Canberra rockers Hands like houses are about to release their third album followed by a tour around the world. Tomatrax caught up with Trenton Woodley, the band’s lead singer, to ask a few questions.
You’re about to release your third album, how will it compare with your previous work?
It’s definitely a big step forward – new albums are always a challenge when it comes to growing the band while honouring the soul and sound that your fans have discovered you by. We’ve always tried to evolve naturally with every release, taking on what we’ve enjoyed and appreciated most from the previous albums but also applying both what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown in the meantime. We’ve tried to recapture the grit and intensity of Ground Dweller with the emotion and polish of Unimagine, while making sure we are writing songs that are dark, riffy and a lot of fun live. We’ve also been taking on a lot of reference material from the bands around us that are killing it right now and it’s made for a really diverse and well-rounded album.
Where did the name Dissonants come from?
It’s a theme that’s always resounded with me – it’s a rejection of our mass culture in the pursuit of individuality and common respect. Our culture is obsessed with binary differences – you’re politically left or right, rich or poor, black or white, hero or villain, etc. And our counter cultures, especially in young people, usually take on an ‘opposite’ form to the culture they’re riling against, so while each is fundamentally opposed, it is still made in the image of what it’s rejecting. For me, to say that ‘I am dissonant’ is to say that I’m not interested in conformity or even in bucking the trend – simply to exist and co-exist by my own means and my own individuality, relating to those around me. So ‘Dissonants’ is a play on the word ‘dissonance’, pluralizing and idealizing those who exist within but without our culture.
You achieved both commercial success and critical acclaim for your previous record; did this make you feel any pressure when putting this album together?
Always! The way music has evolved with the internet as core medium, every album can make or break your career – few bands ever have the chance to recover from a weak or mediocre record. A band can be forgotten in a matter of months. Even by stepping too far in a new direction, you can alienate the fans who have created the platform for your career… so the pressure to write the best songs possible, while maintaining what makes us what we are, is always in the back of your mind. Often the front too. Has definitely been a roadblock for creativity some days, but overall it’s kept us focused on what it is we’re trying to do.
You made an EP of alternate versions of songs from your previous album, are there any plans to do the same thing with your forthcoming album?
Nothing immediate, but we do enjoy the process so it’s entirely possible down the track a bit. We’ll probably talk about it once we have the album and the world tour out of the way, and once we’ve had a bit of a breather… we’ve been 12 months straight on the job in 2015!
You’re about to go on a worldwide tour, what can fans expect from your show?
New material, obviously! Plus we’ll also be playing a few songs we haven’t been able to include in our set regularly up til now. Plus we’re beyond stoked for the supports – Lower than Atlantis and Far Away Stables in Aus, then I The Mighty, LTA, Brigades and Too Close to Touch in the US and ITM again in the UK. All in all it’s going to be a great time, every night, every where!
Is there anywhere you’re looking forward to playing at the most?
London, New York, Los Angeles, Canberra and Dallas are always particularly memorable but honestly we’ve had so many great shows in so many great places it’s hard to narrow it down!
What was the inspiration behind the video for ‘I Am’?
We’ve wanted to make a video with Megan Thompson for years – she’s a close friend and has taken almost all of our promo shots since we started. We wanted a video that was clean-cut, understated and simple – at least relative to the majority of clips within our section of the music world. There were a couple of music videos we referenced but at this point I can’t even remember what they were haha!
You were part of the Warped Tour earlier this year, how did that go?
It was wild! As always, what makes Warped special is that it’s so exhausting – so because you’re working harder, the reward of seeing that work pay off in the crowds you’re performing to is particularly powerful. Plus travelling with 900+ festival personnel (bands, crew, production, catering, clothing brands, not-for-profit organizations, etc) means you always make a ton of new friends, spend plenty of time with old ones and there’s always something happening. It definitely makes the long days worthwhile.
Is it true that you all have the mechanical bird from the Ground Dweller album cover tattooed to yourself?
What do you plan on doing after your tour?
We’ll be taking a well-earned, much needed breather over summer, then we’ll be getting back into the swing of writing and touring a couple of months into next year. We’ll have a small handful of Australian things happening while we’re home but nothing we can comment on just yet! Looking forward to next year regardless and seeing what doors open up with Dissonants!
Check out Hands like houses’ website to find out more!