PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Jackson
THE guys of Handsomebeast…
have been chatting about the new song, Playboi, and filming its video. I asked how they got together and whether there is more material coming along; what sort of musicians and sounds inspire them; if there are any rising artists we need to get behind – they select albums that means a lot to them.
The guys reveal whether they are touring and whether the American band are coming to the U.K. at some point; how they chill away from music; what advice they would give to artists coming through – they end the interview by selecting a song each.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Eventful, to say the least….
Nick was actually asked to try out for the American Idol producers, who were in Houston for the auditions. He was told he was just too good-looking for T.V. Today is actually Nick’s birthday (Sept. 5). We are in the final stages of Olympic-training-level rehearsals for a tour next week.
We’ve been getting a ton of awesome reactions to our new video for, Playboi, which is definitely a quantum leap up in quality for us. We love how the song and video came out. Superstardom will surely be on the way.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Handsomebeast isn’t a band: it’s a lifestyle. We classify our music at times as Astro-Soul, or Space-Rock-Bump-‘n’-Grind - or as Psychedelic G-Funk. We try to make musically ambitious and artistic Pop music with a distinct Rock ‘n’ Roll flair...in the tradition of artists like David Bowie or St. Vincent.
Nick: Singer; pretty boi with a silver tongue. Proficient in most sports. From D.C.
Peewee: Intellectual bohemian that with golden fingers and smells like...flowers.
Tony: Ivory tickler; all-around hell-raiser; the soul of an old Blues player; future Country star.
Carlos: Backbeat of this venture; amateur botanist; father of a small businessman.
Jacob: That guy in the studio setting up mics; likes drum solos, fishing and medium walks up mountains.
Tell me about the new single, Playboi. What are the origins of the song?
We were watching a bunch of heist and crime movies at the time...I believe we experienced some osmosis during this process as that vibe seems to have seeped into the music. We also were interested in experimenting with more minimal song arrangements, compared to what we were doing before. We wanted to make a hot, hot hit.
The video looks like it was cool to film! How was the experience?!
It was amazing. We shot it in ONE SINGLE DAY in New Orleans with stud director/editor Richard White. He’s as equally handsome as he is talented. We tried to stage the robbery scene in a real bank but, for some reason, they would not allow us to. They even went as far as to shoo us off their property when we tried to use their exterior for the shot. Might have been something about the ski masks.
Is there more material coming from the band? Are you guys working on other stuff?
Absolutely. Everyone should keep their eyes glued on our Instagram page for more news on that. There MAY even be something coming very soon. We’ll definitely put out a longer collection of songs at some point next year, like an album or E.P. This also isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of the Playboi and his Goons.
How did Handsomebeast get together? Were you all in Houston at the time?
Handsomebeast really started hitting it when Nick moved to Houston from New Orleans in 2013. That’s also when Carlos joined the band. That being said, the band technically formed in 2009 while everyone except Carlos was at school at Loyola University, New Orleans. However, we had all been playing in bands with each other since middle school so we’ve sort of been a band for like fifteen years.
Which artists are you all inspired by? Did you grow up around a lot of different sounds?
That list is seriously pages-long but we do love artists who are musically ambitious, but who also make Pop-focused music that brings people into the music. Anderson .Paak, Vulfpeck; St. Vincent, Outkast; Arctic Monkeys, the Eagles; Unknown Mortal Orchestra...that’s the tip of the iceberg right there. We all were lucky to have families that gave us great musical educations, on music from every era.
Tony was also somewhat of a Texan prodigy as a church music director and band leader as a young boy. Carlos also played in church a lot. Due to a lifetime of rock ‘n’ roll behaviors, neither one is technically ‘allowed anywhere near a church’ anymore. Go figure.
PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Jackson
Do you think there will be touring dates? Can we catch you play?
Yes, indeed! In the U.S., at least. We are dying to get over to the U.K.
9/13: Memphis - The Hi Tone cafe
9/15: Asheville, NC - Foggy Mountain Brewpub
9/20: NYC - Pianos
9/21: Philly - Connie’s Ric Rac
9/22: DC - Gypsy Sally’s.
Might you come to the U.K. and see us here? Do you like the music here?
We would GIVE OUR SPLEENS (you don’t need them that badly, right?) TO GO TO THE U.K. We are thinking we might be better suited pulling a Hendrix and use the U.K.’s excellent music taste to get famous over there first and springboard into superstardom in our homeland. The British Invasion influenced Jacob’s parents, which is why we cover lots of '60s stuff. We Love Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead; Cream and Amy Winehouse. Obviously, wayyyy more bands than that but that’s probably the U.K. Mt. Rushmore for our band.
Given your band’s name; who is the most-handsome beast in the band?!
Our van. It’s so handsome and built like a beast. A purple 1995 Chevy G20 with matching interior and limo lights.
If you each had to select an album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Jacob: Gorillaz - Gorillaz
The first C.D. I bought with my own money in fifth grade. Mixed my love of cartoons with Hip-Hop and Rock. Genre-bending music that stands the tests of time.
Nick: That was a fantastic answer by Jacob. I’d probably have to go with AM by Arctic Monkeys
Alex Turner is my favorite songwriter and I feel like that album is perfect front to back and has some really cool moments that blend Hip-Hop minimalism and glorious Rock ‘n’ Roll. Plus, when you add the fashion into it you get an even more visceral 3-D experience.
Peewee: Blackstar, because...(David) Bowie.
Carlos: Take Off Your Pants and Jacket by Blink-182
When I first started sitting down and learning how to play records from front to back, inside and out.
Tony: Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers) because of Chad Smith.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
We have had a ton of amazing moments (and many more to come) and we’re all best friends, so there are really too many to count but, if we had to pick one, it would be this one from Jacob:
Jacob: Mine was playing those songs for my dad after his funeral with you guys. It brought joy to my family in a very sad time. He would have really liked that (smiles).
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Topo Chico Agua mineral water, Lone Star Beer; Sour Patch Kids and a pool table. We’d support Foreigner.
What advice would you give to artists coming through?
Make sure you make music you really enjoy playing. Make music with your friends. Make love to your own music. If you can’t, then your music isn’t good enough, yet.
IN THIS PHOTO: Fat Tony
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Shoot some pool (billiards), BBQ; fish, hike; play football, run and smoke.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Jacob: James Brown – Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine – Pts. 1 & 2
Nick: Justin Timberlake – Montana
Peewee: The Ramones - Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
Tony: Phoenix – Chloroform
Carlos: Bruno Mars – Treasure