Hammer No More the Fingers picks its spots. The Durham-based band has only played a couple of shows over the past year, and none over the last six months. Vocalist-bassist Duncan Webster and his wife, cellist Leah Gibson, have been busy working on Beautyworld, a folky electronic act.
“We just had a show tonight,” Webster says while calling from his Durham home. “My wife and I are having a great time with this project. We’ve been focusing on our band, which is what we needed to do. We’re working on an EP and we’re doing some soundtrack work. I play guitar and it’s been fun.”
HNMTF guitarist Joe Hall and drummer Jeff Stickley have their own side project, Blanko Basnet, which will release its second album in November. “Joe and Jeff are putting a lot into their band,” Webster says.
But they haven’t forgotten about Hammer No More the Fingers, which will perform Saturday at Dorothea Dix Park. “We’re talking about putting the band on the front burner, starting with the show we have upcoming at Dorothea Dix,” Webster says.
The veteran punk band plans to showcase some fresh material at Saturday’s show.
“The new songs rock hard,” Webster says. “They’re pretty intense. We’re excited about getting back together. We haven’t practiced together this year, but we’re going to get together this week to practice to prepare for the show. We’re looking forward to it since we hear the venue is beautiful.”
Webster believes the band will hit the studio by the end of the year and release the new songs in album form in 2018. “We’re excited about the new songs,” Webster says. “We have about five ready to go. It’ll be good for us and the songs to get aired out.”
Webster, Hall and Stickley have been playing since they became friends in middle school, and they were influenced by alt-punk. “Joe and Jeff went to elementary school and I met Joe in middle school at the Durham School of the Arts, and we’ve been at this since 1996,” Webster says. “That sound never left us.”
Webster spent a few years in New York, but Durham is home for him and the band.
“We love it here,” Webster says. “The funny thing is that Durham is the cool place to be now. I get upset when I hear how good it is that Durham changed, because this town was always a great place. It’s always been very supportive and filled with a lot of creative people and cool bands. It was working class back in the ’80s and ’90s, but there’s been a Whole Foods here for a long time, and there’s always been good restaurants here.”
Speaking of restaurants, you’re likely to see Webster at Banh’s Cuisine on Ninth Street. “That’s always been my favorite restaurant going back to the fifth grade,” Webster says. “It’s been open forever. I remember going there after school and getting Chinese or Vietnamese. Banh’s Cuisine is part of who I am. I call it a hole in the wall but I do so affectionately. I also love the bar scene in Durham. It’s cool having places like Arcana (Bar and Lounge). Things are looking up in Durham. We’re proud to be part of it.”
What: Hammer No More the Fingers, with Zack Mexico and Honey Magpie
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Dorothea Dix Park, 2105 Umstead Drive, Raleigh