Official Blog of Dead Fish Handshake


Recording and stuff.

Back at Architekt to finish work on these new tracks. Drums, guitars and bass is all done. Matthew cut his vocals already, too. Just a few little harmonies left for me to do and then we’re on to mixing mode. Keep an eye out for “Nothing Stays Gold” which will be out soon. More details to follow.

Quick update from Rob.

To answer a few recent inquiries of what we’ve been up to recently…
We’ve been in pre-production mode, working with Mr. Clint Lowery on a few new songs which we should be recorded later this month. Studio dates are all but locked up. And you’ll definitely be getting a taste of some new DFH music in the very near future! -rob

Success is in the details.

Been a little busy as of late but recently had a chance to reflect on what it is we do and the amazing people that allow it to happen. As you know, we hit our Kickstarter goal, a hefty number… and I can’t put into words what that means and how it makes me feel. For all the detractors (and there are plenty), there is a substantial number of people here, there and everywhere that push incredibly hard to see us succeed. And in a time where the music biz isn’t what it used to be, I sincerely mean it when I say that you make it all worth it.  Success is truly in the details. Thank you so much for all you do.


A Lasting Impression

Interview with Dead Fish Handshake: A Lasting Impression

—by , June 19, 2013


In time with the re-release of its most recent EP, The Sixes, a bold, hearty breath of polished rock and roll, Dead Fish Handshake are taking their act on tour for the first time. The release marks the beginning of a new chapter in the band’s life, while simultaneously nodding to their origin as an acoustic duo made up of guitarist Rob Ferreira and singer Matt Paul.

With bassist Darren Furman in tow and original drummer Matt Biehl back on board after being out of the band for over a year, the group of NJ and New England rock stalwarts is poised to make the biggest moves of its career.

Two (well, sort of three) releases into their career, the band had a good thing going to start but has showed supreme improvement to this point; something Rob credits in large part to Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery, whose keen insight into composition proved invaluable during the production of The Sixes. Rob’s insightful chord layering, crafty riff writing and superior Les Paul tone have always led the way for Dead Fish Handshake, but on The Sixes, with the help of Clint, the rest of the group rose to meet him.

On the way back home from a trip to Vintage Vinyl, Rob took a call from The Aquarian to talk about the constant development of Dead Fish Handshake, the genesis of the band’s summer tour and putting together guitar tracks in the studio.

How often do you turn on WSOU and hear Dead Fish Handshake?

Well, I’ve definitely heard it a few times. I listen to WSOU at work online and whenever I get a chance in the car. I’ve heard it a couple times for sure. Every once in a while, I’ll get a text from a buddy of mine saying they’ve heard it. It’s definitely an awesome feeling to hear your song on the radio. That never gets old for me.

What’s the longest tour the band has done?

The most the band has ever done is a three or four-day weekend type of thing.

One of the things that’s real special about what we have in Dead Fish Handshake is that we’ve all been in bands for years. In a few years that we’ve been together, we’ve been able to do a lot of things that we’ve never done in previous bands. That’s a really cool feeling, and it feels good to do it with your friends.

We’re going as far west as Texas. We’re starting Florida. We have a couple dates there. Then we’re running through Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. That’s as far west as we’re going, but then we shoot up north, through the Dakotas and then back east through Illinois and Ohio. It’s like a big C until we have the homecoming in late July.

What’s the status of your next release? You mentioned to me a while ago that you might re-release The Sixes with bonus tracks.

Right. We’re actually in the process of tracking acoustic versions of the songs. One thing that people don’t know—or that people who have caught on recently wouldn’t know—is that [the band] started initially with [singer Matt Paul] and me acoustic. We’ve done a couple shows like that.

We did a show at Bergen PAC with just Matt and me acoustic, opening up for Ed Kowalczyk. We weren’t sure at first how the songs were going to translate in an acoustic setting and it ended up being great. So we thought it’d be awesome to do an acoustic EP type of thing. But I didn’t really want to do an acoustic EP and suddenly make The Sixes an old thing, like the “old record.” So we thought we’ll just do a couple songs off the record acoustic and then do a digital re-release.

I’m not a big fan of re-releases in general. They kind of feel sometimes like they’re a cash grab. But in this day of iTunes, you don’t necessarily have to do an album-only thing. But people who already have the record and want the new songs, they can just go and get those songs. That’s the beauty of the digital age.

So we’re looking to do that. We’re going to release some new tracks with The Sixes to coincide with the tour. We have that Kickstarter thing going and one of the things we’re planning is that we’ll do a covers EP, just acoustic covers. And we’re looking to do that when we get back. We’ve been writing too, so then we’ll think about pre-production for the new record.

How many songs did you end up writing for The Sixes? You strike me as a guy who has tons of riffs and songs lying around just waiting to be completed.

Yeah, we had a bunch of stuff. We probably had anywhere between nine or 12 songs that we wrote strictly for The Sixes. We had some old songs lying around too.

When we did the first record [Across State Lines, 2010], it was more of a collaboration between Matt and me. Then as the full band started playing together, we started coming up with ideas as a group. So we didn’t want to grab those old ideas [from Matt and me] and redo them. We had this writing period where we weren’t really playing out, but we were focusing on writing. Then we started demoing that material and giving it to [producer Clint Lowery].

There were some ideas that he thought needed a little bit more tender love and care, and then others where he had some ideas. So I would say, from nine or 12 songs, we narrowed it down to [the six tracks] that ended up being on The Sixes.

Do you think any of those songs will show up on a future record?

I would say there’s a lot of stuff there that I love, but working with Clint, we learned a lot. We took, in my opinion, a really big step creatively for us. We’re not reinventing the wheel or anything, but what Clint was able to pull out of us I’ll never forget.

Even the new stuff that we’ve been writing feels different. We’re using those learning experiences and those hints and things we learned from Clint, from just talking and working with him, on the new material.

So I’m not sure that the stuff we wrote before doing The Sixes would make a new record because that seems like the record that would have fallen in between The Sixes and Across State Lines. We don’t want to take that step back; we want to keep pushing ourselves creatively. We want to outdo the last record. It would be silly to go back at this moment.

Why did you name the tour after the song “Leave The Light On?”

We talked about hitting all these different areas we’ve never been. This is our first tour and we want to make an impression on the people that we do encounter on the road. “Leave The Light On” was kind of a metaphor for leaving an impression on who it is that we meet out on the road and who it is that we play in front of. Hopefully it means the same to the people we meet along the way.

Is there one moment at those Architekt sessions with Clint that comes to mind as a paradigm shifting moment for you or the band?

I think it was just being in the room and the times when Clint was in the room with us. There were a couple times he strapped on a guitar. It was like, “Wow, Clint Lowery is jamming on our songs with us.” That was a holy crap moment.

I’ve had the feeling before when listening to songs by other bands where something about it gives you goose bumps. I always said I don’t think I’ll ever feel that way about a song that I wrote because I watched it grow. By the time a song I wrote is done, I’ve seen all the imperfections along the way.

But when I heard The Sixes after [engineer Mike Ferretti] mixed it and gave it to us, it was that feeling. That was very special personally.

One thing I noticed recently when listening to the two records is that there aren’t really any guitar solos on The Sixes. What was the reason for that?

I’ve never been a shredder. My favorite guitar players are people like David Gilmour from Pink Floyd and The Edge from U2, who use a lot of different chord phrasing or layering. So I think I kind of took a little from them. I was just focused more on layering of guitars and how [multiple tracks] play off one another. There’s a brief solo at the end of “Turning A Blind Eye.” On “Leave The Light On” there was a solo, but we were changing some vocals around and we ended up putting a quasi-last chorus over the lead guitar track, so it sounds like I’m noodling a little beneath Matt’s vocal. I play that solo live; we do an extended version of that song.

Were you also thinking about what you can do live?

I’ve had countless conversations where people have said, “If you can’t do it live, don’t do it in the studio.” And I completely disagree. Imagine all the incredible music we’d be missing if all the four-piece bands in history only recorded one guitar track. I think there’s a time and place for everything, and in the studio I’m totally okay with any instrument being layered to that extent.

When we’re writing a song, at the very primitive stage, we’re doing it in a room with three or four guys. It’s working in that way. It’s working as a three or four-piece. So I know that later on, when you play it live, you can find a way to get that song across without all the extra ear candy that might be on record.

I’ve seen it done over the years. And sometimes people might want to go to the show and hear things exactly how they are on record, and I appreciate that, but I also think that if you’re going to go and basically just hear a louder version of what’s on record, it’s not as special.

If doing it live means the challenge of trying to make it work, we’ll make it work.

Dead Fish Handshake’s latest EP, The Sixes, is available on iTunes and through the band’s website. They play Architekt Music in Butler, NJ, on July 27. For more information, go to

Message from Rob

Hey all,

There’s a lot going on in camp DFH… and while there are some things we’re not quite ready to share, as you all know we are getting ready to embark on the Leave The Light On Tour this Summer and are super excited for it.

I wanted to take a quick moment on behalf of all of us in DFH to thank Mark Birkelbach, whose been an important piece of the DFH puzzle for a long time. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Mark is not able to join us on the road this Summer. He is and will always be a very special and important part of the DFH family.

With all that said, we’d like to give a warm welcome back to an old friend who’s ready to man the drum throne. Recently, we’ve been in the studio cranking out jams with original DFH drummer, Matt Biehl. We’re excited to have him back in the fold and look forward to you all getting a chance to get re-acquainted with him when the LTLO Tour comes to your city.

See you all soon.

Dead Fish Handshake: A Firm Grip on Music

A couple weeks ago, Matthew had a chat with Shanna over at NY Social Status. Read the interview here:

There is absolutely nothing more powerful in this world than music. It can draw people together, influence behavior, heal pain; the abilities of music are endless. With such an amazing power in their hands, musicians are in a much more significant position than they often realize. Dead Fish Handshake vocalist, Matt Paul has no trouble recognizing the impact music can have on its audience and is keen to ensure that his music leaves a good impression.

“I’m not trying to preach to anyone,” Paul explains. “The things I talk about in my lyrics are things that I’ve gone through. While the topics may be a little on the depressing side, the message is just to let people know that there’s somebody else who’s gone through what they may not be able to express. Hopefully as a singer I’m in a place where I can give their feelings some words. That, to me, is the best thing about music.”

It’s easy to understand why this is Paul’s favorite thing about music, but when it comes to Dead Fish Handshake, there is oh, so much more to admire. Composed of a collection of members from other bands in the area, Dead Fish Handshake is an effective combination of a variety of influences and excellent musicians with a message for their listeners.

Photo credit to

“In this band, it’s funny, individually, we’re all into such different bands,” Paul explains. “We’re all on different platforms, and when we put those genres together I guess you get Dead Fish Handshake.”

The music industry couldn’t have asked for a better combination. The DFH sound is a healthy blend of old school rock and decade influences underscored by soulfully written lyrics that simultaneously expose band members and embrace fans. Like any good musical group, DFH has witnessed the growth of their sound into the perfect blend of their individual interests.

“We wanted to have heavy aspects, but we’re also fans of acoustic, electric, classic rock, soul music,” Paul explains. “I think we’re still defining that sound. If you go to the first album, those songs were written acoustic and we built them up to make the rock songs you hear on the record. A lot of those songs touched on a lot of different sounds.”

As a result of their hard work, dedication and production work with rock staple, SevendustClint Lowery, the boys from Dead Fish Handshake have just released a new album that captures their sound much more accurately.

“Clint brought the intensity of Sevendust to Dead Fish Handshake but let us be ourselves,” Paul notes. “When you’re inspired by people, you take things from them, and what was cool was that Clint let me keep what I was influenced by, what I was inspired by, but he kinda brought my own voice out of me. With The Sixes we finally created the DFH sound. As far as what our sound is, we’re not reinventing the wheel by any means, but hopefully we’re re-injecting some life into a genre of music that’s taken a lot of heat lately.”

Beneath all the effort and growth Dead Fish Handshake has experienced, the message of their music remains one of the most important aspects of what they do as a band, and their combined forces couldn’t be more perfect for such a mission.

“Mark and Darren, being the rhythm section, they’re what gives it life. They’re the heartbeat,” Paul says. “They’re there to give that emotion, that idea that Rob and I have, life. I’m a guy who writes introspectively. I pull from things I’ve gone through in my life. There are a lot of heavy topics, like suicide, low self-esteem, things like that. They’re just things I’ve gone through myself, and this record was an outlet. I’ve had a lot of heartache in my life. We’re not an emo band, but I do think music should be powerful and there should be emotion behind what you do. Hopefully the topics, while they focus on a darker side of life, it’s letting people know that they’re not alone.”

Perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of the DFH process is the cathartic and therapeutic effect the creation of music has on the band members themselves.

“You start out writing these songs for you,” Paul admits. “I wrote these songs to help myself. I never in my wildest dreams thought there would be people out there who took comfort from it. One of the things I truly love is interacting with fans. Music aside, I love meeting fans. That’s something I always make it a point to do. They give meaning to that stage. That’s pretty much my therapy. What they do for me is giving me that opportunity and helping me cope. When I go out and sing, in a lot of ways I’m bleeding out those things, and I need that as a human. I hope that when people come see that they maybe sense that, but in a positive way.”

The purpose behind Dead Fish Handshake is a testament to why music is so incredibly powerful, and why it is such an integral part of our lives. We are all human, and we feel so many things. So often, all we’re searching for is someone who understands those feelings.

“Everybody’s problems are all relative,” Paul says. “It’s based on what you’ve gone through individually. I think as a society, we don’t all have enough love for one another. That’s evident. If there’s anything observational in my music, that’s a big one. As beautiful as something like love can be, music can be just as beautiful. The best thing about music: it’s a timeline for what you’ve been through. Everybody needs that time to reflect or to re-evaluate.”

In line with this message and the idea that society should help, not hurt, one another, Dead Fish Handshake is participating in a benefit concert for Students Against Being Bullied on November 16 at Asbury Park’s Stone Pony. Just a few days after their upcoming November 14 showwith Hurt and Smile Empty Soul, DFH will join musician Apryl Evans to raise awareness of bullying in school and the devastating effect it can have.

In an era where mainstream music is focused on partying, physical appearance and meaningless sex, Dead Fish Handshake is a welcome respite and reminder of the impact music can and should have and the undeniable influence it has on everyone involved. Thank God for Dead Fish Handshake.

In-studio performance

Matthew & Rob - live in-studio - WDHA 105.5FM

Earlier this afternoon, Matthew & Rob stopped in the WDHA studios in New Jersey to chat about the recently released record, “The Sixes” and jammed out to a couple acoustic versions of “Turning a Blind Eye” and “Leave The Light On”. Thanks to Lindsay Klein and all the fine folk over at WDHA. Keep an eye out for a video in the near future.

DFH press photo

Dead Fish Handshake press photo for “The Sixes”

(Mark, Rob, Darren, Matthew)

The Sixes are tracked

So for just under a week, we were holed up in the wonderful studios at Architekt Music with none other than Clint Lowery of Sevendust tracking our second record, “The Sixes”. What an experience! We posted some video blogs on our Youtube page, which you can view by going to

We went into the studio with several tunes and came out with 5 of the best songs we’ve written:

“Turning A Blind Eye”
“The Blackest Skies”
“Leave The Light On”

These songs evolved and matured so much in just a few short days that I wish we were pumping out a whole full length album’s worth.

Up next is the mixing stage. We have an incredible team working with us and we can’t wait for you all to share in the listening experience.
Thanks for your patience and support.
In the meantime, this is what the album artwork looks like:

Dead Fish Handshake - The Sixes







See you soon.

Let the good times roll.

Tomorrow, we enter the studio to start tracking our new record…the follow up to last year’s “Across State Lines”.
We’ve titled the EP, “The Sixes” and hope to release it late spring/early summer.

We’re super excited to hear these songs come to life in the studio. We have several that are fighting each other for the chance of making the record. Not to mention that working with Clint Lowery will be an awesome experience and opportunity.

We just recently did a little photoshoot and are working with the very talented Paul Guzzo on the artwork and design. So many fantastic things are happening, but most of all, we’re looking forward to seeing you all on the road and jamming these songs out in a live setting for you all to hear.

Keep your eyes out for some studio updates, pics and vids.

…til then.

Film Score Lovin’

I’m a huge fan of film scores and how important they are to bringing a movie’s emotion to life…how a director’s vision is taken to that next level once the right sounds go hand in hand. That’s the amazing thing about music: it takes a book a few pages or a movie a few scenes to do what music can do in a matter of seconds. Some of my favorite film score composers include the great Danny Elfman (who’s worked with Tim Burton among others) & Angelo Badalamenti (of David Lynch and Spaghetti Western fame). But if there was ever a match made in Heaven, it’d be Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann. Case in point: Vertigo. I can’t figure out which is the greater accomplishment, the film’s writing & direction or the compositions that accompany it. Beautifully acted, directed and constructed and Herrmann’s score is to die for. I caught it again on TV recently and fell in love with it all over again. Next time you’re in the mood for a good classic flick, definitely pop that one on. Heck, run out and buy it. Everyone should have that masterpiece in their collection. And if you’re a fan of scores, pick up Bernard Herrmann’s work. What would the world be without music? Can you imagine? I can’t.

Album Update

With only a few weeks to go before we enter the studio, the excitement mounts. We’ve compiled a list of some of our best songwriting to date, not to mention a collaboration with the one Clint Lowery. That old cliche’ before a band releases an album is how they are so enamored with all their material that they can’t figure out what to include on the record. Well, while I’d like to be more original and not fall into that common thread, unfortunately (or fortunately), there is definitely more quality material than we know what to do with at this moment. Up until a couple months ago, I was almost certain of which songs would make this record, but judging by some of our newly written songs, I will say that the record, which we’ve titled “The Sixes” will most likely comprise of songs written more recently than those that have been hanging around for quite some time. After all, a small part of our songlist dates back to the “Across State Lines” sessions, but I just can’t see those making the cut. One thing that we were pretty dead set on from the beginning, and you’ll know it when you hear it, is that we didn’t want to make ASL part II. And this certainly isn’t that. It is still very much Dead Fish Handshake…all the essence of our personalities is there, but we’ve also grown together musically since our last record. And THAT’S what excites me most.

Hey there.

Rob from DFH here. If you’re reading this, you’ve found your way to my blog on
Tune in regularly. I’ll use this space to babble about DFH, music and anything else that sparks a thought.


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