Hands-on with Vampire Hands guitarist Chris Rose on the new album “Hannah in the Mansion”

Guitarist Chris Rose on the new album “Hannah in the Mansion”

After a tour with Wavves and a new album release, Vampire Hands do America product placement.
PHOTO COURTESY CARL WEDOFF

Ashley Goetz

After a tour with Wavves and a new album release, Vampire Hands do America product placement. PHOTO COURTESY CARL WEDOFF

WHAT: Vampire Hands âÄúHannah in the MansionâÄù album release WHERE: Turf Club, 1601 University. Ave., St. Paul WHEN: 9 p.m., Aug. 14 TICKETS: $8 With the release of their newest album, âÄúHannah in the Mansion,âÄù the dudes in local band Vampire Hands better get ready to explain that no, their name came a long, long time before this âÄúTwilightâÄù and âÄúTrue-BloodâÄù -driven vampire craze. ThereâÄôs no Edward Cullen here, just a captivating mix of psych-rock and surf-pop that will likely garner the guys a good chunk of attention. Guitarist Chris Rose talked to A&E about the album, Neil Young and house paint album art. Music critics are quick to compare your sound to various bands from the past, like the Beach Boys . You list on your MySpace that Neil Young is an influence, as is [John Lennon and Yoko OnoâÄôs] âÄúPlastic Ono Band.âÄù So how much of your inspiration or influences actually come from the past and how did you discover those artists? Were you the kids who dug in your parentsâÄô records? A lot of us, when we were teenagers, were into modern music. As we were kind of exploring new stuff, the past has so much more available and itâÄôs so much more diverse. I think we kind of delve into that. Me and Alex took a fair amount of our parentsâÄô record collection when they werenâÄôt using records. ItâÄôs kind of, in a way, easier to find good and rare stuff. People seem to be doing that a lot these days with reissues. How did you guys form up? And additionally, how did your âÄúsoundâÄù form? Did you all have similar tastes? Me and Chris [Bierden, bass & vocals] the singer, we met in college in Milwaukee and we started by showing each other our music taste. I was more into the punk side and he was more into psych rock and we liked what the other person liked. IâÄôd been friends with Colin [Johnson, percussion/vocals/keys] for awhile. We met at shows. We had similar music tastes and my brother Alex [Rose, drums], weâÄôd always shown each other stuff. Our sound came out of our taste in music. It was kind of eclectic. I read that you recorded âÄúHannah in the MansionâÄù in a one-night session. Can you tell me more about that? Why did you choose to do it that way? What we did is we recorded the bass, drums and guitar all live in one night and then we did vocals and overdub over the course of a couple weeks. I was actually reading âÄúShakey,âÄù which is Neil YoungâÄôs biography , and he was talking a lot about capturing the moment of live performance. I was really into that. I think thereâÄôs something about the four of us playing together at the same time that creates something that isnâÄôt there when you do it track by track. What is your songwriting process like? Who is the primary lyricist? Do the lyrics come first or the songs? How long does that process take? ItâÄôs pretty collaborative. Colin writes all the songs and he sings for the most part. Me and Chris write the lyrics. ItâÄôs all kind of editing each otherâÄôs stuff. ThatâÄôs actually one thing that we really pay attention to: lyrics and vocals. Usually itâÄôs the songs that come first, or the song is over here and the lyrics are over here. When I sit down to write lyrics, I try to not think about it and have things come up naturally. ItâÄôs usually based on situations and scenarios in my life. I personally try to take that and obscure it âĦ instead of getting too specific. I like that idea of people being able to take your lyrics and apply it to them; itâÄôs more about an emotion I guess. Some reviews say âÄúHannah in the MansionâÄù is a departure from your usual sound. Is it? What was the idea behind the album âÄî is there a concept to it, perhaps? I think itâÄôs different from what weâÄôve recorded in the past. ItâÄôs a little more subdued, IâÄôd say, and maybe more focused on pop, maybe not as wild. ItâÄôs just the way weâÄôve been growing as music listeners and what we listen to. The concept to the album is a loose concept. ItâÄôs kind of a âÄúone night spent in a mansion in Kansas CityâÄù that was being lived in by all these punk artist kids. Every track would be like a room, like pieces of a whole. ItâÄôs more the environment that youâÄôre in and how you feel. Who did the artwork on the new album? Mainly, Colin and I did most of the artwork. Alex and Chris helped out. We painted them with house paint and did magazine collages. TheyâÄôre all individual. Why two drummers? I think weâÄôve always kind of liked those little touches in recordings, the auxiliary percussion. I think it adds a lot and it also came from Colin. ColinâÄôs a great drummer but he didnâÄôt want to play drums all the time. He just decided to pick up drums. ItâÄôs always worked and we thought it sounded good. As you gain momentum in the music world, do you notice critics trying to define your sound? Does that pigeonholing bother you? How do you guys define the Vampire Hands sound? I personally like not to define it. I guess it only bothers me if itâÄôs something I donâÄôt like. When we first started we were getting Ween a lot and IâÄôve never listened to that but I thought, âÄúThatâÄôs weird.âÄù As a way of writing about music, I guess itâÄôs kind of a necessity. So itâÄôs not something that ultimately bothers us. Chris, what are you personally listening to right now? CanâÄôs âÄúOut of Reach,âÄù itâÄôs from the late âÄô70s. Locally? Daughters of the Sun , thereâÄôs an EP released last year by Pets thatâÄôs one of my favorites. Where are your favorite local venues to hear music? I know youâÄôre playing your CD release show at the Turf Club in St. Paul. Turf Club is one of my favorites, itâÄôs a good size and it always sounds good. The people there are really nice. I like going to the Hex [Hexagon] âÄòcause itâÄôs free; they have a lot of good shows. They pay the bands really well, too.