Five Minutes With Hands Like Houses
We spent some quality time with Canberra’s biggest heavy music export Hands Like Houses as they kicked off the Big Ass Tour in Sydney over the weekend.
If you’ve been listening to triple j lately then you’ve probably heard Hands Like House’s thumping jam New Romantics gracing the airwaves and - for the uninitiated - may have found yourself wondering where this band has been all your life. We caught up with frontman Trenton Woodley as the Canberra alt-rockers kicked off the Big Ass Tour with The Amity Affliction and A Day To Remember in Sydney over the weekend - a late edition following the fallout from a horrific car crash involving The Ghost Inside.
It was obviously a very bittersweet way for you guys to end up on the tour with the tragic situation involving The Ghost Inside's bus crash and their subsequent cancellation. How did you guys feel about joining the tour given the circumstances? Were there mixed emotions?
Yeah, for sure man. Things like that really hit home for us because. A) Because they're mutual friends with a lot of good friends of ours, and B) what happened to them could so easily happen to so many of us. You know, so often on tour we sleep in vehicles that are driving overnight and you trust your lives with drivers and we could all appreciate how easily it could've been literally anyone, so we definitely all felt for The Ghost Inside and their situation. When we got the call seeing if we'd all be available we were actually meant to be done with shows for the year, we were meant to finish up in the US and that was supposed to be 2015 done for us, but we couldn't say no to this because it's such an amazing tour to be a part of and we're really looking forward to it. So yeah, we're super excited about joining but obviously we need to be completely respectful in saying so because it's a pretty shitty situation that's allowed us to end up here, but I'm glad that we could cover the bases.
And do you or any of the guys have any pre-show rituals that you like to partake in?
Usually we all like to get together just before we go on and, it's a bit of an in-joke, a friend of our's recorded a little introduction thing for us a while back that plays through our in-ear system that basically says - "Boys, it's time to ride the vibe and the vibe is good", so we've just kind of adapted that and if we have friends at the show we ask them, "How's the vibe today?" and they tell us whether the vibe is ‘raging’ or the vibe's ‘exciting’ or the vibe's ‘sweaty’. We've had plenty of good vibes over the time, so we just kind of replace ‘the vibe is good’ with ‘the vibe is X’. Then we all just sort of put the hands in and scream and run on stage, it's a pretty good pump-up.
Your latest track New Romantics has been getting plenty of airtime on triple j at the moment and people seem to be really loving it. Can you tell us a little bit about what that song’s all about?
That song was kind of born out of a lot of the struggles that went into recording our album Dissonants, which we're putting out very early next year. I guess it's just about, when you get to a third album it's always a struggle to, not exactly reinvent what you're doing, but to keep things moving forward and progressing. So I guess it was about trying to find those parallels between what is present and true for you, and that things don't necessarily change as quickly as an album cycle comes around. In personal terms I guess it's just about figuring out what stays the same and what changes and trying to adapt around that. But yeah, we've been so stoked with the radio play and huge ups to triple j for backing what we're doing, it means a lot, we've been overseas so much it's easy to kind of have Australia disappear a bit.
You guys obviously have the new album in Dissonants on the way early next year; how far along is that? Is it pretty much ready to go?
Yep, it's mixed, mastered; now it's just a matter of getting all the behind the scenes crap lined up. One of the fun parts of being an international band is getting everything all planned, set out and ready to go. But yeah, it's finished and we're really excited about it.
And what sort of sounds can we expect on the new record? Are there any major stylistic changes?
It's definitely a progression. We tried to take the song-writing aspect that we applied in Unimagine as well as some of the intensity from Ground Dweller our first album and then just take a step forward again. We came back a lot of stuff that we grew up on, the Linkin Park sort of influences, a bit of old Thrice, even Deftones and things like that with a bit more of a heavy alt-rock vibe. It's definitely a high-energy album that's a lot of fun. We play so many shows, it would kind of be redundant to write an album that we don't love playing live, so it's definitely got a lot of energy behind it and we're looking forward to busting it out very soon.
I’ve noticed that the bass line on New Romantics is super heavy and punchy and that it sort of drives the whole song, is that going to be a feature across the whole record?
Yeah, Joel has completely outdone himself on this album, I listen to just the bass parts and I'm like, "Fuck yeah, Joel!" He just killed it. He had so many cool influences coming in, bands like Don Broco, listening to stuff like that and then just applying a heavy tone and just keeping in the groove with it. He's really locked in, so yeah, it's such a cool element.
Are there any big surprises or guest spots on the album that you can tell us about?
Nah, not really any surprises. Guest spots were something that we couldn't quite make work this time around with the people that we wanted to work with. For us it was always going to be about finding the right person for the right song at the right time and it didn't quite line up, so we didn't want to do it just for the sake of doing it, we wanted to have someone that we loved and respected as a person to actually collaborate on a song before even putting their vocals over it. It's definitely something we want to do again in the future, but not this time around.
What are some of Hands Like Houses’ big plans for 2016, other than the new album release?
Pretty much just more touring on the back of the album release, which is basically stock standard for any band these days, it's pretty much the only way we can support ourselves doing what we do. We're stoked to be heading back out to the US, we've got a festival there called Carolina Rebellion with some crazy huge bands like Deftones, Bring Me The Horizon and A Day To Remember. We'll be heading back the UK to finish off our Dissonants tour run that we just started recently, and then we've got an Australian tour coming together for some time around the early winter, so really excited for the touring cycle and to get these new songs out and have a lot of fun with it. I don't think there's such a thing as a small year anymore.
What have you been listening to in 2015? Do you have a favourite album for the year?
I'd say one of the ones that I’ve enjoyed the most is Bring Me The Horizon's That's The Spirit. It was a huge step for them and it's kind of funny, we'd be polar opposite bands three years ago but it feels like we're getting closer to that same sort of hard, alt-rock middle with a heavy vibe but still just really easy listening songs that you want to sing along to and have fun with. It's definitely encouraging to see bands actually succeeding by taking those big steps forward.
If you had the opportunity to plan your own tour line-up with four or five other bands, who would you take out on tour with you?
Tough call. It would probably be a very mixed, very eclectic bill, so whether or not it would actually work is another question. I'd probably have a couple of bands we love that are our best mates, so that would be Beartooth and Tonight Alive. Beyond that I'd love to put Thrice and Circa Survive or someone like that at the top of it, that'd be pretty amazing for us…they're bands that we've looked up to and listened to for a long time and they’ve had a pretty big impact on what we do, so that'd be good fun, it'd be a big one.
BIG ASS TOUR DATES:
14 DEC - Perth @ Perth Arena
16 DEC - Adelaide @ Adelaide Entertainment Centre
17 DEC - Melbourne @ Rod Laver Arena
19 DEC - Brisbane @ Riverstage (SOLD OUT)
20 DEC - Brisbane @ Riverstage