bassist

Editor’s note: Some answers were edited for length and clarity.

Australian indie pop-rock band Ball Park Music is composed of frontman Sam Cromack, bassist Jennifer Boyce, keyboardist Paul Furness, guitarist Dean Hanson and his drummer-brother Daniel Hanson. The band, which formed in 2008, released their latest album, Puddinghead, last April. The group is going on a tour in Europe this summer. Ball Park Music will play three official shows during SXSW. Dean Hanson spoke with The Daily Texan about the band’s music and Australian roots.

The Daily Texan: How was Ball Park Music formed?

Dean Hanson: The five of us studied music at university in Brisbane, and that’s where we began playing together. It wasn’t too long before we realized we had a good chemistry as a band, and we should see how far we could take it. The rest is history.

DT: How would you describe your sound to people who have never heard your music before?

DH: We play alternative pop-rock music. We like to break your heart and fix it again, make you laugh, make you cry, and, all the while, we’ll be there partying with you. 

DT: Who are some artists that influenced you?

DH: I think, as children of the ’90s, we can’t help sneaking twinges of ’90s pop-rock into our records. We like to explore lots of different influences and ideas track-to-track while always trying to maintain our trademark Ball Park Music sound.

DT: Do you think that being from Australia influences your music?

DH: There are definitely a few in-direct references to Australian themes that occur in some of our tracks. I think, by living in Australia and writing personal lyrics, you can’t avoid referencing where you’re from. We all listen to a lot of Aussie music, new and old, and we’re proud to be a part of Australian music, which is so great right now.

DT: What are any favorite memories or interesting anecdotes from tours you’ve been on?

DH: There have been so many that I could write a book about them. My personal favorite, which might not excite anyone else, was last year after our concert in London. [Furness, Ball Park Music keyboardist] and I found ourselves riding “city hire” bikes across London Bridge at 4 a.m. after a few beers. I looked to my left and saw the Big Ben and realized I was surrounded by all these beautiful London landmarks, and it was such a great moment. I thought to myself, “How did I end up here?”

DT: Do you have any favorites among your own albums or songs?

DH: I’m really proud of all our records, and I love them for different reasons. I guess the songs I love the most are the ones I most enjoy playing live because that’s how I feel them once the record is released. I always enjoy playing “Fence Sitter” from our second record, Museum, and “Cocaine Lion” from our fourth record, Puddinghead. “Cocaine Lion” is a real slow burner that just builds and builds to a great climax. It’s got a great energy, and I love playing it.

No photo yet

Local punk/hardcore band Fingers Crossed kicked-off a busy year with the release of their first full-length album on New Years Day. Although they formed their roots in Houston, the band has since relocated to Austin. 

Photo Credit: Pearce Murphy | Daily Texan Staff

Fresh out of the studio after recording its first full-length album, punk/hardcore act Fingers Crossed is anticipating a busy year. The quintet, originally from Houston, has relocated to Austin since its start in 2008.

“We finally put our full-length out Jan. 1 of this year, kind of with the idea of starting the year out on a good note,” guitarist Zach Chad said. “We had this idea of 2013 being our year. Getting this album out and then just keeping up the momentum all year.”

Despite being spread out, with three members living in Austin and one living in Houston, the band has a practice schedule that works for them.

“Our drummer lives and works in Houston, which is a challenge sometimes,” bassist Nathan Helton said.

Chad agreed, saying flexibility is key.

“It takes a lot of jamming with no drums, just playing acoustic in our rooms,” Chad said. “Then, on the day of the shows, we’ll all meet up either here or in Houston, wherever we’re playing, and just rehearse all day. But as far as having a regular practice schedule, it’s kind of rough.”

But the band is used to dealing with obstacles. Fingers Crossed has cycled through several different lineups before settling on the members they have now.

“Andrew [MacLaren] and myself are the two founding members,” Chad said. “We started back in high school, back when we were, like, little kids. We started touring with Nate’s other band, Thieves, and that’s how we met. After that first tour, we lost our drummer and eventually our bassist, and that’s where we picked up Nate.”

Through the band’s relationship with Thieves, Helton eventually came on as its bassist.

“It’s funny, because I had always been basically the official No. 1 fan of Fingers Crossed,” Helton said. “I was always at the shows. And once I found out they needed a new bassist I pretty much made them let me join the band. Since then I split time between the two bands, but since Thieves is kind of in a lull right now I can spend time working on this.”

Fingers Crossed recently returned from tour, which Chad said is the best part of being in the band.

“Our last show was in El Paso, rounding out our two-week West Coast tour,” he said. “I live to tour, I’d do it all the time if I could. I don’t think I’d have the opportunity to see half of the places I’ve seen, like the Hoover Dam, if I wasn’t doing this. It’s a lot of work and yeah, sometimes it’s kind of miserable, but we’re having the time of our lives.”

Helton said the band is excited about its upcoming appearance on “Local Live," its first live performance since releasing its album.

“This album is definitely our best yet,” Helton said. “Whereas a lot of our previous recordings we did in just one or two takes, we put a lot of work into this one. A lot more planning, a lot more cool effects. We’re looking forward to playing the new songs on air. It should be pretty good.”

Published on January 25, 2013 as "Fingers Crossed releases first full-length album".