Recently I had the chance to sit down for a phone interview with Sean Huber of Steady Hands (and ex-Modern Baseball) and discuss what went into making his new album, Truth in Comedy. The album is available via Lame-O Records everywhere.
Thank you Sean for allowing me to interview you today. Tell me a little bit this current project of yours called Steady Hands. How would you describe this band’s sound?
Yeah, man. Steady Hands is band that I started about 5 years ago. It started with just me then I slowly started to add people. And yeah, we just kind of keep it simple and make pretty approachable music that edges on the side of punk or Americana.
Are there any other artists that sound similar to this project?
Yeah, I would say that this project is influenced by what I grew up on, like Springsteen, Bob Dylan-type stuff. Then, like sound punk and hardcore. I think it’s really just the combination of those two things. It has that old school type of rock and roll feel, but also has the punk elements.
How does the songwriting process of Steady Hands compare to your work with Modern Baseball (that I was a big fan of, by the way)?
Thanks! I guess with this project all the songs kind of just start with me and in terms of lyrics and melody and song structure. Then I send it to the guys and we kind of hash it out in a room. I always keep it really open and I’ve made it a habit of surrounding myself with musicians who are a hell of a lot better than me.
I let them do what they want, and I kind of map it out in my head. After writing through the years, they have a feeling of what I’m usually thinking.
Do you mostly compose on the guitar or is it ever piano?
Mostly on guitar. I’m a shit piano player <Laughs> However, my piano player, Andrew I’ve seen him play at Carnegie Hall, so he can definitely hold that down.
What are your current touring plans surrounding the release of Truth in Comedy?
We’re going to do a release show, next week in NY City with our friends in Pass Away and Soft Center. We’ll also have some other shows towards the end of the year that we’ll be announcing, but yeah man, I’ve kind of spent the last five years pretty much hitting the road really, really hard and things are kind of different now in my life and I’m enjoying being at home. This is a project that was a treat to get back on the road with the guys and we’re just going to kind of be a Philly band, since I really never had the opportunity to really just do that and play shows around here. We’ll certainly take opportunities as they come, but we’re not planning on hitting the road too hard this time. We’ll kind of just take it as it comes.
What does the LP title (Truth in Comedy) come from?
The title comes from a handbook on Improv Comedy by Del Close and Charna Halpern that I studied. Yeah, it’s kind of based on the techniques and tools of Improv Comedy and team building. I just kind of became obsessed with the process and that art form has a really good structure of how you should live your life and you’re taking something that you’re adding to and constantly helping move forward. Really that’s what this album is all about: moving forward in your life.
What are some other artists that you admire in the music scene today? Which particular characteristics do you get drawn into for these artists, specifically?
It varies for me, but I really today I listen to a lot of The Hold Steady and Smokin’ Popes are a favorite of mine. I also still listen to my go-to’s such as I Am The Avalanche and bands like that. Also, my friends in Pup are putting out some of the best music out there today. I think there is something that I just love about guitar rock bands and you can totally just hear the passion come through.
Tell me a little bit about your promotion strategy for this record. Any unique merchandise designs in the works?
Um, yeah we’ve had this T-shirt of my dog that we’ve had for a bit that promotes adopting animals. I’m pretty proud of it. We’ve always donated a portion of proceeds to those causes for animals and foundations. We also made some pretty sick coasters that we will be dropping all over the city (Philly). I spend a lot of time in bars anyway, so I figured we could cross-promote that way. We’ll just be giving them out.
Last question, Sean. What lessons have you learned from being in bands over the years have most influenced who you are as both an artist and a person today?
Interesting…I can’t even say the lessons. It’s more-so the people that I’ve met over the years being a touring musician, where you spend with these people that you go on tour with, and then it’s just a really unique experience with spending that much time with these people in the world. I definitely would not be the person I am today without forging some of these key relationships with these people. I can’t even imagine where I would find myself if I didn’t have these experiences.
Alright, cool! Well if you guys ever make it through DC again, I’ll be sure to come check out this project!
Hell yeah! Take care, Adam.