This Friday, Sydney’s Hand Of Mercy will release their ‘Last Lights‘ album via UNFD. To launch it, the band will be joining labelmates Dream On Dreamer on their upcoming Homebound Tour which also features Like Moths To Flames and In Hearts Wake. That one begins August 30th in Brisbane. Tickets for the tour are selling quickly. You can pre-order a copy of ‘Last Lights‘ now online [Here]. We caught up with guitarist Josh this week in The Hotseat, expand this post to check out his answers and re-cap the upcoming tour dates.
Name : Josh
Band : Hand Of Mercy
Job In Band : Guitar
Website Address : www.facebook.com/handofmercy
Hometown : Sydney, NSW
Hometown is best known for : A beach or two, a bridge, the Opera House, a Harbour and we had the Olympics once.
Best venue in your hometown : The Wall (Bald Faced Stag) perfect sized room, normally sounds pretty good, no barrier, ‘bistro’ is sick (chicken schnitzel is highlight of any show there), drinks are fairly priced and it’s close to the city.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : The Ghost Inside at The Sando, tiny room packed full of people, nothing but stage dives for 45 minutes.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : All ages Loudfest earlier this year, the Annandale was full, was so hot and humid inside there was condensation on the walls, no barrier, constant stage dives, kids climbing all over each other, just an explosion of energy. Was great.
How did the band first come to exist? I was having band practice with this other high school band I was in when I was 16, we were having a break and I saw an ad on the corkboard at this studio saying that there were 2 dudes wanting to start a band that sounded like OWB, Black My Heart, Killswitch etc (it was 2005 so all those metalcore and mosh bands of the time were in the list) I was starting to get in to that music and thought I’d try out, they said yes (a few years later I found out they only said yes cause I was the least shit person they tried out and they were sick of looking for a second guitarist). Then about a year later we found a singer and a bass player and that was that.
How long has the band been going? As a full band, for about 6 years.
Any particular story behind the name? I wish it was something interesting like it came to us in a dream or it’s a place where we all used to hang out etc but we had been practicing for a little while and wanted to start playing shows so it was the best name we had out of all the names we came up with, you don’t want to know what got rejected.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… It’s called “Last Lights”, we recorded it in Cape Cod, MA. Was recorded with Shane Frisby who did Returners by The Ghost Inside, the last 2 Bury Your Dead CD’s and a long list of others and it’s a massive step up from anything we’ve done in the past.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Going to America to record with Shane Frisby (The Ghost Inside, Bury Your Dead). I basically got to go to America on holiday and record a CD with someone who has recorded some of my favourite bands and CDs. Something anyone in a band dreams of doing and we got to do it, something I will never forget.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? There was lots of things that contributed over time but if I had to pick something major in year 8 music we had to learn the basics of playing guitar in class I really enjoyed it and it made me want to get lessons so I did and from there I wanted to start playing music with my friends.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? The Foo Fighters were the first band that I REALLY got in to, when I was 13 I went to a free show they played at Channel V when it was still at Fox Studios, it was the first real concert I had ever been to, I had just started getting guitar lessons and I remember after watching them I thought that would be cool do to. So that kind of ties in with the previous question too.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? I played bass in my first band with some friends in high school, we were called Alter, we were a nu-metal band and we were no Sunk Loto let me tell you. If you can find any trace of us, have a listen.
Most prized music related item you own? Would have to be my amp and my guitar, I know it’s boring but they’re the ones I always dreamt of having and I saved like a mad man to get them, feels good to be able to know you’ve earned what you’ve got.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Going to shows, hanging out with friends, working etc pretty standard every day stuff, we’re all just normal people too.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… knowing I’ll get to play music almost every night for however long I’m away, getting to hang out with some of my best friends, seeing Australia and seeing friends in other states.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… There’s nothing that I don’t really look forward to, touring is a privilege but the worst thing is probably the lack of sleep and other peoples little personal habits that make you want to kill them.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Water is key, but a sneaky free beer or 2 never goes astray, especially when you are pinching those pennies.
Favourite place you’ve toured, and why? Perth and Byron are the best, every one there is a 10/10 human, you can never get bored just hanging out there, plenty to do, just great places to be.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Byron Bay, the Amphitheatre at the YAC on the Parkway Drive Sick Summer tour earlier this year. It was a perfect summer day in Byron, the show was outdoors in the Amphitheatre at the YAC (if you’ve ever been to the YAC you’ll know what I mean) it was sold out, no barrier, Parkway home town show, bodies everywhere, deafening sing-a-longs
Got a favourite song to play live? Ankles To The Wall, it’s got all the key bits, the circle pit bit, the guest vocal bit, the mosh bit, the epic bit. I’m sure if you tried hard enough you could find a pogo mosh/push pit bit in there too somewhere.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? I’ve never had one that’s been that bad, I’ve lost my footing that many times trying to do something ‘cool’ or funny, I’ve almost fallen off stages and on my arse etc but I just catch myself, in saying that now I’m going to have some sort of monumental fuck up next time I play and if I do I’m blaming you guys.
Our other guitarist Adam is the one to see for embarrassing moments, he’s fallen through stages, fallen off stages, slipped over the works, you name it he’s done it.
Any pre-show rituals? Have a bit of a stretch, make sure all my gear is working, have a quick panic about if I remember all the songs then get on with it.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? As with everything in life I’d have to say it’s the money to be able to afford being away from home/work for how ever long you are away for, but if you’re smart/plan it then you can survive.
Last song you listened to? Minstrels – Such Gold
Last album you acquired? Colder Than Ever – Warhound. OOOOOOW
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? The new Ghost Inside album “Get What You Give”, I’m a massive Ghost Inside fan boy so it gets flogged regularly, also been listening to “Blind Faith” by Dead End Path a lot recently.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? I’ll give you 2: Endless Heights and Legions, some of my close friends are in those bands and they are both killing it right now and have new releases coming up, you’d be stupid not to listen to them.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? Releasing our new CD Last Lights and heading out on tour with Dream On Dreamer, Like Moths to Flames and In Hearts Wake in August/September, we also have a whole bunch of stuff in the works that just needs some finalizing.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Cover Your Tracks by Bury Your Dead, every song on that CD is a banger and it’s heavy as anything.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? William Shatner, if you’ve heard any of his other covers then you know why, if you don’t then I suggest you look them up.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Title Fight, we were on tour when they were on tour too and missed them in every city possible, was pretty off it but at the same time I can’t complain cause I was having a ball anyway.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? Fowlers Live in Adelaide, heard a lot of good stuff about that place and I know there have been a lot of good shows there, just seems like one of those venues in Australia that you have to play.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Question is too hard, maybe Artic Monkeys, they are one of my favourite bands, they play some pretty cool fests and play some pretty cool venues. Plus look like the sort of guys that like to have a laugh
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band: Basement and The Ghost Inside, two bands that I could never get sick of seeing night after night after night.
Got any final words? Pick up our new CD Last Lights out 17 August 2012 through UNFD. Come see us on the Homebound tour in August/September with Dream On, Dreamer, Like Moths To Flames and In Hearts Wake. Listen to Endless Heights, Legions, Outsider, Promises and Reality