We are excited to present our interview with Phenomenal Handclap Band! This NYC-based band has been making waves in the music scene with their unique sound and we were thrilled to have a chance to chat with them. Their latest release, the Burning Bridges EP, is sure to get your feet moving and your heart racing. We talked to them about their inspirations, creative process, and what it’s like being a part of the Razor-N-Tape label. Keep reading for our exclusive interview with Phenomenal Handclap Band!
Who are the members of the Phenomenal Handclap Band?
Juliet Swango sings and plays guitar and bass. Monika Heidemann sings and plays synthesizers and bass. Daniel Collás is the producer and plays drums, keyboard instruments, and percussion
Disco, not disco, pop, psychedelic, all words used to describe you. Is that a fair assessment?
Yeah, sounds fair. Of course ‘pop’ is a pretty broad and subjective term, and so is psychedelic, I suppose, but those are definitely both elements we try to make use of.
Are your influences broad, and what are they?
Not particularly broad. We like a lot of obscure Italo, freestyle, international psych, soft rock, and soul music.
What is the process of songwriting? Is it a lyric or a melody, can it be either?
For us, it just starts with an idea, usually lyrical or melodic. A lot of times Daniel will put the basic track together and play it for us. Then Monika will put a vocal melody on top of it, and Juliet will start writing the lyrics. Then we all sort of fine tune it together.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played at and why was it so great?
Hard to really pinpoint one, but Strasbourg comes to mind. We were there for their Contre Temps festival, and it coincided with a break in our schedule, so we had a couple of days off there. The city is on the river and there were all these stationary boats that were turned into bars and clubs. There was also a small island in the middle of the city that was pretty amazing. The scene was a pretty vibrant there, and since we had time off, we got to hang out and get to know some locals. By the time our gig rolled around, it felt like the whole town was there in support.
What’s the smallest gig venue you’ve played and why was it special?
Our gig at the dearly departed Magick City a while ago comes to mind. That was a great show, almost like playing a family reunion or something. It was a small room with oddly high ceilings, the original floor from Roseland Ballroom, and this amazing sound system powered by McIntosh amps. It was our first show in a while, and our first-time playing songs off our most recent album, and it all went over really well.
Big gig or small gig preference?
They’re both good for different reasons. Smaller gigs have that intimacy and connection with the audience. Bigger gigs like festivals have insane energy, but the audience is kind of an amorphous blob in the distance, so the connection can be harder to make.
Is there a ritual that you follow before going on stage?
Yes, but we feel like if we talk about it, it will lose its power. I’ve probably already said too much.
There’s something truly magical about being in a band. In particular, the energy you get from the audience. Does the performance go up a gear when you get that feeling?
I’d like to say yes, but it’s honestly hard to tell. Sometimes you feel like you’re really killing it, and then you’ll hear from somebody afterward that it wasn’t your best show. Other times you look at each other on stage and shrug and go, “I guess there’s always next time” and then people will come up to you after, raving about what a great show it was.
Do you think that you share a kind of telepathy while you’re on stage performing?
What other great bands do you admire, past or present?
Uh oh, that’s a long list. Here are just a few:
Patrick Cowley, Erasmo Carlos, Fox, Lucio Battisti, Rinder & Lewis, Tantra, Dina Ögon, Todd Terje, Tom Tom Club, Dungen, Nu Genea, Say She She, Sault, Altin Gün, Lynsey de Paul, 5th Dimension, Martin Dupont, Fanny, Barnaby Bye, Eddy Grant, Thin Lizzy, Tim Maia.
If you could choose someone in your wildest dreams, to join your band for a guest performance, who would it be?
Is this a living or dead type scenario? Because if it is, probably Charles Stepney or David Bowie. If it’s someone who is still alive, then Brian Auger or Sylvester Stewart. No wait, Eddy Grant. This question is impossible to answer!
Of your many releases over the years, how does the live aspect stand up against that of recording? Will live performances always be where your heart is at?
Actually no, I think we prefer to be in the studio more and more. It’s fun to adapt a live version of our studio recordings, but the art of making records is where our heart is.
What do you wish you knew before you started working in music you guys?
Good question. But I think anyone who is serious will tell you that music chooses you, not the other way around. So any fore knowledge wouldn’t really be of much use.
What are your next ambitions for The Phenomenal Handclap Band?
Aside from the new EP with Razor N Tape we have a few new tracks we’re working on that we’re excited about. We’re DJing a bit more now, and there are a few live gigs on the horizon.
Phenomenal Handclap Band – Burning Bridges.
NYC’s dynamic and captivating Phenomenal Handclap Band have been making waves with their characteristic leftfield disco vibes since they first debuted on Razor-N-Tape in 2022 – and now they’re back with a brand new EP titled ‘Burning Bridges’. Featuring the upbeat, funk-driven single of the same name, this release is an absolute must-listen for any Heart fan! Not to be outdone, Prins Thomas has also contributed an incredible remix to take things up a notch and send you off into interstellar bliss. So if you’re looking for a vibrant and colourful experience, don’t hesitate to jump on board with the Phenomenal Handclap Band. You won’t regret it!
Some final words.
It’s been a pleasure to chat with The Phenomenal Handclap Band and get an insight into their creative process. We’re looking forward to hearing the new EP ‘Burning Bridges’,it promises to be as captivating and vibrant as ever! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us, we wish The Phenomenal Handclap Band all the best in future endeavors!
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