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An Interview With Joker's Hand

A new EP release from Joker's Hand delivers a massive rock tonality that blends alternative rock with pop rock, elements of punk, and more with the delivery that packs tons of energy and character into one record so much that you get attached to that character almost straight away.

There's a lot about the Pride Before Panic album that gives off the sense of a live performance because the energy that's captured on the record feels like the players are just feeding off of each other's energy the entire time and that in itself gives an impactful soundscape.

A lot of these songs come through feeling alive and breathing because they have these builds and explosions into gigantic and sonically driven sections but a lot of it feels emotionally driven as well which is a great combination because you know these songs came from someplace authentic to begin with and not only are the refs intense but the vocals are as well but everything is dynamically balanced so during more intense parts you have this gigantic and full-bodied soundscape that packs a heavy punch but during softer sections that are more subtle it's more of the calm before the storm so the build-up to those massive sections really create such a perfect forward moving flow.

If you listen to the lyrics, a lot of songs are really honest and straightforward and these guys thrash out when they want to and during those sections, the vocals raise into that same level of intensity as the guitars and drums do.

Sometimes these guys give me a little hint of nostalgia as they bring to mind older bands like Faith No More for example where the vocals are so animated and the music is so edgy but colorful at the same time with a great inventiveness that breaks boundaries down a little bit.

I think this is important because these guys are actually releasing music that does indeed have fewer boundaries than their predecessors at times.

The album comes in with a cinematic sort of track that introduces the record and as you go through the EP you start to get the sense that this is a concept record of sorts and the songs have a sense of being interconnected.

I would say that certain tracks stick out more to me as singles but each of these tracks would do extremely well as a single on its own aside from the intro of the record so I would have to say that this EP should 100% be listened to you from beginning to end in full because that's the way it was meant to be soaked in.

With the release of such a well-woven and high-impact alternative rock album, we wanted to have a sit-down with Joker's Hand to find out where this all came from and what might be coming up next for the band.

Here's what went down. And by the way, when you're done with the interview and you listen to this killer record, remember where you heard it first.

Buzz Slayers: Okay, let's start with the Pride Before Panic EP! This had tons of character to it, and it came through with an alternative rock tonality! How did this release come about?

Thank you so much for checking it out! We really wanted this EP to have a raw energy to it. Our previous release from 2023, “Seeing Red,” was more on the experimental side, featuring some more synthetic sounding beats to mix in with a punk rock sound. With this EP…the artwork (made by Janna Molano, who knocked it out of the park like always) really tells all: the songs are hard, fast, and unforgiving.  

Buzz Slayers: How did this all start for you as a band?

Joker’s Hand started in 2017 with two pretty boring guys who were both in their fourth year of college. Neither of us really loved what we were studying and had no clue what we wanted to do once college was over. Having been roommates since 2014, we bonded over our love of music, skateboarding and games. One day, we started talking about the idea of forming a band and following our passion for music. We had no idea where to start, how to record, how to play shows, and we didn’t know anyone in the industry either. But we also knew we didn’t want to grow old and wonder, “what if?”

Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire songs for you? 

Outside of conflicts in our personal lives, one of our biggest inspirations is simply human nature: how different people choose to deal with their problems and the cause and effect each decision has on those around them. How systems in place such as those in the pharmaceutical industry can take advantage of poor, unsuspecting people and understanding but completely rejecting the cold, uncaring attitude the higher ups have toward those they believe to be subservient. I always found it so fascinating how everyone has a different view of the world. I love exploring those views in my writing.

Buzz Slayers: This release has some great approaches to it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?

Thank you so much! Some of our biggest influences for these songs were bands like Audioslave/Rage Against The Machine, Foo Fighters, Green Day  and metal bands like Metallica and System of a Down.

Buzz Slayers: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music? 

Both of us really love gaming, watching movies and hanging out with friends. It’s funny though…even with something as seemingly mundane as gaming or watching a movie, there are themes in the stories told that can inspire and strengthen songwriting. In fact, I’d say a lot of our lyrical ideas manifest when we’re trying not to think about music specifically. 

Buzz Slayers: Who's in all your headphones right now?

Currently, it’s a weird mixed bag. The albums I found myself listening to multiple times this week were G Flip’s “Drummer”, Bill Withers’ “Still Bill”, Green Day’s “Saviors”, Nothing But Thieves’ “Dead Club City”, and Tom Petty’s “Full Moon Fever.” We’re both gamers…and that GTA 6 trailer that dropped last year really reminded us just how damn good Tom Petty is.

Buzz Slayers: Are you guys doing any live performances right now?

We’ll be hitting the stage on March 3rd at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach for an EP release show to celebrate “Pride Before The Panic.” We’re planning for this to be one of our most explosive shows to date. After that, we have a show coming up on April 27th at the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet opening for Smash Mouth, Everclear, and Plastic Culture. We cannot understate how damn excited we are about that!

Buzz Slayers: Do you record these at a big studio or do you have a home studio set-up?

We recorded most of our EP at Total Access Recording Studios in Redondo Beach. We set up some of the meanest sounding amps we could find and, with the help of our producer Steve Ornest, went in with the goal to make something loud, fun, and—on occasion— poignant.

Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

On the creative side of things, we wrapped recording for this EP back in October 2023. Since then, we’ve been working on demoing up an album to follow “Pride Before The Panic”. Some of the songs we wrote for this upcoming album have become favorites of ours and we can’t wait for you to hear them!

Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for listening and always remember this: things can take time. Two songs on this EP, Highly Functioning Mind and Peace Of Mind, were initially pitched to go along with some of our previous releases. But a combination of our shoestring budget and the other songs they were pitted against wound up getting them shot down. This allowed us to really sit with these songs for the next few years. As we grew and learned more, we tried reapproaching these songs with new lyric ideas and wound up loving the new versions so much more that we decided our next release had to be centered around that sound.

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