New Zealand doesn’t have much of a reputation for churning out indie bands, but Cut Off Your Hands are about to change that as they begin to take over the Western Hemisphere with their brand of hyper, heart-pounding, love-struck punk. 2007 was a good year for the boys, being Levity Records’ first signing and having taken NYC by storm during NYC’s CMJ Festival. Recording their second EP Blue on Blue with none other than Bernard Butler was another addition to their already impressive resume. It seems that the UK and NYC can’t get enough of these über cool Kiwis. When we got the chance to get singer Nick Johnston to sit down for a minute to answer a few questions, we finally found out more of the scoop behind this boisterously fun indie quartet.

In New Zealand, is it a really big deal for a band to break and then crossover to the UK and the US as you’ve been doing? Is it seen as a tangible feat for indie bands?
Yeah I guess so, whenever a New Zealand band has done something even as small as being mentioned in the NME its somewhat of a big deal back home. It’s not really seen as a tangible feat because most bands never make it out of NZ, but there have been a few NZ bands recently that have been doing well, like the Brunettes, etc.

How did it feel when the ”New York Times” tipped you as one of the most buzzed bands? Did that make you feel more welcomed in New York City when you played CMJ?
It felt good, i never actually saw the article myself, but I had people saying they saw it and that’s why they came to see us play.

Was it quite an action-packed New York City experience, playing four shows in a day, one being in a crowded Lower East Side shoebox?!
Yeah it was a pretty busy trip, we only got to see one band that was also playing CMJ that we wanted to see, Deerhunter, and they were amazing!! Apart from that we saw a few very average bands, went out drinking a few times and ate a lot of dumplings.

The Shaky Hands EP seems to have done really well for itself. Your second EP Blue On Blue was recorded with Bernard Butler. How is it doing in comparison to the first? Has it continued to spread the word about Cut Off Your Hands as much as the first EP did?
Even moreso, i think. It sold a lot more in Australia and NZ than the Shaky Hands EP did and we are alot more happy with the record itself. In the UK we are using the recordings off the Blue on Blue EP as our first and second singles.

You were Levity Records’ first signing, set up by Levi’s Jeans Company back in June. What is the outlook for recording your first full-length looking like? And does this entail Cut Off Your Hands sporting some fabulously cool jeans as part of the deal?
No, not at all. The Levity thing was a single release of a four track EP for Australia and NZ only. The album will be put out through 679 Recordings and we’re planning to record it in March ’08. Though if a jeans company (or any other clothing company) wanted to give us free clothes, we would be happy to wear them.

What is the outlook for the new year in terms of touring?
We are doing the Big Day Out tour in New Zealand and Australia in Jan/Feb and then are planning a UK tour with some Europe dates for the rest of Feb. Then depending on when we finish recording the album, we will continue touring the UK and Europe for the rest of the year, which will hopefully include an American tour and shows in Japan.

–Andrea D’Alessandro

  1. these complete morons are NOT punk and never will be a punk because they are treating punk like a fashionable term a punk is a person who rejects mainstream music and fashion these guys are EMO EMO EMO! ‘punk’ by definition is “a social and musical movement rooted in rebelling against the established order” and the name of the band
    “cut off your hands” to achieve this you must cut your wrists therefore you must be EMO EMO EMO!


  2. uh…punk is fashion, duh!
    you bloody sentimentalist.


  3. “NZ doesn’t have much of a reputation for churning out indie bands” – ah done your research mate? I stopped reading right about there…


  4. These NZ bands all happen to be playing SXSW this year, so perhaps we have done our research. Thanks for your comments!

    * Bang! Bang! Eche!
    * Cut Off Your Hands
    * David Dallas
    * Enright House
    * Jackie Bristow
    * Kylie Harris
    * Ladyhawke
    * Midnight Youth
    * Rodney Fisher
    * Ross Royce
    * The Brunettes
    * The Renderers
    * White Swan Black Swan