Youth is Overrated:
An Interview with Dylan Rau of Bear Hands

Words by Audra Tracy
Photo by Nina Westervelt

Getting old is a bitch. One day you wake up all achy and jaded and it seems like your prime years are behind you. But you can either sit and stew about your aging, disintegrating shell, or you can write an album about how “youth is overrated” and tell your tale into microphones across the country.

For Bear Hands, the choice was clear, and this Friday, April 15, they’ll release You’ll Pay For This, a collection of songs that play out like a war cry for thirty-somethings who begrudgingly face the next chapter of their lives. It all pours through in their lead single, “2AM”, where the band’s singer Dylan Rau spouts lyrics like “all I want is to forget how old I am”.

Just as Bear Hands wrapped up the Spring Fling tour with Cage The Elephant, Silversun Pickups, and Foals, Rau gave us the scoop about the new album, subconscious influences, and aging not-so gracefully…

Congrats on the new album, You’ll Pay For This! Is there a meaning behind the title?

Dylan Rau: We’re vengeful people. Watch your back!

How was the Spring Fling? What’s the vibe been like backstage with Cage The Elephant, Silversun Pickups and Foals?

DR: Excellent vibe with both the people and the shows. Lots of inter-band mingling, we played some basketball with Foals. Good times.

“2AM” is a song about struggling with aging. As a kid, where did you think you would be at this age?

DR: Haha dead? I dunno, sometimes I feel kind of emotionally stunted as a 30 year old and sometimes I feel ancient and jaded. It’s always different.

I’ve read that you write music while watching TV – what shows were you watching? Do you think subconsciously they influenced the music?

DR: Really nothing in particular, Maury, B movies, cartoons. I’m sure it subconsciously influenced the music or at least the lyrics. Most of the time it’ll be on mute but sometimes I’ll watch closed captioning and steal lines from stupid shows.

Bear Hands has been at it for a while – do you think you are still ‘in it’ for the same reasons you started the band? Have priorities changed?

DR: Well there is certainly the effect of being involved with something for so long that you’re just obligated to stick with it because you’ve invested so much. But I think if we weren’t into the music we were making we wouldn’t be here now.

You’ve got a really cool event planned for Record Store Day – do you think that vinyl is officially ‘back’? Do you have a turntable? Any bands you prefer to hear on vinyl?

From the numbers it certainly seems like vinyl is back. I know you can turn a profit on it. I don’t have a turntable, I mostly listen to music on Youtube to be honest.

Bear Hands created its own label, Spensive Sounds. Do you plan to open the door for other bands, or keep it exclusive?

DR: No plans to release other peoples’ music yet. It’s really just an entity that has to exist to release the music properly but we have talked about how cool it would be to be able to finance a talented friend’s record.

What’s next for the band in 2016?

DR: Doing some shows down south over the next couple months, Florida and Hangout Fest in Alabama. Touring alot this year I’m sure.

Catch Bear Hands at The Marlin Room @ Webster Hall on May 7. See all dates here…. | 2AM