Hella is an American band from Sacramento, California. They play a technical blend of math rock, noise rock, and experimental rock. The primary members of the band are Spencer Seim on electric guitar and Zach Hill on drums. In 2005, the band expanded their live band by adding Dan Elkan on vocals, rhythm guitar, sampler and synthesizer and Jonathan Hischke on synth bass guitar for their Church Gone Wild/Chirpin' Hard tour. In 2006 they reformed as a five-piece line-up including Seim, Hill, Carson McWhirter (of The Advantage), Aaron Ross & Josh Hill. In 2009, the band was reduced back to core members Hill and Seim.
Hella's earliest recording was the self-released Leather Diamond EP, hand-assembled in a nondescript cardboard sleeve and sold at some of their first shows.
On March 19, 2002, they debuted proper with the full-length Hold Your Horse Is LP on 5 Rue Christine (a subsidiary of Olympia, Washington-based Kill Rock Stars). The Falam Dynasty 7" was also released that year.
After the release of Hold Your Horse Is, 2003 saw Hella begin to deviate from the basic framework in the studio, although their live sound remained largely unchanged. Released on June 17 of that year, Hella's Bitches Ain't Shit But Good People EP (originally a vinyl only release) featured many firsts for the band. An earlier recorded (Leather Diamond) version of a song from their first LP, "Republic of Rough And Ready", became their first widely released song to feature vocals (provided by friend of the band Dan Elkan). A version of "1-800-Ghost-Dance" with vocals by Elkan was available as a downloadable mp3 on the band's website in late 2002. The Bitches EP also found Hella using bass guitar, synthesizer, and drum machine for the first time. Total Bugs Bunny on Wild Bass, also an EP, was released on August 26 and featured the use of synth, sampler, and drum machine and an apparent influence from 8-bit video game music, first hinted at on the opening track of Hold Your Horse Is, "The D. Elkan". Hella rounded out the year with a split live double CD with San Francisco, California-based band Dilute.
Hella released their second full-length LP in 2004, The Devil Isn't Red. Other releases for the year included a split 7" (with Four Tet) and a limited edition, Japan-only release of the three-song Acoustics EP.
For their 2005 release, Hella again experimented with their sound in the studio. Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard, released through Suicide Squeeze Records, is a double-solo album, with Zach Hill and Seim each recording a whole disc's worth of material independent of each other. Hill's disc, Church Gone Wild, is a 56-minute noise piece which featured Zach doing all the vocals and instruments, save for a few guest appearances; while Seim's disc, Chirpin Hard, again experiments with the fusion of 8-bit Nintendo music with punk and math rock. Hella also expanded their live band to a quartet in 2005, adding Dan Elkan on vocals, rhythm guitar, and synthesizer, and Jonathan Hischke on bass guitar in order to play songs from Total Bugs Bunny on Wild Bass and Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard live, in most cases for the first time. This line-up toured the US in support of Out Hud in Spring, System of a Down, The Mars Volta, Les Claypool, and Dillinger Escape Plan in the fall as well as numerous headlining dates in the U.S. as well as visits to Japan, Spain and the UK.
A DVD/CD EP release titled Concentration Face/Homeboy was released on November 8, 2005 on 5RC Records.