Twenty years in, and top of their game, West Yorkshire, Keighley-bred ska punk icons Random Hand are coming in hot with their fifth album! Their bodies may be creaking with grey hairs beginning to show, but the vitality and relevance of their music isn't changing one bit. Refined and confident, the band’s new album, due September 29th via Bomber Music, is set to redefine their place as one of the UK's most significant and dependable punk bands.
20 years ago, as the seemingly unstoppable third wave of ska punk came crashing down on the world of popular music, only to leave a misunderstood scene in its wake, Random Hand worked tirelessly on keeping the spirit of the bands that inspired them alive and kicking. Tearing full throttle through the UK punk scene with their ferocious in your face ska-punk-metal mayhem, stops along the way in the USA, Canada, Russia and all over mainland Europe have displayed a band with a relentless touring schedule. The band have played countless festivals including Reading, Leeds, Slam Dunk, Rebellion, Guilfest, Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, 2000 Trees, Mighty Sounds and toured alongside the likes of Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Propagandhi, Big D & The Kids Table, Voodoo Glow Skulls etc. They played their 1000th show in July 2011 and were nominated for the AIM award for ‘Hardest Working Band’ (they came a close second to Frank Turner). They have recorded 3 sessions for BBC Radio 1.
Having taken a brief pause from touring to pursue solo projects after the release of 2015’s ‘Hit Reset’ album, the band are raring to return to the fray with gigs confirmed for September and October, and the highly anticipated release of their fifth album.
“We pushed ourselves to breaking, then further still,” explains bassist Joe Tilston. “We stopped to recover and then came back with a passion and energy we didn't think possible." Random Hand have now played over 2000 shows and we are currently curating a series of our own HandFests across the UK this year, the first in Leeds in February sold out two days in less than 45 minutes.
“Once we started writing the new album, we hit a groove like in the years the band first started,” continues Joe. “Things felt so natural and exciting again. Working with Andy Hawkins, who helped us craft ‘Hit Reset’ was the obvious choice. We loved making that album, but recording an album you know you’re not going to tour is a very different experience. This was exciting, potential was oozing out of every session, that didn’t feel stunted or a waste. The choice to call it ‘Random Hand’ felt like a bold statement for album five and two decades into a career. But we feel that good about it, it defines all we’ve done, and we believe it stands as tall as anything else we’ve ever created, if not taller. With all the other great things happening in ska punk in the international scene and in the UK, makes it feel like this album couldn’t be timed better.”
The first taste of these new recordings comes with ‘Lifejackets’, an infectiously joyous body shakin’ tune that, like much of Random Hand’s music, masks a serious and weighty message.
“It’s a song about the gap between us and those at the top,” states Joe. “For the video we played out in a retro encounter with a tyrannical salesman, who ruins everyone's day. We descended on one of the empty shops, that litter Keighley’s Highstreet. Closed like a time capsule from the 2008 financial crash, it served as the perfect location for our throwback adventure. It was colder in there than the nice sunny day outside, but we were all dressed like cretins so we stayed in and shivered. But we knew we were onto something special with the talented people we were working with, getting the best out of us.”