, but I re-wrote the lyrics after Lemmy died, and basically it ended up being kind of a salute to Motorhead, but also to the other fading Metal Gods, those who’ve passed like Mark Shelton and Dio, as well as those who are bowing out like Glen Tipton.

Breaking the World – This one is real straight-forward – just about the power of Metal shaking, quaking and breaking the earth. It’s also about a sort of post-apocalyptic re-awakening and re-shaping the world through the power of Metal.

Hard Road to Home – This one is more of a story, about a 49er who went west seeking gold and glory and ends up losing it all.

Never Forever – This one is a breakup song, continuing in the tradition of “Long Time No Love” from the first album. Musically it’s quite different, but lyrically it’s a good old fashioned, “it’s not me, it’s you” kinda thing.

Hard City – “Hard City” is a song we’ve had kicking around since we were working on Uncivilized, basically about urban decay and tough streets that breed a sort of post-apocalyptic street gladiator kind of lifestyle.

Give Me Rock – I think the title sums it up nicely! It’s a very straightforward ditty about the need to rock / get laid.

Deadly Eyes – This is a tune about being seduced by a beautiful woman. There are worse problems to have, I guess!

MER: How did you hook up with Shadow Kingdom Records?

MH: We’d worked with them in the past on the “Faster Than Fire” 7” so that was a pretty natural thing. I reached out to them and sent them what was originally supposed to be a four-song EP, they liked the material enough to want a full-length. We went back in the studio and bashed out some more songs, and here we are.

MER: Similar to the eighties, Pounder releases shorter albums, but have a quick turn-around to the next album release. Is that calculated or coincidence?

MH: It’s a coincidence really. But we have lots of material and we’re already pretty much sitting on what will be album #3, so… Don’t look for the pace to slacken anytime soon!

MER: A vinyl version of Breaking the World will be available. Are you a fan of vinyl yourself? What are some of your favorite classic vinyls?

MH: I love vinyl. I started collecting in the mid ‘90s because it was a cheap and fun hobby – it’s still fun, but not so cheap anymore. Some of my favorite things in my collection are the Raging Death compilation, the Venom “Manitou” shaped picture-disc, a Gull Records Best of Judas Priest picture-disc from the late ‘70s, and the Napalm Death / Electro-Hippies split 7”.

MER: Breaking the World is also going to be released on cassette. Besides its portability, do you see an advantage of reviving this format?

MH: I don’t really get it, unless you have a tape deck in your car, but hey – if people want tapes, let’s get ‘em tapes. In 2021 if someone is interested in buying physical media, I’m stoked about it, regardless of format.

MER: Both Pounder album covers, Unchained and Breaking the World have a classic ’80 metal look to them. Who were the artists and did you give them an outline or did they come up with the final design?

MH: We used the fantastic Marc Schoenbach for both covers. We had pretty detailed preliminary sketches by other artists for both, but he really brought the ideas to life. I love his work and I love what he’s come up with for us.

MER: I saw that there was a bit of controversy about the Breaking the World cover. Someone or some people think it’s similar to another artist’s album cover. Which artist and album would that be? Was it just coincidental?

MH: People definitely noticed a similarity to World in Chains by Blizzen, which is pretty undeniable when you see both covers. They’re portraying different ideas, but with a lot of similar elements. We were totally unaware of the band before this, and so was our label, so it’s a complete coincidence. Both bands are working within a scene that pulls from the same set of traditional metal imagery and iconography, so it’s not terribly surprising that bands will occasionally step on each other’ toes a little.

MER: In 2018 Pounder played Decibel Magazine’s Metal & Beer Fest. What was that like? 

MH: That was a lot of fun. Albert knows how to put together a good party and a good lineup! We’re hoping to do more stuff like this in 2021, so… fingers crossed.

MER: Do you have a favorite craft beer?

MH: I’m very fortunate to live in San Luis Obispo County and we have a slew of great local breweries here. A place in my town (Atascadero) called Colony Mash does my favorite IPA, which is called Born in the Fire and is just delicious. Here in town there’s also Wild Fields Brewing and Dead Oak which do great IPAs and Pilsners respectively. Dead Oak has really good German-style beer, which is my favorite. Closer to our studio is a place called There Does Not Exist, who do an incredible Kolsch called Sowing the Sun and a really good Hazy IPA called Dawn Keeper.

Another brewery called Liquid Gravity has a great Hazy called Miami Heist, and a really good Pilsner called Crispy Life. The best Pilsner in town is at a place called Humdinger, the Crispy Boi – they have an amazing Japanese Lager there too. My wife and I drink a lot of very local beer – Firestone Walker and Figueroa Mountain are in our area too, and are both really good mid-sized breweries.

MER: When does the Pounder beer collaboration happen? You have the perfect name for one.

MH: Hahaha! We do! I would drink the shit out of an Uncivilized ale!

MER: Any chance of touring to support Breaking the World?

MH: That’s really up to a lot of things we can’t control. We’ll have to see when the pandemic is under control and then we’ll need to work around everyone’s schedules and the schedules of our various other bands, which will be a challenge. That said, we really, really, really wanna get out and play a lot more live shows, so hopefully it will be possible.

MER: Members of Pounder are also in other bands. Is anyone working on new material for their other projects?

MH: Well, our guitarist Tom plays in Carcass who have a new album coming out next year (you might have heard of them?), so I’m sure their tour schedule will be ramping up in the fall. I play with Exhumed and Gruesome, both of which should be recording new albums in the first half of 2021, and Alejandro always has different stuff in the works as well, so we all like to stay busy. I also have some other irons in the fire, including a solo album coming out in the next couple months and an old project that I’ve revived with my buddies Will and Damien from Death Angel that’s called Scarecrow.

Pounder is:

Matt Harvey – Vocals, Guitar
Tom Draper – Guitar
Alejandro Corredor – Bass



  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.