Hands Like Houses Interview

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While I was at Warped Tour in Holmdel, New Jersey last week, I was utterly blown away by Hands Like Houses’ performance and I was happy to see that I had the same feeling watching the band perform in an outside setting on the Long Island date of the Warped Tour. They came and they conquered the Island. When this band performs, they just radiate pure joy being onstage. The smiles plastered on each member’s face is enough to brighten your day and even the overcast weather. Hands Like Houses put on a great show which ended with lead singer, Trenton Woodley, in the crowd. I had the opportunity to speak with vocalist Trenton Woodley and drummer Matty Parkitney about Warped Tour and their new album in our interview below. Also check out live performance photos from their set on Long Island!

This is your first Warped Tour?

Trenton:Yes. We also did three tours last year. We had the Rise Records tour, then Scream It Like You Mean It, and Collide With the Sky with Pierce The Veil.

How’s Warped Tour been?

Matty: It’s been so much fun.
Trenton: It’s been great.

Have there been any bands on the tour that you were surprised to like?

Trenton: I don’t know. We’ve known a lot of the bands that are on here. Bands that we’ve known and loved, bands that we’re finally able to see live, that’s been sick. It’s more bands that we probably hadn’t heard of that have surprised us, like quite impressed with. Two in particular: Echosmith and Alvarez Kings which are two bands we’ve never heard of before in our lives but happened to stumble upon their stage at the right moment, we heard them playing, and went “Wow this is really cool.”

When did Warped Tour in Australia start?

Trenton: It was running for a good section of the ’90s. The last year was ’97 that it finished. Obviously punk was very much alive then. Soundwave’s been running for a few years but wanted to bring back Warped Tour since it is such a definitive experience, such a cultural thing that they’re bringing it back with a kind of more I guess DIY attitude, less of a big showy festival and more of a big, rad show. It’s going to a few more regional centers which is really cool. It’s not just going to the big cities which is awesome.

Has your perspective changed on the Warped Tour since becoming a part of it?

Trenton: Kind of. We’ve been prepared pretty well. A lot of bands that we’re friends with kind of gave us a heads up on how the tour goes. It’s gonna be a lot of hard work. You do this from this time of day to this and you know, you’ve got to wait in line for catering and all that sort of things. So we were prepared the downfalls of it. It’s mostly just learning putting substance to that.

How come you’re not doing the Australian Warped Tour?

Trenton:We’re not on the first announcement. We’re looking at a possibility but just haven’t gotten an offer really. I know for like Soundwave booking, they tend to book largely American bands as well, more international bands because Australians want to see them more because they don’t get to see them as often whereas Australian bands play at home more. But we’d love to play. It’s a possibility certainly.
Matty: Yeah, just waiting. We’re not sure yet.

Are you out of the triple j scene?

Trenton: Not really, no. We’ve heard a little bit of support from them particularly from the Short.Fast.Loud. program and Home & Hosed and there’s a rabbit (a rabbit ran across the grass) [laughs] Sorry, the Home & Hosed program has supported our music whereas the main rotation is a bit more suited to I guess, a little bit more mainstream audiences like more Australian pop and indie and acoustic which is really big over there at the moment. We’re hoping with the new album that we’re gonna crack that rotation a little bit more but we’re certainly not coming out on triple j, no.

Can you talk about your new album?

Trenton: Yeah for sure. It’s ten days now until it’s coming out. Counting down.
Matty: We’re excited.
Trenton: It’s coming out July 23. It’s called Unimagine. I guess it’s taken a better part of the last six months to really lock down and really get right. We had ideas collected up from the 12 months prior to that. We kind of learned from touring about our songs, about other people’s songs, about other musicians, other genres, just kind of that experiences and also into lyrics as well, a lot of our own personal experiences as well. I guess our own personal struggles and our own personal journeys through doing what we’re doing and traveling the world. You know, living the life that comes with being in a band. And so I think that very much shaped how the album came out to be and we’re really stoked for it. It came out well.

How would you say that it’s different from your debut?

Matty: There’s a tone on this one. Yeah, absolutely.
Trenton: I think it’s more focused which is probably the best word to do it. Because before it, we certainly didn’t try to dumb the music down at all but we tried to be smarter about the way that we played each individual part. Like each song has more room to breathe, it’s got more soul and by actually stripping some of the intensity back a little bit, like when you slow down a part for example or play a simpler part, you tend to put a little bit more of yourself into it. You inject a bit more performance and a bit more, I guess emotion and character into the performance and that really translated well. I feel like the album engages a bit better than Ground Dweller did.

Is it a thematic album?

Trenton: It is themed around the concept of “unimagined” which is an extension of the theme. It’s basically every song has a subtitle which starts with “un” – the prefix – and that for me, was a direction for each song to have about basically kind of flipping the world on its head, understand where you are, looking at things from different perspectives and use that as a solid ground to build from and grow from. Every song has some kind of tie into that theme.

Do you have any plans after the album comes out?

Trenton: Not yet. A few ideas, a few possibilities. For the moment it’s just hoping the album kind of opens up a couple of doors. Most specifically, we’re just looking to getting some time at home, spending time with partners, friends, family, etc.
Matty: Being back at home would be nice.
Trenton: We’ve been away for five months straight. Before Warped Tour we recorded the album, went to the UK for a month, then came back for Warped. The album was mastered while we were in the UK. It was recorded and mixed with James Wisner in Florida. He’s done Underoath, Paramore, Dashboard, Go Radio, a ton of great albums, There For Tomorrow. A lot of stuff that we’ve really been into. It was a really cool opportunity to work with him. He really made the album what it is.

Hands Like Houses is Trenton Woodley, Matt Cooper, Joel Tyrrell, Alex Pearson, Matt Parkitny, Jamal Sabet.


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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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