Foreign Hands: Tyler Norris Leans Into Metalcore Nostalgia on EP "Bleed the Dream"

(Photo credit: Ashley Simpson)

As someone who’s seen countless bands make their way through JJ’s Basement in Franklin, WI - there’s still very few bands that have left an impression on me like Foreign Hands did. Though they only had a handful of songs at that point (2018), they showed a mastery of metalcore-inspired hardcore straight out the gate.

The band released their 5-song EP, Bleed the Dream, in mid-February on DAZE Records - which shouldn’t surprise anyone reading this - DAZE has certainly made a name for itself by putting out music from some of the best bands out at the moment. While that quality is definitely still present here, Foreign Hands is a welcome switch-up on the typically heavier-leaning label.

This release is a fantastic salute to the sounds of 90’s and 00’s metalcore and post-hardcore - think along the lines of 7 Angels 7 Plagues, Poison the Well, and so on, with chaotic riffs, panicked drumming, and vocals that range from melodic and emotional to frantic and guttural. However, they’re not rewriting history, nor are they putting out straight-up tribute songs - this EP sounds more like it could have been released around the same time as the greats, versus being “inspired” by the era. Bleed the Dream breathes new life into a subgenre that, in itself, is ever-evolving.

Tyler and I chatted about the inspiration and process behind Bleed the Dream, his second gig as an artist, and how he brings his creativity into all projects.

(Photo credit: Errick Easterday)

AA: Introduce yourself with your name, what you do in Foreign Hands, and a fact about yourself.

TN: I’m Tyler and I do vocals. I’ve been collecting CDs for about 8 years now, and I just reached 600+.

AA: Who played your first hardcore show? What impact did that have on keeping you involved in hardcore?

TN: Back in 2010, I went to see CDC, Doubledealer, Cut Short, Lifeless, Full of Hell, Burdens, and Agitator at The Harmony Grange in Wilmington, DE. Awesome lineup, even looking back at it now. I’d been going to shows for a couple years at that point, but it brought a different energy I’ve never felt before. I loved it and wanted more, so I kept going to more hardcore shows in my area. A slow burner for sure, but in time, it led me to booking DIY shows, recording bands in my basement, starting and playing in hardcore bands, touring, meeting new friends and connecting with people within the community. 

AA: Foreign Hands, while still coming across as a hardcore band, is still very clearly influenced by metalcore and post-hardcore. What inspired you to start a band like this?

TN: Straight up metal and hardcore music as a whole. The metal genre to me is as expansive as it is creative - it knows no bounds - while hardcore is its own aggressive entity with unlimited drive and power. The two compliment each other almost perfectly, which is why I wanted to start a band like Foreign Hands.

Album art

AA: True to metalcore as a genre, the lyrics on Bleed the Dream are full of metaphors and imagery. What were some of your lyrical inspirations on this EP?

TN: Weirdly enough, I’m not a lyrical or poetic person by nature. Even though it’s something I enjoy creating for the songs, literature is my least-strong creative suite. I take what I feel, form some sort of imagery in my head based on that, and try to explain what I see to the best of my ability. 

AA: What does the title Bleed the Dream mean to you?

TN: To me, Bleed The Dream means acknowledging that your nostalgia (whether it’s good or bad) is very real and is a part of who you are. Nostalgia is a complex emotion, but it might be the most human one to have. If everyone bleeds, then so do dreams.

AA: Foreign Hands has utilized clean vocals on a song or two before, but it's much more present on this EP (and it sounds awesome). What made you want to incorporate that into the EP?

TN: I can say we’ve always wanted to incorporate singing into our songs since we started, but weren’t sure how to go about it. Now that we’ve honed in on our sound, we have a better idea and understand the logistics of incorporating more clean singing in our future material.

AA: In Foreign Hands, you’re on vocal duties, but you typically play an instrument in all your other bands. As someone with that knowledge, do you ever get involved in the process of writing the actual music for FH?

TN: I’m naturally a creative person - any chance I have to create something, I’m always at the front of that line. So when the time comes to write new FH material, I’m right there with the team, guitar in hand, ready to help.

Art by Tyler Norris

AA: Aside from the work you do in music, you’re a very talented visual artist as well. How did you get your start with drawing and doing art in general?

TN: Basically, when I was a child, my social disabilities alienated me from making friends, so I shifted my focus to cartoons and learning how to draw. Anything from recreating Dav Pilkey's comic panels, to Stephen Gammell’s illustrations for Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, I wanted to do it all.

AA: What influences your artistic style?

TN: What influences me is the want/need to be just as good as the art I enjoy, at the expense of my work coming out naturally and authentically. 

AA: What are some of your favorite kind of artistic projects to do?

TN: The list is ridiculously huge, because I love doing any project that calls for my creativity and artistic ability, but recently I’ve been really enjoying animating the sketchy doodle gifs for FH. Band stuff aside, I’m a huge anime/manga fan, so I spend a lot of time practicing that side of art the most.

AA: From the few conversations we’ve had, it’s evident you’re a coffee guy - what are some of your favorite coffee shops you’ve hit on tour and at home?

TN: I say this without being biased; Little Goat Coffee Roasting in Newark, DE is the greatest in the country. They roast their beans in house, and it just hits so good. Quills in Louisville, KY is definitely in the top 5. I often think about Metric Coffee in Chicago, IL - that place is awesome. 

AA: Pick 3-5 bands (past or present) and a venue - what would a dream show lineup for Foreign Hands look like for you?

TN: So, this is a real lineup that happened at Girls Inc in Newark, DE in 1999; Pig Destroyer, Force Fed Glass, Joshua Fit For Battle, and Neil Perry. If FH existed at that time and played that show, it’d be so sick.

AA: Any upcoming plans you’d like to talk about?

TN: Nothing specific I can say, but 2022 and onward is looking pretty dope.

AA: Anything else you’d like to add?

TN: Thanks for having me! Shout out DEHC, go vegan.

Thank you again to Tyler for doing this interview! If you’re interested in supporting Foreign Hands, you can keep up with their social media below:

Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp

You can also check out Tyler’s art pages here:

Shop link | Instagram

Stream Bleed the Dream via Spotify below:


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