Excitement is steadily building for the 2016 Hangout Beach, Music and Arts Festival (May 20-22) in Gulf Shores. Each year, the festival’s organizers search for the best musical acts to accent the electric atmosphere of this beachside festival. In recent years, Hangout Fest has recruited several bands from the synth-filled world of indie pop rock.
This year, Brooklyn sensations Bear Hands will be showering the crowd with brand-new cuts from their latest album, “You’ll Pay for This,” their first to reach No. 5 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart. Vocalist/guitarist Dylan Rau is just as excited about the album’s success as he is to be performing it in front of a crowd.
According to Rau, Bear Hands’ last tour featured the album’s initial singles, “2 A.M.” and “Marathon Man.” With the positive reaction they received, Rau says they can’t wait to give their fans more of their latest effort.
“People [on the last tour] were definitely reacting positively, and they were excited to hear new music,” Rau said. “When we go on tour later in May, we’re definitely stoked to be able to play the whole record.”
The album’s title plays on its synth-heavy opener, “I Won’t Pay,” which is also considered the oldest song on the record. In fact, the album version is one of two versions. “You’ll Pay for This” is an inside joke between Rau and guitarist Ted Feldman. The duo always wanted to abruptly stop a song during the middle of the performance.
During this stop, Rau explains that the band wanted to point at the crowd and scream, “You’ll pay for this!”
“When we realized that we had a song called ‘I Won’t Pay,’ it was too good to pass up as an album name,” Rau said.
Rau’s favorite aspect of the album is its diversity. While there are EDM-influenced tunes such as “2 A.M.” and “Déjà Vu,” this album does contain rocking masterpieces such as the intense “Chin Ups” and the dreamy acoustic ballad “The Shallows.”
“Marathon Man” could be considered the epitome of modern indie synth pop. The song was the sonic fruit reaped from Rau and Feldman’s writing retreat at a remote cabin in the California wilderness near Los Angeles.
“Whoever had the better nugget, that’s was what we would work on,” Rau said. “Ted made the instrumental part and chorus, and I was very excited about it at lunch. The rest of the day, we worked on vocals together.”
Bear Hands will be bringing a specially crafted musical concoction they create just for festival crowds. Rau says the group reserves its slower songs for longer sets. With the time constraints brought on by a festival, Bear Hands likes to keep the crowd on their feet and dancing. The Hangout audience can expect Bear Hands to provide a performance that remains upbeat. The group debut at this large beach party might add a little extra enthusiasm to their performance.
“We’ve seen pictures of Hangout Fest, and it’s right on the beach,” Rau said. “It looks beautiful, and we can’t wait to get there. It’s exciting.”
General admission, VIP and Super VIP passes are currently on sale at www.hangoutmusicfest.com.