The idea of purgatory has been on my mind more and more as we sit and wait around for…something to be done in 2020. Not just in the states, but across the world, everyone from your run of the mill office workers to creatives like Jack Telford, the man behind Green Hands, is waiting for…something. We talked not only about how his plans have had to shift a bit this year, but another type of purgatory, and more in this back and forth in between waiting.
Kendra: What inspired you to start creating and make 2018 ‘Random Things, Purple Rings,’ did those same things, emotions, and drive come into play for your upcoming release, or had you found new things to draw from this time around?
Green Hands: I’ve been playing music in various forms since I was a kid; as a bassist/guitarist in punk and indie bands as a teenager before I started writing songs for this project around 2016. It was quite liberating for creativity and I began recording music in my bedroom at university, trying to detail the experiences I was having at that time; moving away from my hometown, meeting new people, visiting some brilliant places as well as losing loved ones. I was pretty wide-eyed when I arrived and wanted to document that somewhere. ‘Random Things, Purple Rings’ was a lo-fi break-up album, whereas the new album, ‘Nebo’s Dream’, on the whole, focuses on more positive changes within my twenties.
Kendra: Speaking of the upcoming record, if you had to compare it to a particular place in Oxford where would it be and why? Perhaps one a late-night establishment?
Green Hands: There’s a pub called The White Rabbit which was pretty much the center of my life for a few years. I worked there, played gigs there, met bandmates there, and became a part of a tight-knit community – we all experienced our highs and lows within its orbit. There’s a lot of songs on ‘Nebo’s Dream’ that are either about it or reference it.
Kendra: When you were going out a lot to bars and whatnot, were you going for the social aspect, or were you avoiding the reality that waited outside those doors?
Green Hands: I think, especially with “The Long Weekend,” it was written about the back end of my time there when the nights seemed a bit longer and less enjoyable. I’d stay longer to try and keep up the illusion of what the place once was instead of trying to be more productive elsewhere. I finally realized it was a fool’s errand but it took me a little while. I do like going back on the odd occasion though!
Kendra: Either way, bars and the like are common aspects of our lives in our 20’s. A time in our life I feel is a bit like adult purgatory. We’re not too far from our childhood but the idea of marriage and kids seems like a lifetime away for many. Would you agree our 20’s are a crazy, experimental time?
Green Hands: Yeah. I think most of us have got a bit more time to figure things out these days so it serves us well to experience different places and things if we can. “Adult purgatory” is a good phrase. It’s easy to feel a bit guilty that you aren’t doing A, B, or C with your life but I’d try to take each day as it comes – especially during these strange times.
Kendra: I’ve just recently started to listen to music while I write because I’m easily distracted but you’ve noted how you spent a lot of time with Frank Ocean coming out of your speakers when you were working on new material. Is he someone you’d consider a songwriting muse?
Green Hands: He’s a top tier songwriter – everything he has done is so full of great ideas and powerful melody. “Blonde” is still on rotation every few weeks in my house. There are a lot of other, more obvious influences in my music but I think his work will have a lasting impact on the way I try to make things. Like everyone else, I’m desperate for a bit more.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Green Hands: Well, our album release plans have been pushed back to at least October. When we get there, we’ll do a UK tour but not before we’ve released another single or two from the album. I’m really proud of it and I can’t wait for people to hear. It certainly is a strange time, but a song that never fails to make me smile is “Greetings to the New Brunette” by Billy Bragg. It reminds me of being in a field in late June with good mates and a cold cider. We’ll get there again soon!