One of the latest signings to Rise Records, Hands Like Houses is based out of Canberra, Australia, but are more than ready to call the touring roads of their world their official home. Although they are from down under, the band flew over to the States and recorded their debut album with Cameron Mizell (Memphis May Fire, I See Stars, many others) at the famed Chango Studios in Orlando, Florida. The result is Ground Dweller and the collection of tunes will surely garner the band a good deal of attention. Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the Hands Like Houses members to find out more about this up and coming band…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Hands Like Houses, and how long the band has been together.
Hey I’m Alexander and I play guitar and whisper sweet nothings into the microphone. The band has gone through a series of line up changes. Coops and Joel have grown up together, and basically the band has evolved from a horrid high school band slowly picking up and losing members until it all gave birth to the charming line up we have now: Hands Like Houses, which we’ve been for a little under two years now.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We are based out of Canberra, Australia. Canberra is the capital of Australia, but as a city it is still really small. The scene here has it’s ups and downs – some of the best memories of our lives have been playing shows in high schools or at dodgy venues around Canberra – but now there have been so many restrictions placed on venues it’s hard to really have a consistent scene for our type of music. That being said there have been some great bands to come out of Canberra such as Kempsey, Casual Projects, Los Capitanes, Hoodlum Shouts and The Burley Griffin.
Being from Australia, how did you wind up signing to Rise Records?
We all unanimously decided to take ourselves over to the States to record and decided on recording at Chango Studios in Florida because we were loving some of the bands that had recorded there (Oceana and Of Machines). That was probably the first step to getting our foot in the door. We started off recording an EP, and then went back a year later and turned it into an album. From there we were approached by the our current management team at ‘Sight In Sound’, then after that everything just started falling into place and Rise approached us and we eagerly signed over our souls haha!
What was it like working with Cameron Mizell?
Recording at Chango was so much fun and we are so thankful for our time there. Cam was so great to work with and during our two trips over there he became so much more than just our producer. He really went out of his way to take care of us and show us the ropes; taking us to shows and participating in some of our late night downtown Orlando antics. In the studio he was really laid back and supportive and encouraging of all the ideas that we had flying around. He really gave us the perfect setting to create the album that we wanted to write. In a nutshell he’s a straight up legend!
Have you ever toured over here in the States yet and if so, how did it go? If not, are there any touring plans in the future?
We haven’t played any shows over in the states yet, but its something we are excitedly anticipating. We definitely have some tours in the works for later on this year but unfortunately they are top secret at the moment.
What could one expect from a live Hands Like Houses show?
Live we basically aim to have as much fun as possible. We go all out and really strive to make it an enjoyable show to be at as possible. There is always heaps of energy while we’re on stage, and of course plenty of nip slips for the ladies!
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Ground Dweller?
The album has been written over such a long period of time and evolved from an EP, so there isn’t really a concept behind the music itself. Despite it being a bit of a mix mash of songs written over like a 3 year span, as an album it all works – we are incredibly proud of it. ‘Ground Dweller‘ was originally a song title for a piece of music that didn’t make the album. While we were brainstorming names for the album it got thrown out and everyone just felt it fitted nicely with the album aesthetically and musically.
Please select two songs from Ground Dweller and what inspired the lyrics.
I don’t want to go into too much depth about the songs because I think it’s better for people to make up their own meanings for the songs as I’m sure each one will evoke different emotions depending on the listener, as they do with each member of the band. All of the songs from the album have come from different points of inspiration, some have been from movies some have been from emotions and some have been from situations we have had to overcome individually and collectively.
1. ‘Antarctica‘ – This song is about learning to be realistic about the world around you and realizing that it is important to have dreams and work towards them. I guess it is a journey of sorts, about going though life and maturing. The inspiration for this song comes from experiences we have undergone as a band and how we have grown with each other and supported each other throughout our journey so far.
2. ‘The Sower‘ – This has similar elements but more focuses on accepting being away from people. Again this is inspired by our experiences being on different tours and being away from loved ones for extended periods of time and how that can affect an individuals feelings and emotions.
Who did the cover art for Ground Dweller, and how much input did you have on it?
Glenn Thomas, a local Australian artist did the artwork. The concept was ours – and Glenn was such a champ to work with. He dealt with us continually critiquing and changing our minds and was able to turned our series of shambled ideas into something that perfectly encapsulates what we were trying to express through the album’s title.
Are there really kangaroos hopping around the streets of Canberra and have you ever pet a kangaroo?
Haha, there are actually a total abundance of Kangaroos in Canberra. Sadly, too many. With all the construction that’s going on, they’ve actually had to start culling them. I apologize if this is too morbid for an interview! Kangaroos don’t really work as pets, they are mainly used just for looking at, cooking on the barbecue or getting to work.
How did Jonny Craig and Tyler Carter become involved with the recording of Lion Skin?
First time we were over at Chango, we had a bit of a cross over period with us finishing up our recording, and Woe, Is Me starting theirs. They were at the studio for a few days while we were there so we got to hang out and get a bit wild with most of the boys. It all just came from that. It was initially just going to be Tyler, but while Jonny was there recording on their album, he jumped on our track as well.
What’s up next for Hands Like Houses?
Our album comes out on the 13th of March worldwide (9th of March in Australia), and basically the plan is just to tour and promote the album as much as we can. Being in a band is such an amazing platform to see the world, so we are going to take every opportunity that presents itself to us. We couldn’t be more excited for everything that is coming this year!
Any final words of wisdom?
Travel as much as possible, it will give you a much fuller perspective on your own life and what you choose to value. Oh and if it’s not on, it’s NOT ON!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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