Just Handshakes are delivering their own brand of dream-pop with ethereal vocals, funky bass, whirling guitar riffs, and energetic punchy drums. The band released their debut album Say It earlier last year, so to see what’s new AMBY spoke to Just Handshakes about their dog Millie recording keyboard, drunken banter, and less crime fighting and more dream-pop!
AMBY: Hello Just Handshakes! Thanks for having a chat with AMBY, what have you been up to lately?
Just Handshakes: Hello, nice to speak to you! Our album came out a few weeks ago so we’ve been busy playing gigs, posting out vinyl orders and writing new songs.
AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
Just Handshakes: It’s always slightly awkward to describe your own music, but we get lots of ‘indie-pop’, ‘C86’, ‘dream-pop’ and ‘shoegaze’ references, so we must sound a bit like all of those.
AMBY: You have just released your debut album Say It. What were some of the highlights while recording it?
Just Handshakes: In the past we’ve just had short spells in the studio, so it was good to have more time to work on the album and try things out. Jim brought his dog Millie down most days, so we had lots of fun playing with her. Here’s a picture of her recording some keyboard.
AMBY: What’s the story behind your lovely song London Bound?
Just Handshakes: It’s about a few different things, but partly about the uncertainty of life and feeling lost. At the time a lot of people we knew were moving to London and that’s where the name came from.
AMBY: There are some great lyrics on the album. Which are your favourites?
Just Handshakes: That’s very kind thank you. I think Kiwi is our favourite song on the album, I’m not sure why, I think we were just happy with how it came together. And I quite like the lyrics for Stick Around, they’re very simple, but I like that they’re honest.
AMBY: What’s the best moment you’ve had as a band so far?
Just Handshakes: Recording a live session on BBC 6 Music for Marc Riley was really fun. But I think our best moment was a couple of weeks ago when our album got delivered. It came out on marbled purple vinyl and our friend Ki Yoong did the artwork for it. It was really nice to see the finished thing!
AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?
Just Handshakes: One of our first gigs in Leeds was in a bar that used to be a club called Heaven and Hell. They’d only bothered to refurbish the upstairs and we played downstairs in ‘Hell’. We played to one member of staff and the sound man. At the time we only had 4 songs and at the end of the set the sound guy looked around and asked us to play it all again! Other than that we’ve had crazy people guessing the tempos of our songs and consulting us afterwards, lots of drunken banter and an old guy who took multiple photos of Mike’s crotch mid set.
AMBY: What is your song of the year so far?
Just Handshakes: It’s so hard to pick just one song! We really like the new Beach Fossils album, ‘Clash The Truth’ is the title track and it’s a really great song. We saw Mac Demarco play last month and we really like his new album too, ‘My Kind of Woman’ is one of our favourites.
AMBY: What has you excited for the rest of 2013?
Just Handshakes: Our album comes out in Japan in July and we’re going to be announcing our next release on Bleeding Gold Records very soon. We’re also going on tour to Europe in November! We’ve never played outside of the UK before so we’re quite excited about that.
AMBY: What would a movie based on the band be called?
Just Handshakes: Our name was inspired by a poster we saw for a film called called ‘No Sex Please, We’re British’. We’ve never actually watched it because it’s meant to be a bit rubbish. Our film would be called J-900. It would be a remake of K-9000 but with less crime fighting and more dream-pop.
AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about Just Handshakes that nobody knows?
Just Handshakes: People always say we’re a Leeds band but only one of us is actually from Leeds. Sean our bass player is from Aberdeen but sometimes people think he is Irish.
Thank you Just Handshakes, for giving us your answers!