The Obelisk Questionnaire: Filip “Fitz” Hajdarovic of Drone Hunter

Posted in Questionnaire on October 26th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Filip "Fitz" Hajdarovic of Drone Hunter

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Filip “Fitz” Hajdarovic of Drone Hunter

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

What we do is we play instrumental riff worship rock ‘n’ roll music. To the layman this must be an abstract term, but for people into this kinda shit it’s pretty much self explanatory. We came to do it in a pretty classic fashion – I responded to Rus’ (the drummer’s) ad saying he was looking for someone to start a band with and once we got together and exchanged ideas that’s when we invited Klen (bass) to join us and pretty soon we realized that this power trio formation works best without a vocalist involved. And so it’s been that way going on 11 years now.

Describe your first musical memory.

Well when you think about it it’s kind of silly. My parents and I went to some musical event here in northern Croatia when I was about five or six. I can’t remember any of the performers but it was in a sports hall and featured a ton of the biggest pop stars in mid-’90s postwar Croatia. The music must have been terrible, but I remember watching the big stage and the lights and the crew and thinking ‘this must be a very cool thing to do with your life’. Then I had absolutely no interest in music until I was about fourteen. You know, the classics – GNR, Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc. And then I thought ‘might as well give this a go since I’m no good at sports’ and started saving money to buy a guitar.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

There are so many but I’ll describe a couple. About a decade ago I became friends through social media with Edgar Livengood of Jucifer. So when they were touring here in Europe he was like ‘’Wanna spend a couple days on tour with us?’’ At that point I was still in college and had all the time and freedom you can imagine so naturally, I went. It was real awesome to share a van with these people from halfway across the world and realizing that you’re into the same kind of stuff just because when you were a teenager you heard a guitar riff and have been obsessed with it since.

Another musical memory I am very fond of happened in July 2016. I was doing a roadtrip in the US all by my lonesome and visited my friend Jeff of the band Duel in Austin. We went to see legendary country music performer Dale Watson at the world famous Continental Club and then out of nowhere a tall drunk guy is being escorted into the crowd by personal security. The guy asks Dale if he could play a few songs, Dale says ‘’sure’’ and who climbs the stage? – None other than Jeff Bridges a little bit inebriated but still able to play some of his solo stuff and the stuff he sang in the movie Crazy Heart. This was huge for me as I am a fan of his and having seen him perform in such an intimate environment with Dale Watson’s band was simply out of this world. I am a classic country and bluegrass buff and can’t help it.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

This happens virtually daily. That is, if you don’t let your ego get the best of you. I read a quote a long time ago that went something like ‘’A man who never changes his mind loves himself more than he loves the truth.’’ And I couldn’t agree more. So shit happens every day when you find yourself thinking ‘’Oh well, guess I was wrong about this or that.’’ I think it’s a pretty healthy approach to life since none of us are gonna be here forever.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Well, in Drone Hunter we’ve never had the habit of calling ourselves artists. We are a rock n’ roll band. But I can see why someone else might call it art. I don’t really know what art is, but I look at it as a trade. If you were a blacksmith, your first horseshoe is probably not gonna be as good as your hundredth or millionth. So in my humble opinion it leads to a better understanding of what you’re doing. If you’re doing it with other people like us bands do, it leads to a better understanding of your fellow bandmates and rediscovering the common thread between members that actually kept the whole thing alive for an entire decade in our case. This is from a technical aspect of artistry. There is also the emotional one which is individual. I can’t feel the same feelings as you or anybody else. And that is perfectly fine. When you read a book and paint a scene in your head, chances are it’s not gonna be the same as mine. This is probably the most thought I’ve ever given towards art in my life. Thanks for the question, JJ.

How do you define success?

To me this is pretty simple – dying with a smile on your face and a clear conscience. Being cool with who you are, recognizing your flaws and working on them constantly. Just living a life worth living. If you’re into getting as rich as possible, fine. If you wanna run a marathon, fine. If you wanna travel the world, fine. If you wanna play music, fine. Just try not to hurt people along the way and don’t be an asshole.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Witnessing a parent going through a multi year battle with cancer which they ultimately lost is something no one should experience, especially during their formative years.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

Our tours are mostly weekend gigs and when we do a full tour it’s maybe 11 or 12 gigs at a time tops because of our work obligations. It would be nice to be able to take at least a month off work and just play gigs every night for 30 straight days. At the moment this is all just wishful thinking, but who knows what the future brings. Also, having our records on vinyl would be awesome. That’s as far as the band goes. In my personal life, I’d like to eventually buy a small cabin in our town’s surrounding hills and live there with my cat, chickens and goats. I would also like to own a live music venue just so I can decline every single cover band booking request hahaha.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

I think its main function is to make you forget about the real world for a short while. Whether it’s a song, a painting, a movie, a play, whatever.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Yes! I am looking forward to this summer’s vacation. First we’re doing a little weekend getaway with the boys. After that a combination of mountains and beach with my lady friend. Our coastline is pretty cool in a sense that you can go for a hike in the morning and go for a swim in the afternoon. Meeting our friends and family in different spots, camping in the woods and just not giving a rat’s ass about what’s going on in the world. Basically my summers are really outdoorsy. Gotta get that vitamin D.

Drone Hunter, In Gear (2022)

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Drone Hunter Premiere “Wine Dick” Official Live Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drone hunter

Surfing couches, in and out of venues and hostels, drinking, taking in the sights of different places, driving, flying, being here and there and all over the place, seeing different people and cultural spaces, and of course, playing shows — Drone Hunter‘s new video only lasts about five minutes, but that seems to be long enough for it to encapsulate what I imagine was at least a good part of their experience on their 2016 tour. Actually, this is probably just scratching the surface, but as a broad overview, the clip matches the charm of the song title “Wine Dick” with footage of the Croatian instrumental trio on the road and it looks like they’re having a good time. Nobody shows the slog in these videos — the sitting around waiting to play, the traffic, the meals at gas stations — but as a representation of the fun they had, it’s genuinely enjoyable to watch. Vacation video. Plus riffs!

As it happens, “Wine Dick” isn’t short on the latter. Coming off the three-piece’s 2016 second album, Welcome to the Hole (review here), the track doesn’t have vocals as noted, and Drone Hunter keep the proceedings pretty straightforward in the Karma to Burn be-as-bullshit-free-as-possible tradition, but while the band jumps around between Slovenia, the Czech Republic, France, Malta, etc. — Malta looks fucking incredible — they set up a hook just the same around which the track nails down the punch of its verse. In that, it represents the album well, which keeps to similar methods while varying somewhat the level of aggression in Drone Hunter‘s delivery. Are they getting back on the road this year in Eastern Europe or beyond? I’d imagine so but haven’t heard anything as yet. When and if I do, I’ll of course let you know.

In the meantime, I’m happy to host the premiere of the “Wine Dick” video below. The band had a quick explanation of its making and origins and you’ll find that under the player, as well as the link to their Bandcamp, where of course Welcome to the Hole is streaming in full.


Drone Hunter, “Wine Dick” official video

We proudly present to you our tour video for ‘Wine Dick’. The footage was filmed throughout the year 2016 and covers our tours and journeys in Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Malta.

The whole thing was filmed and edited by ourselves in a completely DIY fashion and we’re extremely glad to share it with¨all of you. ENJOY!

Drone Hunter on Bandcamp

Drone Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Drone Hunter on YouTube

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Drone Hunter Post Official Live Video for “Fog Horn”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drone hunter

I know, I know. It’s the future. These kinds of things aren’t necessarily a big deal at this point. They happen all the time. Nonetheless, a sub-two-week turnaround from show to fully-edited multi-camera video document of that same show is pretty impressive whatever time you’re living in. Especially with the holidays in there. You ever try to get anything done over the holidays? Of course you didn’t.

Drone Hunter did. The Croatian heavy noise rockers rounded out 2016 with the Dec. 17 release show for their second album, Welcome to the Hole (review here), and by Dec. 28, the clip below for “Fog Horn” was done and ready to roll. I’m sorry, but even in a world of digital editing that’s quick. And it doesn’t at all look half-assed. In fact, the show looks like it was a really good time, and no doubt that’s precisely what the Varazdin three-piece were hoping to convey.

Starts and ends with some crowd noise and views, and it would seem the house was packed at the Caffe Bar Elephant, where the clip was filmed. From start to finish of the song itself, the hometown three-piece give Welcome to the Hole solid representation with “Fog Horn,” the track offering Karma to Burn-style straightforwardness of intent with an aggressive edge that comes across as just a bit meaner on the whole. Front to back, the record plays around with that spirit somewhat, but “Fog Horn” tells much of the story, and the video does accordingly — cool gig, maximum volume, heavy riffs. Nothing wrong with that.

Enjoy “Fog Horn” below, followed by credits and links:

Drone Hunter, “Fog Horn” official live video

We proudly present our official live video for ‘Fog Horn’ off our new album ‘Welcome To The Hole’ filmed at our hometown release show at Caffe Bar Elephant in Varaždin, Croatia on Dec 17th 2016.

Directed, filmed and edited by Igor ‘Meister’ Male?i? of Meisterwerk Productions, Zagreb, Croatia. Additional footage filmed by Jurica Galekovi? of Dakkar Pictures, Varaždin, Croatia.

All music written, produced and performed by Drone Hunter. Available on Bandcamp, CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon or at our shows, both digital and physical.

We appreciate all the friends, fans, promoters, hosts and everyone who is involved with Drone Hunter in any way. You guys make this ride even more fun and rewarding than the music itself!

Drone Hunter on Bandcamp

Drone Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Drone Hunter on YouTube

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Quarterly Review: Red Fang, Black Moon Circle, Druglord, Drone Hunter, Holy Serpent, Lugweight, Megaritual, Red Lama, Lacy, Valborg

Posted in Reviews on December 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Feeling good going into day two of the Quarterly Review. The good news about how heavy music has become such a vast universe is that there’s always plenty to cover without having to really dig into stuff I don’t find interesting. Of course, the other side of that is feeling constantly behind the curve and overwhelmed by it all, but let’s not talk about that for the moment. Point is that as we make our way through this week and into the next — because, remember, it’s six days this time, not five — a big part of me still feels like I’m just scratching the surface of everything that’s out there. It still seems just to be a fraction of the whole story being told around the world in the riffiest of languages. We all do what we can, I guess. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Red Fang, Only Ghosts


Four albums into one of the decade’s most successful and influential heavy rock careers, doesn’t it seem like Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang are due for a truly great record? Their 2013 outing, Whales and Leeches (discussed here), was rushed by the band’s own admission – their focus, as ever, on touring – and Only Ghosts (on Relapse) unites them with producer Ross Robinson and mixer Joe Barresi, two considerable names to bring heft and presence to the 10-track/42-minute outing. And I’ve no doubt that “Shadows” and the bigger-grooving “The Smell of the Sound” and opener “Flies” kick ass when delivered from the stage, and it’s true they sound more considered with the ambience of “Flames” positioned early, but Only Ghosts still comes across like a collection of songs united mostly by the timeframe in which they were written. Doesn’t mean they don’t build on Whales and Leeches, but now five years on from 2011’s Murder the Mountains (review here), and with their dynamic, charged and momentum-driven sound firmly established, Red Fang still seem to be at the threshold of some crucial forward step rather than stomping all over it as one might hope.

Red Fang on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website


Black Moon Circle, Sea of Clouds


After releasing a self-titled debut (review here) and the follow-up Andromeda (review here) in 2014, 2016’s Sea of Clouds (on Crispin Glover/Stickman) is the third proper studio full-length from Norway’s Black Moon Circle – though at that point, define “proper.” In 2015, the trio/four-piece – Trondheim-based guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, plus Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective on synth – also released The Studio Jams Vol. I (discussed here) and in addition to the four tracks of Sea of Clouds, they’ve also had a Vol. II (review here) out this year. The definitions become fluid, is what I’m saying, and that couldn’t be more appropriate for the sound of “Lunar Rocket,” the outward-gazing space rock of “The Magnificent Dude,” “Moondog” and “Warp Speed,” which indeed offer enough kosmiche expanse to make one wonder where the song ends and the jam begins. Or, you know, reality. One has to wonder if Black Moon Circle might bridge the gap at some point between studio improv and more plotted songwriting, but as it stands, neither side of their dual personality fails to engage with its flow and drift.

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Black Moon Circle at Stickman Records

Black Moon Circle at Crispin Glover Records


Druglord, Deepest Regrets


A one-sided 12” EP issued by STB Records in late 2015 as the follow-up to Richmond dirge-fuzzer trio Druglord’s debut album, Enter Venus (review here), the three-track Deepest Regrets represents the band’s final studio material with bassist Greta Brinkman (ex-L7) in the lineup, who’s since been replaced by Julian Cook. That distinction matters in no small part because so much of Druglord’s purposes on Deepest Regrets’ three component songs – “Regret to Dismember,” “Speedballs to Hell” and “Heaven Tonight” – is about reveling in low end. Rawer than was the album preceding, they find guitarist/vocalist/organist Tommy Hamilton, Brinkman and drummer Bobby Hufnell emitting an oozing lurch, blasting out thickened motor-riffing, and fortifying a darkly psychedelic drear – in that order. True to EP form, each song gives a sampling of some of what Druglord has to offer coming off the album, and with a recording job by Garrett Morris, who also helmed the LP, it remains a fair look at where they might head next, despite the shift in lineup.

Druglord on Thee Facebooks

STB Records webstore


Holy Serpent, Temples

holy serpent temples

Melbourne’s Holy Serpent return with Temples (on RidingEasy), their second full-length after 2015’s self-titled debut (review here), and continue to offer an engaging blend of well-blazed psychedelia and heavier-rolling groove. Especially considering they’ve still only been a band for two years, the four-piece of guitarists Nick Donoughue and Scott Penberthy (the latter also vocals), bassist Dave Barlett and Lance Leembrugen remain striking in their cohesion of purpose, and Temples opener “Purification by Fire” and ensuing cuts like the fuzz-wall centerpiece “Toward the Sands” and echo-laden “The Black Stone” only continue to stretch their intentions toward ever more acid-ic flow. They called it “shroom doom” last time out, and seem to have moved away from that self-branding, but however one wants to label Temples, its five tracks/43 minutes push ahead from where Holy Serpent were just a year ago and, rounding out with the slower churn of “Sativan Harvest,” still reminds that mind expansion and deeply weighted tonecraft are by no means mutually exclusive.

Holy Serpent on Thee Facebooks

Holy Serpent at RidingEasy Records


Drone Hunter, Welcome to the Hole

drone hunter welcome to the hole

Self-releasing Croatian instrumental trio Drone Hunter devise vigilantly straightforward riffing on their second album, Welcome to the Hole, finding room for some charm in titles like “Wine Dick,” “Crazy Ants with Shotguns” and the closing “A Burning Sensation,” the latter of which seems to draw particularly from the playbook of Karma to Burn. That comparison is almost inevitable for any riff-led/sans-vocal three-piece working in this form, but the crunch in “Fog Horn” and “Waltz of the Iron Countess” isn’t without its own personality either, and as with a host of acts from the Croatian underground, they seem to have a current of metal to their approach that, in the case of Welcome to the Hole, only makes the entire affair seem tighter and more precise while maintaining tonal presence. Fitz (guitar), Klen (bass) and Rus (drums) might not be much for words or last names, but their sophomore full-length comprises solid riffs and grooves and doesn’t seem to ask anything more than a nod from its audience. A price easily paid.

Drone Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Drone Hunter on Bandcamp


Lugweight, Yesterday

lugweight yesterday

Lugweight is comprised solely of Brooklyn-via-Richmond-Virginia transplant Eric Benson, and the project makes its full-length debut with the evocatively-titled drone wash of Yesterday following one EP and preceding another. Fair to call it an experimental release, since that’s kind of the nature of the aesthetic, but Benson demonstrates a pretty clear notion of the sort of noise he’s interested in making, and there’s plenty of it on Yesterday in “Sleeping on Cocaine,” on which one can hear the undulating wavelengths emanating from speaker cones, or the penultimate “Love Song for the Insane,” which features chanting vocals in echoes cutting through a tonal morass but still somehow obscure. A 33-minute five-tracker, Yesterday doesn’t overstay its welcome, but alternates between sonic horrors and warmer immersion in the shorter centerpiece “Bleed My Sorrow” and closer “Show Me Where the Shovel Is,” coming dangerously close in the latter to doom riffing that one might almost dare to put drums to. Solo drone guitar, even when this thick, is never for everyone, but one doubts Benson was shooting for accessibility anyhow.

Lugweight on Bandcamp

Forcefield Records website


Megaritual, Eclipse

megaritual eclipse

To hear Australia’s Megaritual tell it, the 25-minute single-song Eclipse EP was recorded on Mt. Jerusalem in New South Wales this past summer, the one-man outfit of vocalist/guitarist/sitarist/drummer Dale Paul Walker working with bassist/Monotronist Govinda Das to follow-up his prior two Mantra Music EPs, recently compiled onto an LP (review here) by White Dwarf Records. Whether or not that’s the case, “Eclipse” itself is suitably mountainous, building along a linear course from sea level to a grand peak with droning patience and gradual volume swells, lush and immersive psychedelia in slow-motion trails, a sparse verse, percussion, sitar, guitar, bass, and so on coming to a glorious vista around the 17:30 mark only to recede again circa six minutes later in a more precipitous dropoff. The digital edition (and that’s the only edition thus far) comes with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” which makes good company for the hypnotic titular exploration and the quick progression it represents after the other two short releases.

Megaritual on Bandcamp

White Dwarf Records website


Red Lama, Dreams are Free

red lama dreams are free

Heavy psychedelic pastoralists Red Lama enter the conversation of 2016’s best debut albums with Dreams are Free, initially released on All Good Clean Records and subsequently picked up by Stickman. Leaning more toward the liquid end of psych-blues, the Danish seven-piece immediately transcend with opener “Inca” (video here) and quickly showcase a subtlety for build that only gets more potent as they move through “Sonic Revolution” and “The World is Yours,” unfolding due heft in the latter without losing the laid back sensibility that the vocals bring sweetly, melodically, to the material. The later “Mekong River” seems almost like it’s going to shoegaze itself into post-rock oblivion, but Red Lama hold their sound together even into the 10-minute closer “Dalai Delay” – aptly-titled twice over – and deliver with striking patience a languid flow with hints of underlying prog experimentation. How that will come to fruition will have to remain to be seen/heard, but Dreams are Free also dips into funkier groove on “Dar Enteha,” so while they probably could be if they were feeling lazy, Red Lama don’t at all seem to be finished growing. All the better.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama at Stickman Records


Lacy, Andromeda

lacy andromeda

Lacy is an experimental solo-project from former Lord guitarist Stephen Sullivan, based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and part of a deep sludge underground that goes back well over a decade. Andromeda is his third album with the outfit and the second to be released in 2016, though unlike the preceding Volume 2. Blue, its 12 tracks were recorded in a matter of months, not years. All instruments, arrangements, vocals and the raw recording were handled by Sullivan himself (he also took the photo on the cover) but cuts like “Gyre Hell” and the acoustic “Push Me Away” veer around self-indulgence or hyper-navelgazing – I’d call “Offal and the Goat Brains” experimental, but not narcissistic – and he seems more interested in writing songs than making a show of being outside this or that imaginary box. Still, Andromeda offers diversity of instrumentation and arrangement, unplugging once more for “Healer” before closer “Always” finishes the album as a rumbling and grunge-laden love song.

Lacy on YouTube

Lacy on Bandcamp


Valborg, Werwolf

valborg werwolf

After catching on late to German metallers Valborg’s 2015 fifth album, Romantik, I told myself I wasn’t going to miss whatever they did next. The single Werwolf (on Temple of Torturous and Zeitgeister) might be a quick check-in of just two songs – “Ich Bin Total” and “Werwolf” itself – but the classic European-style death-doom chug of the latter and the vicious crash of the former I still consider a reward for keeping an eye out. “Ich Bin Total” is less than three and a half minutes long, and “Werwolf” just over five, but both feature choice chug riffing, darkened atmospherics and art-metal growls that only add to the clenched-teeth intensity of the instruments surrounding. They spare neither impact nor ambience nor lives as Werwolf plays out, the title cut riding its massive progression forward to a sensory-overload of nod before finally offering some release to the tension in a second-half guitar lead, only to revive the brutality once more, repetitions of “werwolf” chanted in growls over it. Awesome.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Temple of Torturous website


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Drone Hunter Release New Album Welcome to the Hole

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Meanwhile, in Croatia, crunch-riffing instrumental trio Drone Hunter get ready to play the release gigs for their second album, Welcome to the Hole. A self-release, it follows their 2013 self-titled debut and was posted for streaming on Nov. 15 ahead of the physical version, which will see its official arrival on Dec. 3 in Malta and Dec. 17 with the hometown gig in Varazdin. The three-piece have plans for European touring and video-making in Spring 2017 but will take some time off after celebrating the new outing as they round out the year. Fair enough. From where I sit, once you make a song called “Wine Dick,” you can pretty much take the rest of the year off, particularly if health issues are a concern. Paid leave for all.

Info came down the PR wire:


DRONE HUNTER (CRO) – new album, Welcome to the Hole

DRONE HUNTER have been around since spring of 2012. and have since released a self titled debut album in 2013. and have had about a hundred shows and two European tours in Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

This summer we recorded a brand new album called ”Welcome To The Hole” which we self released and is available on Bandcamp, YouTube, CDBaby, iTunes and Amazon. The album contains 8 new songs and was recorded and mixed at E-Minor Studio in Varazdin, Croatia by Tomislav ‘Tompa’ Novosel which also happens to be our practice space. With all that, the artwork for the album contains photos of the building since it was written, recorded and mixed there.

Mastering was done by Igor ‘Meister’ Male?i? of Meisterwerk Productions in Zagreb, Croatia.

The album was produced by Drone Hunter and the cover, photos and design were done by Drone Hunter with the help of graphic wizard Antonio Mohenski a.k.a. MHNSK from Varazdin, Croatia.

What’s next on the Drone Hunter calendar is a live release show in Zurrieq, Malta on Dec 3rd where we were invited by Silver Tongue booking agency and then a hometown release show on Dec 17th in Varazdin at Elephant Bar. After that we will make a short break due to medical issues, and in that time we will make a live video and a tour video similar to the one for Twisted Horse Boogie from the first album. Also, we have another Euro tour planned for April 2017.

Drone Hunter, Welcome to the Hole (2016)

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