Interview: Hands Like Houses (Download 2015 Preview)

Hailing all the way from a country known as Australia, Hands Like Houses are no strangers to bringing the noise to a festival audience. Selling out Camden Barfly in less than three hours, it’s quite clear that there’s a huge appetite for the Oz rock quartet on our fine shores, and with a support slot coming up with Enter Shikari in their homeland, it’s becoming more apparent that the group are gathering respect from all quarters. We had a chat with the bands vocalist, Trenton, to discuss their maiden Download appearance!

Hands Like Houses

Hands Like Houses play the Third Stage on Saturday

DD: Hello there! First of all, thanks for talking to us. Who have we got here, what do you do in Hands Like Houses, and what are you up to right now?

Trenton Woodley: Hey! Trenton here, I’m the singer for Hands Like Houses and I am enjoying the tiny amount of downtime we have at home this year by sitting on the couch and listening to the birds outside.

DD: This is the first time you have ever played Download Festival! Have you heard many stories about the festival? How excited are you to finally make your first appearance?

TW: It is! Download is one of a handful of festivals around the world that is ‘legendary’ to my mind – along with Lollapalooza, Coachella, Soundwave, Rock am Ring and Reading+Leeds. It’s one of those festivals where an Australian reads the lineup every year and thinks wistfully, ‘ah man, how good would this be to go to…’. Soundwave’s done an amazing job of bringing that ‘vibe’ to Australia but Download is an iconic festival and a pinch-yourself honour to be a part of. Genuinely excited!

DD: Are you planning on soaking up the full weekend experience? What bands are you looking forward to seeing most?

TW: We are definitely going to spend as much time as we can at the festival – I really hope to see Slipknot, Dragonforce, Mallory Knox, Parkway Drive, maybe Muse and Motley Crüe for the spectacle, haha! Also really excited to hang with our pals in Beartooth, In Hearts Wake and Northlane. Lots of Aussie love on our stage!

DD: You’re playing a small show in Camden just before the festival which you sold out in three hours! How mad is that?! Do you intend on using this show to refine your setlist for the weekend?

TW: It’s such a good feeling to sell out a room – even a small one! And Barfly is a perfect venue for a small show – it’s not a dive bar with a weird corner stage to squeeze into, it’s a genuine venue with a good stage and sound. It will be great to be up close and make sure our gear all survived the flight, haha! Travel is always a challenge with instruments and musical gear – so having the extra day’s warm up lets us get the kinks out and get us feeling great – ready for the festival!

DD: You guys have been no stranger to playing festivals over the years. What would you say is the best festival over in Australia, and what are the key differences (minus the chance of rain!)?

TW: I’d say Soundwave is the best festival here at the moment but we’ve played some fun ones! Warped Tour 2013 here was great for the most part but a few logistical challenges and gear problems kept us on our toes! The key difference is probably in travel – everything is so spread out in Aus so you barely have time to get a good night’s sleep between shows!

DD: Do you guys prepare for festival shows any differently than you would for a regular club show?

TW: I think we have to really step up on the ‘performance’ side – a) in nailing our songs and being as musically tight as possible, and b) making sure we play with a lot of energy to make up for the lack of lightshow/production. Particularly with daytime slots, it’s harder to impress people without a genuine quality act. So the challenge is fun, especially when you walk off stage thinking ‘yep, we nailed it!’

DD: You’ve had, and continue to have a busy year. I believe you just did a string of shows with Silverstein? What was the highlight of that tour? Also, how excited are you to be hitting the road with Enter Shikari over in Oz?

TW: Flat. Out. Literally have 2 months at home in 2015! Between the Silverstein run which was great (despite the snow and generally sub-zero temperatures), writing and recording a new album and then Enter Shikari, Download, Warped and other tours later in the year – we’ve barely got a moment to slow down. The NYC show of the Silverstein run was amazing – we had a few friends and industry folk out and felt like we hit our stride at the perfect moment of the tour – and the crowd was nuts! Those types of shows really stick with you. The tour with Enter Shikari back home is going to be our biggest Aus tour yet and we can’t wait. ES were one of maybe 5 bands that heavily influenced our music as we were starting out, and after Chiodos and Emarosa, the third we’ve been lucky enough to tour with! … still waiting on Thrice and Alexisonfire to reunite and take us out, then I think we can pack up and go home because we’ve lived the dream, haha!

DD: I believe you guys are looking to release a new album in the very near future? What’s the latest on that, and when can we expect it to drop?

TW: We’re a good way through the recording process – a little behind where we’d like to be but we want this album to be the best album we can possibly write at this moment in time – our music and our fans deserve nothing less – so just taking a bit of extra time to give it the room to be the best it can be! So we’re not quite ready to set a new release date, but more excitingly we’ll have new music much sooner – keep an eye (and ear) out around June or July.

DD: There’s going to be a whole load of kids making their first trip to Download this year. If you could give three pieces of advice to the festival virgins, what would it be?

TW: Drink plenty of water and don’t wear anything you’re not going to be comfortable in for more than a couple of hours on your feet – especially shoes! And maybe bring a few nut bars or energy snacks because festival food is always expensive and rarely particularly nutritious.

DD: OK, a light one to wrap things up. Imagine you are camping at Download this year. You can only choose ONE of the following luxuries. A) a tent, B) a sleeping bag, C) a stack of beer. What one do you choose, and why?

TW: If it was Australia, I’d take a sleeping bag but being in the UK, I’d definitely choose a tent. Sleeping under the stars is great but given the almost constant likelihood of rain in your part of the world, it wouldn’t be worth the gamble, haha! I like being dry.

DD: That’s about it from us. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Any last words to our awesome readers?

TW: Thanks for having me! As always, thank you to our fans for your support in making our world go round, and thank you for your patience as we write this new album. You’re the reason we want to make it the best it can be. Can’t wait to get new music out soon – until then, keep rocking I Am, Unimagine, Reimagine and our Punk Goes 90′s cover of Torn; we’ll see you soon!