Edward Burnett talks to Leeds band Ten Hands High about their time at university together, their plans for after coronavirus and what album they'd take to a desert island.
RnRR: Hi guys! First and foremost, would you like to introduce yourselves and the band to our readers?
THH: We're Ten Hands High from Leeds, based in London now. We're made up of Finn, Joe, Tom and Alexi. We have been releasing music for over a year now and would probably describe our sound as an eclectic mix of indie rock, anthemic pop and uni nostalgia.
RnRR: Nice to meet you guys! So how did you all come to know each other?
THH: Well we all met at Leeds University, apart from Finn who is still in primary school. We messed around with a couple of different lineups until we settled on the current formation of the band and went from there.
RnRR: Was there a busy music scene in Leeds at the time? Was the university a good catalyst for the band? The facilities surely gave you a place to realise you wanted to have a serious go at the music industry?
THH: The university was actually great as early on we'd use the practise rooms in the music department for free because two of the boys were part of the society. Then in 2019 when we really started going for it, we used Pirate Studios in Kirkstall which was perfect! Well, apart from having to lug our gear around but we're all jacked now so it's fine. The Leeds music scene is actually so great for new bands, shoutout to the Lending Room and Verve Bar for hosting us unsigned folks.
RnRR: So when did you guys first realise you had a passion for music and aspirations of one day being in a band? Was this a main goal since childhood or did the aim start when at university?
THH: I think we all had the aspiration quite early on in our lives. We've all been playing music for a long time and its always better when you're playing with other people so it was always on our radar, we just needed to find the right lineup.
RnRR: Ah perfect, so like you say, music aspirations had been quite an early feature. So with this, was there many musical inspirations at a young age for each of you? Any bands or acts that really encouraged you to follow the same path?
THH: I think in terms of the progression of recent bands that we admire, we're big fans of the way that The 1975 have consistently evolved through their career. Finn and Tom are massive fans of The Beatles obviously as well which definitely influences our creation of music- ensuring there's a really strong song with solid melodies at the heart of every track we produce.
RnRR: That’s a good background to help explain how your songs come about being constructed. So moving onto the very songs themselves, for new listeners of Ten Hands High, which of your songs would you recommend? One which gives a good representation of what the band is about?
THH: I think our newest track “Red Wine” will definitely give your readers an idea of what this phase of Ten Hands High will sound like (post-covid). We feel like as a band we've definitely matured since our first year together and with that, our sound has too. Production wise you can hopefully tell the difference between this song and the 6 tracks we released in phase 1 (shoutout to producer Bob Cooper for that). In terms of a song from phase 1 that encapsulates our band I'd personally always point to “A Jet's Pink Trail”, our first release. While we'll admit the production isn't brilliant due to money constraints, I think as a song it shows what we're about. It is indie rock with a groove to it, nice summery melodies and it isn’t afraid to be openly wet and hopelessly romantic at times.
RnRR: Both songs are great tunes and good examples of what the band is capable of creatively. Have you been working on any more songs for after the pandemic has passed?
THH: Yeah we've got so many songs ready to be released and we've been writing loads during the lockdown too but those songs probably won't see the light of day until next year. Unfortunately our recording session in April got cancelled because of the situation so that's been reschuduled to June when we'll record our next single that will should come out by early July. It's a real summery tune so hopefully we can get it out there when the English sun is still out!
RnRR: So once normality resumes later this year, what are the band’s plans? Any gigs being planned to run aside the release of these singles you mention? Any ideas behind a full EP or album release?
THH: So our mini tour of 6 shows this Spring was cancelled because of Covid so we're trying to rearrange that to the autumn. We've managed to find alternative dates for 3 shows so far (London Sept 18th, Leeds Oct 10th, Sheff Oct 17th) and will hopefully get the others sorted asap because playing live is by far our favourite part of being in the band. Also, our new single “Red Wine” has brought us loads of new fans who we'd love to play live to. In terms of a full EP or album, we'd absolutely love to make one but right now we don't really have the funds. For now we're sticking to releasing top quality singles, but maybe next year will bring opportunities for larger projects.
RnRR: Hopefully you’ll be able to achieve those aims in the future and pursue such larger projects. Talking of which, where do you see the band being in a couple of years’ time? Where would you guys like to be in your musical careers with Ten Hands High?
THH: We've always said that we'd love to be able to tour around the country and Europe and make a living out of making music. I definitely see that on the horizon in the next couple years and who knows what else could come along.
RnRR: It is always good to keep your horizons widened. So finally, the most important question we ask every guest on Spotlight. If you were stranded on a desert island with only one album to play, what would your choice be and why?
THH: Christ, that's like choosing between my 10 children. I've definitely got a fair few albums that would be in contention but I would probably choose something from hiphop so that there were less melodies to get sick of. I'd probabaly choose “Madvillainy” by Madvillain because by the time i'd deconstructed all the wordplay, the rescue boats would have arrived.
RnRR: Great choice and reasoning. We will be sure to update the page with any news from your camp over the coming year, all the best!
If you would like to find out more about Ten Hands High and keep up to date with their latest news and releases, their socials are down below: