This past weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with Handguns in their van at Bled Fest for a little bit. We talked about their new record, the real story behind guitarist Kevin Cale’s departure and attempted to get an official statement regarding a special guest vocalist.
MEB: First off, if you could state your name and your role in the band…
Taylor: My name is Taylor and I sing.
Woody: My name is Woody and I play drums.
Excellent. So you guys are recording, or you just recorded…
Taylor: Done recording. All done.
…your first full-length.
Taylor: Yes sir.
Could you just tell us about that process a little bit?
Taylor: We recorded in Webster, Massachusetts at Webster Lake studios.
Woody: Lake “Chi-gog-eh-gog-manchi-gog-eh-gog” or something.
Taylor: It’s the…it’s the longest…I…just Google it because it is the longest name of a lake.
(I of course did Google it and holy hell)
Woody: It just doesn’t look real.
Taylor: It’s crazy, but we recorded with Chris Curran and Evan [Pharmakis] who was formerly in Vanna and spent like three weeks there [recording the album] and we’re really happy with the way it came out.
Would you say that there was a different approach to recording this compared to your EPs?
Taylor: Well, not necessarily the recording approach, but the writing approach…
Woody: We’re always on tour so it’s like we were writing songs in the van but this time we were home and we had a storage unit. So we would write songs in a storage unit.
Taylor: Jake [Langley, guitarist] and Kevin [Cale], who’s not in the band anymore like squatted in it. Like lived in it.
Woody: For a couple days at a time I would…I’m from Philly so our storage unit was in Harrisburg which is like a middle point for the band and I would just drive out and stay a couple days in the storage unit, walking to McDonald’s every day.
Taylor: Every Thursday night there was this bar like right up the street and they had wing night and it was like $.10 wings and like $5 pitchers so we’d be just stumbling back to the unit.
Woody: Propane heaters. Kerosene heaters.
Taylor: Yeah there was no heat. It was in the dead of winter.
Woody: We had to like run an extension cord outside the unit and around the corner to plug it in.
So you guys are basically categorized more or less as a straight pop-punk band. Would you say that there are any other elements that you put together on the new record that are a departure from your main sound?
Taylor: Uh, yeah. There’s a little ska on the record. And there’s a song that literally sounds like a fast Oasis song.
Taylor: It sounds like a fucking speedy version of fucking “Wonderwall.”
That sounds interesting, definitely.
Taylor: I’m pretty stoked on it. I love ’90s shit. I’m a total fucking ’90s nerd.
Alright, so word around the street is that you guys got a certain “someone” to do some guest vocals on your record.
Jake (from the background): No comment!
Taylor: Can neither confirm nor deny.
Okay! I just had to ask. Well could you tell us not “who” but “how?”
Jake: I can’t tell you how or who. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Well is there any other person that you can tell me who did guest vocals?
Taylor: Yeah Evan from Vanna lent his beautiful voice. Well he’s not in Vanna anymore, I should note that. He’s in a band called Wind In Sails and it’s awesome. Everybody should check it out. And our friend Brandon Pagano who is in a band called I Was A Hero sang on our record too.
Alright, that’s pretty cool.
Jake (once again from the background): And Kevin!
Taylor: Yeah well…
Jake: Tell the story! What’s the story here?!
Taylor: Well, so we get home. We just got off tour with Man Overboard and we’re home, we’re just tightening everything up before we are ready to record the record and Kevin’s like, “I don’t think I want to do this anymore.” So I was like “Dude, we’re going to record a record in five days.” He was like “blah blah blah.”
Woody: Little did we know, Kevin was actually trying out for the Baltimore Orioles at the time.
Woody: He ended up getting drafted and he comes off the bench every once in a while.
Jake: He’s a middle reliever.
Taylor: But yeah, he sang a song on the record too, so…yeah.
Well okay, that’s cool I guess. MLB and whatnot. You guys are a part of this whole “pop-punk explosion” I guess you could call it. What do you think of being a part of all of this with The Wonder Years and whatnot?
Woody: It’s exciting.
Taylor: It’s cool. Definitely, it’s cool to see this resurgence of pop-punk….
(interrupted briefly by some acoustic music in the background)
Taylor: John’s over there from The Swellers with Soupy. They’re doing a Semisonic cover. I think Ace from The Early November is singing on it too.
Taylor: Yeah! But uh….what were we talking about? I have really bad ADD.
Woody: “Pop-punk explosion.”
Taylor: Ok yeah! It’s cool to see this resurgence of the pop-punk genre, like…I don’t know. It’s cool. It’s awesome. I’m stoked to be a part of it. I’m glad that people think we’re a part of it cause I think we’re just a totally mediocre band. Some kids seem to like our band. (laughs)
Yeah you guys have been blowing up on Tumblr and all of these social media sites.
Taylor: It’s weird to like go…my girlfriend’s over there and she has Tumblr and she finds it weird when my band’s up on there, like she sees my name and I don’t know, it’s weird but it’s cool!
I’ve heard stories about you guys having some really creepy fans.
Taylor: Yeah yeah yeah.
Woody: I mean…it’s cool. It’s kind of weird but…
It’s flattering but not in a great way?
Woody: Especially when you’re outside and then 20 minutes later you’re sitting in the van and you go on Tumblr and you see a picture that was taken and you had no idea.
Taylor: Yeah! Oh my god! So we played a show in Worcester, Massachusetts and we’re like hanging out with these kids and they come up and they’re like “Oh what’s up?!” and we’re like “Hey what’s up dude?” Blah blah blah and then a couple minutes later, I’m checking all the social networks or whatever and there was a picture of me like not even…I didn’t even know the picture was being taken! I’m just standing there like a fucking idiot! And I’m like dude that’s weird. Why would you take a…why?!
Was there like a nice little caption or something or was it just a picture?
Taylor: It was literally just a picture!
Woody: It was the first picture on Tumblr!
That’s…pretty creepy. Alright so after Bled Fest what are your touring plans?
Woody: We have a tour coming up in July. I don’t know if it’s released yet.
Taylor: Yeah I don’t know if we can announce it yet or not.
Woody: We’re going out to the west coast and making our way back and going through parts of Canada so we’re pretty excited about that. I’ve never been out of the country…actually I lied. We went to Mexico on Cinco de Mayo.
Taylor: Yeah we went to Tijuana.
Woody: Yeah on our last tour.
That sounds like fun. Any stories from that?
Woody: Meth. Coke. Vicodin.
Taylor: We went to like a straight drug bar and we were sitting there and we had a margarita or whatever and this guy’s like “oh-oh” he’s kind of sketchy you know.
Woody: He had like silver teeth.
Taylor: Yeah he had braces!
Woody: Grills or something.
Taylor: It was weird and he was like “Uh, you want some candy for your nose? You want ice? You want meth?!” And I was like “Whoa! Dude!”
Woody: “We just want some margaritas, relax! Thought this was Cinco de Mayo!”
Taylor: Yeah…don’t go to Tijuana.
Duly noted. So when can we expect this full-length?
Taylor: I think we are shooting for September.
And that is on…
Taylor: Pure Noise Records.
Pure Noise Records, of course. Which you guys just recently got signed to, didn’t you?
Taylor: Like maybe a year and a half ago?
How has that been for you?
Taylor: It’s been awesome!
They seem to be signing a lot of these up-and-coming pop-punk bands like The Story So Far, I Call Fives…
Taylor: Yeah they just signed State Champs.
Or right State Champs! I was just listening to them today actually.
Well I guess that’s it! Is there anything else you want to say?
Woody: Forever Came Calling‘s full-length is dropping soon too.
Taylor: Yeah it comes out July 24th, and it’s going to be awesome. It’s fucking great I heard.
Jake: It sounds like shit.
Taylor: Jake thinks differently.
Alright anything else you want to add at all or say to the fans?
Taylor: Come hang out with us. We love you all. Thanks for giving a shit?
Woody: We’re stoked for everyone to hear our new record!