We were fortunate enough to catch up with the guys from Hands prior to their appearance at Altar Bar Thursday. They are currently on tour with British alt-rockers A Silent Film, of “Harbour Lights” fame. (Local indie rockers The Show will open.)
Hands hails from LA, though Geoff (vocals) and Ryan (guitar) are originally from Philly. The band is touring in support of Synesthesia, their debut album. Popmatters said the first half of the album was “brilliant,” and the band has “a boatload of potential.” Filter, in their review, say, "Hands play the instruments that induce you to dance and hear those sounds that make you want to feel it all."
Here is what lead singer Geoff had to say:
PMR: First off, how is the tour going so far? It seems like you guys are on the road all the time. You stopped by Pittsburgh in June, and since then you've gone on at least two more tours, one with On and On, and then the most recent swing through the Southwest, with Electric Guest.
Hands: It's definitely been a busy year. Tour is going so excellently so far though! It's been a real treat being able to play all-ages shows with A Silent Film and we are just enjoying bringing our music to a new audience every night since most of our previous tours have been 21+
PMR: How is the dynamic with the other bands you tour with? Does the quote-unquote "headliner" give the other guys the Bob Dylan treatment and completely ignore them, or do you fast become friends?
Hands: We've actually been extremely lucky and toured with bands that are super nice so far. It's great getting to know new people out on the road playing with them night after night. It's like a traveling summer camp of sorts.
PMR: The title of your new album, Synesthesia, is a term for the sensory experience of when one sense bleeds into the other. Is there any reference here to your musical style? You've been labeled indie-rock, synth-pop, and probably a dozen other terms, but none of them seem to peg you.
Hands: We definitely wanted the album name to speak as a metaphor for our music so I'm glad you caught that! We don't really want to be pegged but I welcome any and every label people want to give as long as they are listening to the music. Music sounds wildly different to different people so it's always interesting to hear what folks find in a sound.
PMR: Speaking of titles, a band called Hands is difficult to search for online. I type "hands" into Youtube and I get that song by Jewel, a couple Honda ads, and an astronaut explaining proper hygiene while in space. What inspired Hands to be Hands? Was there ever any talk from the label of switching to something more distinctive?
Hands: It's a long story but suffice it to say, I was in a situation where I had limited mobility and my hands became everything to me creatively. Before that I had mostly drummed and that flew out of the picture. After that it kind of stuck when we formed the band and became a challenge of sorts. "Let's get to the top of Google with this band name."
PMR: Your live performances are quickly gaining a reputation for being high-energy affairs. What can Pittsburgh do to help you bring the party?
Hands: Just dance and make sure there is plenty of water on hand. We don't want any dehydrated folks in sight.
PMR: What's next for the band? More touring? Another album? Hopefully for your sake there's time for a break somewhere.
Hands: We are always writing and definitely have album #2 in the works for this coming year (how is it November already!?) There is definitely talk of another tour for early next year but you'll have to stay tuned on that.
PMR: Lastly, your twitter feed, @handsmusic, is a joy to read. One of my recent favorites: "I've been seeing a lot of squirrels lately and it's been great every time." There are a lot of squirrels in Pittsburgh, so you've got that to look forward to.
Hands: Thanks!! I love squirrels and I was born on the east coast so they feel like a creature from my distant childhood adventures.
Tickets to the show cost $12.50 in advance, $15 at the door. To enter to for a chance to win a pair of tickets, simply email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “hands” in the subject line.
– B. Conway