Ten Hands High

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Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with unsigned Leeds band Ten Hands High to find out more…

Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
Alexi - Our band is made up of Joe Boulton on lead guitar, Finn O’Connor on bass, Tom Vietri on drums, and myself on vocals and guitar. We all met at the University of Leeds and after years of trying to find the right lineup, we are finally ready to start putting our music out and going for it as a band. Our name, Ten Hands High, comes from the old form of measurement ‘hands’ (1 hand = around 4 inches) and Ten Hands High being the height of an upright guitar.

Who were your musical influences when growing up and who are your influences now?
Joe - We've collectively been influenced by so many bands across many genres. Growing up we all loved the Beatles and still do, it's a cliche but they were revolutionary and without a doubt influence our songwriting today. We also loved bands like Oasis, Foo Fighters, Coldplay and Led Zeppelin - these are the artists that first made us fall in love with music. Today we're influenced by loads of stuff from the indie, alternative, and pop scenes. We love Catfish and the Bottlemen, Wolf Alice, the Cribs, the 1975, Biffy Clyro and Circa Waves just to name a few!

How would you describe your sound?
Finn - We’d describe it as quite a summery sound, it’s indie/garage rock with funky beats and catchy hooks.

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What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
Alexi - Our latest release is our debut single called 'A Jet’s Pink Trail', it's quite a pure love song and is meant to be a joyful and dancey track that climaxes with an epic outro. The first line and title of the song - “I love you when I see, a jet’s pink trail paint the sunset over me” is inspired by a line from a poem by Wladimir Nabokov called Pale Fire in which he writes “I love you when you call me to admire, a jet’s pink trail above the sunset fire”.

What’s your local music scene like?
Tom - Leeds has an incredible music scene. There are loads of great venues, from the bars down on Merrion Street to the First Direct Arena. With events such as Leeds Festival and Live at Leeds, there’s clearly still a real appreciation for live music. We’ve been very lucky to live in such a creative, buzzing city and it has definitely inspired us to become better musicians.

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Tom - 2019 is going to be a really big year for us. We’ve amassed a collection of songs we’re really proud of, so our number one priority is booking time in the studio and getting our music out there. Of course, nothing beats playing live so we’re in the process of securing gigs both in our native Leeds and down in London. Our next one is February 19th at the Lending Room in Leeds and we can’t wait!

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Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Finn - There are loads of artists and producers we admire but working with them is a little further down the line, I'm sure Alexi wants to collaborate with Coldplay at some point though...

Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Joe - We played a gig at the Leeds University Union in May 2017 and during soundcheck, we played a cover of Blurred Lines that we planned to play that evening... Just as we finished soundchecking, one of the Union employees told us that Blurred Lines was banned from being played anywhere inside the Union because it was misogynistic. So during the 2 hours between soundcheck and our set time we had to rewrite the lyrics to Blurred Lines as we had no backup song to play instead. Eventually we came up with a new song called Grey Skies about the ‘sad times’ we had just faced...

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
Alexi - We make guitar music that gets people dancing, we all love music, and we’re going to headline Glastonbury 2028 so book the weekend off… we’re only half-joking here.

You can find out more about Ten Hands High via Facebook, Instagram, Spotify or Twitter and you can find 'A Jet’s Pink Trail' here.