“Right in the middle of making this album, I had a devastating breakdown,”As It Is vocalist Patty Walters reveals.
“I spent the whole of 2015 acting like I was fine, when really I was the complete opposite. People would ask me how I was, and I’d say,‘Yeah, I’m okay’ and smile; I’d be the version of myself that everyone expected me to be.
"Inside, I was feeling a whole lot of pain and insecurity. In many ways this album is a commentary on that situation – our way of saying, ‘You know what? It’s okay to not be okay sometimes.’
"Music has this incredible power to unite and comfort people, and that’s what I hope we can do here.”
Weaving together intimate, personal musings and surreal conceptual touches – particularly a 1950s theme that extends from the album cover to lyrics reflecting a seemingly idyllic, but actually deeply troubled suburbia – As It Is are exploring new ground for themselves and UK pop-punk.
“It’s a new image and a new chapter for us,” nods the vocalist, “but in a way it also represents who we’ve always been. We’ve written songs that sound positive and uplifting, while lyrically they’re so dark and pessimistic. The concept is a way of portraying that duality and conflict, while the world becomes increasingly polarised – driven by all these underlying, sinister values.
"Everything that’s happened since we put the concept into place has made it seem more relevant and important…
“This has been a truly freeing experience,” he continues. “Some of the things we’ve written about, we hadn’t even shared with each other before. We had to break down our own reluctance, to really talk, before we could share with the rest of the world.
"There are songs on there about Ben’s grandad being in the hospital, about Andy and I growing up in families where our parents had separated, so it could get pretty uncomfortable – but also invaluable.
"With ‘Hey Rachel’, which is about my sister going through anxiety and depression when she was younger, I was very conscious of how many people would be hearing it. Fortunately she really loves the track, and is okay with me sharing her story in my words.
"Music has always made me feel less alone, so maybe these songs can play the same role for other people.”
As It Is' album 'okay.' is out now via Fearless Records, and you can read all about it in this month's Rock Sound.