Concert Crap: Your new self-titled album, “The Black Hand” came out in September. Any song that stands out and makes you extremely proud?
Chris Hughes: Im very proud of “Day Dreamer”. I free styled most of that song section by section. We turned out the lights and tracked until my voice was gone, I had a lot of feelings to vent on that track, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It is about the loss of a hero, a friend, and a mentor; BMX Legend Dave Mirra.
CC: Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
CH: The writing is a combination of myself for lyrics, and Jeremy Grasso for Instruments. Everybody pitches in so over all its collective, but Jeremy gets the ball rolling.
CC: Were there any heavy influences in “The Black Hand”? What or who inspired the new album? Follow up, any hidden influences?
CH: For myself.. I’m influenced by Eminem, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, and Bring Me The Horizon. Jeremy has a whole different list of influences and when we put them together I can say with pride, it doesn’t sound like a second hand rip off of anyone else.
CC: How was it like shooting “Where Are You Now” with Michael Cudlitz? Any memorable moments with him?
CH: It was an amazing shoot, everything went so smooth. Everybody was so good at what they did and it shows. Most memorable moment with Cudlitz had to be the first moment we walked in the room, he was in the zone and his level of intensity set the pace for the day. Everyone felt it and they all stepped up to the plate with everything they had. Couldn’t be more proud of the video and everyone that was a part of it.
CC: Could you briefly describe the music-making process? Lyrics or Instrumentals first?
CH: I write randomly through out the day I have hundreds of pages of notes to look over when its time to sit in the studio. Sometimes a single line can inspire an entire song but it just depends. The music always comes first before any lyrics become solidified.
CC:What are your rehearsals/writing sessions generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you get together or are they more spontaneous?
CH: We usually practice on the weekends together and throughout the week on our own. Rob, our drummer has the most insane work ethic I’ve ever seen. The dude is a beast!
CC: How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
CH: Like most bands, we sucked in the beginning; we sucked so bad we got kicked out of our house for too many complaints! It has evolved over the years with experience, music and life.
CC: If you wrote music in any other genre than the Rock n Roll/Metal spectrum, what would you prefer?
CH: Singer songwriter, Rap, and Pop. I’ve always loved Rap, singing feels good, and pop cause if its done right it feels good.
CC: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
CH: Biggest challenge has always been finance related, and being heard by new people. In this day and age it’s never been easier to get stuff out there but now it’s hard to be found amongst all the static. There are tons of talented bands out there struggling to be heard. We overcome it by finding a way no matter what and never accepting failure as a negative but more so as fuel to keep the fire going.
CC: Who made you want to pick up your first guitar? Where did you get your love for making music together from?
CH: Guitar for me came from my grandpa. He didn’t play, but he got me my first guitar. Mitch Lucker inspired me to be a front man. In my opinion he was the best and I haven’t seen anyone project the power he could. Not yet at least.
CC: What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
CH: Fame in my opinion is an empty goal to chase, Money is a necessity to survive and keep the band going, but my main focus is the art of music. Music has a higher value then any amount of money or fame could ever have.
CC: What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
CH: If you aren’t having fun don’t do it. It’s a ton of work and very expensive. If you aren’t in it for the right reasons you wont last and if you are you’ll never stop.
CC: Describe your dream tour opener and venue you’d love to play in.
CH: My dream is to play with slipknot, I don’t have a specific venue to play in, but I would love to play all over Europe!
CC: Anything you’re listening to now? What’s the strangest thing you’re listening to?
CH: I listen to everything. My shuffle mode goes from Black Tongue to Elvis, to Dr. Dre, to Sia. It all depends on my mood.
CC: Any tour plans? What can we expect from The Black Hand in 2018?
CH: Definitely have plans to tour we are currently setting all that up you can keep up with shows and tours through all our social media, and Bands In Town.
CC: Would you like to add anything else to fans reading?
CH: Pay attention, ask questions, accept the good and bad in life, feel everything and remember life is short don’t waste time.
All questions answered by singer Chris Hughes
Post and interview by Stella Sanchez
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