Interview: Crooked Hands

Tomorrow, Newcastle’s Crooked Hands are in town for their very first visit to Munich to play the lovely Milla Club.

Singer Christopher Brown has the most beautiful shivers-down-your-spine voice:

I caught up with Chris as the band set out on their first European tour:

Chris, you originally started out as a solo performer – what made you decide to play with a band?
When I started out, I was pretty unconfident so I spent a lot of time writing stuff in my room when everyone was out and not letting anyone hear it. When I finally got to the point where I was ready to go and play shows I realised the music wouldn’t really work that well on just an acoustic guitar so I got my friends to join me, and we’d play sets where I’d do half on my own and half with them. We didn’t really play all that much up until the point where Tom joined last year on guitar, and from that point I think I realised that if I kept on trying to be as ‘solo’ as possible then I’d be limiting the scope of our music by not using all the talent we have in the band. I’m not good enough to do all this myself, and it seemed stupid to me when the other guys are all so good at what they do. We’re a lot better for it, too.

It’s your first time in Germany – what are you most looking forward to?
I think most of all I’m looking forward to the audiences – I’ve heard that German gig-goers really love their music and that often people will go to see bands regardless of whether they know who they are or not, which to me is pretty amazing because people in the UK don’t really do that.

You have an EP coming out in 2014 – can you tell us a little more about it?
It’s called ‘Penitentiary’. We had originally demoed for it a month or two ago with a view to starting recording before we went away but we decided we could do more with the tracks we’d chosen, so we wanted to wait and develop them a bit. We’re really proud of what we’ve put together for it though, we think people are going to like it. We’re looking to head into the studio to start recording in October, so keep your eyes peeled.

Who do you draw your inspiration from?
Personally, I have a wide range of inspirations – I grew up listening to my dad’s old Black Sabbath records, and I love loads of old 80s metal and a lot of current hardcore stuff like Every Time I Die and Dillinger Escape Plan. I love Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver – they’re probably the bands I draw on most for Crooked Hands. Across all our members, we have a pretty varied taste – a lot of hip hop, a lot of indie stuff and classical.

Your vocal tone is quite something, did you train to be a singer?
No I didn’t really – i wasn’t really interested in becoming a singer-songwriter until I got into City and Colour, when I was 16. I had sung (mainly screamed) before in bands when I was a teenager but I stopped doing music for a few years up until I started Crooked Hands, and that was when I started singing properly. I tried different things to find ‘my’ voice and it just stuck.

Does the band name have anything to do with Tennyson’s poem, The Eagle?
I did take the name from the poem, but mainly just because of I liked how it sounded, more than anything. There wasn’t any great contemplation behind it – I just knew I couldn’t be ‘Chris Brown’!

What are your plans for the rest of the year, and 2014?
We’ll see out this tour and then start recording our EP, and then hopefully next year we’ll be back over in Europe for more dates and bigger venues!

Check them out tomorrow night – doors are at 8:30pm, the gig starts at nine – and best of all, it’s completely free!

Categories Interviews Music


I'm Rachel, the author behind Arts in Munich. I moved to Munich in the summer of 2008, and work as an editor in the city. I also do freelance work for the BBC, MONOCLE, Singapore Airlines and Kaltblut, among others, and previously wrote for the Huffington Post and Electronic Beats.

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