Thursday, July 2, 2009

Q&A With Phenomenal Handclap Band

(Originally published @

Phenomenal Handclap Band are a New York-based soul seduction, influenced by the vintage sounds the 70’s wrought; they claim an affinity for crooked jam oriented hooks, and take an independent effort to create a live scenery, play-writs would zeal over. Their self-titled release dropped June 23, and will be keeping these guys hand-clapping a bit more internationally.

So both you guys, (Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand) both produce?

Sean: Yup. Yup.

How long have you both been working together?

Daniel: Since 2004, is that right?

Sean: Yeah.

How did you guys meet up?

Daniel: (laughs) I always get to tell this story. So, I used to DJ this club, a little further downtown, and this club was kind of a big affair, a popular club at the time. We used to hire Go-Go dancers, and it was a whole production. Sean’s sister was one of the Go-Go dancer and she became friends with my partner at the time. So to cut the story short I met him through his sister.

What I noticed about your record is that your tracks run a little bit longer than normally radio friendly songs. How do you feel about that?

Sean: Actually, it wasn’t a conscious decision at all. I think the only conscious thing about it, was we just decided to do everything the way that sounded right at the time. We just kinda valued every little element that we put into it, and it was just something that we were excited about. If a song needed to be six minutes long, it was six minutes long, and there are a few that are four.

Daniel: I think also we had done a couple of productions, and there seemed to be this mania about shortening songs to make them radio friendly, and you know radio doesn’t seem to exist. Ironically it does, because as soon as we stopped thinking that way is when we got radio play. We would try and write songs that were three and a half minutes long, and it just seems really arbitrary to cut a song like that.

At your biggest moment at South by Southwest, how many people did you have watching?

Sean: Maybe 600 at that pizza place.

Daniel: Were there that many people there?

Sean: Maybe not.

Daniel: It was like a whirlwind. We played eight shows in three days.

Sean: But we’re going from these really small shows, to these festival shows in Europe, which is gonna be complete night and day for us. But it’ll be great.

What’s kind of audience do you guys attract to your shows?

Daniel: I’ve never really thought about that. Just people. It’s funny too, because we have a lot of our friends that come out to every show, and we just end up hanging out with them.

Sean: I can say though, that I really look forward to playing for a younger audience, because I remember how important music was more me when I was in my teens. Obviously the ideal audience.

How do you guys describe your music?

Daniel: I prefer to think of our music as progressive, in the rock n’ roll sense of the term, as opposed to progressive dance music, and progressive house.

You have a very old warm feel, and that’s something difficult for a record coming out now.

Daniel: Yeah, we want it to feel live, because it is live. And I think that there are plenty of records that get made that are polished in the studio and come out sounding too clean or too shiny. It feel like it’s tooo uhhhhh!

Sean: I feel like these guys …have a separate take on it.

Daniel: You can hear that too, the more you get in production, you can really hear certain things. Like this is obviously done this way, or they’re so perfect, and they’re so tight.

Are you guys excited to see which songs sell the most on the iTunes charts?

Daniel: Well it’s interesting because one of our songs has been getting a lot of press right now, getting talked about, blogged a lot. But it’s interesting to see which songs are going to come after that, and we have the songs that are chosen to be the singles.

Which did you choose as your single?

Daniel: Right now, “15-20” is a single. And then “You’ll Disappear”.

Sean: The soul song, “Baby”, is doing really well on the iTunes charts right now. The interesting thing about iTunes culture, you don’t really have as much connection to image, like with a vinyl, but at the same time, it’s kinda nice that just a song is completely on it’s own. Videos are still important and all that, but we kinda prefer a song download. And this is different culture as of three years, two years.