Interviews

Q&A with Sean Huber of Steady Hands and Modern Baseball

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In support of their upcoming EP Brandy Of The Damned! due out August 19 on Lame-O Records, Steady Hands have hit the pavement bringing their gritty power folk to venues up and down the East coast. What even is gritty power folk?? Great question. The project which started as Sean Huber’s acoustic outlet from playing drums in punk bands – more specifically popular indie rock band Modern Baseball – has grown into a seven piece band that they’re coining sound-wise as “Bar Punk” in the vein of acts like punk turned Irish folk icon Frank Turner and the blue-collar Jersey rock of Springsteen. Steady Hand’s songs thrive on personal lyrics you’d envision written on the back of a napkin late night at a pub in Philly, best heard with a drink in your hand as you sing along to timeless Celtic influenced melodies.

Joining Steady Hands on tour is electro-pop group W.C. Lindsay with William Lindsay on lead guitar, George Legatos on bass, and Richie Straub on drums. Also joining them are Modern Baseball member Jacob Ewald on rhythm guitar and Andrew Kirnan on keys.

Stream a new song from Steady Hands

August 10th – Charleston, SC – King Dusko
August 11th – Raleigh, NC – The Pour House

Also, be sure to catch Modern Baseball with The Wonder Years and Taking Back Sunday October 8 in Charlotte, NC at The Fillmore.

I’ve been a fan of lot of bands coming out of Philly in the last couple of years, Modern Baseball and now Steady Hands included. I recently made it up there and went to an awesome show at Golden Tea House. Can you tell me a little bit about how supportive the fans, promoters and the kids that go to shows there are? Is that sense of community shared with bands?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say The Golden Tea house is the best DIY spot in the country. Philadelphia is such an incredibly close and supportive city for music at all levels, and I feel very fortunate to kind of just fallen into that when I moved here. There is so many amazing bands of all genres, and the push to support local and touring acts is very strong. Coming from a kind of pay to play scene around jersey at the time, it blew my mind when I got here and we were able to play basement shows, run shows for out of town friends, and go see some show for 5 bucks almost every night of the week. No one is in it for the money, it is just to support smaller bands and have the same in return, it’s a beautiful thing.

I also got to see Philadelphia native Dave Hause play while I was in town and I get a lot of the same blue collar vibes from Steady Hands. There seems to be some Irish working class acoustic vibe going on deep down. How’d you get started playing the more folk acoustic stuff as opposed to playing drums?

Man I love Dave Hause. The whole Steady Hands sound and band started out of me just going out and performing folk songs I had written at an open mic my friends used to run in Philly. I had never sang or played guitar for people, and didn’t have any intention of doing anything with the songs. But people reacted really well to it and at the time I was heavily inspired by singers who had moved away from their punk bands to do the acoustic thing. So I just said “fuck it, I’m going to go head first into this”, and started jumping on shows, driving and opening for bands on tour and learning how to perform as I went. I’ve always been in love with the working class folk style as well as Celtic music alongside all of the punk I listened to, so the sound just formed out of that salad bowl of tastes. All the songs I write are folk at the core, but the full band arrangements and instrumentation shape it into the final product. We started just calling it Bar Punk.

I guess later this year you’ll be playing bigger venues opening for Taking Back Sunday, are there parts of tour you enjoy more with the more grassroots efforts and smaller venues?

There’s definitely benefits to both. Obviously there is a lot more people working on the big tours so you end up doing little more than just playing each night. It’s less stressful and more organized. With DIY tours you are responsible for everything, and that can be stressful but fun. My favorite thing on this tour is not having to show up to the venue until like 7 most nights. On larger tours the load in can be as early as 11 am, but a DIY tour like this gives hours to wander around town and more importantly, go swimming.

Tell me a little bit about the upcoming EP and the recording of it.

The new EP was actually recorded in stages with different producers over the last year. I am lucky enough to be surrounded with so many incredibly talented friends, so I was able to have each producer work on their own song(s), and I think it created super unique feels to each of the tracks. With this release I also wanted to explore writing about subject matter I really hadn’t touched. While before I may have been nervous to get too personal or dark, this time around I wanted to lay it all out there.

So what first started as a solo project has now turned into a full on 7 piece band. Did that change your writing process writing for a band? Does it bring more power to the live show?

It surprisingly hasn’t changed much. Songs start with me writing on an acoustic guitar, which I will demo out a song with just acoustic and vocals. I consider a song 50% done at that point. From there, I will bring the song I the rest of the band and together we will work out the full band parts. I think it brings a hell of a lot more power and dynamics to the live show. I love super huge sounding bands, and we set out to be bigger than anyone. The full band has also changed up my solo performances a great deal. When I started, I was trying to put as much energy, yell and dynamics into a solo performance to prove myself somehow. But since having the live band, when I go solo I am not afraid to chill out and be more folky.

Being in the middle of it all, what are some great up and coming bands to check out?

My favorite smaller bands right now are Chewing On Tinfoil from outside Dublin and The Color And Sound from Boston. In addition you should check out The Hundred Acre Woods, Solemn Sun, Tim Fite, and Hop Along.

Not really a question, but Charleston is an incredible city. Heard you’re a beer guy so make sure to check out Westbrook and Holy City Brewery if you get the chance. Both really top notch.

Cheers! Can’t wait to check it out!

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