Necessity. That’s what Bear Hand’s front man Dylan Rau cites as the inspiration behind their sophomore album Distraction. “We’d been touring a lot and weren’t getting along that great,” he says. “We knew it was either make this last record, or call it quits and get real jobs or something. And that’s obviously a horrifying idea.”
It’s a good thing they opted for the first choice. The album is full of hits like “Agora” and “Giants,” which currently sits at number nine on alternative radio charts and is only climbing higher. “I remember writing that song in my parents basement in Connecticut. I convinced Ted to take the train out to work on it, ” referring to Ted Feldman, the band’s guitarist who’s also here sitting with us at a dark yet discerning bar in Midtown West. “Ted wrote the guitar part and the hook, which made the song really come alive. I think it was like an 18 hour process after it was all said and done.”
Now, roughly six months after Distraction dropped, the indie-rock foursome has a whole bunch more on their plate, playing both Lollapalooza and Outside Lands in August in addition to the numerous other shows they have planned. “Things seem to be getting better. It’s nice to be able to be on the road constantly, because that wasn’t always the case,” insists Feldman. “It just means there’s demand.”
Yes. demand is high, indeed. But memories about the rougher times aren't far behind. The two begin to reminisce about a show they had played in Richmond, Virginia that took place at a Sushi Bar doubling as a punk-rock club. Not exactly an ideal venue. Yet that hasn’t deterred them. In fact, it’s laughter that accompanies such memories for them as they continue to think of more outlandish facts that went along with that evening. For instance, the sound guy from that same show who let them crash at his place flooded with odors of cats and human-sized piles of empty pizza boxes.
Regardless of the past, things are currently looking up. Hit singles accompany widely viewed videos, which are leading to tours and shows. And as for any advice they have for us as they begin to see the spoils from all their hard work. Well, “don’t be yourself,” Rau explains. “I think it’s always better to try and be something else. You already know yourself and do yourself all day everyday.”