Hands Like Houses

Interview: Hands Like Houses, Cold World Tour 7/10/16

Australian rockers Hands Like Houses have been touring the globe and hitting new heights since the release of their third album Dissonants earlier in the year, so we caught up with Trenton Woodley (vocals) and Alex Pearson (guitar) before their Cold World set in London last night.

What’s the band philosophy about mixing genres? You guys seem to do it effortlessly.

Trenton: I think it’s case by case, honestly. We’ve all got different tastes and different influences. I’ll listen to a lot more heavy stuff whereas Al is probably in between, Coops [lead guitar] listens to a lot more folk and indie stuff, Matty P [drums] listens to anything from pop punk through to Adele and pop. It either works or it doesn’t really, when we write there could be the start of a melody that references one thing so we bring in that vibe but then we cross it. It just is down to seeing what works.

Would you say your influences are very varied then?

Trenton: Well, yes. Like I said, we all have very different tastes individually and I think by us just writing music together we make it different. Even if we’re all trying to write the same type of thing, just coming at it from various directions means it sounds like a collaboration of various influences. That’s what creates our overall vibe.

What’s the reaction to your music been like here as opposed to at home?

Alex: Australia’s really picked up this album cycle and it’s becoming one of our strongest markets. Fortunately we’ve been able to come back twice [to the UK], we did a headliner not that long ago and now we’re back again. It’s nice to play to a totally different crowd on this tour so I think once we come back again then we’ll really start seeing a jump from where we’ve been on our own headliner to growing with Of Mice & Men‘s fans too.

Trenton: I think it’s always a balance between support and headliners. Supports are how you win new fans on the road but a headline tour is financially the better option. Headline sets you get to play more songs, old favourites, some of the more obscure tracks off the new album that aren’t necessarily going to grab new fans straight away. We’ll probably do a couple of supports then a headline and repeat.

Did you have any specific goals in recording Dissonants?

Trenton: Just finish the album [laughs].

Alex: Yeah, there were a few hurdles. I think obviously we just wanted to have a sick album, but a lot of the frustrations shone through.

Trenton: From the outset, we aimed for a more heavy, aggressive-sounding album to play live. Some of the frustrations from the process influenced it. It was an incredible amount of pressure both self-imposed and external with a time pressure that really forced us into the situation of making the best of it. It’s not that we weren’t prepared at all, we had just prepared for something other than what it was becoming. The aggression kind of came out of that, with ourselves and the situation, and that projected itself into what it became. In terms of a goal then, it was just to get a great live album that was aggressive yet had the emotional depth with it.

Were there any songs before you started recording you knew were particularly special?

Alex: We had the break in the middle of recording for Warped and we had recorded about half the album either side of it. We took one of the songs, New Romantics, that we hadn’t released yet and played it on Warped and I think that was a sort of guide for us to see directionally how people would be reacting to the material. It just created a really good vibe and the crowd seemed to dig it so I think that encouraged us a bit throughout.

How important is the Hands Like Houses sound to the writing process nowadays?

Trenton: I think we know it’s going to sound like us no matter what we do so it’s just a case of writing something and if it is sounding a little bit too outlandish it’s like ‘well how do we bring this in line with what we do?’ It’s usually more of a comparison than a direction. Our common instruments, our common styles – whether that’s Matty’s style of drumming, how Al writes riffs, the lyrical and melody ideas I have, Joel’s bass licks and Coops’ leads – makes us sound like us. Everyone has their own sound and own style so at least to us those subtleties mean that no matter what we play it sounds like us. However we write, whether it be upbeat, downbeat, slow or fast it will sound like us.

How have Rise Records been through the years and have you adapted your dynamic to fit with them?

Alex: They don’t really have a lot of input to us creatively at all, not that that’s necessarily a good or bad thing, it’s just how they were.  That was fine for us because we weren’t really trying to take on board a load of advice and ‘you should write this’. We just kind of wanted to do what we liked. In that sense, it was nice nobody was pressuring us like that. To be honest though, labels are just like a bank: they give you money to help you out and you invest that in growth.

Trenton: Yeah, a label is always an important part of the team, especially as you’re starting out. The industry is always changing so the role of the label kind of changes with it. For us, Dissonants was our third album on Rise, and there are some really great people there. We’re just figuring out where to go in terms of this now, a lot of discussions to be had within the band and it’s pretty exciting to have so much in front of us.

Have you got any idea which direction you’ll be heading in for the next writing sessions?

Trenton: We’ve got a few inklings but at the same time we need to look at Dissonants: we set out to do one thing and it kind of shifted the plan a little bit. I think the big challenge is that we could easily write another Dissonants record but I think that we want to challenge ourselves in progressing what we did on it. I think the next one will be a very live-sounding album, bouncy, aggressive and energetic. We’re still figuring out exactly what direction we’ll take that. We’re starting to put together a few little demos here and there, but we’re not in a rush.

Alex: We’re not trying to hurry anything, more consistently working on it all. We just want to be a little bit more prepared.

Trenton: We’ve finished the contract with Rise and we want to have some songs properly written before we have a chat to labels, whether that’s talking to Rise or other labels around the place. We’ve got a lot of decisions to make, a lot of conversations to have which is really exciting for us but at the same time a big step. There are just so many ways we can shape our career and our music from here and it’s all just about decisions now really.

Throwing it back in time a little way now, what’s the story behind the Punk Goes cover you did?

Trenton: We were offered a space on the Punk Goes 90s compilation so we thought ‘okay, 90s…’ and had a look at top 40 hits of the time, especially things we remembered. Our first choice was Say My Name by Destiny’s Child but I think that just missed out on 90s by a few weeks or something but also didn’t really fit with what the organisers wanted. They wanted more grunge rock sort of vibes.

Alex: There was a Seal song we were looking at but then Trent suggested the Natalie Imbruglia song, and we said ‘that song kicks arse so yeah, let’s do it’.

Trenton: It was already a great rock ballad and we just needed to play through it and put our own kind of spin on it all. It just came together really easily.

If you could tour with one or a group of artists from history or now, who would they be?

Trenton: Either Queen or Linkin Park for both of us I think.

Alex: I also really like The Police so it would be cool to tour with them.

bad vibrations

A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations

Ocala’s best export A Day To Remember were clearly knocked by the situation with Victory Records and had visibly lost their way with a far softer 2013 effort Common Courtesy. 2016 seems to be their year though, and Bad Vibrations shows the five-piece clearly have their mojo back.

First single Paranoia was a shock for most people when it premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show earlier in the year and it was clear from then on that any upcoming album was going to be going hard. They even lied then that this album would exist, before the release of second single Bad Vibrations which solidified the album identity in the minds of the fanbase.

In keeping with their old styling, We Got This sounds just like a natural progression from (Attack Of The Killer B-Sides opening track) Right Where You Want Me To Be with the styling and writing and could have come from the middle of Common Courtesy with it’s pop hook and laid-back feel. This is furthered on Same About You, though that has a radio rock section with one of the most dynamic guitar solo pieces ADTR have done through recent years.

Arguably the best track on the record comes in the form of Naivety, as it displays the melodic powers of the band as they blast through emotive lyrics with aplomb. The track has a solid chugging rhythm & bass and the drums are cymbal heavy but mixed with lowered levels of them to keep the track grounded in the gritty lyrical content and roughness. The other contestant for the title is the fourth track Exposed, which is start to finish a rough and ready rock song with a huge heavy riff and no solo clean vocals whatsoever, not to mention an absolutely gargantuan breakdown. If the chorus was not there with the huge gang vocal it could have been any old band who wrote it, yet this band’s styling on their tracks combines the sections in a way only they can.

Stylistically, the seventh full-length instalment into the A Day To Remember catalogue is very much reminiscent of 2009’s Homesick in that it juxtaposes the heaviness the band can put together with catchy pop punk hooks that provide real stickability in the listeners’ mind. The band seem far more comfortable in this style now having taken a break from it to make some more pop punk-focussed tracks on Common Courtesy.

As a direct result of that style returning to tradition leads to the vocal style reverting to the old growling/distortion/clean combination that frontman Jeremy McKinnon has mastered over his years with the band. Each track has different ratios of the three types of vocal displayed and the balance is used to effectively cover the lyrical material.

Overall then, A Day To Remember have made a serious statement coming back with Bad Vibrations. It will forever act as the biggest “screw you” to a label of any modern band as it plays the role of being the first planned record on their own label. There isn’t a bad track on the whole record and it will be interesting to see how these new songs fare on the road.

ICYMI: The Color Morale release ‘Desolate Divine’

Illinois post-hardcore quintet The Color Morale yesterday released the follow-up to 2014’s Hold On Pain Ends. The album is titled Desolate Divine, and was released via Fearless Records, the band’s second on the label since signing in April .

The album features the singles Lonesome Soul, Clip Paper Wings and Walls, which all feature the band’s common themes of religion, mental illness and positivity.

Hear the opening track below:

Lifelines

I Prevail Announce Debut LP ‘Lifelines’

Michigan post-hardcore/metalcore outfit I Prevail may be best known for their cover of Taylor Swift‘s Blank Space but their EP Heart Vs Mind was more popular than imagined. Together, they have led to a 500k strong Facebook following that has led to a huge amount of excitement for the new record, which has just been announced to be titled Lifelines.

The first single has been closely guarded, but despite the lack of information it has been announced by the band it will come on 1st July.

Lifelines will be available late summer/early autumn on Fearless Records.

View the album art below:

I Prevail Lifelines

The band are also on a North American tour with The White NoiseMy Enemies And I and Bad Seed Rising so see dates below (tickets available here):

14/7 Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
15/7 South Bend, IN – Cheers Pub
16/7 Cadott, WI – Rock Fest (IP only)
19/7 Saginaw, MI – Red Room @ Dow Center
20/7 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
22/7 Madison, WI – The Majestic
23/7 Omaha, NE – Sokol Underground
24/7 Des Moines, IA – Wooly’s
26/7 Little Rock, AR – Metroplex
27/7Clarksville, TN – Warehouse
29/7 Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
30/7 Detroit, MI – St. Andrews Hall
31/7 Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar
2/8 NY, NY – Gramercy Theatre
3/8 Philadelphia, PA – Theatre Of Living Arts
5/8 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
6/8 Bangor, ME – Rise Above Fest (IP only)
7/8 Montreal, QUE – Heavy Montreal (IP only)
9/8 Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
10/8 Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
11/8 Charlotte, NC -The Underground
12/8 Jacksonville, NC – Hooligans
13/8 Bristol, TN – Patton-Crosswhite VFW
16/8 Memphis, TN – New Daisy
17/8 New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
18/8 Houston, TX – Bronze Peacock
19/8 Dallas, TX – Cambridge Room
21/8 Phoenix, AZ – Pub Rock
22/8 San Diego, CA – House of Blues
23/8 Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
24/8 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
26/8 Denver, CO – Gothic
27/8 Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep

letlive. Release Documentary Supporting New Album

Post-hardcore rockers letlive. released their fourth studio album If I’m The Devil last week on Epitaph Records to much acclaim, with many of the fans saying it is their best release to date by a long way.

To celebrate this release, the band have since put up a half-hour documentary on YouTube to cover their progress through their career to this point.

Check out the review of the record here and the documentary below:

 

The band are also supporting Pierce The Veil through their UK/EU tour alongside Creeper in some giant venues, check dates here:
29 Oct – Paris Trabendo, France – TICKETS
31 Oct – Madrid Sala Cats, Spain – TICKETS
01 Nov – Valencia Sala Noise, Spain – TICKETS
02 Nov – Barcelona Sala Razzmatazz 2, Spain – TICKETS
04 Nov – Solothurn Kofmehl, Switzerland – TICKETS
05 Nov – Milan Magazzini Generali, Italy – TICKETS
07 Nov – Munich Theaterfabrik, Germany – TICKETS
08 Nov – Vienna Arena, Austria  – TICKETS
09 Nov – Budapest Durer Kert, Hungary – TICKETS
11 Nov – Berlin Huxleys, Germany – TICKETS
13 Nov – Hamburg Gruenspan, Germany – TICKETS
14 Nov – Copenhagen Amagier Bio, Denmark – TICKETS
15 Nov – Stockholm Fryhuset, Sweden – TICKETS
17 Nov – Amsterdam Melkweg, Netherlands – TICKETS
18 Nov – Cologne Live Music Hall, Germany – TICKETS
19 Nov – Bochum Zeche, Germany – TICKETS
20 Nov – Frankfurt Batschkapp, Germany – TICKETS
22 Nov – Karlsruhe Substage, Germany – TICKETS
23 Nov – Antwerp Trix, Belgium – TICKETS
25 Nov – Cardiff Great Hall, UK – TICKETS
26 Nov – Birmingham 02 Academy, UK – TICKETS
27 Nov – London 02 Academy Brixton, UK – TICKETS
29 Nov – Nottingham Rock City, UK – TICKETS
30 Nov – Newcastle 02 Academy, UK – TICKETS
01 Dec – Glasgow Barrowlands, UK – TICKETS
02 Dec – Manchester Academy 1, UK  – TICKETS
04 Dec – Belfast Mandela Hall, Ireland – TICKETS
05 Dec – Dublin Academy, Ireland – TICKETS
06 Dec – Dublin Academy, Ireland – TICKETS