Torben: Hello guys. A lot of people did not know anything about HAND TO HAND before your actual album "A Perfect Way To Say Goodbye". Please give us a short introduction of HAND TO HAND.
HAND TO HAND: Were Rob(vox), Steve (bass), Brock (guitars), Zach (drums), and
me Jay (guitars). Weve been playing music together for what seems like forever. Weve playing in what were different versions of Hand To Hand since 2000. Zach joined after he left As Friends Rust, and I was added later as a second guitarist. Were just five people that love music so much that we couldnt just listen to it. We had to write our own. So we write what we feel, or what comes our naturally. Aside from being honest with ourselves and our listeners, we want to bring back musical release to shows where kids can come and go insane to release frustration, anger, and tension.
Florida has a huge hardcore scene. How did the line-up of HAND TO HAND end up together?
Each of us have been in different bands here in the Florida scene for years. Some of us have shared bands together long before Hand To Hand was formed. Weve playing together for years under different names, but it wasnt until about 2 years ago that we decided to call ourselves Hand To Hand. I guess the rest is history
The release party of "A Perfect Way To Say Goodbye" has just been a few days ago. How was it?
It was great. Were very thankful. We played 2 shows in a row to make sure everyone could see the show. Both shows sold out it was so much fun.
Your songs are pretty intense between melody and aggression. How would you describe the sound of HAND TO HAND?
Were a band that went to metal school, but also really loves melody (laughs). Were not afraid to write what we feel. In the case of our latest offering, we wanted to show the world that we knew how to write metal but werent afraid to be conservative about it. Melody is a large part of what we do because we love emo and post hxc. So keeping this in mind, were a metal band pretending to emo, pretending to be metal filed under contemporary hard core at the music store.
Looking at your cover artwork and the title of your album I was tempted to peg you as a more melodic, less heavy band with all my stereotyped thinking. What was your intention choosing this artwork and this title?
We wanted something that really stuck out to us. Luckliy, our photographer friend, John Deeb, had the amazing photo of the Orlando International Airport. Since we knew we wanted the album to be A Perfect Way To Say Goodbye, this photo seemed perfect. Although were an aggressive band, we wanted a cover that would make people think, instead of giving them the exact impression right away. The title is in reference to our lives changing as a result of the band, and the changes and sacrifices we have to make as a result. Also, the album was dedicated to certain loved ones who have recently passed away. This album serves as a fair well to them as well.
Your first EP "Fast Forward You Thoughts" was self-released in 2004. How was the public reaction to your first release, especially within a hardcore scene like Florida?
It was anticipated partially because we were working with Jame Paul Wisner for the first time as a band. So that added some pressure Im sure. When the Ep was released, I couldnt believe how fast word travelled about our band. The scene kids really seemed to embrace it for the most part.
How did you team up with Lifeforce Records and why do you think its the right label for you as a band and for your sound?
Since LifeForce is a well respected label here in the states, the decision was easy. The roster speaks for itself! Weve heard nothing but great things about them from both bands and industry people. Thats why we were thrilled to learn that our good friends in Trivium passed our demo along to the right people at the label. Although were the least heavy band on the roster, we feel right at home. Not only does LifeForce really care about what were doing artistically, the staff are really cool to work with.
You recorded "A Perfect Way To Say Goodbye" together with James Paul Wisner, who also worked with bands like UNDEROATH. Your sound is often compared to UNDEROATH who actually did change their sound a lot since their first album. What do you think about this comparison?
Were honored to be put into the same category as Underoath. Theyre a great band, and very cool guys. Personally, I dont hear the comparison though. We rely more on using metal undertones in our song writing while lately, they borrow heavily from the pop side of things. On their latest album, there really didnt use any chug chug as we like to call it or heavy guitar riffs. They take advantage of the screaming to make them heavy.
Looking back to the recording process, did the songs on "A Perfect Way To Say Goodbye" come up to your expectations or would you change something with the benefit of hindsight?
Were all very happy with the finished product. James Paul Wisner did a great job. I guess looking back, I would have wanted more time. As a guitarist, Im very big on layering and experimenting with different tones in the studio. The album wasnt rushed, but we were definitely under a huge time constraint. So, we couldnt really try different things just for the sake of trying them. If I could change something, it would be that.
Youre going to tour through Europe and Germany in May. What do you expect from your visit and what can we expect from you?
Yes, were very excited about this upcoming tour! Since our drummer Zach has toured Europe a few times with his old band, we sort of know what to expect. Were going to hit this tour hard. As far as I know, were in a different country just about every day. We know the stakes are high, and that we have a lot to prove to you guys. But playing live where I feel like we shine the most. We have a great work ethic, so every stop on this tour will get the same
intensity from all of us. We do what we do for the connection we feel with the kids who come out to shows. In Europe this will be no different, and thats what were after.
So, how is you schedule for 2005 besides touring a lot?
Thats basically it. Were going to hit Europe for the first time as a band in May 05. After that, its touring here in the States all year. In the mean time, we have been writing new material. The idea is to have the next album done while were on the road. Writing isnt something we force really, so well have to see if we can achieve this.
What are you guys doing if you are not making music?
Were pretty boring guys for the most part. As of now, we all have day jobs. We do hang out together often, mostly eating and watching movies. As of late, weve been fishing but so far we have little luck with that!
Thank you very much for your time. Do you have any final comments?
Thanks for the interview! We hope to see you guys out on the road this May!