Being the only female in a rock ‘n’ roll band can be tough — just ask Natasha Pasternak of Toronto band Hands and Teeth.
“I certainly sometimes feel like the only girl,” the vocalist, violinist, guitarist and keyboardist said of her four male band mates, Derek Monson, Kevin Black, Adam Kolubinski and Jeff Pinto. “Sometimes I feel like I’m the only guy in the band. I’m like ‘Okay here, I am the girl, I’m supposed to be the fussy one.’”
Pasternak’s female perspective was very important in coming up with the band’s name. She said the band played their first show with a name they’ve all sworn to never reveal. Since the first show was a success they needed a new name, with the guys suggesting Hands and Teeth, the name of one of Pinto’s songs played during their set.
“I was totally against it,” Pasternak said. “I was like ‘I don’t like it, it sounds really masculine, it sounds barbaric.’”
While sitting in Ronnie’s Local, one of the band’s favourite pubs in Toronto’s Kensington Market, Pasternak came up with a way of determining people’s response to the name, in what she described as “a lazy man’s research.”
“There’s a couple versions of the story but the real story is I texted every female in my phone to see what they’re response is,” she said. “So then everyone started doing it, not necessarily girls, just people in general.”
The feedback was split among Pasternak’s female friends, but she said it was more important that people were reacting in some way to the name. So Pasternak conceded to the name Hands and Teeth, with one stipulation.
“I was like ‘I’ll agree to the name, but I want the font to be nice,’” she said with a laugh.
Hands and Teeth has only been a band for two years, releasing their debut album Enjoy Your Lifestyle in October 2010. The band finished their sophomore album this spring, with a release date set for Jan. 17.
“The last one was us sort of tiptoeing into what we’re doing,” Pasternak said of Enjoy Your Lifestyle. “This one’s a little more reassured.
“We’re such a new band and because things are moving along, it’s a snapshot of where we were at this time as we’re sort of going through our musical puberty.”
Hands and Teeth’s sound is a mix of all the best parts of their influences, Pasternak explained — ranging for the Beach Boys to the Beatles.
“It’s all these different textures that puts together this interesting landscape of sound that I’ve yet to put my finger on exactly what it is,” she said. “Sometimes I think it’s better to let the music speak for itself.”
Hands and Teeth play the Merchant Tap House at 9 p.m. tonight with Jane’s Party.