The story of Los Angeles pop-rock band Hundred Handed sounds like it belongs in a movie. Singer-guitarist Jordan McGraw, bassist Matt Black and drummer Drew Langan were all looking for the band in which they belonged and not getting anywhere. Finally in 2015, the three of them sat down together and decided to strike out on their own, creating Hundred Handed. They're one part rock band and one part traveling party, and they connected with AXS for an email interview to discuss their current single, which is appropriately titled "Celebrate." Get to know Hundred Handed below.
AXS: How did each of you get to the band? Tell us the stories of how you all decided to pursue music.
Jordan McGraw: I moved to California in the middle of a summer and didn't have any friends. So I bought a guitar and learned every Blink-182 and Green Day song I could find a tab for. I always wish I had started earlier but I don't think I had the attention span any earlier than 15.
Matt Black: Music was always a part of my life, but as a career choice it seemed like a bit of a pipe dream. I didn't start playing an instrument until I was almost 20, but as soon as I did everything just seemed to fall into place.
Drew Langan: When I was in fifth grade, my school district required everyone to go to choir or concert band. I went to choir the first week and hated it. Next week I went to concert band and picked snare drum because all I had to carry was a practice pad and sticks. I never thought I'd make a career out of it until I graduated from high school and realized it was the only thing I was decent at. Now I have to carry way more than everyone else!
AXS: Then how did you come together to create "Celebrate"?
Hundred Handed: We have a studio in our house, so we give ourselves plenty of chances to procrastinate. Somewhere in there we lock ourselves in the studio and just have fun. Nine months later a baby comes out. "Celebrate" is fun for us, because it's as upbeat and dance-y as some of our more synth and keyboard-based tracks, but with a bit more of a live band feel. That and we get to laugh at the weird dance Jordan can't seem to avoid when we play this one.
AXS: Is there anything you're particularly trying to convey with the single?
HH: This is one of the "just dance and have fun" tracks. When we wrote it, we were talking about the house parties we threw that we weren't supposed to and what we had to do to get people there: word of mouth and clever away messages.
AXS: Any live venues that you'd like to bring the party to?
AXS: Who are the artists that have influenced each of you?
JM: Tina Turner was the second concert I ever went to. The show she put on had me hooked on being up there. My playlist would be Tina Turner, Blink-182, John Mayer, and Daft Punk.
DL: I'll never forget the first time I heard Slipknot's self-titled album. That moment and that album honestly changed my life. As well as Continuum by John Mayer. Similar albums, I know. I did a lot of growing up to Continuum. My personal playlist is changing daily, but right now it would be John Mayer, Bruno Mars, Flume, and a few others.
MB: As far as some albums that have affected me, I'd have to say Clarity by Jimmy Eat World, The Bodyguard soundtrack, 36 Chambers by Wu-Tang Clan. Sprinkle in some Foo Fighters, Michael Jackson, and Allman Brothers and you've got a damn good playlist.
AXS: What's the last great concert that any of you have been to?
JM: Drew got me tickets to Nightmare Before Christmas Live at the Hollywood Bowl with the original cast for my birthday. That was one of the coolest musical experiences I've ever seen.
DL: We all went to see Wiz Khalifa last year and that was pretty awesome. I think that's tied with the live orchestra performance of The Little Mermaid. John Stamos came out and conducted the orchestra as the Chef and totally stole the show.
MB: I saw Justin Timberlake on the FutureSex tour about ten years ago, and that still goes down as the greatest show I've seen. The stage was massive and had multiple levels, and there were so many moving parts. Plus, JT singing and dancing for two hours...what more could you want?
"Celebrate" is now available on iTunes.
For more on Hundred Handed, visit the band's official website.