2023 is shaping up to be the year of FAKE HANDS. The Seattle music scene is starting to get a load of this talented rock quartet, with their debut single “Coming Through” gaining much attention, including airplay from the local rock radio stations. Barely a year since forming, the band has worked very hard to polish their skills and build some chemistry and momentum, and it’s all come together quite nicely, with their debut self-titled EP being released at the end of January. The band members got so well acquainted with each other that the EP was, in fact, completed within the first few months of starting to play together.
There was a lot of spontaneity within these early recording sessions due to their lack of experience playing together. It really helped set an exciting, unpredictable tone when it came to writing and recording. Currently, Fake Hands are expanding their audience within Seattle, but they plan on hitting the road beyond their locale later in the spring.
Joining us today for a chat is Dylan Jackson, who discusses the group’s origins, influences, what he loves about music, playing live, and more.
How would you describe your own music?
Dylan Jackson: “We would describe ourselves as noise punk/post-hardcore. While we all seem to be grunge kids, we appreciate and take influence of music over the span of centuries.”
Who are your biggest influences?
“Oh, my god. Let’s first lament on our universal values. METZ, Refused, Nirvana, Viagra Boys, Jesus Lizard, and Dead Kennedys. Everyone is bringing their own influences into the fold. I definitely love Radiohead, The Pixies, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and the pride of Windsor, Ontario, before an American political movement destroyed all their viability to reach another audience, The Tea Party. I will also add Crystal Castles and Amyl & The Sniffers.”
Which act would you really want to tour with?
“I think all of us would be okay touring with METZ, Refused, IDLES, Preoccupations, OUGHT, and Viagra Boys. I mean, if your band is loud and obnoxious, we are drawn to that. Chat Pile, Show Me The Body, Meat Wave, Bikini Kill… we are malleable.”
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
“It is a literal fact that the music industry went from music fans to accountants that employ scientists to break down what in music appeals to general listeners. This is why you can hear a hit, and then hear a similar hit two years later that just changes out the words. We choose to be different. We write the music we want to listen to. If the mainstream doesn’t accept it, we are doing fairly well already on an independent basis.”
What do you like most about playing music?
“I was born into a musical family. My grandfather was a jazz pianist. My dad was in a cover band. My mom was a singer. I am not sure I had a choice. Even as a kid, I was putting on a show. I was telling jokes. It’s been a lifetime of, ‘hey Dylan, do something funny,’ or ‘play us a song.’ Believe it or not, I am an introvert, but this undying love to perform gives me so much satisfaction more than anything.”
Which do you enjoy the most, writing, recording, practicing, or playing live?
“There is nothing that beats playing live. I set myself up into the audience on the floor, so I am constantly looking around to what outrageous thing I can do. I have jumped in the trash. I have flipped onto a ladder. I have rolled through fire. Hell, you can have more than half our band out on the floor, causing chaos. You do the homework to meet this point.”
What’s the most dangerous thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows?
“Most of our shows are controlled chaos. It looks dangerous, but we aren’t out to hurt anybody. There was an instance where I jumped on someone’s table and fell backwards. Thank God for adrenaline, or more recently, our guitarist jumped off the stage and tossed his guitar 360 degrees across his neck. Unfortunately, the point of that guitar went directly into my right arm, and then the guitar strap unraveled, which brought Chris and I to do a shared mic performance on our song ‘Trash Tan.’”
Tell us about your EP; what was your experience of making it? What went on behind the scenes? Any notable moments that stand out?
“We record at Peel Studios in Seattle. The owner, Michael Springer, is not only a great producer and sound engineer, but also a great friend. The plus side is he likes a lot of the bands we do, so immediately, we are operating on the same level. We went in to record five tracks, and the session breezed by we had to include one more. I feel like we are just firing on all cylinders.”
You guys are an extremely heavy band; how does it make you feel when that power and energy you channelled in the studio come to life in front of a crowd?
“I am not going to lie, we enjoy studio magic, but much of what you hear on the EP is live off the floor. We need to get that feedback from the guitars. What you hear on the album may not be what you experience in the venue. There is room for improvisation, but we try to keep it close.”
Along those same lines, do you take advantage of technology and email riffs and parts back and forth, or do you get together in a room in a more traditional sense and write together?
“We toss recordings around and then go into practice trying to figure it out. A lot of stuff changes in the process, but yeah, I get sent a lot of riffs.”
When you write, do you do so with the live setting in mind, or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?
“We write songs for us. We don’t write songs for labels or commercials. We don’t pander. We write for FAKE HANDS. You either get it, or you don’t.”
Regarding your EP, now that it is complete and has been released, how do you feel about it, and what has been the response so far?
“Believe me, there are plenty of releases I have made over the years. Solo or as a band, in comparison, they have failed and are actually dead to me to the point I am mentally stomping on it with my imaginary foot. People love the EP. We are getting messages constantly. The love is mutual.”