First off, let me congratulate you on putting out a truly stunning EP (Laid Low) from your project Everything In Slow Motion, early last year. I still listen to it and it blows me away each and every time.
So here we go…..
Tell me a little bit about this “return” to the project that first put you on the map as a songwriter/singer/vocalist/guitarist, Hands? What has inspired you to revisit that project? What new music is being released under the Hands name and can you tell me a little bit about it? Is Joshua Silbernagel (Glower) a part of this new Hands reunion?
Shane Ochsner: Hands started in 2007, and has always been a collective effort between long time friends. It wasn’t until “Give Me Rest” that the process changed, and became more of an effort between Josh Silbernagel and I trying to write while living 9 hours away from each other. The reason for that is “Give Me Rest” was kind of an afterthought. Facedown Records gave us the opportunity to put out another record, and we figured “why not?”. I’m glad we did! Unfortunately, we were already disbanded and never really had the chance to tour on it.
Having said that, it’s been years since we’ve worked on anything together as a group. With the 20 years of Facedown Records approaching, Jason at Facedown offered us a spot to perform at this year’s Facedown Fest PLUS a chance to get back in the studio and record a new 7”. “New Heaven / New Earth” was an incredible opportunity for 4 old friends to reconnect, and breathe life back into something that means so much to us. For me personally, creating music with these guys again was such an amazing experience.
Brandon/IVM: With your last band Hands, you guys released “The Everlasting Ep”, “The Sounds of Earth”, “Creator”, and “Give Me Rest” before calling it quits. What has been your favorite creation from your time in that band? You have to tell me, is there any chance still that Facedown Records can re-release “The Sounds of Earth” so that the whole world can hear it? Vinyl would be awesome ;)
Shane Ochsner: It’s a tie between “The Sounds Of Earth” and “Give Me Rest.” The writing and recording process for both of these records was so crazy.
TSOE was written after we had all quit our jobs to go on the road full-time. We were fresh, hopeful, ready to take on the world. We spent 8 hours a day, all 31 days of August 2008 in a farm shed outside of Casselton, ND writing that album. Most of it was just jamming with no real attention to structure.
The song order on the record, is the actual order we wrote the songs in. So when you hit play on track one and hear that repetitive octave guitar pattern, that’s actually how it all started in the writing process. I absolutely love that. And believe me, no one wants that record pressed to vinyl more than we do! Maybe someday…
GMR was written after our time out on the road, and after ending the band. We were burnt out, extremely jaded, and didn’t want to be anywhere near the music scene we had just come out of. Josh Silbernagel drove down to Kansas City to write with me. We only had a week of 3 hour nights to complete the album, and by the time he left, I think we only had 7 tracks… leaving me with 3 to complete on my own. I thought I had nothing left to say lyrically, until I put the pen to paper. My wife and I had just had our first daughter, who was released from the NICU 5 days before I was scheduled to enter the studio. Josh had an emergency that kept him from coming to Kansas City to track the drums, so I ended up having to learn the parts last minute and hope for the best! Man… it was so crazy. The completion of that record, and the time it represents in my life… It’s very special.
Brandon/IVM: How has your songwriting progressed since first starting Hands nearly a decade ago? Anything new or different that you’d like to do on your next musical outing? Can we expect a new Hands full length or maybe another Everything In Slow Motion release before end of year? Can you tell me anything about that?
Shane Ochsner: Listening back on the last 10 years (which feels weird to say), I think with every album I tend to focus more and more on dynamics. Musically, and vocally. I’m always trying to create these little moments. The goal going into each record is to create something that is honest, and is a reflection of the season of life I’m in while writing it. I’ve never had any interest in putting out the same record twice, so I’ve always tried to push forward and keep myself uncomfortable. If people dig it, cool. If not, cool.
I don’t believe there will be another release from Hands. All of us felt like this was a great way to close the book. You never know, maybe sometime in our late 40’s we’ll get the urge to be the coolest dad’s on the block. Hands presents: “Give Me Healthcare.”
I’m currently writing the second Everything In Slow Motion LP, which will likely see a 2017 release. I don’t have much to say about it yet, as it is still a mystery to me. However, from the little pieces I have caught here and there, I believe it will be the strongest of the EISM catalog.
Brandon/IVM: What was it like working on “Laid Low” and what influenced your songwriting this time around? There is a noticeable difference in sound/aggression between the “Phoenix” full length and “Laid Low”, what was the reasoning behind that change? What can we expect from future recordings?
Shane Ochsner: Working on “Laid Low” was exactly what I needed, and exactly when I needed it. The vision was not to be loud and on fire. The vision was to peel back the layers, and cut to the core of myself as a human being. Instead of having a wide view, I wanted it to focus in on the details. Writing for the room, instead of writing for the universe. I remember finishing the vocal tracking for that record, and having this strange realization of “woah, there’s no screaming tracks…” For some reason it didn’t really occur to me until the end of it all. And truth be told, there was just nothing to scream about. That is not the record I created. It would have been forced and artificial.
Looking forward is tough. I just haven’t gotten there yet with this new record. I’m not sure what stories it will or how they will be delivered. But, I can promise you it will be genuine.
Brandon/IVM: Tell me a little bit about what you’re up to today in regards to job, family, careers, etc. People want to know, what do you do when you’re not creating powerful music? Any hobbies that you’re into that people probably don’t know about?
Shane Ochsner: My family and I live in Kansas City, MO. My wife Holly is a teacher, and we have 2 daughters – Arbor (6) and Vada (3). Both of them have the music bug, so it’s fun to see them explore that! I work for a marketing research company, but I have my own ideas for future start-ups and am constantly dreaming and working towards bringing those ideas to fruition. Hobbies: I teach music to a handful of students during the week. I LOVE playing drums. I love running.
Life is crazy for me, and never seems to slow down. But it seems like most people have that going on!
Brandon/IVM: The spiritual undercurrent that runs throughout your discography is obvious. How has your Faith in God changed over the years and how does it still motivate you to do what you do today? Any particular theologians, church leaders, pastors that you look up to? What book or books inspire you most both in your personal and in your professional life? What has changed the most spiritually in your life since you first started Hands all those years ago?
SO: This whole topic is tough for me to answer in this format, and I don’t want to ramble. My time in Hands after “Creator” released and we were touring full time, really changed me. It completely leveled my world as a Christian. The militant attitude of “turn or burn,” the on-stage baptisms between breakdowns, the ridiculous “christian clothing lines”. Ego driven ministries. I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered from that.
Looking back on it, I think there are good things that came out of that. I’m happy I was forced to start over. To rebuild a foundation that is built on real experiences and real moments. I have struggled with my faith throughout the years, and will likely continue to struggle. However, I’m always looking for those little sparks of light, and I do find them from time to time. Some of the most beautiful and spiritual moments in my life have come from the struggle, and I’m ok with that.
Brandon/IVM: Tell me a bit about Facedown Fest, who are you most excited about seeing LIVE and what bands on the roster do you dig the most? What continues to draw you into the Facedown Records movement and how has it helped you creatively over the years?
Shane Ochsner: 20 years of Facedown Records is incredible. I am so happy and proud of the Facedown Staff, and what they have accomplished over all of these years. It’s truly such an honor to be a tiny part of that. I’m so excited to celebrate 20 years with them at this year’s Facedown Fest, it’s going to be an amazing show! I’m stoked to see everyone do their thing, but I’m most excited about Nodes Of Ranvier, Sinai Beach, and of course… A PLEA FOR PURGING! Current active roster bands: I’m excited to hear the new War Of Ages album, Comrades is tight, Nothing Left is cool and pissed off, and My Epic is wonderful (as always).
Creatively, Facedown has always pushed me to chase whatever it is I’m feeling. It’s not about the genre, it’s not about the first week sales, it’s not about the social status. It’s about creating something that holds meaning and has longevity. As the artist, I think that’s as good as it gets.
Brandon/IVM What can we expect to hear from the Hands reunion and Everything In Slow Motion sets? What songs are you the most excited to play LIVE? Any “Covers” that you might possibly play?
Shane Ochsner: All the hits, no covers. Haha. I think between the 2 sets, “I Will” and “Bad Season” are the two songs I’m looking forward to the most.
Brandon/IVM: Speaking of cover songs, any chance you’ll ever record an album full of “Covers” done in the style of either EISM or Hands? I think you guys would do some justice to a few classic songs. What classic songs would you most want to cover either on record or in a live setting? I’d totally buy a covers record from you and on vinyl!
Shane Ochsner: Nah, it will probably never happen. None of us have the time or the money to put together something like that. There are quite a few songs I would love to put together though! Anything from The Cure would be cool.
Brandon/IVM: Any new merch that fans can expect from your projects this year? Anything that you’re excited to share with us?
Shane Ochsner: The new Hands 7” will be available, along with a really cool 18×24 Hands poster print we put together. EISM has some new merch this year that will be available at the fest, with some vinyl copies of “Laid Low.”
Brandon/IVM: Speaking of politics (did I just go there?), would you vote for Biff Tannen in the alternate 1985 universe knowing then that he would conquer the country and make his “Palace” atop the old Hill Valley Clock Tower? Lol, I think that’s stretching a bit. Anyway, if you have any statements you’d like to make with regards to the current hateful, angry, and bitter environment we are living in the year 2017, feel free to spill the beans. I for one am just tired of reading the endless flood of social media posts and angry sentiments coming from all sides. It’s exhausting and takes our minds off what really matters, ROCK N ROLL!!!!!
Shane Ochsner: Wait… what’s going on out there? More importantly… when is Taylor Swift going to drop a new record? Seriously. It’s been too long.
Brandon/IVM: Can we expect any more shows or tours in 2017 for one of your projects?
Shane Ochsner: I think EISM is going to be a little more active in the midwest, so I’m excited for that! Hands, not so much. We just played our hometown of Fargo, ND and it was incredible. Facedown Fest is next. I don’t think we really want anything more than that. So if you want to see Hands one last time, make your way out to Facedown Fest!
Brandon/IVM: Lastly, what is your favorite food to eat and do you play video games? Favorite game? Can we ever expect to find a Hands or EISM in a big video game in the future? That would be sweet!
Shane Ochsner: Kansas City BBQ is at the top of the list for favorite food. I don’t play video games, but for years have wanted a Play Station. The PS2, the PS3, the PS4… I’ve never bought one.
Funny fact: A Hands song was ALMOST selected for the movie Saw 4. Not a video game, but still would have been cool.
Well that about does it for this interview with Shane Ochsner. of Hands and Everything in Slow Motion. Please be sure to check out the new 2 song ep from Hands and purchase “Laid Low” from Everything In Slow Motion. Both are amazing. Peace out.