| Please introduce yourself and your band. Where are you from and what kind of music do you play?|
Mike: Hands I Annul Yours is Kyle Anderson and Mike Mulen, based in Boston, MA,
USA and Los Angeles, CA, USA respectively. It exists as a long distance artistic
collaboration. There are no boundaries for where we are headed, but most people
would classify the music within the realm of instrumental sludge/doom/stoner metal,
glued together with various vocal and atmospheric samples.
Can you lay out in the history of the band a bit? Where have you started where are you now?
Mike: The band came into existence at a time when Kyle was living in Minnesota, where
I grew up and met him back in the late nineties. We had the simple idea back in 2011 of
releasing a heavy instrumental album on cassette and Kyle got a local drummer
involved named Blake Jette that absolutely crushed it. I contributed some noise and
coproduced that first release. These days, it has evolved into a cross continent artistic
outlet. Kyle and I get together at least once a year to write, record, mix, and create.
The first release of your band had seen the light of day in 2012 ... and then nothing for a couple of years. Then all of a sudden you have spread two releases in a short period of time. Can you write a bit about this?
Mike: Even though both of the latest releases came out together, we’ve had projects in
the works ever since 2012. Being highly satisfied with the initial cassette release, we
were eager to continue and recorded a full EP in a historic house over the course of a
few days in Rhode Island. We wrote and recorded some great tunes and followed up
with a single recorded in a studio in Boston a year later. After some technical difficulties
and sitting on the material for a while, we decided to start over again from scratch. The
ideas and execution were solid, but something was just not right and we had to move
on. We went back to the drawing board and both realized that we needed to return to
recording methods similar to the original release. Eventually in 2013 we met up, broke
out the 4 track, and got to business. From that time up until the release we worked
together on all of the post recording work. Being physically separated during a project
like this was interesting and shaped how things turned out.
How has the music changed over the years? Do you feel that there is a shift in direction and conception looking back?
Mike: I think we picked things up right where we left off. We’ve had more time in person
to write, record, and create music over the course of many years now. After our first
release, which was completely experimental, to an extent we are more intentional with
each new piece we create. We’re also laying out longer tracks in general as time goes
on. As I’ve mentioned before, we will never set boundaries for this music, but you will
always feel heaviness and aggression.
What would be the core essences of your music?
Mike: Without a doubt, the core essence that we are tapping into is pure aggression.
This is exercised during the performance and recording, and also on the back end with
our efforts during production and mixing. We are trying to push into a lesser known
zone between lofi/tape recording methodology and seriously crushing arrangement and
production . That’s not to say that you won’t find some other themes and even some
enlightenment along the way. At the very base it is violent, evil sounding music that
speaks for itself and casts some serious undertones with the use of noise and samples
aiding in that agenda.
Interestingly, your music shows a certain increase in track length over the course of the releases. In fact, when one takes the longest track as a point of reference, then this nearly seen doubling with each further output. That is somehow a strange thing to experience. Any particular reasons for this?
This mostly comes down to the fact that we are now developing a vision for each
upcoming project over the course of months and sometimes years. Meeting up in
person only once or twice a year sets off an explosion of creativity. Everything comes
out. We work relentlessly day in day out to translate our concept into sound and
capture it in relatively quick time periods when we get together.
Aside from the music, what would be the concept behind it? What is it that you try to express and how does the metal genre help you in this regard?
Mike: Kyle and myself are actually inspired and positive people in everyday life. In no
way are we trying to cast negativity on anyone through our music. In my mind at least, I
feel that we are simply reflecting on, channeling, and proving that true evil and destruction exist in the world. Maybe we’re presenting brutal sound in the same way a
completely objective photographer would present highly controversial imagery.
Those latest tracks are loaded with contrasts. While there is a certain metalness to your music, you like to take the listener back into a realm of drone minimalism. Why is it necessary for you to combine these two extremes in your music? Why don't you stick to one particular one and put a "larger emphasis" on it?
Mike: We are not really conscious of the overall direction and flow before or as we are
writing and recording. Songs just come together and different sections transition into
others appropriately. While we do put lots of effort into arrangement, we will never hold
back ideas or execution methods to present our vision. I can understand that the
“listenability” can suffer in some people's minds as we move between themes, but we
are more concerned with laying everything out on the table. This is the only way we
know how to do it. We are not scared of people’s opinions and are not going to hold
Similar to your first demo, also on your latest releases, vocals play no role whatsoever. Don't you like this element in your terms of your music, or are there other reasons for not including it in your compositions.
Mike: No real reason at the moment. For our material thus far, samples, noise, and
music have spoken for themselves and accomplished our mission. We wouldn’t be
opposed to vocals on a future project. We will see what the future brings us...
Is there some kind of meaning behind the titles of your releases "Verloren" which is German for "lost" and "Year of Death". Why did you pick German after all?
Mike: There are some overarching themes in that song [Verloren] regarding eternal
conflict, hopelessness, and war. I was initially exploring a title including “forlorn hope”
which basically describes a front line of soldiers in a military operation. That term was
originally derived from Dutch “verloren hoop” from which I just chose the first word
which happens to be in use in the German language and means “forlorn, doomed.”
The Year of Death title came up during a year when Kyle and myself were surrounded
by an abnormally high number of deaths in our immediate families and
friend/acquaintance groups. Some of the samples describe this on very personal levels.
Is there a special reason "Year of Death" had been cut into two parts or is this merely in order to get it on the tape properly?
Mike: Initially the reason was to fit the release on 2 sides of a 12 inch vinyl release. After
all was said and done, that’s just the way she goes. We decided to release it on tape
but the two parts had already been solidified.
Why do you use tapes? In case vinyl would be less expensive, would this be your preferred way of spreading your releases?
Mike: Our label, Major Destroyer, has released vinyl for other artists and we considered
it for this release. In the end, we felt that we had to drop this on cassette to translate it
authentically. Hands I Annul Yours was born on cassette and we were not in a position
to change that yet. We have strong feelings for vinyl and will undoubtedly release on
that medium in the future, but tape will never be out of the equation.
Unlike a lot of other small bands from the underground, your music is also available digitally. What about the aspect of digital vs. physical stuff? (I tend to by stuff from the US and overseas mostly digital, because the prices for porto and packaging are just atrocious).
Mike: In the end, especially taking into consideration the shipping prices overseas, we
understand that digital is convenient. It’s the fastest way to find and obtain music for
everyday life. Not that we expect a profit, but when I sell a tape or record oversees the
entire cost goes towards the shipping. We are slowly working to make our products
more accessible to those in Europe, Australia, etc but in the meantime digital is a way to
overcome that hurdle. I listen to digital music all the time, but nothing brings me as
much enjoyment than throwing on a tape or vinyl record and sitting back for the ride.
Why are the covers of your two new releases such intense in terms of the colours and why do they deal with waves or the ocean? That is quite a break compared with the one of your debut demo. Is there any special reason for this?
Mike: I don’t have any clever words to describe why we saw those two photographs
fitting for the project. We feel like it kept the vibe going from our initial release.
Simplicity but also strong emotion. Both pictures were taken during an enormous ocean
swell. When you experience that in person, it’s fucking heavy and also beautiful.
Maybe it subconsciously ties into the contrasts in our music you noted earlier.
While samples do appear on your recordings, they play a comparably small role. Why do you use them and what would be a possible source for you?
Mike: Samples, while not being overly used in these latest tunes, actually play a vital
role in the conceptualization process for us. I would say that they may be the base to
every idea and song we’ve created. We source them from various mediums and
increasingly from our own field recordings.
What about live performances? Is there any chance to see something like this happening in the near future?
Mike: We would love to do this but due to our geographic locations, that is not in the
books for us currently. That is a major goal for the future but for now Hands I Annul
Yours is purely a recording arts project.
How can someone get in touch with you and where can someone find your music?
Mike: Everything can be found through our label website, www.majordestroyer.com.
You can find our online store there for physical releases. Look for our digital releases
on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and all other outlets. We are slowly expanding into
independent record shops here on the west and east coast of the US and other areas in
the world via distributions.
What would be the future plans for your band?
Mike: We recorded drums for our upcoming project last November in a historic theatre
in Providence, RI. We are meeting up in fall of 2016 to continue work on that project for
which we have no plans for yet. A wide open canvas! The way we love to work.
Closing comments if you like
Mike: Keep tapes alive, and all physical mediums of music for that matter! More music
from Major Destroyer coming soon...