Destiny can be a rapidly shifting target. If anyone knows this, it’s Chris Hughes, singer of up-and-coming SoCal electro-metal outfit The Black Hand, whose current creative endeavors represent a new life for the frontman, after a devastating injury.
Hughes was in the midst of an eight-year career as a professional BMX rider with Dave Mirra’s namesake Mirraco team when a poorly constructed mega-ramp nearly took his life during a competition in France. Hughes was hospitalized with damage to his lung and pancreas, and the time spent recovering afforded him the opportunity to reconsider his future path in life. That was the end of his pro BMX career, and the beginning of Hughes’ journey as a musician.
Synonymous with the band’s pummeling sound, the lyrical imagery on The Black Hand’s self-titled debut rumbles with brooding anger and inner torment. Hughes explains the songs on the album contain a mix of autobiographical and fictional topics, with a central fixation on the darker aspects of life.
Ignite Music Magazine had the pleasure of talking to Chris Hughes in The Black Hand and we asked about the band and about the connection to “The Walking Dead”
Ignite- Tell us a little bit about the band and how it was formed?
Chris Hughes – We started out in January 2013 at that point it was myself, May Garavito (guitar) and Rob Mcdonald (drums).
At that time it was a lot of jamming and messing around, it got more organized and became a project once Jeremy Grasso (Keys) hopped on board.
We practiced so much in the garage that we ended up getting booted from the house haha it was such a nice house and we destroyed it. I’m pretty sure we could pay the water bill on the amount of bottle returns we were getting each month. There were many good times and spiritual journeys in that house that helped make the band a reality. We were all real young and in need of a new purpose. We found that purpose in the birth of the band.
Ignite- The name of the band is quite interesting, How did it come about?
Chris Hughes- We had a meeting with our management and Earshot Media and we all decided at that moment that we needed a solid name we brain stormed for a min and Jeremy Said What about “The Black Hand” everyone liked it so we moved forward with a new name. The Black Hand has a few different definitions but all similar in a sense. The Black Hand was a type of Italian and Italian-American extortion racket. It was a method of extortion, not a criminal organization as such, though gangsters of Camorra and the Mafia practiced it.
ignite- How long has the band been together?
Chris Hughes- We’ve been together for 5 years.
ignite- How do you describe your Music, and who as influenced you during your music career?
Chris Hughes- I describe It as heavy, dark electronic influenced, Rap Influenced, metalcore influenced, and some deathcore influence. We all have different influences and mash them together to create our own original sound. Example for me would be Old Suicide Silence, Linkin Park, Bring Me The Horizon, Eminem, and Slipknot.
Ignite- You recently released a video “Where Are You Now” with, The Walking Dead’s Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) in it, how did that partnership come about?..and tell us a little about the video?
I’ve known Mike since I was 12 years old, he and my dad both worked on the HBO mini series Band Of Brothers. My dad always wanted to make a music video so we put our heads together and got the ball rolling Mike Hopped on board and we made it happen. The Video is open for interpretation, it gives the viewer the opportunity to decide what it means to them. Its about the five stages of grief with a story attached.
Ignite- You have done a few interview here and there, what is one question that you think is a good question to ask?..and then answer that question.
Why did you write The American Pastime?
Chris Hughes- I wrote the american pastime because school shootings are very prevalent in this day and age. People don’t talk about why it happens, I believe the way to prevent such atrocities is to treat each other better. I wrote the song from the perspective of the shooter, a victim who snaps and becomes the victimizer. In hopes that people who hear it will think twice before hurting others. All actions have a reaction and hate will always breed hate.
Ignite- Where would you like to see the band in 5 years?
Chris Hughes- I would like to see us playing big festivals, and surpass the limitations of our genre.
Ignite- Name one song that you have written that sticks out the most in your mind and why?
Chris Hughes- I enjoy “Bliss” because its heavy as fuck and its super challenging to play.
ignite- What song is your favorite to play/sing live and why?
Chris Hughes- My favorite song to play at this time is “The American Pastime” it puts me in such a crazy state of mind when we play it I seriously feel demented. Its a song that I can vent a ton of my life struggles through.
Ignite- What is your most memorable show you have had and why is it so memorable?
Chris Hughes- Oddly enough it was a house show we played in the early days, a neighbor got super pissed off because of the noise, and decided to throw a brick through the sliding glass door which made no sense cause I’m sure it got much louder after that haha. it was so hot inside the house with all the people and performing I ended up singing the last note of the last song then projectile vomiting farther then I ever thought possible. It resembled that one scene from “The Exorcist” haha