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All Seeing Hand

All Seeing Hand

Wednesday 18th April, 2012 8:55AM

The All Seeing Hand are a band consisting of members of whom all have different and eclectic solo projects. UTR caught up with the hardcore cornerstone of the trio, Ben Knight to discuss the project, what they're working on at the moment and why they're live show is a cult-like experience.

Tell me how you guys started?

It's a bit hazy but I'm pretty sure me and David (Alphabethead) first met when we both found ourselves incoherently drunk outside a show at Happy about three years ago. We bonded over the importance of poster art for building amazing shows, because we had both recently played shows with truly incredible posters created by the irrepressible Hannah Salmon (Daily Secretion).

A while later we were both at Camp a Low Hum, and I was super keen for my band Teen Hygiene to play a renegade set, but we hadn't booked anything in. David helped us devise a plan where he played an awesome Alphabethead set, then we snuck onto the stage and pretended to be his backing band, playing badly along with him for a few minutes. When he departed the stage we managed to belt out an entire Teen Hygiene set before the guy doing the sound realised what was going on, had a hernia, then an aneurysm, then cut us off. The following year Teen Hygiene were somehow officially allowed to play at Camp because Blink probably didn't know that we had caused his staff to suffer from severe medical problems. We asked David if he wanted to climb on top of the bike sheds and play a show with us. He did, even though the sun was so hot it was making his records floppy and melting the drum skins.

When we got back to Wellington me and Dave decided to play an impromptu show as a drums/turntables 2-piece. It was super fun, so when we had the chance to play this awesome earthquake relief benefit show at San Francisco Bathhouse, we did it a second time. It was super fun again, so we kept doing it over and over, working with a few different awesome vocalists including Bernard Galaxy, Fredd Marshall, Samin Son, Jonny Marks, and Noel St Cosmos, and some truly amazing visual artists, including Ruben deHaas, Erica Sklenars, Lance Ravenswood and Chris Connolly. This brings us to the present day!

You guys all have other projects going on. Tell us a little bit about those.

David plays solo as Alphabethead, filling his sets with the most mind-blowing experimental brain-partying turntablism you will ever see. 

Noel St Cosmos does improv vocal performances with a whole bunch of awesome musicians.

I play in a hardcore punk band called Rogernomix, a psych-weirdo band called Nervous System, and a two-piece garage/punk/something else band called Teen Hygiene, which is on the backburner at the moment.

For people who haven't heard you, how would you describe your music?

I would apologise for sounding like a wanker but tell them that I have heaps of trouble describing it in words. If they were really interested, I would draw a symbolic representation of turntables, mind-bending samples, high-energy drums, bizarro Hindustani throatsinging, and the best party they ever went to, and ask them to eat it then listen to the sound of it digesting.

You marry a bunch of different influences. Tell us about the cornerstones of your sound and how and why you decided to bring them together?

David's background is in hip-hop/turntablism, mine is in hardcore punk, and Noel's is in avant-garde improv. It wasn't so much a conscious decision to combine these elements, but more the natural result of us slamming our brains together.

Anything / one in particular that's influencing your work at the moment?

We just got back from touring in the South Island with I.Ryoko - it was such an extreme pleasure seeing him play every night that I'm very keen to try and steal whatever it is that he does that makes his music so all-encompassingly awesome.

What are you guys working on at the moment?

We're planning to record a follow-up album in the first week in May. The first album was almost entirely improvised - the second one will have a bit more pre-ordained material, but still a very strong element of spontaneity. Will let you know as soon as it's done!

Your live shows have been heralded as amazing. Tell us a little bit about why they're so rad and why you guys enjoy playing live.

They are supposed to be amazing! They're so rad because so many rad people have been coming to join in, and that's pretty much why I enjoy playing live.

We've been trying to make our shows as all-consuming as possible, with a strong visual element and sounds that draw people in but leave space for them to unhinge their brains and join in.

My Mum came to our show at Chicks in Port Chalmers last weekend and had to leave halfway through the first piece, because it was "a bit like a disturbing cult". It's OK though, cos she also couldn't handle seeing Elton John when he came to Dunedin. And the cult members seemed to be enjoying it anyway.

What are the future plans with the All Seeing Hand?

We'll see how the next album goes, and we'll have to see how my predictions about December 21st 2012 pan out, but there have been tentative murmurs about the possibility of a vinyl release if it turns out as well as I hope it will. There have been other murmurs about taking our musical communion to unknown lands in far away places.