A local hard rock band is looking to put Southern Maryland on the map with a new album being released in January followed by a national tour.
The band Savage Hands — comprised of lead singer Mike Garrow of Dentsville, guitarist Justin Hein of White Plains, drummer Alex Gacek of Waldorf and guitarist Jayvon Green and bass player/backup vocalist Nathan O’Brien, both of Virginia — is releasing its new album, “The Truth in Your Eyes,” through Sharp Tone Records on Jan. 31. They have two videos, “Demon” and “Memory,” on their website.
Savage Hands is holding a record release party Jan. 31 at Mully’s Brewery in Prince Frederick, where members of the band will talk about the songs and play a few acoustic renditions.
“Also, Mully’s is going to create a collaboration beer between Savage Hands and Mully’s; I’m not going to give away the name yet because I think it’s a cool name and I want people to be surprised,” Garrow said.
They begin their full U.S. tour starting Feb. 13 in Orlando, Fla., and ending March 17 in Phoenix.
The band released a seven-song EP in 2018.
According to the Sharp Tone Records website, Savage Hands “take a sharp, fun post-hardcore edge and lacquer it with a thin layer of dissonance and punch to give it just what the band needs to cut right into the listener’s head and stay lodged there for weeks.”
“Filled with catchy hooks that weave in and out of blood-pumping adrenaline-spiking verses and visceral, gut-busting breakdowns, Savage Hands’ debut effort is one that makes the ground shake and inspires an emotional, energetic uproar within the listener,” the website added.
Garrow said the band’s music crosses genres to produce something new ranging from high energy rock to slow ballads.
“I’m really into trying to start new trends, or be different and stand out, because I feel like in every genre these days there’s a lot of stuff that all kind of sounds the same. We describe ourselves as ‘aggressive alternative,’” Garrow said.
Hein said the songs are written by everyone in the band.
“We all write them together. I write a lot of the guitar stuff, Jayvon and Nathan too, Alex writes a lot of drum parts. The majority of the lyrics are Mike’s but we’ll all chime in with ideas here and there for lyrics and melodies,” Hein said.
Garrow said that typically he brings in material for the lyrics, and particularly if there is part the producer has already said he likes, they will start with that.
“We’ll build off of that and then everyone in the room will share their thoughts or vibes or anything like that. Typically it can take up to anywhere from one hour to three hours until everyone starts getting the feeling of that particular song, but once it starts it typically does not stop,” Garrow said.
Garrow said he works to include the others in the writing process.
“I think in the past it’s been more of a ‘me’ thing, whereas our band is an entire unit; it’s not all about one person so I wanted everyone to feel like they have a hand in the writing process as far as understanding where the lyrics come from and if they can relate, because that comes across in the live show,” Garrow said.
Sometimes sessions can last late into the night, Garrow said.
“If we were in a moment where ideas were getting thrown out and a lot of creative energy was flowing, we wouldn’t stop and sometimes I’d look at the clock and it’d be 2 a.m. and I’d think, ‘Damn, I’ve got to get up in an hour to leave for work’ but as an artist, you strive to be creative, and in that moment, you lose track of time, you get in the zone and we had a lot of that for this record,” Garrow said.
Garrow and Hein, who are cousins, were in a previous band together when they decided they wanted music to be more than just a hobby on the side.
Garrow said he knew Green and O’Brien from having seen them perform in previous bands and wanted them in the new band.
He said he knew Gacek from his work in another band and so they recruited him after their previous drummer left.
“I remembered from back in the day how great he was, and he was still an active drummer, so I gave him a call and said, ‘You want to step up?’ and he said, ‘Oh, yeah, let’s do it.’ He was pretty much the final piece to our puzzle,” Garrow recalled.
The name Savage Hands came to the group during a brainstorming session. Their producer brought in a blank flyer and a bunch of markers and had them write down words that came to mind.
“After three or four hours and a couple of beers, we ended up having a full paper of scribbles, with just words written over words, and circles around words we liked. Somehow, someway, someone found the word ‘savage’ that we’d circled. We all decided we liked the word. Somebody else saw the word ‘land’ on the page, and so they said, ‘Savage Land,’ but nobody really liked it, so we started rhyming words with land. On the fourth word, we got ‘hand’ and then we decided to make it plural,” Garrow said.
Garrow said that life on the road is difficult, but the band members have all found ways to balance it with the rest of their lives and obligations.
Garrow said of life on the road, “I get to pretty much do therapy every single night when we tour and when we do shows, and it’s a feeling I really can’t describe. It’s like a drug almost.”
“It’s like nothing else you’ve ever felt before, when you get onstage and you’re rocking out and everybody’s cheering and singing lyrics back to you, it almost chokes you up a little bit. It’s great,” Hein added.
“Sometimes for me it’s a little nerve-racking” Gacek said, “because I’ve got a lot going on, I’ve got the loudest instrument on stage, you hear every mistake I make. I’ve got the tempo in my ears, I’ve got to keep track of that, I’ve got to keep it high energy, so the crowd responds to that. Once I get into it though, it’s just second nature.”
Savage Hands’ music can be found on iTunes, Spotify, AmazonMusic and Google Play.
Their website is www.savagehands.net. They can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.