Fans of Tribulation, Paradise Lost and In Solitude (R.I.P.), take note:
When Portland, OR, trad-metal warriors Spellcaster went tits up last year, bassist and primary songwriter Gabriel Franco formed his own band. Taking Spellcaster drummer Colin Vranizan and lead guitarist Sebastian Silva with him, Franco assumed vocal and rhythm guitar duties and enlisted bassist David Kimbro in Idle Hands. Combining the killer guitar melodies of Spellcaster with a distinct gothic rock influence and stentorian vocal style, the band recently unveiled their debut EP, Don’t Waste Your Time. They’ll make their live debut on September 15 in Portland with local black metal squad UADA before descending on Germany for next year’s Keep It True festival and a full Euro tour. Check out EP closer “I Feel Nothing” and read a quick interview with Franco below…
Idle Hands is obviously a lot different than your previous band, Spellcaster. What led you in this direction?
Franco: I knew I wanted to start my own project doing guitar and vocals, so I sat down one day and told myself I’m not getting up until I write a song. That one ended up being [EP opener] “Blade And The Will.” I didn’t want to set any guidelines for myself in terms of songwriting, to keep the process pure. It would be a shame to have to fit future tracks into a box because I closed my mind.
What happened with Spellcaster, anyway?
We were a band for seven years and the progress was excruciatingly slow. It’s a real morale-killer when you spend year after year broke as a joke with nothing to show for it. Of course, this was mostly the band’s fault—we didn’t know what we were doing for the first five years. By the time things started speeding up, people had changed, you grow up, priorities shift and people leave. At the last practice we had, our singer almost fought our drummer and stormed out. We called it quits then, and I’m glad we did. That band was a lost cause. That being said, I don’t think anyone has any regrets. We definitely learned a lot, and we had some good times. Life goes on.
Do you feel any affinity with other bands that combine metal and gothic rock influences, like Tribulation, In Solitude or Paradise Lost?
To have you even asking me that question is cool. Love Tribulation, love In Solitude, and I’m just getting into Paradise Lost, but I dig what I’ve heard so far and we are opening for them this October. I don’t want to pigeonhole Idle Hands into any subset of bands—that’s not my job—but I wouldn’t mind hanging out in their hole for a while.
You use strictly clean vocals in Idle Hands. Why is that important to you?
Good question. It’s actually not super important. I’m totally open to using harsh vocals in a song as long as it doesn’t sound dumb. I played black metal in high school, so maybe at some point down the road I can incorporate something like that. I don’t know. But what I love about clean vocals is the layering. I’m huge on harmonies and counterpoints and all that stuff. Plus playing in Spellcaster for all those years, and most of my influences are clean so it seemed the natural path.
What’s the story behind the title of the EP, Don’t Waste Your Time?
I’d be lying if I said my time in Spellcaster didn’t have an influence on the EP title. It means something to me, but it’s open to interpretation. Don’t waste your time in life; don’t waste your time on religion, don’t waste your time listening to this record, etc.
Tell us about the song we’re streaming, “I Feel Nothing.”
I wrote the music first, and the music inspired the lyrics—which are about how sometimes I feel like life is just passing me by, like I’m a spectator instead of an active participant, and I can’t find the energy to care about other people’s problems, and then the guilt associated with not caring. It’s like a double negative.