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Bands of the bay: Hemorage

One of San Francisco’s thrash bands on independence, their inspirations and unconventional touring style
Jon+Orc%2C+lead+singer+and+guitarist+of+Hemorage%2C+sings+to+the+gathered+crowd+of+fans%2C+with+cop+cars+flashing+their+lights+in+the+distance.
Mackenzie Jardine
Jon Orc, lead singer and guitarist of Hemorage, sings to the gathered crowd of fans, with cop cars flashing their lights in the distance.

“Pull up right behind them,” Drummer Ron Roussell said to lead vocalist and guitarist, Jon Orc. Orc rounds the corner in their bus, quickly met with the flashing red and blue lights of six cop cars parked down the street.

Bona “Toby” Pak, backup vocalist and guitarist, jumps into action, setting up the speakers and amps as soon as the bus rolls to a stop. The show, their first in almost four months, must go on, even with the present danger of police interference.

Jon Orc screams a song out for Hemorage’s fans at 900 Market St in San Fransisco on Jan. 19. (Mackenzie Jardine)

Hemorage is a thrash band from San Francisco that Orc and Pak started in 2007, with Roussell joining in 2021. Thrash is a subgenre of metal known for having a strong punk influence and a harsh, heavy sound.

Orc said he started the band after a trip to Africa, despite having no prior musical background.

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“Every night, there would be drum circles,” Orc said. “They let me join in one night and I played along with them, it was easy for me. From that point on, I (wanted) to be a musician; when I got back (to the U.S.) I started the band.”

Guitarist and backing vocalist, Bona “Toby” Pak, shreds on his guitar during their set. (Mackenzie Jardine)

Pak said his passion for music began to grow around high school.

“I went to church a lot in Oakland, so I got really into the music aspect of church and around that time. I had been getting more into rock music. I’ve got the essentials of thrash music, but then (other genres) really resonate with my soul and I want to put that into the heavy music,” Pak said.

Roussell said he joined the band later in their career after several years of being their neighbors.

“I have a studio on this side (of the city) and was 150 feet away from them for 10 years,” Roussell said. “Something happened with their drummer and they needed me to fill in; it went well, so I became their drummer. It was that easy.”

Hemorage performs sound and systems checks in their mobile stage before their Jan. 19 show. (Mackenzie Jardine)

Hemorage has a unique way of playing shows and gathering crowds. The band has purchased a total of four buses on their mission and isn’t keen on stopping the mobile stage experience. Their current mobile stage is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) bus that was decommissioned at some point in time.

“We go wherever we want (in the mobile stage). We don’t have to load in or out gear, we can set our own schedule and don’t have to deal with promoters. The freedom,” Orc said. ”We don’t have to talk to anybody in the industry.”

A crowd gathers in front of Hemorage’s mobile stage for the free concert at 900 Market St in San Fransisco on Jan. 19. (Mackenzie Jardine)

Their fan base continues to turn out for shows hosted on random city corners with fierce loyalty.

“I think it’s the renegade aspect of it (the mobile stage). It’s unexpected,” Orc said.

“They like being outside,” Roussell said. “It’s a different avenue.”

“These past three years outside not many other bands have been doing this,” Pak said.

Drummer, Ron Roussell, plays for the on looking crowd. (Mackenzie Jardine)

 

Hemorage said the bay and its people have been a key point in the band’s inspirations in music.

”I’m from New Jersey, so after high school I moved out to the West Coast because of music. All my favorite bands that were doing it how I wanted to do it were out here. It made sense to me,” Roussell said.

“There’s a lot of greats that came out of here (the bay),” Orc said after Roussell. “The mixture of people in the bay is really cool. There’s no other area that’s mixed how we are mixed.”

 

Cover art for Hemorage’s latest single, “Dying Breed”.

The band released their latest single on Dec. 7 titled “Dying Breed,” with another single coming soon.

”It’s a collab with Gary Holt from Exodus,” Orc said. “We’re working on it. February, probably.”

Hemorage is a fully independent band. From their merch, to their singles, to their tour, they run all of it themselves.

Pak and Orc design and print the merch, with a recent dive into merch with their logo embroidered.

“We make all our own merch; when people buy it, it’s made with our own hands,” Orc said. “Another cool aspect to our band is that we have the visual vision to it and our own style image, so everything we do (is because) we were inspired to do it.”

You can find Hemorage on Instagram, TikTok and Spotify, and buy their merch and albums at their online shop, Savage People.

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About the Contributor
Mackenzie Jardine, Editor-In-Chief
Hi! My name is Mackenzie Jardine, and I am really excited to connect with people through journalism. I'm very excited to be La Voz's Editor-In-Chief this winter quarter! It's an honor to be in charge of this quarter's paper and work with the incredible, hard working and talented staff. Thank you for supporting La Voz!

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