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Spring Fling Tour - Rochester, NY

Interview: Bear Hands

Back in February, Bear Hands released their first single “2am” off their new album. The song has received a lot of airplay since then and has been the most added song to Alternative Radio over the past 2 weeks. Their new album “You’ll Pay For This” drops April 15th. I recently caught up with Dylan Rau from Bear Hands and discussed the new album, playing arena shows, and Record Store Day Crawl.

1. Can you tell me a bit about how Bear Hands started?

I met Ted the guitar player at Wesley University when we were both at school there. We were working on a student movie and I learned that he played guitar and I had kinda been planning on putting a band together for a while. That summer I was living in Brooklyn and two old friends from Connecticut who I knew from playing in school punk bands were also in Brooklyn and I kinda put everyone together in the West 30’s in Manhattan and that was that. It happened pretty fast.

2. Now you guys have been a band for quite a while now. How has the band developed and changed over the years?

Well, one thing that has changed I would say is the song writing has probably become more collaborative then when we started. Ted, he wrote music but he wasn’t really a song writer in the sense that he didn’t really write vocals or lyrics and that kind of thing. After much pushing and prodding I got him to do so. On the new record he co-wrote probably half of it which is really exciting. It’s great to have a partner like that in the band.

3. Are there any specific musicians that have directly influenced the band?

Oh geez. I mean yeah, we’ve been listening to a lot of “Young Thug” on Tour and we’ve been listening to “Slime Season One & Two” before we go on each night so I guess that’s what’s influencing us right now.

4. Now you’re currently on the Spring Fling tour with Cage The Elephant, Silversun Pickups and Foals. How are you enjoying that?

Oh! It just so fun. It’s almost over, I think we maybe have three shows left but it’s been great. We toured with Cage The Elephant before but we have never played with Foals or Silversun before and they’re all really good people and great bands. It’s fun to watch them every night.

5. Is there a difference to when you played with Cage The Elephant back in 2014 to now?

Yeah, this is like an arena tour so it’s been really wild. We’re playing basketball and hockey arenas, which is really crazy. So yeah, it’s a little different I guess and that can be good and bad. I mean it’s obviously a less intimate affair but you can’t really beat the waves of energy that comes back to you when there are 5000 people there.

6. How do you decide on the setlist for the tour? Do you keep the same setlist each night on tour or do you like to change it up ?

Oh no, we keep the same setlist generally on tour just because you kinda get better at doing it when you do it over and over again. 

7. What has been your favourite experience so far on tour?

Hmm, well we got to play where the Sacramento Kings play in Sacramento. I’m kinda an NBA junkie so that was really cool seeing the locker rooms and stuff like that. Then last night we played in Hartford which is kind of my hometown and I grew up in Connecticut. Actually 3/4 of the band grew up in Connecticut so we had a lot of friends and family out to that show and that was really cool also.

8. Since it’s release in February, your first single “2 am” is receiving a lot of air play. What’s the story or the meaning behind the song?

I guess that song is kind of about fear of missing out and maturing and maybe not going out five nights a week in Brooklyn or LA or wherever you happen to be. Trying to domesticate yourself and tame the wild horses you know?

9. Your third album “ You’ll Pay For This” drops April 15th. What inspired the album title?

Ted and I always thought it would be funny to end a set by yelling “You’ll Pay For This!” into the mic all accusatory of the audience. I don’t know, we had a good laugh about that for a long time, way before this record was made or anything and then when we were trying to name it, it just kind of made sense. Also the first song on the record is called “I Won’t Pay” so we just thought we would tie it together.

10. How was the writing and recording process of the new album “You’ll Pay For this” different from your previous album “Distraction” in 2014?

We definitely had the luxury of spending more time devoted to writing and recording. Ted and I went out to California for a few weeks together and stayed in this really cool cabin, kind of in the woods two hours outside of LA. It was great, there was no internet, no wifi, there was no distractions at all. We were working on music 16 hours a day and we probably wrote half the record while we were out there so it was kind of more focused I would say.

11. I’m loving the song “ Like Me Like That” off the new album. What is your favourite song on the new album?

Oh wow! You’ve heard the album already!  Oh I couldn’t really tell you, they’re all my babies. Also it kind of changes by the day. I like “ I Won’t Pay” and I like “Marathon Man” and there’s a song called “Winners Circle” on there that I like a lot too.

12. Following the release of the album, you guys are taking part in Record Store Day Crawl on April 16th. What can people expect?

Yeah , it’s actually going to be pretty whacky! We’re going to keep it casual, I think we’re going to do some covers maybe and we were talking about maybe Ted doing a song by himself and me doing a song by myself. I don’t now, just trying to make it a little more varied than the average Bear Hands set.

13. What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We have a bunch of radio shows that we’re doing, I know there’s a long weekend in Florida and I think we’re going to be playing with Silversun Pickups again in June. I know we’re playing Hangout Festival in Alabama so yeah there’s going to be a lot of touring this summer and the rest of the year.

Check out the video for “2am” here:


For more on Bear Hands, visit the following links below:

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Pre Order “You’ll Pay For This” here.

You can check out photos of Bear Hands at their Rochester, NY tour date here.

More information on Record Store Day Crawl: www.recordstorecrawl.com

About Janine Van Oostrom

Janine Van Oostrom is a photographer based in Niagara Falls, Canada. She is a broadcasting student by day and concert photographer by night.

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