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BEAR HANDS

BEAR HANDS

Bear Hands are a dynamic rock quartet hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Since the release of their latest album, You’ll Pay For This, the band had been on a tour that wrapped earlier this month with the equally energetic UK-band Foals: both acts comprising of an electric lineup and no-nonsense performances. The latest full length is a mature departure from their earlier works, yet maintains their signature edge and sound in the form of a cohesive and honest album. The solidarity of the band’s refined and consistent songwriting is a result of the band’s long-lasting 10-year musical chemistry, but the gradual growth and sophistication is evident. The album is a product of genre-bending songs, involving their signature post-punk, rock energy combined with modern pop sentiments and playful lyrics.

The live show is consistently dynamic and solid, the room of the Palladium particularly filled with an infectious energy that the crowd received with buzzy excitement.. The mass appeal songs, with the band’s slick delivery and precision, were well-received by the audience. We chatted with Dylan Rau, Bear Hands frontman, before the show about this tour, the creative process that went behind their third full-length, their work ethic and hustle, and their relationship with music as it relates to technology.

Was there a defining moment or realization where you knew you had to be making music together?
D: I think to the best realization for collaborating on music is that you just have to be honest with each other, and not get your feelings hurt. Not everything you write is good, ever. You have to be able to look into your partner’s eye and say, “...that’s not very cool” and that partner to understand where you’re coming from.

When you’re writing music, what are you writing about?
D: I really couldn’t answer that question, every song’s so different… sometimes it’s something you pick out of a newspaper, or when you’re watching TV, or reading something.

Can you tell us a little bit about the journey of how you guys discovered your sound? It’s refreshing and unique for a band, specifically in a currently saturated pop and electronic market.
D: Thank you! Well, we’re not really making electronic music but I’m really fascinated by it, but I think we all came from punk and rock backgrounds when we all started, and then just gradually progressed over time with synths and drum machines. But also it’s just a matter of people learning how to use technology.

Did your time in NY kind of help shape that?
D: Well, it’s hard to say because I personally haven’t even really spent that much time in New York, I grew up in Connecticut, and some time in New York. Although I just recently moved here to Los Angeles, so…

How was the recording process for You’ll Pay For This differ from the past record?
D: Similar, but just more in depth, Ted co-produced the record with this guy, James Brown, a British guy. He’s a great engineer, then he went to England too, to engineer it with John… uh, I can’t remember his name, wait, let me think… well, I’m sure you can look it up on the Internet, [we couldn't :/] haha.

What were some of the distractions that inspired the last album title, Distractions?
D: Drugs, alcohol, partying, pornogrophy, the Internet, celebrity culture, materialism...

How has this tour been going, particularly the caliber of it, and how have the audience reactions been to the new songs?
D: The venues have been really cool, we played the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, the Fox in Oakland, and we’ve been on tour with Foals before but they’re really great dudes. I been able to watch them play every night, it’s been cool.

What process goes into recreating the songs for the live show?
D: We try to make everything happen live, sometimes there are too many things that we have to line up a keyboard piece or something in the track. But we’ve been able to hire a new member to play that stuff, he just tours with us and helps us play some of the supplemental stuff on the keys and stuff.

You guys run all your social media accounts, and you mentioned briefly about the Internet being one of your distractions, but what is your relationship with the Internet? Is it creatively stimulating, distracting, etc.?
D: I mean, yeah, it can be [creatively stimulating], and seeing how the world is now, it’s amazing to see how many things have relocated to it… books, movies, and music, every single art form. But also I think it’s very easy to get trapped into that and trapped into Internet envy, it can make other people’s lives seem more exciting, enticing, and sexier than yours, and that can be depressing.

What has been your proudest moment as a band so far and what is your definition of success?
D: I think playing Coachella was great, that was really fun. Hearing your own song on the radio, playing on Conan O’Brien, that was great. Being able to feed yourself is nice, and being able to keep up with your socials and the growing numbers, and not feeling insecure in the world. Like, when your life is unstable due to lack of financial support.

What can we expect from the band for the rest of the year?
D: So we’re going to finish up this tour mid-November, and probably going to try to write during the winter, maybe go to Oregon in January or February to do that.