Hailing from, the UK, Hanshotfirst, has been on our, "bands to watch" radar ever since we heard their self-titled EP last year (click for review). Plus our buddy, lead singer, Zander Dale, gave us one of our favorite interviews last year (click here to check it out). Hanshotfirst's, new full length album, "To Those We Have Loved And Lost," is one of my favorite of 2015. With hardcore vocals and musical intensity, plus, a bit of a softer side on tracks like, "And Through The Darkness We Find The Light" and "We All Fall Down," this new album is truly amazing. But don't be fouled, Hanshotfirst, hasn't lost their post hardcore edge, tracks like, "Gone Away," and my personal favorite, "Jessica," prove that, Hanshotfirst has grown immensely as a band and have the range and diversity to make a truly complete album. Zander's vocal's are the perfect illustration of how diverse, "To Those We Have Loved And Lost," sounds and feels. Aggressive, hardcore, and at times, soft and emotional. The band is in top form producing a perfect back drop for an emotional journey through what are obviously very personal songs.
Hanshotfirst, are no longer on our, "bands to watch" radar, they are firmly cemented in the big time. With a Bro-Metal rating of, 9.5/10, "To Those We Have Loved And Lost," is one of my favorite albums of 2015. -Bro
I was luck enough to catch up with, Zander again and asked him about the new album and the band's future plans. As always, Zander, has given us an honest, and of course, entertaining interview. Enjoy!
Bro: I’ve been following, Hanshotfirst, for a few years now and have become a fan of the band, and the music. What have the last few years been like for you guys?
Zander: I know dude! We have really appreciated the constant support you have given us! The last few years have been a crazy set of events! We have started from the bottom and are slowly moving forward. Sometimes it will feel like we are just standing still, then something will happen, we will play an awesome show, get some nice comments on social media or the launch of our debut album and its like BAM! Everything is happening and Jesus Christ we are going on tour its like we are a proper band, wtf omg, that’s bloody mental! It’s all rather exciting really…
Bro: The new album, “To Those We Have Loved And Lost,” is a gem. It is on heavy rotation at the Bro-Metal offices. What was it like recording your first full-length album?
Zander: Recording our debut album was a bit of a whirlwind really! We were unsure whether to do another 5 track EP or go all out and record an LP. I’m really glad we chose the latter as I am so happy and proud of what we have created. It is quite tough trying to organize band practice, writing sessions, gigs and then studio time, all around work and 5 different peoples lives… (6 including our producer Chris) but we did it and I think its turned out great. We put our all into this album and we are so happy with how it turned out.
Bro: Ok, here come the compliments, the new album is killer. It feels like the perfect progression and has some truly amazing tracks. What was the song writing process like?
Zander: Ahhhh shucks, your too kind! That’s exactly what we wanted people to think and get from this record. The writing process was relatively similar to our first EP except that we were a little more confident in ourselves and sure of what we wanted to create. Some songs were ideas brought in by Mike or Ed that were then fleshed out in writing sessions of jam sessions. Gone Away started as a jam at a band practice that turned into a fully-fledged song in about half an hour… While others were drunken writing sessions with us all sitting round with a bottle of wine (each) thrashing away at acoustic guitars and screaming at each other about how exciting these songs were sounding!! It all gets a little exciting sometimes and we really vibe off each other, I can’t wait to start writing the next record!!
Bro: Is there a story around the album title, “To Those We Have Loved And Lost”?
Zander: Ed has had the idea of calling a record – To Those We Have Loved And Lost – for a long time but with this album it just felt right. I had just come out of a long-term relationship, which heavily influenced the lyrics that I wrote and so when Ed mentioned the name again, I was like “THAT’S IT. THAT’S THE ONE!!” I think it definitely fits with the lyrical themes of the album that include pretty brutally honest confessions about the breakdown of my relationship, friends moving away to the big city, being alone and the frustrations of trying to achieve your dreams but being held back at every opportunity.
Bro: You all show a ton of range and bit of your softer side on this album. For example, the song “We Fall Down,” is driven by amazing harmonies, and even features some great piano playing (it’s a beautiful song). Was there a plan to show more range and diversity on this album?
Zander: With our debut EP we wanted to show people that we were here and we mean business. With this release we wanted to show that we are not a one trick pony, that we have lots of musical influences and that we can actually play a fair few instruments. Ed has a bloody amazing Steinway grand piano. Its an absolute dream to play and so we ended up recording We Fall Down at his house! The piano you heard on the album was recorded live at Ed’s house! Another reason is that with an album, my favourite tracks are generally always the slower ones, the emotional ones. At the same time the heavy, faster tracks are the most fun to play live!! An album should be a journey, with ups and downs, highs and lows and I think we managed that. Mike, Ed and I also decided we wanted to add our own instrumental interludes, so Mike took the Intro, I took the interlude and Ed took the Outro. We all wrote completely different pieces of music but I think that’s one of the strengths of Hanshotfirst. We are all songwriters with different qualities, but put them together and we can create something great!
Bro: What’s the touring plan to support the album? Where are you all heading?
Zander: So we are super excited to be heading out for our first ever tour!! It’s a small 5-day UK tour, but it sparks another step for the band. WORLD WE ARE COMING FOR YOU!! We are heading out with two other bands, Maven and A Year Today who are both great bands so its shaping up to be a great tour.
We are heading to the following places:
23/09 GUILDFORD - THE STAR INN
24/09 BIRMINGHAM - THE FLAPPER
25/09 CARDIFF - MOON CLUB
26/09 BRISTOL - CROFTERS RIGHTS
27/09 LONDON - SURYA
Bro: I love the album; it is one of my favourites of the year. What’s next for Hanshotfirst?
Zander: That’s amazing to hear dude, its really humbling to hear from people who have connected with the album and our music. We are just a bunch of dudes, who always wanted to start a band and play music and to emulate and stand up next to our idols!! Next we want to TAKE OVER THE BLOODY WORLD! Well that’s the long-term plan. Otherwise we are going to keep playing shows and spreading the word about our album, then start writing the next record. We are already talking about writing the perfect song. That’s the plan. The next song we write and release will be huge… bigger and better than anything you have heard before!!