Set to play at Last Night Purple Sneakers in Sydney tonight at The Gaelic Club, NZ outfit Cut Off Your Hands are in high spirits, with their new album Hollow burning a hole in their pockets, the band eager to bust out the new songs live. Known for delivering high energy live shows, the band returned to NZ from living in the UK last year, Hollow being banged out in a week, recorded by the band at home. A more free exploration of their sound and influences than their debut, Hollow makes up for what it lacks in shine and polish with a healthy dose of brash honesty, the band playing from the gut and trying their hand at some slower numbers as well as their trademark frenetic stylings. We caught up with them to discuss the new album, the live show, as well as surviving as an emerging band in a competitive industry.
Music Feeds: So you guys are set to play Purple Sneakers tomorrow, and here’s hoping you make it; have you ever played any of the nights or been down before? It’s a pretty loose party; is that your vibe or are you more stay at home with tea and biccys type of guys?
Cut Off Your Hands: Yeah, we played it a few years back on one of our first trips to Oz. I think it was at the Abercrombie then? It was a wild night. We like to have a good time… some of us more than others.
MF: Tell me about Hollow. How does it sit in with the first album?
COYH: It’s just got a different vibe altogether, less frenetic, not all fast songs, and probably a little less instant and shiny. We did it in a week at home. I think it grows on you… hopefully.
MF: Did you approach the writing process differently at all?
COYH: Yeah, the others (Brent and Phil) were much more active, bringing in songs which we recorded, whereas in the past I was doing all the writing. We didn’t want to do an album for a while, which is why it’s been so long between drinks, but when we got pumped on making a record and playing shows again we pulled it altogether pretty quick. Like I said, we did it in a week at the start of this year.
MF: Was there any pressure about following up the first album or were you just thinking about the music and not bothering with thinking about how it will be received or how it will compare to the first album?
COYH: I didn’t think about it really, there were some things about the first record that i wanted to avoid, I wanted to spend more time on certain things, and less time on others, but really it was just about making the music we wanted to this time around. Last time we had a lot more pressure from labels to come up with songs etc, this time we did what we wanted.
MF: You guys have a reputation for putting on a great live show; do you try and carry what you do onstage over to the studio or are the two things very different beasts?
COYH: I wish the records sounded more like the live set, but live is completely different, we always play so differently live than in rehearsal or recordings. I think the excitement of playing to a room of people makes us play better, or maybe it’s just we and the audience are drunker so it sounds better.
MF: How has the new material been fitting into the live set? Have you been playing them already or have you been saving them up till the album get’s released?
COYH: Yeah, we’ve been playing mostly new songs, it’s been really good so far. We are so sick of playing older songs, but then I think about my experience in going to see bands, you always just want to hear the songs you are familiar with, rather than the new stuff, so maybe we need to play more old songs?
MF: The music industry is hardly the easiest gig to make a buck at; how have you guys been managing in that respect? Are you making enough to live off the music or are you still having to work day jobs to make ends meet?
COYH: Definitely have to have jobs. We lived off it for a while, when we lived in UK and were touring for 3 years or so we didn’t have jobs but without hits it couldn’t last too long.
MF: Have there ever been times where you considered abandoning the band to go into something safer like accounting, or will you guys be doing this even if you end up in a gutter somewhere?
COYH: I’ve only just started thinking about how having money is important, it never used to worry me, being on the poverty line etc, but yeah, I guess it’d be nice to have some security, but I’d probably chose the gutter option to be honest.