Handles are an acoustic, folk pop duo made up of Cairns locals Luke Hanlon and Andrew Martin. The band formed in mid-2015 in Mount Gambier, South Australia while both Luke and Andrew were studying Jazz at James Morrison’s Academy of Music. Both trumpet players wanted to incorporate their knowledge of jazz with their love of acoustic folk music to create an original sound with a twist. The result is Handles, with the band name coming from a fusion of both founding members first names.

Drawing influences from folk artists such as The Cat Empire, John Mayer, John Butler and Jack Johnson and jazz artists Roy Hargrove and Matthew Jodrell, the group’s original material incorporates the earthy tones of the trumpet with the subtle sounds of flugelhorn. Instruments the pair both studied at James Morrison’s Academy of Music, a small and exclusive academy in Mount Gambier, South Australia.

Founding member Andrew Martin described JMA as “A great academy. It is very hands on and you are always playing and learning new things. We are lucky to have some of the most internationally renowned jazz performers and artists that teach and visit the academy all year round. I know personally, this year Luke and I have improved so much just after one year. It is quite a small academy so you do get to become close with your fellow musicians and mentors which is a real bonus”.

The pair is also lucky enough to count James Morrison himself as a teacher and mentor as well as world renowned Jazz musicians Matthew Jodrell and Ross Irwin.

“We all receive one on one lesson’s which are very rewarding and inspirational. We even go over to James’ house for dinner and to chat about music, it’s pretty crazy!”

Since returning to Cairns, the lads have been busy gigging and also working as Brass Sections for different bands around town. They recently recorded a new song titled ‘Girl’ for Balcony TV which is due to hit the airways in the coming months.

“It was a fun experience and it was a bit different performing in front of the camera, overall it turned out really well” said Luke Hanlon.

Handles have a collection of tracks available for free download on Triple J Unearthed and are always constantly coming up with new material for their live shows.

“Our songwriting formula change all the time, but generally Luke writes most of the lyrics, I write most of the melodies and we both write the chords. But all together, it’s a big collaboration” said Andrew Martin.

Handles perform at Resonate at The Grand Hotel – Thurs 7th Jan 2016 at 9.30pm. Music starts at 7pm with Paddy J and Em Joy. Entry is free.

Mitch Sullivan

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