Portland’s Idle Hands seem to be one of those bands who have landed in the right place at the right time, a place where lots of us are ready once again for a resurgence of dark 80s goth metal ( but thankfully without all the patchouli oil, hairspray and crimpers ). Why, even I was tapping my foot when I caught them at Keep It True 2019 – there is something catchy about this stripped back and slightly-more-edgy band. Güray of Johnny Dordevic Fanzine and Knight in Satan’s Service tracked down Gabriel Franco and turned around this interview within a couple of hours. It’s an honour to see such professionalism at Old Man’s Mettle!
Interview by güray topaç
You must be frustrated with this pandemic situation, because of that your Decibel tour was cancelled. Any chances for it to be rescheduled for next year or it is early to talk about that?
It’s OK, life happens. Much more writing going on now. I think there have been talks on the decibel tour. so good chance yes.
Well honestly did you expect such a big success with Mana?
Not in the slightest, I really did not. We were very surpised when we did our first headlining tour in Europe and every show was packed. Crazy
Are you the leader of the band? Is this the best way for Idle Hands? To not make the same mistakes from your previous bands?
Yes I write and plan everything band related, its just much easier to have someone in charge, things move a lot faster. But it is also a big responsibility, I need to make sure everyone in the band is happy with their position and direction, and I do my best, because I want to have the same line-up and band for years to come.
Even that you are vocalist, you recorded bass and guitars on Mana, right? Will you do this in the future too? And will you allow other members into songwriting?
Yes I recorded bass, and Sebastian and I recorded the guitar parts together, even though I write all the rhythm and some of the leads, it’s much easier and fun to have someone to pass the guitar over to when you can’t nail a part, Sebastian and I work together very well.
As for the future?
If someone writes something good, I will use it. For album 2 I have written everything. Each member will track their own parts, but I will be present to help with guitar, some solos and produce the record.
How was your tour with King Diamond and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats? Did you “pay to play” or eventually got paid? Did you hang out a lot with the King, or was everything totally professionally executed? No sex and drugs, no crazy stories?
We don’t do pay to play, we got to hang out with King but only on a formal basis, he is a very nice person and was very kind to us all during that tour. We all had a blast, very professional, some partying with Uncle Acid and a beer or two with the King Diamond guys. We are the new blood, so we had to behave.
You must be used to long tours since your European tours were also kind of long right?
Yes the King Diamond tour was 44 days 23 shows. Just prior to that we did 50 days in europe and 34 shows. Our longest tour ever. 7 guys in a van for 50 days, and we didn’t kill each other. It was truly insane and I don’t know if anything like that will ever happen again. Either way I will remember those times very fondly
Peter Beste is a high profile photographer, so how it was happen to have him to work even before release of your debut ep?
He is, and rightfully so. He also lives here in Portland, so I very nicely asked if he would do some photos for us and he said yes, since then we have done 3 shoots. He even flew out to shoot a couple of the King Diamond shows on the east coast.
Well the term gothic metal is already overused and probably you are going to puke with all this name dropping, but have you ever heard Nightingale, the band featuring Dan Swano? Idle Hands reminds me a lot of Nightingale.
I hadn’t, but I just checked them out now, and yeah the guitars are pretty similar to our stuff, I will listen to some more!
Do you prefer formula kind of songs, verse chorus verse chorus guitar solo verse…is there any place for experimentation with Idle Hands?
Yes, I don’t like wandering, I’ve done enough of that in my musical past, I’m more interested in creating cohesive stories with multiple themes present throughout and compacted into the shortest amount of time possible. I’d prefer the listener wishes the song wasn’t over when it ends. I love tons of songs that are 6-10min long, but I just cant seem to bring myself to riffing that long. Something always comes up that I go “Oh! That would be a sweet chorus” and my 10 minute song would turn into three 3 min songs. Maybe in the future.
BTW your guitar player Sebastian Silva has some problems with Visa last year. Isn’t he an American citizen?
No he is not, we have to renew his artist visa every year now until he gains citizenship
Will you hate me if I said that your debut video I Feel Nothing is a bit cheesy, I mean playing in desert like place, fire, smoke etc… Anyway were those two video clip you made for the EP help you to spread your music?
No, I don’t care if you think its cheesy, that’s up to you of course. If you ended up liking the music anyways, does it matter? Yes music videos are for artistic promo.
And you probably already have a plans for the next release? Are you always work with long term plans? Any interest from big labels?
15+ songs in the works right now. Yes always long term plans, yes interest from big labels.
Thanks a lot!
Thank you for the consideration.