When Australian post-hardcore band Hands Like Houses released their single “Drift” in June 2017, they were really introducing fans to a fourth album they hadn’t yet recorded. One year later, the album is complete and due for release later this year. While “Drift” may have not been included, lead vocalist Trenton Woodley shares the track’s importance in their tour and why it wasn’t a great fit for their upcoming release, as he discusses what to anticipate with album four.
Early June you mentioned the completion of Hands Like Houses’ fourth full-length album, and recently the band filmed a music video in LA. What can you share about the music video and when can fans expect its release?
Trenton: We actually shot three videos over four days for a couple of releases through the rollout cycle—but short of a catastrophe—the album will be out later this year. All I can say for now!
The band struggled with the production of its third album Dissonants and even had to push back its release date due to personal setbacks. How would you describe your experience creating this fourth album?
The challenges with Dissonants mostly stemmed from a lack of dedicated writing time amidst a hectic touring schedule, so the personal setbacks were mostly our responses to that pressure cooker situation. We’re incredibly proud of what we managed to create, but it created a lot of ground rules for how we didn’t want to approach this record. HLH4 [tentatively titled] has been a liberating experience for all of us—not without its own stresses, of course—but we committed to learning from our past mistakes and gave ourselves, not just plenty of time, but also a clear and calm headspace, therein, to be able to experiment with a few different directions and flavors. That gave us the chance to see what felt like the ‘right’ step in our overall progression across all four albums and throw ourselves wholeheartedly and confidently into that musical context.
When you started recording Hands Like Houses’ fourth album, you posted a picture of your tambourine on Instagram with the caption: “Bought this tambourine almost 10 years ago. This might finally be the day it makes an HLH album.” Did you finally get to incorporate its sound into your music? What other notes might we expect to hear in this upcoming album?
Yes, the tambourine made the record! I spent an entire weekend traveling to every single music store I could get to in the city I was living in at the time, but ended up going back to the second place I went to, and bought the cheapest one I’d found because it just sounded right. The tragedy is that in shooting one of the earlier mentioned videos, the tambourine was accidentally stepped on by a roving camera man, and is currently on my workbench in three pieces. But, it will be reborn, stronger and more beautiful than ever. I’m committed to keeping it forever! We used a lot of unusual samples and sampled instruments on the record. For example, shuffle beats: some harmonica, a few vocal stabs, and a sound we made by just slapping the top of a Fender Twin Reverb amp and heavily effecting the resulting spring-tank wobble. Honestly, we couldn’t even list them all because they came from so many varied places and times.
The band’s single “I Am” was released in 2015 before Dissonants in 2016 as a transition into what was to follow; but ‘I Am’ was also meant to stand alone. Is your 2017 single “Drift” a taste of the new album or a stand-alone transition?
‘Drift’ was initially intended to be a transition track to buy us some time as we ‘went dark’ to start writing the record; but also, to hint toward where we were aiming at the time. We always intended to try to include it on the album if it made sense, but it ended up feeling a little out of context—a lot of sonic and musical elements got carried into the new songs—but it served its purpose as something to build our touring around, between ending the Dissonants cycle, and kicking off the new one. Still one of our favorites live and will be in the set a long time.
Last month you announced the band’s fall 2018 tour in the U.K. A post via the band’s official Instagram hints that new tunes will be played during this tour. What else new will you bring to the U.K. this fall?
I can’t really answer without giving away key details short of being stoked to bring our friends in Jule Vera along for what I believe is their first U.K. tour. They are truly one of the most talented and original bands we’ve toured with in recent years. Normandie is an exciting-as-hell U.K. band with a lot in front of them, and I’m really keen to see them live, so it’s gonna be a lot of fun. Then we get to do mainland Europe with our dear buddies in Our Last Night!
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