UTG INTERVIEW: Bear Hands discuss new album, ‘You’ll Pay For This’

bear hands interview

UTG recently had the pleasure of speaking with Dylan Rau, vocalist and guitarist of Bear Hands, a four-piece indie rock band from Brooklyn, NY that just completed their run on the Spring Fling Rock AF tour with Cage The Elephant, Foals, and Silversun Pickups.

Rau spoke with us about that recent tour and their newest singles, “2 AM” and “Marathon Man,” off their upcoming album, You’ll Pay For This. The new album is due out on April 15 – expect our review later this week.

UTG: You guys just wrapped up the Spring Fling AF tour with Cage The Elephant. How was it and how has the response been to the new songs?

Dylan Rau: Maybe the best tour we’ve ever done. Really great lineup of bands and some big, enthusiastic crowds.

You guys started out opening for bands like Passion Pit and are now touring with bands like Cage The Elephant that may be a little more energetic in terms of a live show. Have you seen any noticeable difference?

Well, we were a more marginal band when we opened for Passion Pit. It was a long time ago and we really hadn’t established ourselves to the same degree. Also we’ve tightened up live, I hope.

“2 AM,” I feel, is the point everyone hits when they get older. You get invited to parties, but you just don’t feel it like you used to. Is the song in response to the band growing out of certain things as well? The song reminds me of “Sleeping On The Floor” theme-wise.

Never noticed that before, but yeah, “Sleeping On The Floor” is tonally similar, but chronologically different. Everyone gets older one second or day at a time, or choose your own increment, you know? I think that feeling resonates with a lot of people.

For “Marathon Man,” it’s a little bit more uptempo than “2 AM,” but the lyrical content seems to hint at a discord in a relationship. Can you go into the recording of the song and what the inspiration stems from for the lyrics?

Ted and I wrote that song on our California trip. He made the music and I wrote the vocals. I remember him being mad at me because the lyrics kind of shift from the first to second verse, but whatever. Sometimes you’re not in control of what comes out of you.

“Giants” is probably one of the band’s biggest songs to date. Was there any pressure to duplicate that success? “2 AM” is getting a lot of radio play now as well.

Yeah, there was moderate pressure to write a song that performs as well as “Giants,” especially at radio, but it’s really not productive to dwell on that kind of feeling. Just service whatever song is at hand and try to block it out.

Your last album, Distraction, showed great range in toeing the line between the electronic and guitar-driven sides of the band. The songs you’ve released from You’ll Pay For This so far also have that dichotomy going. Can we expect the new album to push those sides further?

The record is pretty varied, so I hope so. There’s some folky stuff and some electro stuff, so it’s similarly all over the map. Maybe it’ll [weird] people out a little but again it’s the servicing the song at hand thing.

You’ll Pay For This comes out on April 15. Are there any plans for a headline tour in the near future?

I’m sure, although I haven’t seen any specifics. Soon.

There are tons of New York venues. Being based out of Brooklyn, which has been your favorite venue to play throughout the years?

Bowery Ballroom, without a doubt.

With your first album, there were things like mental illness and disagreements that fueled its themes. Now, you’re about to release album three. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way keeping things together?

Let it go.

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