Hands Of Industry came together in Yorkshire during the summer of 2014, and have welded their influences of 90s dance music with 80s synth and dark wave to create their own unique and modern sound. Drawing favourable comparisons with the likes of New Order, Depeche Mode and The Sisters of Mercy, the band describe their music as "Dark Dance" – a fusion of driving acoustic drums, catchy synth hooks and samples that provide an imposing and atmospheric backdrop to the dark vocals and lyrical content. We spoke to lead singer Paul from the band about their upcoming new release ‘I Swear’.
You have a new single out on the 31st March called ‘I Swear’. Where did the idea for this song come from?
It comes lyrically from some experiences I’ve had working in psychology from working with people with pathological jealousy, so it’s a song that’s very much about control and how relationships can start out with the victim of pathological jealous feeling that their partner is wanting to do everything for them, that they’re looking after them, that they’re going to protect them, and gradually as that control takes hold and that person starts to understand and realise they are being controlled that they try to get out of that relationship, and you see the controller getting more and more threatening. I guess it’s quite a dark song, as you might have gathered from listening to it.
With the music, it’s just very typical of the Hands of Industry sound. It’s dark dance / alternative dance. We wanted to make it a combination and I hope we’ve achieved that.
You’ve mentioned dark dance. How would you define that?
If you think about bands like Depeche Mode, certainly towards the latter end of their career. Obviously they’re still going and they’re still fresh, and still a huge band, but as they got a bit darker themselves they’re music started to become much more dance-orientated in how their songs were structured and what was behind the lyrical content, which has always been amazing. But if you try and think about a combination of Depeche Mode and New Order, and I think what we’ve always tried to do is combine a dark lyric, a serious lyric, with a big anthemic dance backdrop, a dance theme that’s holding the lyrical content up. They’re songs that mean things to people and have a relevance to a larger audience en-masse, and songs that people can dance to.
Your songs have a fusion of 80s and 90s; was that an intentional decision?
I think we’ve tried to use all our influences. There’s very much an 80s and 90s comparison that we do keep getting which is absolutely fantastic as these are eras that mean a lot to us, and where we get most of our inspiration from, certainly from my perspective. I’m a huge Depeche Mode fan. I absolutely adore them, but also bands like Sisters of Mercy and New Order. Our drummer is a huge dance fan, he’s really into the Chemical Brothers, Bad Gadget and bands like that. And Brad, the keyboard player, he loves his Kraftwerk and he’s a huge electronica fan. It’s the right blend of personnel in the band as all the right ingredients for the sound come together. We feel it’s certainly not pastiche, and most definitely something deliberately that we’ve tried to make as an evolution from those influences.
Going back to songwriting, do your songs mostly come from your experiences?
I’ve worked in a lot of different areas of psychology, so I’ve had lots of experience working in forensics, working in quite complex psychology difficulties, and some not so complex. But I guess you’ve got to use your own personal experiences as well so I wouldn’t say it’s purely as an observer; the lyrics don’t come from an observer perspective completely. Some songs come from personal experience as well, which is another important thing for us as a band, that the songs aren’t generic. We want these songs to have impact and to connect with people. I hope that that comes across in the lyrical content.
The single launches at the end of the month; are there any plans for an accompanying video?
Yes! We’re currently in talks to shoot a video. We’re just in the process of getting storyboards together which is all very exciting for us. It’s an opportunity for us all to get our heads together and get some ideas based around what the song is about, which I guess is a challenge. We’re currently in talks now with some people to make sure the video truly reflects what the band is about, and to showcase us as well, to show who we are and what the dynamic is between the three of us, which is a really great dynamic. The story itself is going to be an interesting one when it gets to the video. We’re all looking forward to seeing how that comes about.
Away from your music I believe you qualified for Mensa at the age of seven?
Yeah! I don’t remember it as a seven year old, but this is what has been told to me as I’ve been growing up. I went to a school for gifted children. I spent a lot of my time in Ireland. It’s a curious thing and something I’ve learned to play down as I’ve got older, but as they say, it is what it is!
Your drummer also contributed to the name of your act, with his hand movements…
Adam is a phenomenal drummer. [The hand gesture] is something Adam’s done from the very beginning and he’s all got us doing that now, and it’s really effective and fits with us. It’s really different and I think it looks really good on camera, but it’s something he’s done way before he joined the band and has stayed with him, and has become part of our normal repertoire.
You have tour dates coming up in March and April. How does your live sound compare to your studio work?
It’s interesting. We recorded with Ian who’s a huge producer and has been involved with so many different projects, even right back to the Hit Factory. He’s worked with Kylie Minogue and various other people which was quite interesting for us, as a dark dance band how the songs would sound made for radio, but Ian’s been absolutely amazing and thankfully the kind of music we do is the kind of music Ian is really into, so it was a nice change for him to work with music that fits with his musical taste. What you hear on the radio is structured in such a way that it’s a combination reflecting on who we are and what we say as a band, but also making the music as interesting as we can make it for the listener.
Our live sound is very powerful. One of the things we’ve always tried to do on stage is to create a wall of sound that’s defined, but is really powerful, which is everything that we want to do. We want people to feel it musically, but we want them to feel it lyrically as well. Though we’re a three piece the sound that you’ll get from us is absolutely massive. The one thing we also want to include is anthemic pieces in songs that really uplift people. As dark as the lyrics are we want people to feel uplifted by the songs at the same time.
Following the single release have you got any plans for an EP or album release?
Alongside [the single] we have a fantastic remix by Mark Thwaite who has done an MGT German remix. It’s superb and again very dark. We’ve also got another remix – a night remix – by Jake Neutron, which has much more of a house-feel to it, a real fall-to-the-floor sound that I’m sure people will love. We’ve got another two singles coming out after ‘I Swear’, though the release dates aren’t set in stone yet. We’ve got lots of stuff in the pipeline musically. We’re working on an album at the moment which is nearly finished, so we’re hoping once these singles are released we’ll be in more of a position to talk about an album release.
Finally, what are your big ambitions for the rest of 2017?
One of things for us now, is we want to be a big band! We want a lot of people to like us, to listen to us, and to hear our songs and for it to mean something to them. We love playing live. We love the idea that [the song] is going out to a much larger audience on the radio. What we’d love to do this year is to generate the right amount of interest to allow us to work on this full time. It’s something that we love and feel passionate about as a band, and it’s something inate, and part of who we are, and a very natural kind of job to have if we can focus on this as a professional band, which is something we’re definitely looking for at the moment. And some bigger tours, and hopefully these things will materialise in the very near future!
Find out more about Hands of Industry at http://www.handsofindustry.co.uk/ and hear the interview in full on BCB 106.6FM on Saturday 11th March at 6pm.