In this two-part track by track written by Hands Like Houses vocalist Trenton Woodley, we take you inside the band's latest album Unimagine. Stay tuned for part two, featuring the final six tracks on the album, tomorrow.
This album is about happiness –not the hollow, temporary happiness that is based on unrealistic expectations, but contentment out of understanding our present and being genuinely appreciative of real, worthwhile life. Lyrically a lot of these songs are about me challenging myself in my own struggles as a musician and in spending so much time away from home. Everything is perspective, and being able to view the contrasting sides of a journey allows understanding so that we can better make the choices that give us opportunities to be happy.
Developments is based around the idea of a photographic darkroom—it takes darkness and careful treatment to develop an image. In the same way I feel like dark times, and the patience and optimism to see them through, are the only way we can retain memories and learn from our experiences. For me it's a justification of difficult times as perspective to better understand and appreciate our present as part of a whole.
This song is about breaking out of the presupposed patterns of life that are handed to our generation. I'm excited that people are beginning to think about and question our role as subjects to money, advertising, government, religion—not necessarily questioning those things themselves but their influence over our individual lives. We have a unique position as a generation where we are able to connect directly with each other, and I think we are utilizing that to discuss new ideas. I believe our generation can rapidly change the “way it is” simply by understanding the systems of manipulation and domestication that exist in our lives, and therefore being better equipped to make our own decisions for our own lives and happiness. It's not about “rising up”—instead it's about coming into a completely different existence, to actually become our ideas, our motivations, our happiness, our self worth so that we are unable to be contained.
Weight is about exactly that: the physical feeling of collapse when things become too much. For me, it is an expression more than necessarily being a discussion. It's about picking yourself up but not on false premises. Empty hope to me is pointless. I know things will be better, but for me I need to use the time to gather strength so that when I stand up, I'm stronger for the experience. A lot of this album is my own self-encouragement, and expressing that helps to actually galvanize those thoughts and motivations.
Shapeshifters is, at its simplest, a love song. My fiancee Katie and I
have often found ourselves dancing at special or close moments, slowly and sometimes without music. Those moments and those places are like gold to me. From those experiences, we have left a piece of ourselves in those places, and in the same way we've taken a piece of them along with us. It's a reminder of what we have, where we have come from, and what makes us who we are.
“The House You Built”
This song is a narrative based on the combined stories of a few people quite close to me. It follows a family where the love between the parents broke down for various reasons, but they kept their responsibility to their children to protect them from their own weaknesses and failures, and give them the best chance at a normal, loving upbringing. Having seen those children grow up into adults who I love immensely, it inspires a lot of respect from me for them and their families.