Interview with The Hundred In The Hands

With a music scene inundated with synth based indie dance bands there comes a time when every ‘new’ sound starts to merge into a sludgy bird poop of electo dirge that takes ages to clean off your windscreen. Thankfully The Hundred In The Hands have their own special poop remover formula that cleanses the nasty dirge into super shiny NYC dance with an extra freshness that lasts for days. Jason Friedman and Eleanore Everdell are the masterminds behind the rather unique formula and there really can be no imitations. COTW managed to secure some time to talk to the band about their new album, touring and the potential for collaborations in the future…

Cat On The Wall: Can you tell us about your new album?

Jason Friedman: We’re really excited about our new album! We made it at the same time we made the EP and when we were making the EP we knew that the songs that were going to be on the EP were softer, more washed out and we kind of let them be that way because that was really helpful so we could go further with that idea . Then the album songs were the songs that we were really the most excited about, tried to be cleaner and finer so it was exciting pushing to see how far we could go in that direction.

COTW: Are there any tracks on the album that you really have a particular affection for?

JF: I feel a little bit removed from it at this point as it’s been so long. ‘Commotion’ is probably the one when we’re playing live that I think is the most exciting. There’s also a bunch of songs we don’t do live which are a little fresher to me.

COTW: Is there a reason why you don’t play some songs live?

JF: Some of them like ‘The Beach’ which is a slower song. I think maybe down the road if people like the record and know it a little more it might work live but right now we’re trying to play more of the upbeat songs.

COTW: You’re touring Europe at the moment and are going to hit Holland this weekend. Is this something you’ve done before?

JF: We were over in April and we played Lille and Paris. That was it, that’s all we’ve done!

COTW: How did you find the Paris audience?

JF: It was sparse I would say! (laughs) We were supposed to be with this band Venetian Snares and they cancelled at the last minute so a lot of people just didn’t show up. The show in Lille was awesome. It was on this little barge that they turned into a venue on a little canal! It was packed and fun!

Cat On The Wall then has a quick chat about a possible tour in November around the UK, hopefully with a Cardiff date! Jason then passes the phone to Eleanore.

COTW: There’s a picture of you guys online that really reminded us of a Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin photo from the 1960s. You’ve also been compared to them in some reviews, what do you make of that?

Eleanore Everdell: Musically we don’t sound anything like them! I’m just very flattered; they’re so stylish and it’s wonderful that people would even compare us.

COTW: Is there a male/female combo that you feel the closest to?

EE: *thinks for a moment* I don’t know! Musically we don’t really think of modelling ourselves after any kind of other male/female combo. I think it’s a little bit almost embarrassing to be a male/female combo. I think we just both want to be in a band and have it feel like a band rather than a duo. Honestly I couldn’t think of a more charming couple than Serge or Jane.

COTW: We’re glad you’ve answered that way as it was a bit of a trick question. You’re in it for the music which is what we wanted to hear! Now, we’ve read that you worked with TV On The Radio…

EE: Kyp Malone, who is one of the members, is kind of an old New York friend of mine. He asked me to sing on the last track ‘Lovers Day’ with him. It was a surprise to me and I was completely flattered. It was a really lovely thing to do, you know, it was a short little day in the studio working together. An incredibly smart, intelligent artist to work with in the studio, it felt an honour to be a part of that.

COTW: Would you like to work with any other people?

EE: Yeah actually! It’s harder now that we have our own project taking up a lot of time. It’s always amazing to work with someone whose music you respect so much and if those opportunities came up then of course I would, y’know… Also because I studied music and voice for a long time when I was younger and it’s fun to do something that’s not in your own style. Take on someone else’s vision and see what you can contribute to it.

COTW: Equally, would you invite someone to collaborate with The Hundred In The Hands?

EE: Well we have with drummers! We love having live drums recorded on the tracks as neither of us play. We have a couple of friends that we’ve gone to who are amazing, Vito from The Rapture played on a bunch of tracks. Those kinds of situations are amazing and we were happy to have them involved. We don’t speak about that so much right now, maybe another record or two down the line. We’re still just trying to allow the identity of the band to mature in our minds.

COTW: Yes, as it’s the first album too you must get so engrossed in what you’re doing that the focus is only on the two of you…

EE: Yes and I think for us it’s early days and I feel like when you’re trying to make something out of nothing people can be totally focused on what you’re doing and I think for us it was just the two of us. We thought about it night and day and it helped that we were living together talking about it night and day. It couldn’t have included anybody else on a more part-time basis. In the future that might be more of a possibility.

COTW: We spoke to Jason earlier about gigging, how do you prepare for a show? Is it thorough or more spur of the moment?

EE: I had a really nice experience once backstage with Alexei from the Handsome Furs, we were playing a show with them. She was getting nervous before they went on stage but in that way hoping around and smiling a lot! It was a very charming nervous energy but I was asking her why she gets nervous as they played a lot and she said she’s nervous because she wants to be as present on stage as possible. She wants to bring her full self to the stage and to be engrossed in the moment as completely as possible. I feel like it was a really nice way to think about what your goal is when you’re trying to play live. The whole point of it is that it’s an immediate present experience that you’re all sharing with people on the stage, people in the audience and there’s an energy there – you can’t put it into words. You have to be as a part of that… so… that’s what I think about these days! Just trying to find that feeling as much as possible when we’re on stage!

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