The Hundred in the Hands Talks American History, Making Zines, and Its Next Album
Despite the name, Brooklyn band The Hundred in the Hands isn't a great, big, sprawling indie-pop orchestra. It's just two people -- singer-keyboardist Eleanore Everdell and guitarist Jason Friedman -- and a whole arsenal of sequencers, pedals, and assorted black boxes.
Recently, Crossfade spoke with Everdell and Friedman about American history, being book junkies, making zines, the lessons of playing live, and the second THITH album.
New Times: Your band name, The Hundred In The Hands, is a pretty, poetic little phrase. What is its origin?
Jason Friedman: It's actually the name of a Native American battle from the 1800s. In American history, it's called the Fetterman Massacre. Crazy Horse was involved and a shaman predicted victory the night before by saying, "I have a hundred enemies in my hands."
How did you come across this tidbit? Are you both big history buffs?
Eleanore Everdell: I don't know if I would say buffs, but we definitely like history. We both draw from things that are a lot older than our century.
Friedman: We just like history in general and we didn't give it a lot of thought. We were just looking for a name, pulling books off the shelf, and that was the first one we could both agree on. So we picked it.
Are you book junkies?
Everdell: He is definitely a book junkie. I can't claim that for myself. In our apartment, most of the walls are covered with bookshelves full of books. He's got it organized by genre -- and in some cases, alphabetically.
You also put out a self-titled zine, right?
Everdell: Yes and yes. But again I would say that Jason is more responsible for the website and the zine. We talk about it together. But really, he does the hard work, so I have to give him props.
Friedman: It's just something that came up naturally when we first started the band. If you're a band, you have to have a website. And also, people are always asking you about your influences, so it's like, "Let's do that a little bit better."
Is the zine a bit like a reference guide of what makes THITH?
Friedman: It's how we spend our time. Most of our friends are also in working bands. And it's interesting for us to hang out with them and see what they're doing. A lot of them have been really gracious. They've let us into their world.
And I think it adds something a little bit different than traditional journalism, in the sense that it's peer to peer. We try to get most of our interviews with bands while they're in the studio. So they're not in the cycle of touring and they're not trying to promote a new album yet. They're just still in that kind of hazy glow of just being happy and excited.
It's admirable that you went through the trouble of putting out a print version in this hyperdigital age.
Friedman: We really wanted it to be a quarterly published thing. I still like physical things. But so far, we've only managed to print the one issue. We took it on tour and just gave them out free. It was fun to have something that the fans could take home.
A THITH track seem to be a mash up of a million different influences and elements. How do you manage that kind of complexity, especially when the band is only two people?
Everdell: We try to come at it as naturally as possible. We don't want to be too pretentious about it. So we'll say, "OK, what do we like?" Then, "What are we good at?" Jason plays guitar, I can sing, and those are the elements of our band.
We hope to have an extended band at some point. But right now, everything else has to be made on a computer as we go along and write and record. I think that the music comes out of those restrictions and those commonalities.
You released the debut full-length only nine months ago. But are you already plotting your next blast of noise?
Friedman: We just started writing a couple of nights ago. So we're in that world again.
Any visions of the future? Will the next record be a continuation of the previous album or a total departure?
Friedman: I think we have the intention of departing in some sense. But we're still in the process of figuring out exactly what that means. We don't want to just change for change's sake. When we made our record, we hadn't really played shows a lot. We played maybe 12 shows and then we made the record. Since then, we've been on tour and we've become a more interactive band. There's more energy now, so I feel like we're taking a lot of that into the studio with us.
The Hundred in the Hands, hosted by Grace Jones with Benton, Laura of Miami, Will Renuart, and Uchi. Thursday, June 23. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $10 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.
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