This 2-piece from Ontario, Canada rose to prominence in 2012 when they released their debut album ‘Civil Disobedience for Losers’. With a style that leans towards stoner rock, the band also incorporate psychedelic flourishes to cosmic effect. Their recent support slots for Red Fang and Billy Talent have brought their music to a wider audience and 2015 is set to be an even bigger year for the duo as rumors of a follow up have been circulating. Drummer and vocalist for the band Brandyn James Aikins talked to me about the origins of the band, the response to the debut album and what the near future holds for the Canadian rockers.
The bands formation came about in an unorthodox fashion. The duo met whilst apart of another band but decided that their styles would suit better as a two piece. Aikins says “Not really you know, circumstances in the original band were not great. Some members were not happy with each other so during that time we decided to just play songs on our own for fun. Then the original band disbanded and we just kept going on”. This has led to their first outing as a two piece on the musically diverse debut album Civil Disobediance for losers. Aikins states that public reaction has been really good for the release. “It’s been pretty good, it’s been out since November 2012 so it has had time to simmer with people and it seems to be pretty positive all around which is all we can ask for really”.
On the topic of influences, Aikins states that the band are confined by one particular tag. “We listen to all kinds of music from heavy stuff to funk music and all kinds of stuff in between. Personally I am more into older music like old soul and you can see that in our music with the beats and stuff. We were actually talking about this the other night when we formed there were a specific couple of 2-piece bands that we thought were great and it made us think we could try something like that too. There’s No Age from L.A, Lightening Bolt and even the White Stripes”. Adding to this Allmusic.com also expressed these sentiments by stating ‘the pair use a minimal toolset to build something suitably impressive, creating an album that’s as likely to expand your mind as it blows our your eardrums’ but Aikins suggests there were no preconceived ideas going into recording for the album. “It’s hard to say really. When we made the album our only goal was to make the album. But yeah in the studio you try to add a few more layers than you do live without adding too much. There is a few guitar overdubs in there. Dan really likes to experiment with guitar atmospheric sounds and we even do that live a lot too with loop pedals and pitchshifter kind of effects which really adds another dimension to it”.
They also worked with rock royalty in the form of Melvins drummer Dale Crover. Aikins recalls “Yeah it was awesome. They came in after we did our part and did some overdubs on a couple of songs. When we were down there recording we got to meet the Melvins guys for the first time, went over to Dale’s house for dinner and it was pretty awesome. They were guys we idolized growing up and to meet them you realize they are just regular guys like us. Really nice guys”.
Highlight of the album is the cosmic exploration ‘Starcraft’ which sees the band reach new sonic heights. Aikins says of his favourite from the album “Yeah ‘Starcraft’ is a good example of one we put all our style and influence into, it’s kind of a good mix of everything we do. It’s hard to say man, it’s a tough one. Lyrically I like the lyrics to Red Action. Musically I would say Bruce Lee was the most production we did on the album, there’s a lot of layers on that one”. But in a genre rife with rip off acts and poor imitations, it can prove tough to find new territory which hasn’t been occupied before. Aikins says “Yeah you know we are finding that now because we are starting to write a new album and trying to explore things that haven’t been explored in this day and age is challenging especially with just the two of us. There are certain limitations but it’s kind of fun to find new things within those limitations but yeah it is definitely challenging but we like a challenge”, further showcasing their unwillingness to conform to the conventional methods of song writing. Aside from their cosmic soundscapes though, Indian Handcrafts are a rock band at the heart of their music. They started the band for the fun of it as Aikins says “Yeah I know what you mean, that’s one thing about us we just started this band for fun and luckily for us it kind of just took off. We never tried to project any image and we can just stick with what we do and have fun”.
With the release of their latest LP Creeps, the group look primed for big things in the future.