New York’s The Hundred In The Hands Interview

Posted on 6 June 2012
By Emma Cowles
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All hail the New York-born electro pop duo, ‘The Hundred in the Hands’, here to release their second album, ‘Red Night’, and to fervently inject a retro vibe back into the current music scene.

This couple (both musically and romantically) recently packed their suitcases and headed this side of the pond, to touch base with the UK and represent their home town in all its glory.

Having formed back in 2008, and awarded us ominous hits such as ‘Pigeons’ and ‘Dressed in Dresden’ ever since, this band’s return is set hit the UK sonic space like a solar flare.

That’s why we decided to catch up with the philosophical pair – to grill them on working with Warp, the true romance behind their sound and how this distinctive musical ensemble came about…

Purple Revolver: Hey guys, thanks for chatting to us today! So how are you enjoying the UK?

Jason: I always like being in the UK – I grew up in South Africa, and my mum’s side of the family are British so I had a heavy dose of the Anglophiles!

Purple Revolver: How’s the European tour going? Any favourite places so far?

Jason: It’s been going great and we always love Berlin and Paris the most. We started in Moscow and it’s been sweltering!

Purple Revolver: How are you finding working with Warp Records? What positives do you think you’ve gained?

Jason: We absolutely adore them, they were at the top of our list when we were looking for labels. They actually approached us which was pretty mind blowing. They’re a label that putting out records for all the right reasons, they don’t follow trends and they like developing long relationships with artists. It’s like a big family.

Purple Revolver: Aw, how lovely! So when did you guys meet and how did you form as a band?

Jason: I had another band, but by the end of it, it was just me and whoever I could find to play with. It was getting pretty desperate! I had a tour booked and didn’t have a band with a month to spare, so I quickly got word out and pulled together this motley crew – one of them was Eleanor!

The first time I saw her she was late to meet me in a coffee shop, and called to tell me she couldn’t find it. So I gave her directions, walked out on the street and watched walk in the completely the wrong direction! Then we started practicing together, went on tour and then on the second night of the tour we started dating. So our first date was a month long! Travelling across the country, listening to music.

Purple Revolver: Ah that sounds ideal! So you two are an item then?

Jason: Yea. We used to avoid talking about it. I don’t think opening up about personal stuff is very comfortable for either of us, so we kind of just ignored it… But then this record ended up being so much more personal and so much about us as a couple that we felt like we had to had to open up and talk about it.

Purple Revolver: I see. Your second album, ‘Red Night’ is out on the 11th June. What’s the inspiration behind the album name?

Jason: It’s very nocturnal, kind of like walking around through the city through tunnels and trying to get out to the light, back to the one you love. ‘Red Night’ kind of felt like it was the middle of the night, where the city seems empty and you’re just walking around…that quiet little pocket.

Purple Revolver: Can you tell us a little bit more about the sentiment behind the album?

Jason: Me and Eleanor had been working on a very early version of ‘Stay the Night’, which was about a very dysfunctional relationship, like a mistuned ‘something’ – like a static. I think we were in a very dark place because there was something going on between us, and we didn’t know how to talk about it yet. So I guess it’s cathartic.

Purple Revolver: Favourite track off the album?

Jason: ‘Stay the night’. There’s not a lot of synths in it, but it’s all just guitars that have been manipulated.

Purple Revolver: Your music is very atmospheric and intense, is there anything you set out to achieve when you’re music making?

Eleanor: I think the atmospheric nature of this album is something that came really organically, as a signature of the process we went through in the studio. The moodiness , the ‘plodding along’. It’s all in keeping with this sense of being somnambulant, empty and thoughtful.

Purple Revolver: In general, what would you say was the key defining feature in your music?

I don’t think that there necessarily is one, but I guess the crux of the whole thing is the collaboration between the two of us, as we come from very different backgrounds. My perspective is rooted in classical music, using proper chord structures. Jason’s is more from playing in punk bands since he was 13! So maybe whatever we come out with is a mix of that chaos.

Purple Revolver: Your music is quite 80’s, is that intentional?

Eleanor: We get that, but it’s interesting cos’ we never really tried to do that. We do love a lot of 80’s music but I would say more of the obscure stuff. There is a burst of electronic music in the 80’s, so inherently when you’re making things with synths you can help but be referential of that.

Purple Revolver: Do you ever hit a ‘writer’s block’ and how do you get overcome it?

Eleanor: I think that the process of creating something is terrifying every single time. You’re at a blank page and think, ‘did I ever know how to do this?’. It can be demoralisiing, but then when something happens, something happens. When you’re struggling I think it’s about feeling like its new again, cos’ if you feel like you’ve done it a million times before and your bored, it’s very hard to come up with something you’re gona’ get excited about.

Purple Revolver: So effectively, a ‘writer’s block’ is a good thing, for that fear and vulnerability?

Eleanor: Yes, it’s a good cynicism or something!

Purple Revolver: So how do you like to chill out when you’re not making music? What music do you both listen to?

Eleanor: We’re together all the time, so listen to music together. This year we’ve been focusing on more experimental sounding things; the Carter Tutti Void record in particular. Andy Scott too, so that heavy, urban, low end cracking sound, which is really cool.

Purple Revolver: Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?

Eleanor: The nature of this whole thing is that you just try to feel fortunate that you’re there. I hope we’ll still be here making records, cos’ it took us a long time to get there!

Purple Revolver: Who’s your all time dream collaboration?

Eleanor & Jason: George Harrison.

Purple Revolver: All time favourite song?

Eleanor: Norma Fraser’s, ‘First cut is the deepest’.

Purple Revolver: Fave comedy?

Eleanor & Jason: Sherlock Jr. with Buster Keaton

Purple Revolver: What would you put in a time capsule to be opened in 100 years time?

Eleanor & Jason: A bottle of water, cos’ is there isn’t gona’ be any…and a flower!

Pensive, serene and full of panache, this couple seem to have it all. Being one half of an impenetrable relationship, whilst touring the world doing something you love, is enough to make anyone green with envy.

Be sure to check out their latest album, and if you fancy an impromptu getaway, why not hop on a plane to Lucerne, Switzerland and catch them live tomorrow? Atmospheric, emotive and brooding – this album is certainly one to watch out for. You heard it here first!