CUT OFF YOUR HANDS
Nick Johnston – vocals
Michael Ramirez – guitar, vocals
Phil Hadfield - bass, vocals
Brent Harris - drums, vocals
Give him a wall, he’ll scale it like Spiderman. Give him an air conditioning funnel in the ceiling, he’ll crawl it like Alien. Give him a balcony, he’ll launch himself from it like a suicidal base-jumper. Give him an audience, he’ll mosh his way through them like a human cattle-bar. Give him a pop song, he’ll croon it. Give him a gig, he’ll tear the living, beating heart out of it and eat it whole.
He is Nick Johnston, the mini-Iggy whirling dervish at the front of New Zealand’s most visceral, vital and vibrant pop-punk band since, well, forever. And he’s a victim of his own showmanship. “Our pop sensibility has come lately,” Nick explains. “We started listening to a whole bunch of different music than that earlier stuff. We’d been listening to Phil Spector and Brian Wilson and Roy Orbison, all sixties and fifties pop. I can relate to that quite a bit. And The Buzzcocks are quite important to us, a lot of energy, what they’re doing is punk rock but it’s so obviously taken from sixties pop tunes. ‘Oh Girl’ is very much a straight up Brian Wilson song. I was more interested in the sonics of the song when I wrote it, a real sixties style pop classic song. Up to that point I hadn’t written anything melodic, it was all fast and angular and energetic, but with that one I wanted it to be almost tongue in cheek so I put those tongue in cheek lyrics to it.”
Lyrics like “Oh darling, can you come over to my house?/We can do things that we’ve never done/We can just talk, it would be such fun!” The polar opposite, in fact, of the relationship angst and insecurity that characterised ‘Still Fond’ and will be slapped frivolously across COYH’s debut album, currently being recorded with Bernard Butler.
“’Still Fond’ is kind of disguised as a nice pop kissing-girls song but it’s really highlighting a dark moment in a relationship where you can both see it’s kind of shit but make a decision to carry on regardless. It’s a very immature relationship I guess. I write about the general thing of being quite fucked up, and the sense of loss and not admitting that. It’s being young and innocent and admitting you don’t really know anything.”
We do know one thing about Cut Off Your Hands though: give them rock’n’roll, they’ll devour it…