Interview: Ted Feldman of Bear Hands (Brooklyn)

Celebrating the official release of their album Burning Bush Supper Club and EPs in Australia, Philippe Perez caught up with the bands guitarist Ted Feldman to discuss their music, touring, coming to Australia and more.

How was the experience of playing in places like Brazil? Did you think of going to that country to perform when you started out as a band?

It was a big surprise to be asked to play Brazil — we still haven’t toured most of the more conventional territories abroad. But no complaints. It was incredible. We talk about it all the time.

Since the release of the Golden EP overseas, you seem like a band who has really toured consistently with so many bands? Is that kind of experience tiring?

Yeah, touring is tiring and monotonous and draining and repetitive and lonely and unhealthy and we do it a lot. Good stuff.

There’s an interesting combination of using percussive instruments in the album. Songs like ‘Tablasaurus’ combine this with synthy type sounds. What made you want to combine the use these kind of instruments?

I’m of the mind that pop music has fashioned a fairly clear box for itself, melodically and harmonically speaking, and that innovation these days – besides an elevated level of songwriting – occurs in the purely sonic plane of the music, with new tones and textures and combinations of sounds. But also, drugs.

Could you give us what the idea behind the song ‘Crime Pays’?

Everyone knows that crime pays and everybody does it. Also, everybody loves it.

The video is also interesting for ‘Crime Pays’. Did you have a say in what’s in the video, and what made you decide on filming these people in various situations, so to speak?

Yeah, I crafted/wrote the video along with my friends Andrei Bowden Schwartz (director) and Sam Shainberg. We talked a lot about what not to do for this song. We didn’t want to nail the lyrics too hard on the nose, but rather paint a more general portrait of a grimy, seedy world. There were some shots that were meticulously planned out, some that we got on the fly; some shots we did because we had access to people who had the right look, and for some shots we cast actors. All shot in Brooklyn. But Brooklyn is big.

What’s the music scene like in Brooklyn at the moment?

It’s broad. Too much to keep up with. But with the sheer number of bands coming up right now out of Brooklyn, there’s bound to be a couple keepers.

Your album ‘Burning Bush Supper Club‘ is being packaged over here in Australia with your ‘Golden’ EP which you released overseas a few years ago. What would you say have been the main things that have changed musically between the two releases?

We recorded the Golden EP when we had been a band for only three months and we recorded it live in the studio. It was meant to be a demo, but obviously we ended up releasing it. I still like it, but we’ve come a long way, added some keyboard and percussion elements to our palette (as you already mentioned), we’ve gotten a lot tighter as a band, and I think we wrote some better songs for BBSC. Hopefully I’ll be able to say the same thing about this record by the time our next record comes out.

What are the current bands that you are listening to at the moment?

Twin Shadow, Cornershop, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Das Racist, Here We Go Magic, Tony Castles, Slam Donahue and The Stepkids.

Can we expect you in Australia anytime soon?

Yes! We’re working on getting there in September, so just block off that month for us in your calendar please. We can’t fucking wait.

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