Dan Boeckner and Operators Present Handsome Furs Music in NYC and Toronto
Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Divine Fits) and his band Operators are bringing back the music of the prolific musician's former duo Handsome Furs. They will be playing music from Handsome Furs' catalogue for the first time in six years at NYC's Baby's All Right on December 13th and December 15th at Toronto's Lee's Palace. Hansome Furs released three critically acclaimed LP's, Plague Park (2007), Face Control (2009) andSound Kapital (2011), on Sub Pop Records. Tickets on sale now.
Boeckner explains why he wanted to revive Handsome Furs' music:
From 2006 to 2012 I was in a very strange band called Handsome Furs. What started as a vehicle for me to write stripped down, electronics and guitar based music outside of Wolf Parade became a full time project that would end up releasing 3 albums and tour relentlessly, playing shows on almost every continent. Handsome Furs was a major musical re-education for me. I had always been in a capitol B "Band" and never worked with sequencers or drum machines so, in the beginning, there was a constant feeling of discovery and wonder whenever I managed to wrangle the cheap Electribe EMX "Digital Production Station" (which would become the core of Handsome Furs "sonic palette") to sound remotely like I wanted it to. More than that, touring with Handsome Furs was an absolute political and social reeducation for me. From the beginning, the band was committed to playing in places that were outside of the established touring circuit for whatever people were calling "indie rock" back then. We toured extensively in the Balkans, China, SE Asia and beyond. And we always went back. The idea was always to create a kind of DIY touring network exchange of ideas/music that was outside of just "the West". This touring generated a kind of a creative feedback loop: I would tour, have my mind expanded and then immediately write about what I'd seen and heard and felt when I got home. I watched first hand the broken promise and ultimate failure of neoliberal economic policy in ex-Communist eastern Europe and wrote songs about it (pretty much all of Face Control). I was invited to witness the flowering of a virulently creative wave of post-punk, post-prosperity, post-everything underground bands in China and wrote songs about it (pretty much all of Sound Kapital). I made friends scattered across the globe, friends whose voices and stories and the experiences they chose to share with me have reshaped the way I think about the world and my small place in it. No one thing in my life has had a bigger impact on what my interests are, my politics, or the way i want to live my life. Wolf Parade may have allowed me to quit my day jobs and do what I love for a living but Handsome Furs completely changed me as an artist and as a person.
Handsome Furs was very much a duo. When my partner and I split, so much of the band was wrapped up in our relationship, it only seemed right to bring the project to a close. I missed it almost immediately. After a few years, I first recruited Devojka and then Sam Brown to start Operators with me. I wanted to start a project that would let me continue and expand on what I had started with Handsome Furs. Something that spoke the same musical and aesthetic language. Since 2014, Operators has evolved into a very different beast... one that I love and I'm proud of. But i've missed playing these old songs. Everyone who writes has a graveyard of songs. The song graveyard is populated with things you wrote, recorded and played live for people and for whatever reason, you decide that they belong there. To exist only as playback or in someones memory of a concert. I don't want the 3 albums worth of Handsome Furs songs I wrote to go to that place. Last year, Devojka and I performed as a two piece at Yellowknife Folkfest in the Canadian North. We played a surprise, ad-hoc set that included 5-6 Handsome Furs songs. It was a strange, nervous feeling tearing into these tracks for the first time in 6 years but once the drum machines and sequencers kicked in, it felt great. It felt great to lose myself in those songs, to sing and play them and watch the crowd fling themselves around in an appropriately surreal setting under a sun that refused to set. So, we decided we'd do it again. In some more accessible venues. We're going to play two shows. One in New York and one in Toronto (aka Downtown Canada). We'll be playing as a three piece and we're going to play songs from each album. I'm VERY excited. If you haven't heard Handsome Furs, get ready for songs about post-soviet Europe, anti-fascism and doomed romance set to digital bass, handclaps and guitar squall. If you're a fan...get ready for some very expanded arrangements and live percussion. I'm excited to bring these songs out of cold storage. I'm excited to play them for you. Especially this year. I'm excited to get onstage and sing "What About Us" and "Legal Tender" and "Serve The People" in 2018 because I feel the urgency to share their message now even more than when they were written. I hope you can make it.