Bear Hands has been around since 2006 and is brimming with potential. The band’s twisted lyrics combined with their guitar driven melodies and the bitterly sweet tone of Dylan Rau’s ’07 voice produce fun, upbeat songs. The band’s fresh sound and cool vibe is bound to win over swarms of people. The quartet consists of Ted Feldman ’09 (guitar/percussion), Val Loper (bass/percussion), TJ Orscher (drums/vocals) and Rau (vocals/guitar), who we chatted with about the band’s current successes, upcoming plans, and the state of the Brooklyn music scene.
Stefan Golangco (SG): How did the band get its name?
Dylan Rau (DR): Our bass player Val Loper had suggested the name for a former band and it was rejected. We take sloppy seconds.
SG: What’s the history of the band? When and where was it formed?
DR: I knew Val and TJ Orscher from the Connecticut punk scene in my high school years. I met Ted Feldman working on a film in my junior year at Wesleyan. I got them to come together in NYC to learn some songs I had written and the band grew out of that session.
SG: How would the band describe the music it plays?
DR: I think we’re a punk band. Defining bands via genre is always difficult but I feel comfortable with punk or rock or pop.
SG: What is a live show by the band like?
DR: We tend to get drunk and play the songs we’ve written and recorded.
SG: When people listen to your album, what do you want them to take away from it?
DR: I want them to have fun and be able to dance and maybe fuck or rob a bank.
SG: Are there any upcoming projects to look out for?
DR: I’ve been making some dance music on my own, but nothing concrete to speak of.
SG: What about upcoming tours? Where are you most excited about and why?
DR: We’re going to the UK on Oct. 23. It’s our first tour abroad. Everyone in the band is very excited about taking the music to different countries.
SG: How does it feel to be considered a “Brooklyn buzz band?” What are you doing that’s new and different from the Brooklyn scene in general?
DR: The Brooklyn scene is certainly one of the most vibrant in the country, if not the world. We’re friends with a lot of great musicians and we’re proud to know them and watch them progress.
SG: What does the press say about the band? How is it being received?
DR: Our press has been cool. We’ve gotten written up in a lot of national publications and in a lot of magazines in England. It’s dope. We don’t get paid off it though, so it doesn’t really affect my life on a tangible level.
SG: What would the band like to do next?
DR: We’re looking forward to putting out a full-length record and touring the world.
SG: How does it feel to be back at Wes?
DR: Being back at Wesleyan kind of makes me sad. I miss the collegiate spirit, but at the same time college crowds are always fun and Wesleyan is one of my favorite places in the world.
SG: What were your majors in Wes? How, if at all, does it affect your music?
DR: Both Ted and I majored in film and I think it has helped us in having a life outside of rock-and-roll music. Having multiple conduits through which to express oneself is always a healthy thing.
SG: Any general comments for Wes?
DR: Eat LSD and come to the show on Friday.