PropertyOfZack Interview : : Handguns

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 13, 2011


PropertyOfZack got the chance to speak with Jake from Handguns not too long ago. The band recently released their great new EP, Don’t Bite Your Tongue, which was produced by Nik from Man Overboard and put out via Pure Noise Records. Jake and I discussed the EP, touring with Hawthorne Heights this spring, and summer plans, as well as plans to write a new record. Read up and enjoy!

For the record, could you state your name and role in Handguns?
Jacob Langley, and I play guitar.
Today is a big day for you guys with the release of your new EP, Don’t Bite Your Tongue. How has the reception to the tracks been so far?
There have been a couple naysayers on the Internet, but for the most part, it seems that everyone is stoked. Everyone’s digging the tracks.
I believe it was recorded sometime towards the end of the year in November or December. Did the band enjoy its time in the studio?
We recorded the songs with Nik from Man Overboard. He engineered and produced them. Jesse Cannon mixed and mastered them. Any time we get to record with Nik, we’re stoked because he’s one of our good friends. We just hang out and tell bad jokes. We do cool things with songs too. We love it. If I could record with Nik every week, my life would be perfect.
Did Nik help with any writing?
The songs were already written when we came into the studio. He gave input and he would be like, “Yo, play this a little bit differently and do that.” Nothing major. Just small production stuff.
Is getting in the studio a nice break from touring for the band?
Yeah, we tour constantly, so whenever we get a chance to sit down and write and record we’re always ready.
What was the writing process for the tracks like compared to prior material?
The writing process was pretty much the same. It sounds funny, but all but two songs were written in the van while going to shows. We don’t really get home time since we’re on tour so much. So most of our songwriting is done while we’re on tour. We have an acoustic guitar and an idea and one of us will sit the in backseat and figure it out. We make terrible recordings on our laptop from there. Those records are pretty much written on tour with the exception of two or three songs.
POZ: Did that help make themes for both releases?
Jake: Yeah, both records ended up having themes, but neither of them were planned. We had all the seven songs ready and realized they were all about tour. That’s what we made the record about. Don’t Bite Your Tongue is all about not holding back when you want to say something. Overall, the concept of that record was not holding back. A lot of it had to do with us coming up with a name for the record. We didn’t want to name it something that had nothing to do with the songs. We didn’t want to name the record Watermelon Penis Eyes because that has nothing to do with it.
Has the reception to Anywhere But Home been solid as well?
Yeah, the reception to that is awesome. Kids love those songs whenever we play them. We’re not ready to scrap those songs anytime soon. We’re still playing them every night.
It was announced that Handguns had signed to Pure Noise somewhere at the  end of 2010 as well. How has your relationship been with the label so far?
We went out last summer on Warped Tour to sell CDs in line and we met Jake because he was running the Rise Records tent back when he was at Rise Records. He was also selling a whole Pure Noise table. Before I went on Warped Tour I had only known that Pure Noise put out the Transit/Man Overboard split. I didn’t know anything about the label. Then I met him on Warped Tour from walking around and he helped us get in every day. He let us sell our records at the Pure Noise booth. It really helped us out. We just became friends. We hung out every day and yelled at little girls on Warped Tour and squirted kids in the face with water. Then he was like, “Yo, let me put out your next record.” It was pretty informal. He’s like our best friend. It’s cool because he’s our label and we definitely have to talk about business, but it’s our friend too. We’re stoked. We couldn’t be happier with Pure Noise.
Was this EP just a one-time deal, or will future releases be on Pure Noise as well?
We signed on for this EP and we’re putting out a full-length within the next year. That all has to get worked out. We’re definitely putting out a full-length on Pure Noise Records.
Did you guys play many of those new songs on your recent mini-tour with Forever Came Calling? How did fans receive them in the live setting?
Yeah, we’ve played a few one them. We played a few shows in Texas and we have a decent draw there and are good friends with all the people who go to shows there. They wanted us to play more songs, so Jeff from Forever Came Calling, who filled in on that whole tour, had to learn a few other ones so we could play a longer set. After a few of the shows we had listening parties and talked about the record and songs. Everyone was stoked.
Those dates were a nice warm-up for your upcoming tours in March and April with Hawthorne Heights, and Veara. How stoked are you guys for all of those shows?
Really stoked. Honestly, I’m not even going to believe it until it happens. I’m going to have to get birth certificates from all the members of Hawthorne Heights to make sure they’re actually them. We can’t believe we’re on that tour. We’re all fans of that band. No matter what anyone says, we’re a fan of that band. Everyone likes Silence In Black And White. We’re stoked. Veara is awesome. That band rules. We’re stoked to be out with both of them.
POZ: How did those shows come together?
Jake: Our friend Tucker is our booking agent. For the past year I had been booking everything myself DIY. It got to be too much. It was the only thing I hated about touring. I hate it with a passion. We were looking around for a booking agent and Soupy from The Wonder Years told us to find a friend to do it. So Tucker lives in Kentucky and he was one of the first people to ever book our band out of state. We were like, “Hey dude, would you want to be our booking agent?” Then Pure Noise actually made him their official booking agent. He books The American Scene, he books us, Second To Last, and maybe Daybreaker. JT, the singer of Hawthorne, hit Tucker up because he wanted to set up solo shows. He asked if he could get Handguns on some of the dates and JT said “No problem, what are they doing in April?” It went from there. He offered it to us.
Will we be seeing more tour announcements soon after that as well?
After Hawthorne we’ll be home for a month. I haven’t worked a job in over a year. I’m completely broke. Normally I just sell things on eBay, but I don’t have anything left to sell. So I have to get a job. I’m dreading that. I’d rather have my teeth pulled out. So we’re going to write and work. We’re doing Warped Tour again. We put 60,000 miles on our van last year and it almost has 200,000 miles on it, so we’re crossing our fingers that it gets us to the end of summer. We’re going to go out and sell CDs on Warped again and we’ll use the money from that to buy a new van. We’re crossing our fingers and hope it lasts till the end of summer.
POZ: Will you play any shows while chasing Warped as well?
Jake: Of course. Arizona and New Mexico get so hot so when you’re out there for a month and a half you really just want to chill on the hot days. Some of those days we might skip and play shows. Warped Tour has an off-date almost every Monday. It’ll be an off-date with an eighteen hour drive. So if there aren’t long drives we’ll play off-dates. We’re actually signing ourselves up for every single battle of the bands contest in every city. We’re going to try to get on the stage as many times as we can. We draw better in other parts of the country, so we hope to get on in Dallas.
Have you guys started writing yet? Or will the month off in the spring be the first time writing for the record?
We’re constantly writing. We have ideas. We have a bunch of stuff that’s jotted down on paper. No songs are finished yet, but we have ideas. We know what we’re going to do.

When would you like to hit the studio?
In the late-summer or early-fall. Somewhere around then. It’ll probably be after summer.
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add or that we should be on the lookout for?
No, just come see us on tour and pick up our new record. It’s in a bunch of Hot Topics, Newbury Records, and iTunes and Bandcamp. Also, pick up the new Transit record and Man Overboard 7”. 

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