Electronic vets Warp Records recently announced the signing of a new band, Brooklyn’s The Hundred in the Hands.
Jason Friedman and Eleanore Everdell are the two members of the band, who came to our attention last year on the strength of ‘Dressed in Dresden’, a stone cold killer single for Pure Groove that was backed with a remix by DFA’s Jacques Renault.
Warp clearly agreed, and promptly snapped them up, with a ‘Dressed in Dresden’ remixes 12″ due out April 5, which features Detroit wonderkid Kyle Hall, Various Production and Maxime, and a six-track EP of new material titled This Desert due for a May 17 release.
There will also be a full length in Autumn, which promises “deeper explorations” of the duo’s sound, which takes in French pop, disco, dub, post-punk and more.
We actually spoke to the pair in April of last year, a conversation which was never published online. So we thought it was about time to get back in touch with some follow-up questions, and publish the whole lot.
“It’s a fiery process guaranteed to dissolve into bickering at some point before we get to where we want to be.”
Questions from April 2009: Hundred in the Hands – who does what in the partnership?
“We split things pretty evenly. Eleanore sings and plays the synth parts, I handle the guitars and programming of the beats but we both work on the overall arrangement and one of us will write the bulk of the lyrics with the other looking over their shoulder helping to tidy it up.
“The thing that’s great about working together is that we really come from different angles and we make something that we wouldn’t be capable of making on our own. But, neither of us are used to writing with a collaborator and we’re both used to being the one in charge so at times we’ll think of the other as just an unruly and uncontrollable bit of our own brain and it’s a fiery process guaranteed to dissolve into bickering at some point before we get to where we want to be.”
How does the creative process work in the studio, and live?
“It varies a little depending on who brought the song in but generally, I’m in charge of establishing the energy and feel of the track and Eleanore will be focused on building up the harmonic structure. We’ll work on the tracks separately and together.
“Recently we’ve done a bunch with Jacques Renault at his home studio. Jacques is a music school kid like Eleanore but he’s also got a great sense of making a vibe and a big collection of records to dig into for inspiration so, it really helps to have him around to offer a third opinion.
“Live we like all the songs running together. We’re really focused on the energy. Where is it coming from and how do we keep that going? Or move it from this place to the next? We made a conscious decision to avoid having a laptop on stage and instead we run all the beats and samples from an MPC into our own little sound system. It’s not really a sound system like the Jamaican sound systems or the Herculoids but I’m pretty obsessed with Afrika Bambaata and the birth of hip-hop and Dancehall etc. so the idea of it makes me happy. There just seems to be something a bit more exciting about having this live sound coming from the stage with a real physicality and not reliant on the house sound. This means some tricky navigations though trying to keep up with playing guitar or synths and triggering everything in real-time but then at a certain point, as a performer, I think you just have to let go and let it do what it wants.
“We’re thinking maybe we’ll bring in a live drummer to play along too.”
Where did the name come from?
“It’s the name of a battle and major victory for the Native Americans fighting on the plains in the mid 1800’s. Crazy Horse was a part of it and, as the story goes, the outcome was predicted the night before by a shaman who rode in and out of the warriors’ camp declaring that he had too many enemies to carry in his hands. In the battle, close to a hundred Bluecoat soldiers were killed.”
What bands/artists from both the past and present have influenced your sound/vision/approach?
“Besides being really into early hip-hop and all things dub/Studio One ska related, we’re really into Young Marble Giants and Wire and really, as you’d expect, that whole era of post-punk. But really it’s pretty all over the shop with a big interest in Girl Groups and mod classics, New Order and the Cure, De La Soul and Buddy Holly. Broadcast, Gang Gang Dance, LCD, Francois Hardy and the Zombies and lately the new bands we’ve been psyched on are our neighbors like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Stilts, Wild Yaks, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson or similar acts like Nite Jewel and Beach House and things further a field like the cryptic black label minimal techno Pom Pom 12”’s.”
What have you brought with you from your days with The Boggs?
“Strong lessons on what no to do.”
Your debut single has been remixed by Jacques Renault – do you feel part of the whole NY DFA/Brooklyn scene?
“Well, yes and no. I’ve known Jacques for a really long time and I used to be roommates with Mattie from The Rapture in their DFA days and there’s definitely a lot of sharing of ideas going on and familiarity, and lending and ear but I’d say the DFA thing is really just a corner of our scene and we feel really broadly connected to a lot of the things coming out of New York. Obviously, Eleanore has her connections to the whole TV on the Radio circle and I’ve been as or more likely to be hanging around the sweaty DIY garage punk loft parties as sticky disco-house clubs. Everything sort of overlaps but at the same time, everyone is doing their thing and traveling a lot so there isn’t really a proper scene in the sense one might expect. It’s just nice when things work out and schedules are free enough to work with people and hear all the different things they’re working on.”
Follow up questions from this month: so you’ve signed to Warp. How did that happen?
“We came over to play some shows in England last spring and started talking to Warp then. Warp is such an incredible label and they really backed us and gave us the time to make the songs we wanted to make. So, after we signed we spent all of last summer writing and then began recording through the fall. Everyone has been amazing at the label.”
What do you have planned for the rest of the year, and beyond?
“Playing shows and playing more shows. We’re rehearsing for it all now. Our first NY show is April 6 and then we head to Europe for a bunch of dates with London on the 27th and again on May 1st and we’re sort of planning on just touring for the rest of the year after that.”
Is there an album in the pipeline?
“Yes! Warp have sworn us to secrecy about the details but we recorded so much last year and decided we weren’t going to release any of it until we really had the record we wanted. It’s funny because for so long we’ve had the one song out in the world and now we have lots of tracks ready to go.”
If so, what can we expect stylewise/thematically? Is Jacques Renault involved? Anyone else?
“There’s definitely a few things that are more in the Jacques mode, but also things that branch out a little further into other territories. We listen to a lot of 60’s mod and garage, post-punk classics like Young Marble Giants, Wire, The Cure, New Order; classic Disco; vintage hip-hop; and loads of Studio 1/Trojan era ska & dub and I think a lot of that merges in what we write. There’s a whole batch of tracks that we think of as having a more summer on the stoop-vibe. They’re more dubbed out, gauzy and ethereal. And then there’s a whole other batch that are maybe more pulled together, sharper; night-music, avant-pop.”