Hands Like Houses

By Richard Ahlgrim  ,  March 03, 2015

Hands Like Houses released Dissonants, their third studio album, on February 26th to much acclaim.  The Australian alternative rock band consists of: Joel Tyrrell on bass guitar, Matt Parkitny on drums, Alexander Pearson on rhythm guitar, Matt "Coops" Cooper on lead guitar, and Trenton Woodley performing vocals.  Since they are currently on tour, I was able to ask Trenton Woodley, through email, a few questions about Dissonants, life on the road, and what’s next on the band’s agenda.

Richard: Dissonant means lacking harmony, which is an odd name for an album.  What is the meaning behind the name Dissonants?
Trenton: It personifies our individual dissonance from each other - not as a negatively or positively loaded thing, but simply as a reflection of the fact we’re all completely bound to our own perspective and understanding.

R: This album is full of high energy, catchy songs: which one is your favorite to perform and why?
T: "I Am or Colourblind" are awesome, for exactly that reason: they’re the most catchy, high energy songs, and an audience thrives off that! But we’re yet to play "Stillwater" live, which, for me, has this special emotional impact in a live room.

R: What message are you trying to send to your fans in Dissonants?
T: We’re always trying to challenge the expectations, habits and perspectives of anyone who comes across our music. We want people to consider the world they experience with an open mind, and Dissonants is a fairly direct encouragement towards that goal.

R: Who/what inspired you to form a band? Was there a specific event or person that started the idea?
T: We just wanted to make music we love with our friends! Everything that’s happened since has been a wild ride, but that’s always the core of what we do. It’s hard to say where the band started exactly, because we had a lot of the typical member changes all bands go through when they’re starting out and settling in, so it’s hard to say what started it :P

R: You spend a lot of time on the road touring, what affect does this have on your song writing?

T: It severely restricts the amount of time we have to write creatively, maturely and effectively - so it’s a large part of the challenges that came with creating Dissonants.

R: You have a huge social media presence compared to most bands.  How do you find the time to keep up with so many fans?
T: We get told this all the time, but in a lot of ways we don’t really feel like it. I guess we just interact on a ‘real’ level - as much or as little as each of us wants to. We’re honest and open and genuine, so maybe that’s part of why people do stay in touch and up to date via our socials! If it’s authentic, it doesn’t really matter about the time or energy involved, so I guess we just make time where we can!

R: Of the venues you have performed at, which has been your favorite and why?
T: Really hard to say but I think Brixton Academy in London or Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne have been the two coolest stages we’ve played on over the years!

R: What are your recording/ touring plans for the next few years after your current tour?
T: We have a new US tour being announced tomorrow, in addition to our UK headliner and the Northlane/In Hearts Wake Equinox Australian tour we have coming up. Gonna be busy but with fantastic bands all the way so genuinely excited!

R: How do you balance your musical career and the rest of your life(family, friends, hobbies)?
T: Not very well haha! I got asked recently what hobbies I have, and the truth is, I barely have time to really invest myself in any of them so they kinda fade into the background! But we are all pretty normal guys, with normal relationships and families and so we’re always trying to make the most out of the opportunities we have to be at home, and try to make sure we have plenty of them!

R: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of travelling around the world on tour?
T: Every now and then you get a day off in somewhere that’s really freaking cool. Whether that’s New York or Kuala Lumpur or Edinburgh, Prague or Singapore, it’s definitely a sweet way to travel.

R: How much musical training have you gone through to get to where you are today?  Or were you self-taught?
T: We’re all effectively self-taught, but we’ve also all had music lessons somewhere along the way, either in our instrument or just in general. Music is human, so it doesn’t need technical training, but technical training allows you to push yourself creatively to be better at your instrument.
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