BEAR HANDS aren’t your average band. The Brooklyn indie rock act started as an idea to spite a romantic rival and have since clawed through endless touring with everyone from Vampire Weekend to The xx, prompting the group to finally release a debut they can call their own. Before their first gig in Toronto, vocalist/guitarist Dylan Rau reviewed the group’s recent praise and explained why they plan to agitate others with their music for years to come.
Journalists claim you’re a band that’s going to explode with success though you just released your debut a few weeks ago. Are you inspired or intimidated by that?
I try not to think about things like that because hyperbole is pervasive both on the Internet and in bullshit chit-chat, so you know. I’d say I’m more inspired than intimidated.
Do you think you could have continued on touring without releasing your first LP?
I really like touring. I’m kind of new to it but I could see myself spending more than a few years traveling. That being said, I do care more about the recorded material so the LP was inevitable.
Why did it take so long to compose Burning Bush Supper Club?
I was stuck in a negative feedback cycle and people in the group and organization were paranoid. We mixed the album for a really long time. It was hard to get all the kids in the same room together because we do have day jobs. Some of us anyway.
Did you ever find yourself trying to determine what kind of band Bear Hands was going to be?
No, never. We just wanted and still want to be a band.
With so many groups going the indie psychedelic route, how do you make yourself sound original?
Only make someone listen to something you think is okay.
Why is the Brooklyn music scene glowing with so many psychedelia acts like yourself, Amazing Baby and MGMT?
I don’t know. Everyone likes to play in bands, ride motorcycles, do all of those types of things. To me, Brooklyn honestly doesn’t have the most psychedelic vibe. It’s kind of cramped.
Was the scene there the same five or ten years ago?
I moved there maybe four years ago so I can’t really say. Our bass player Val probably knows more than me because he knows all kinds of bands from the area. I’m bad when it comes to identifying bands and their respective geographical sub-genres.
Which is a bigger influence: an artist’s environment or their personal taste in music?
I think you can make any kind of music anywhere, regardless environment or preference.
Is it wrong to attempt to label your music yourself?
I don’t like to do that. Glue Fi?
Billboard called you “stellar”, Spin says you’re “riveting”. How would you describe Bear Hands?
A painful tease to the end.
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