The Burning Hell is the alter-ego of Canadian songwriter Mathias Kom, and the band has been on the road in one form or another since 2007, playing everywhere from festivals like Glastonbury and Dawson City to bars, living rooms, abandoned bunkers, and a mental asylum in rural France. Musically, The Burning Hell runs the gamut from introspective folk to hyperactive rock and roll, and so the band can adapt to its surroundings like a karma of anthropomorphic chameleons, taking the audience on a supermarket-cart ride through hooky, upbeat pop songs, dark ballads about pet euthanasia, and anthems for barbarians, economic conferences, and love.
Do you have other questions?
1. What's with the name of your band?
It comes from a religious pamphlet I was handed on the street in Toronto in the year 2000. I was doing some home-recording and I needed a name for the project; The Burning Hell seemed to fit, and it stuck.
2. Where are you based?
Two of us live in Berlin, two in St. John's, Newfoundland, and one in Peterborough, Ontario. The band feels at home in all three places.
3. Why did you start playing the ukulele?
Because it was small, cheap, and easy.
4. Why did you stop playing the ukulele?
I didn't, I just stopped playing ukulele on tour. I've always played both guitar and ukulele on our recordings, but on tour between 2007 and 2012 I almost always used only my baritone uke. Since 2013, however, I decided that I needed a change. Maybe one day I'll go back. Life is a highway.
4. How many people are in The Burning Hell?
Five - Mathias, Ariel, Darren, Nick, and Jake.
5. But I heard that sometimes the band can have forty-five members or something. What's up with that?
In the past, the lineup has expanded and contracted from tour to tour. But since 2012, it's been just the five of us. It's true that sometimes we'll have former members join us on stage when we're in a particular town, and you can see a mostly complete list of all the people that have ever played with the band, or on a recording, at the bottom of this page.
6. Is it true that The Burning Hell holds a world record?
In 2012, we played 10 concerts in 10 countries in 24 hours, which is still the most anyone has done as far as we know. But Guinness won't recognize it officially because of some stupid rule they have about needing to take a commercial flight as part of your attempt. We still did it, though, and that's what counts.
7. How many albums do you have?
We've released six full-length albums: Tick Tock (2007), Happy Birthday (2008), Baby (2009), This Charmed Life (2010), Flux Capacitor (2011), and People (2013). There are also plenty of EPs, singles, collaborations and splits out there in the world.
8. Will you play at my wedding / bar mitzvah / funeral?