Having recently kicked off their Australian tour in support of new EP, Reimagine – Hands Like Houses are set to be welcomed back into the arms of local fans. We sat down with vocalist Trenton Woodley to chat about the new EP, touring and the evolution of the band.
By Mark Plummer
You’re part of a label with a lot of exciting bands and releases to go with them, what does it mean to you being a part of Rise Records’ roster; how does it help to drive your aspirations?
I think being signed to an independent label like Rise has taught us a lot about how to stay simple and focused – especially when we do sit apart musically from the majority of bands on the roster. They helped us reach an audience – which for a young band, is a huge headstart in becoming a ‘successful’ band. They’ve built a huge online audience so it’s great to be able to tap into that for releases.
What goals did you have when you decided to revisit your second album?
Honestly, our main goal with Reimagine was simply to create something worthwhile and enjoy the process. There was no stress or deadlines or expectation – we did it because we wanted to, and by keeping it pretty much entirely under wraps until it was ready to release, the whole process has been organic and natural.
How difficult was it to go back and rework Unimagine into this new EP, or did this give you a chance to express ideas that you previously had in the studio but may not have worked at the time?
It really wasn’t difficult. We locked ourselves away in the mountains for a week or so with a few ideas each of us had along the way for different songs, and we just played together until we felt like we had some great songs.
How would you describe the way that your band has evolved since Ground Dweller and where do you see that evolution taking you for album number three?
We like to think we’ve grown up a lot along the way. Ground Dweller was a challenge we set ourselves, to fit as many ideas and parts and styles as possible into one album; it worked but it was still super dense. So we took what we enjoyed most about GD and tried to improve our songwriting, particularly in regard to ‘feel’ and tone, for Unimagine and I imagine the next album will be a natural next step forward from there. We don’t want to change for the sake of change but you have to grow, you have to progress and you have to challenge yourself and your audience with every release. We want to write rock songs that people can enjoy regardless of what ‘genre’ they normally are into. We believe good music is good music, irrespective of style and taste, and people do recognize that in a song.
You’ve mentioned about writing for album number three, where do you see that release taking you musically, are there already techniques that you want to experiment with?
I think we will spend more time on details for album three, the little segues and tonal differences that make a song unique. Originality is in subtle nuance, so I feel like we will keep trying to write songs that at their simplest are a great rock song, but still have that depth and detail that we’ve always enjoyed and appreciated in our music and the bands we listen to.
What influences do you draw upon when you write? You seem to incorporate a real mix of music influences.
We all have different tastes, and all appreciate a pretty broad range of styles. I think it really comes down to just writing music and bringing in individual ideas or inspirations to each song. If you try too hard to draw upon particular bands or sounds, you start to emulate instead of create and that’s not the kind of band we are or want to be.
You’ve toured the states as part of the Warped Tour, played the UK; is there anywhere you’d like the Reimagine EP or your next album to take you that you’ve not played yet?
We would love to get to Japan and the Philippines, even Central and South America if the opportunity allows. This year we’re going to Singapore, Malaysia, Spain, Portugal and a couple of other EU countries we haven’t been to yet so it’s pretty sweet to play in new places, and even better to see that list shrink every year.
How special is it to come back and play in Australia, do find yourselves with more energy when playing to a home crowd?
Definitely, especially when friends and family are at the shows. Australia is and always will be home for us so we definitely enjoy our time here.
How do you feel these reworked songs will go down in a live atmosphere; crowds will surely be used to how they were previously heard, does that add a different kind of pressure to performing them?
We haven’t actually tried them ‘live’ yet, but seeing as most were written in a live room, playing together, we’re pretty confident it will translate easily. I think if we tour any material off Reimagine, it may likely be as a specific ‘unplugged’ show or run of shows. No plans yet but it may well happen soon.
Finally, how should fans prepare themselves for the upcoming gigs?
Bring a friend or come by yourself and make new ones, drink plenty of water and rock up planning to enjoy yourself. That’s all we’re doing and we’re loving it.
Many thanks to Trenton for taking the time to chat to us. ‘Reimagine’ is released on September 16th via Rise Records.