Foreign Hands - Sound In The Signals Interview

Ashley Simpson
I recently had the opportunity to interview Jack of Foreign Hands. We discussed how they formed the band, early musical influences, why the early-mid 2000s Emo/hardcore scene is so important to the band, the writing and recording process for new EP, ‘Bleed The Dream’, how the reception for “A Cardiac Winter” will encourage them to push the boundaries even further in the future, creating the artwork for the EP, signing with DAZE, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Thanks for having me!

Can you tell me how you formed the band for those who may be unfamiliar? How did you initially become interested in music?

Foreign Hands formed after a handful of our old bands broke up. We’d all known each other through shows beforehand, so that’s how we got to know each other. I (Jack) got interested in music at a young age because of what my dad would listen to. He put me onto Green Day, The Beatles, Nirvana, Oasis…all that good stuff. I picked up piano shortly after that and eventually switched over to playing guitar.

Your band and various other bands like Koyo and Stand Still have been getting a lot of interest. You all seem to draw some influence and inspiration from the emo/hardcore scene of the early-mid 2000s. Is that an accurate statement for your band? If so, what is it about that time that inspires you?

I think the biggest thing is that we all grew up on that stuff. That era of music is so important to us, and it also spawned so many great bands and albums that still hold up today. Even going back now, a lot of those bands feel so fresh and exciting to listen to - and I think that’s really what we wanted to capture. We definitely wear our influences on our sleeve, but we don’t want it to feel like a rehashing of something people have heard before. Bands like Koyo and Stand Still, they’re doing so well because they manage to capture a certain period of time in their sound, but still feel fresh and relevant. It’s not too stuck in the past, and we wanted to go for that feel too - sort of toeing the line between nostalgic and current.

You recently released your EP ‘Bleed The Dream’. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process for it?

We initially started writing for it right around the time the pandemic first hit back in 2020. It was our first time attempting to write as a group, so we laid down a handful of songs that didn’t end up making the cut. We were basically just trying to figure out what worked about the songs we had and what didn’t, as well as new elements to incorporate. Eventually we started to feel stuck, and our friend Isaac (Hale) of Knocked Loose came out and helped us iron out the kinks and put the finishing touches on the EP. We recorded it a few months later in Chicago at Bricktop with Andy Nelson, who’s just the best. He’s done so many great records, and really just has the whole process down to a science. Andy definitely helped to make this EP sound exactly like we wanted it to, he’s the man. It was also my first time properly singing in-studio, so that was really nerve-wracking for me. I kinda had to figure out what I was doing as we tracked the vocals, but luckily it ended up working out.

I really like “A Cardiac Winter”. Can you tell me about writing that song specifically both musically and lyrically?

That song came about from us touching on stuff we’d never done before: writing in 3 / 4 time signature, using some weirder effect pedals (our other guitarist Gill had just bought a phaser at the time), and just have it be more of a groovier song. I was certain it was gonna be the odd one out on the EP, but it’s been shocking how many people have singled that song out as being one of their favorites. Definitely encourages us to push the boundaries even further in the future. Tyler (Norris) writes all the lyrics, and I know his recurring theme for the EP is nostalgia. He and I worked together to come up with a cool chorus, which I think just adds to its more unique vibe.

I really like the artwork for the EP. Where did you get that image from and why did you feel like it fit the project?

That’s another Tyler idea - before we even had the EP finished, he had mentioned wanting to start and end the EP with an old music box crank sample. He ended up finding one at an antique shop, and our friend Ashley (who took the photo) helped us really bring that concept to life. The white and blue tones really feel like a callback to that early 2000s era you mentioned before, and also just felt totally different from anything we’d done for the band. It ended up fitting perfectly with the finished product.

You released the EP through DAZE. What made you decide to sign with them and how has the experience been so far?

We’ve known Lumpy for a little while just through playing shows, and he had offered to put something out for us before we’d even finished writing the EP. Once it was mastered and everything, we considered trying to shop it around, but eventually decided we wanted him to put it out. DAZE is doing so well right now, there are so many great bands he’s been putting out and it’s become a pretty huge deal in hardcore. He’s also just a super easy guy to work with, he helped us out a ton in making sure the release itself went smoothly. Couldn’t have done it without him!

You just finished a tour with Silenus. How was that experience and what do you have planned next in terms of playing shows?

It was great to get back to it, we hadn’t toured since almost exactly 2 years before that run, so it was awesome to break ourselves back into it. We’re currently in the process of mapping out the rest of our year - nothing I can mention yet, but we’ll definitely be busy!

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for reaching out! It’s much appreciated!

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