Most of you would have read my review of the excellent first single (https://www.theblackflag.co.uk2013/02/10/review-bed-dolls-animal-hands/) from the young Australian Grunge band Animal Hands, and like me you would have loved the iconic 90’s feel of the track and fallen in love with the atmosphere of such a superb song. Well, I was lucky enough to get to chat to the beautiful lead singer of Animal Hands, Danielle Whalebone, and find out what this great band has in store for us.
TBF: Can you introduce the band and who does what?
DW: My name is Danielle, my band is called Animal hands we are a three piece independent rock band.
I am the vocalist and play guitar, Dave is on bass and Tom will be the deaf of me on drums.
TBF: When and how did the band get together?
DW: Animal hands was formed by myself a bit over a year ago, we have had a couple of members come and go during this time.
TBF: Who handles writing duties?
DW: To date I have written the songs then taken them to the guys to put down bass and drums, we maintain the belief that we all have our own role to play in the creation of the songs and therefore what is contributed shouldn’t be inhibited by each other.
TBF: What/who are the main influences on sound?
DW: As individuals our musical influence’s vary to but as a band we jam on songs and have found when we push conscious thought aside the songs take shape.
TBF: How would you describe your sound?
DW: Without doubt we are influenced by 90’s grunge, sludge and stoner rock. When we made the choice to record our EP in a studio it was foremost in my mind to find the right studio and producer for our sound. We decided we wanted to record with Lindsay Gravina at his Birdland Studios. The recordings that Lindsay has produced and the artists that have recorded in Birdland have held an important influence on the genre.
TBF: What is the ethos behind the band?
DW: Our ethos would be that expression is primary. I named the band name Animal Hands as I feel it expresses my desire to understand the nature of the human condition. It is my personal ethos when writing, that the song is able to be adopted by anyone so that it functions as a voice for our experiences in common.
TBF: What is it like touring?
DW: We have not toured yet but are looking forward to driving each other insane travelling together.
TBF: Where’s the best/worst places you’ve played?
DW: We played in a venue where I literally had to kick out a door to escape from the toilet, It was obviously not the first time this had happened as this door had so may holes in it. As we walked our gear through to backstage the bare pipes above leaked who knows what on to our heads. The gigs we have played in seedy venues like that have been the most fun for sure. I think when there is no pretentiousness about a place it allows for expression without restraint. The most prestigious of stages we have performed on would be The Gershwin Room stage at The Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, a beautiful venue.
TBF: What is Bed of Dolls about?
DW: I found that when I wrote “Bed of Dolls” I began describing a place where I used to visit and one of the bizarre and scary experiences I had there. Then later listening to it recorded I understood that I had also been talking about a girl I knew who accidentally suffocated her baby when she was high. She tried to sell me her baby’s things at our local petrol station for more heroin. In the film clip I created a image where the infant is worshiped in a state of grace and perfection just like a little doll. The single doll has an insect crawling over it that draws the life from its victims. At the end of the clip I am walking backwards in a dream state, the baby awakens.
TBF: Are you excited about your EP coming out soon?
DW: We are definitely looking forward to releasing our songs, for us its a celebration of a combined vision. As a band you commit a part of your lives to each other, we share each others insecurity’s and aspirations, it’s a great feeling to have come this far together.
TBF: Can you tell me more about the EP?
DW: The EP artwork is a section of a piece called “Transmutation operation” by Lucy Hardie. A self taught Melbourne artist, I was really happy she allowed us to use her artwork as it was the only cover I could picture in my minds eye. The first track on the EP is called “Defiance” it was one of the first songs I had written. Initially I was hesitant about recording it, but I am pleased we did, nothing beats listening to the guitar trail away into fuzzy, distorted heaven. We also recorded a cover of UK artist Matt Johnson’s “This is the day”. When we first went into record it I wanted it to be ridiculously slow but we ended up voting on a quicker tempo. Now when we play it gets faster and faster, it went from my idea of stoner to punk, hilarious.
We hope to return to Birdland Studios to produce an album as soon as we can, we have a lot of material that we would love to record.
TBF: Any chance of some UK gig dates?
DW: It would be incredible to travel to the UK! My brother left Australia for London near on a decade ago and as we have dual passports he didn’t come back. He loves the UK and has been insisting for years that I come visit. I buy most of my clothes from Camden Market via the net, it would cost a little more in postage to bring the band over, but its definitely a long term goal.
TBF: Lastly anyone you wanna plug or say high to?
DW: We are really grateful to everyone who shows up to our gigs and to our family who dust us off after a fall. Thank you to the men past and present who have inspired us to continue to make music. A huge thanks to Lindsay and Rob from Birdland Studios and to baby and parents for helping us with our film clip. Our band has a website www.animalhands.net where our EP and Merchandise is available.