Dylan Rau stepped into the rainy night. He and his band, Bear Hands, just finished their set in front of a sold-out crowd at The Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls, N.Y. on March 28.
“I have more fun playing small clubs, honestly,” he said. “I think being able to see people’s faces and gauging an audience’s reaction is more fun when the space is smaller. But this is obviously a great opportunity for us. It’s a different kind of show.”
The show started their month-long tour opening for Passion Pit. They will play with As Tall As Lions through May. The band’s busy tour schedule supports their newest single, “What a Drag.”
“We released it in the U.K. maybe like six months ago, but it just came out in America on Cantora Records in February,” Rau said. “’What a Drag’ is definitely a little more progressive … and more indicative of what we’ve been making recently.”
The single marks Bear Hands’ first release since their debut EP, Golden. The songs on their first release weren’t originally intended to be released as an EP.
“We recorded them as demos to try to get a deal or something but we ended up putting it out with our manager’s little label (Freedom In Exile),” he said.
Their set included both songs from What a Drag, but they left room for newer ones – like “Blood and Treasure” and “Belongings” – from their forthcoming debut LP.
“It should be out by the end of summer,” Rau said. “We finished tracking it with this guy called Chuck Brody in New York and we’re going to remix a couple of songs. We’re in the process of doing that right now.”
Even before their debut album drops, college radio stations like WSBU have started playing Bear Hands.
“I’ve been getting a lot of text messages from people telling me they’ve heard us on college radio or sometimes satellite radio,” he said. “It’s great to hear positive feedback.”
Rau hasn’t felt anxiety from the early hype.
“It’s not any more than the general pressure that every human being feels to succeed,” he said. “I happen to be playing in a band. I’m sure if I was trying to get into med school, I would be feeling an equal amount of pressure.”
Bear Hands Background:
How did the band start?
Dylan Rau: “I met Ted (Feldman), our guitar player, at school. We went to Weslyan University together in Connecticut. I grew up in Connecticut. Then I kind of re-met Val (Loper, bass) and TJ (Orscher, drums) in Brooklyn when we were living there together. They also grew up in Connecticut, but they were living there when we met them. And we started practicing together and we started playing around Europe while I was still in school.”
What are you listening to?
DR: “I always find out about new bands. Lately I’ve been listening to Washed Out. Also, Prince Paul … LCD Soundsystem, Bob Dylan, Lil Wayne – people I’ve listened to for a long time.”