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The world can be a cruel, cold place, and few people know that better than the vocalist of Virginia’s newest band on the melodic hardcore scene, FRAGILE HANDS. Plagued by his past and current struggles with depression, Nick Matejko created the band to be an outlet for his frustrations at the end of 2012. Since then, Matejko has solidified a line up to help him share his emotions with others and provide some hope for a brighter future for himself and his friends. The rest of the band includes guitarist and co-founding member Shawn Thompson, drummer Aaron Bafford, bassist Bryce Hardin, and guitarist Dan Gibbes. Earlier this year, the band released their debut EP Between Here and Infinity and recently played their first show together. Having played in many other bands before each member brings the own unique skillset and experience to the stage and in preparation for their next record. We spoke with Matejko regarding his affinity for early-2000’s metalcore and the vision he hopes to pursue with the band’s next record, his personal struggles and how performing the songs live has been a cathartic, therapeutic experience.

Recently, I have seen that some bands have been challenging other bands to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you guys were challenged, do you think that you would accept it as a band?

We have not been challenged. If we were challenged, I think we would accept it but we would make a point to blatantly state that we were actually going to donate to the cause prior to doing so. I see so many people doing the challenge without knowing what ALS is or anything like that, and they just do it because they think it is something funny. ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease is just terrible. I’ve been waiting for a moment to get challenged to do it, and I have yet to get the challenge.

If you guys were challenged, which bands would you challenge to do it?

We probably would challenge CONVEYOR from Minnesota/Wisconsin. COUNTERPARTS would be cool, and I would love to see SLIPKNOT do it just because they have so many members (laughs).

In your band’s bio on your Facebook page, the first three words are “Angst. Pain. Hope.” How do these three words represent your music?

A lot of our music is an emotional outlet for my personal depression, when it comes to my lyrical content. The EP’s content is very angsty. It’s about my childhood and things that I struggled with up until I was like 19-years-old — not really feeling accepted by my family, illness with my mother, and a lot of different things that drove me to be angsty. I never got to write about them in the way that I wanted to. Pain is all about the depression that I go through, and a lot of us in the band have some kind of stumbling block or some kind of depressive mentality with life. The goal for me is to get out the angst or anger and get out the pain to have some kind of hope for my emotional state as a human being. People are fragile, and that kind of stems to what our band name means. FRAGILE HANDS may sound like a “whatever” band name, but it goes much deeper than just those two words. It’s all about feeling like you want to do something with your life, but things get in your way and keep you from doing so. And you are just not strong enough to hold onto them. Those three topics reflect what I am trying to do as a writer and what some of the guys in the band are trying to do as well with getting out their frustrations with the world.

In a climactic moment on your song “Cold”, you scream the line “I just want to feel the warmth from the sun.” Can you tell me the meaning behind that verse?

There is actually a double meaning to that. Obviously, the world is a very cold place. No matter what you do, you are always going to feel like the world is just gonna come back full circle and kick you in the butt. You are gonna push, and push, and push, and sometimes, no matter what you do is good enough. The whole line in that song is actually kind of like a toil with the world getting to me within my spiritual beliefs, and “the warmth of the sun” thing is actually, as I said, the double meaning. Metaphorically speaking the sun would be my personal relationship with God and things that I struggle with. We are not a Christian band by any means, but a lot of us do have a spiritual background within the Christian realm.

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I know you guys recently started playing shows. How has the response been so far to your live performance?

We’ve had one show down in Virginia Beach. It was our first show, and we have a couple more lined up. Our first show was awesome, to say the least. I have several friends from previous bands that came out, and they just made it a really good time. We felt like it was a second home. The kids were all having fun, and they seemed to be into it. That was the first time playing that EP live, and it was really hard for me to push through into the last song because the last song is about my mother’s illnesses. I just broke down on that song because of the meaning. From my standpoint, everybody did super well. So far, so good, man.

I also saw that you guys are currently writing and recording new music. Are you working on another EP or a full-length record?

Right now, it’s kind of up in the air. I know that half of us want to write a full length, and half of us want to write another EP. Personally, I would love to write another EP because I really like conceptual ideas, and I feel like the first EP, we were kinda just writing music because we were finding our style and our sound. Prior to Aaron joining the band, Dan and Bryce, which are the drummer, second guitarist and bassist, all the writing was myself and Shawn Thompson — from lyrical content to writing every aspect of the music. It was a really daunting process. So I feel like as a vocalist I was unable to really hone in on a lot of things in a really conceptual way other than what the EP stands for — feeling like you are stuck in a certain rut and feeling like your dreams are way beyond something that you can even comprehend. So I would love to write another EP that would be a little bit more conceptual. I already have some ideas for it, and we have four to five songs right now.

What can listeners expect to hear from your new songs?

Between Here and Infinity was a lot of fun to write, but at the same time, there were a lot of aspects that I didn’t really like. I don’t want to be compared to bands like HUNDREDTH or COUNTERPARTS, or big names within the melodic hardcore genre. I would love for us to be more focused on like early-2000’s melodic hardcore like metalcore and I know that a lot of kids when they think metalcore, they think of AUGUST BURNS RED and things like that. Early-2000’s metalcore to me was like MISERY SIGNALS, HOPESFALL, and things like that. They were way more melodic in the aspect of not as much chuggy breakdowns, and so far what we have on the EP is an almost Deathwish-type sound, a lot of VERSE, MODERN LIFE IS WAR, KILLING THE DREAM influence, and of course we still have that modern influence of COUNTERPARTS and HUNDREDTH. But I think anybody who is into the older sound and the newer sound of the genre would still dig it.



I definitely agree. One thing that I love about Between Here and Infinity was that it is a lot more melodic, and it makes the heavy parts sound that much stronger.

That’s something that I really wanted to do and something that I really want to do with this new EP — make the beautiful stuff way more pretty but counter it with darker meaning to the lyrics, and the heavier parts more continuous with the heaviness so it’s not just a couple chugs with a breakdown. I want it to be a heavy mosh riff instead of a breakdown. To me, when I go see bands like SHAI HULUD, my favorite parts of their set are just the really pissed off, angry parts. That and their technicality is just amazing. That band is phenomenal (laughs).

If FRAGILE HANDS could tour with anyone right now, who would you choose?

Aw man (laughs). I don’t want to cop out and say we will tour with anyone, but my dream tour would be if I could bring some bands back to life (laughs). I’m a huge sucker for mid-2000’s, early-2000’s melodic hardcore. I would have to say, for current bands I really want to tour with my buds in CONVEYOR. They are great melodic hardcore band — I’ve name dropped them twice so far. Check ‘em out. If I could get THE CARRIER to come back for a tour and do a tour with COUNTERPARTS, those three bands would be such a sick tour. Or if we could get TO THE WIND on it too that would be cool because those guys are awesome, and they are really into THE CARRIER. So that’s pretty sweet.

For more updates on FRAGILE HANDS, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and check out their music on Bandcamp.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Falls Church, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with friends.

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