Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Trenton Woodley, the vocalist of Australian’s own Hands Like Houses. If you have never heard their music before, Trenton would describe it as “hard-hitting emotionally driven rock”. Hands like Houses is composed of 5 guys who truly enjoy what they do. Since 2008 Hands like Houses has been climbing the charts with every new release. When asked what moment they realized they “made it big”, Trenton modestly answered, “I don’t think there was a single moment, even now, we don’t really know that we’re going to make it ‘big’ – but we’ve always believed we’re capable of doing something special. We’ve just gotta pour the hard work in so that when the opportunities come, we’re ready to take them.”
Did you think you would have such a big following in the United States?
“I don’t think we expected it at all, but with the team behind us and our early albums connecting over there, it was a brilliant feeling of recognition!”
Do you have any pre show rituals?
“We tend to pick a ‘vibe’ for the night (or nominate a ‘vibe-tech’ who picks it for us), put our hands in, one of us says ‘Boys, it’s time to ride the vibe…’ and we all chant ‘AND THE VIBE IS GOOD!’ (replacing good with whatever the vibe of the night is. It sounds silly on paper but it’s based off a little recorded message a friend made us for playing through our in-ear monitors haha!”
Do you have any special writing techniques?
“I’d say our only real unique writing technique is that everything Alex and Coops write guitar wise gets tabbed out while they learn them. Beyond that, there’s a bunch of different and varying steps in developing each instrument, the lyrics and then revisiting and refining all of the above.”
In Less than a year, Hands Like House’s Music Video for “I Am” Hit 1.8 million views, coming in second to their Punk Goes 90’s Cover of “Torn”, When asked about it Trenton Said “we never expected huge things out of Torn but it seems to reach an entirely different audience. Either way, we’re stoked we’re reaching so many people, and we love playing both!”
Out of everything you have recorded, what song would you say means the most to you?
“I think A Tale of Outer Suburbia is definitely one of the most personal, as I still struggle with most of the subject matter often enough that it always feels close to home.”
An artist is their own worse critic, are there any songs you recorded that looking back you don’t like as much as you thought you did?
“Thankfully not really, most of those we dropped along the way. There’s one or two that took a different direction than what I’d originally hoped, but that’s not to say I don’t like them at all. I just wonder ‘what if’ haha!”
What’s the Origin Story of the band?
“A few of us went to school together, but more importantly, we all met through playing shows in various bands together at this little skate-shop/rehearsal room venue called Sound Underground. I don’t think Canberra’s local scene has ever been stronger than those few years. But we met, became friends and eventually all ended up in the same band!”
Is there a central theme to “Dissonants”, If so, what is it?
“It’s about the idea that we’re all looking at the world from our own unique perspective, and I feel like when we accept that we have such a narrow field of view, everything seems to make more sense. I guess it’s about coming to terms with my own dissonance, and how it affects the way I relate to the world.”
What were the songs on this album inspired by?
“We always draw from bands we love, bands we’ve toured with and bands that are doing well – we break them all down to figure out what makes them great, and try and build songs from that same base framework, and then wrap it in HLH character haha!”
Would you say this album is better than your previous albums? If so, how?
“We think so, yes. We’re always trying to grow as songwriters and keep progressing as a band. This is the most focused and intentional record we’ve produced, so we think that makes it the best! But we still love our previous albums, and always will as we keep moving forward.”
Do you regret not adding any other songs you’ve written to “Dissonants”?
“I don’t think so, we ended up with 12 because we felt like every one of them had its place. The rest that were cut, were cut because they just weren’t quite happening confidently or comfortably, so they were left as they were and we didn’t give them a second thought.”
What would you say your biggest accomplishment of this album was? We’re there any “roadblocks” or “issues” that arose during the making of the album?
“I think our biggest accomplishment was getting it finished haha… we honestly came closer than we’d ever thought to walking away. The main roadblock was that we’d spent so much time touring, that we didn’t have time to lay enough foundations for the album. When we hit the studio, we had enough songs, but we also had this vision for what we wanted the album to be and what we wanted to achieve by it. So as we really locked in on those songs, a lot of them just weren’t sparking as confidently or creatively as we wanted, so we had to go back to the drawing board. In the end, we pushed the album back and took the extra time to refine, rework and rewrite what we needed to. It was the chance we needed to polish it into something genuinely great.“
You can read our review of Dissonants [here]
Interview by: Danielle Rhew