The frontman talks taking risks, pop-punk bands recycling ideas, and what to expect from album two.
WHERE DID YOUR LATEST SINGLE 'DROWNED IN GOLD' COME FROM?
“It came from a whole crop of songs that we‘ve been writing for [the next] record. It was a song we really liked - it wasn’t like the first album and it wasn’t like what will become the second album. We knew we wanted to release it though because we really like the song. It kind of bridges the gap between album one and album two. We’re aware that it’s been over a year and a half since we put an album out, and that by the time the second album comes out it will have been a couple of years. It’s a long time to go without putting any new music out, so we thought, ‘Let’s just do a single’. We recorded it with Mike Sapone while doing pre-production for our new album. It’s a good way to get a feel for production and mixing and mastering for when we actually do the second record. It was like an experiment.”
IN TERMS OF WHERE YOU'RE GOING WITH THE ALBUM, IS IT GOING TO BE QUITE DIFFERENT TO WHAT WE MIGHT EXPECT?
“The next record is very different. We’ve not done a total 180, though - it’s not so far removed [that it’s unrecognisable]. We love it - we’re really excited. We incorporated a lot of influence from stuff that was nowhere near what we were listening to when we were recording [debut album] ‘Be Nothing’, but we wrote that album three years ago. In your early twenties your tastes change pretty rapidly, and we’ve been playing music together in that time, and developing as musicians and as artists. You end up being worlds apart from where you were. So it’s definitely different. My perception of it may be different to the listeners’ perception, but I think people will appreciate it. I hope it will open us up to some different and more unusual audiences.”
IT SOUNDS LIKE IT COULD BE A VERY ECLECTIC OFFERING...
“It’s definitely heavier than the last record, and I think it’s more listenable as well. What we’re focusing on is tying the record together, so even though all the songs are very different they sound like they belong on the same record. We put a lot of focus on that because we consider ourselves an album band. I feel very blessed to have such an eclectic fan base. We get a lot of teenagers and people in their early twenties, but we also get 40 or 50 year olds in the back, giving it some beans and loving it! It’s nice to see such a broad spectrum of people.”
DO YOU THINK OPERATING IN A SINGULAR GENRE IS VERY LIMITING THESE DAYS?
“Scenes don’t exist in the way that they used to. The hardcore scene used to be so vibrant and tribal in the ’80s and ’90s, because you were an outcast if you liked it. You had to get records on mail order and you’d pay a lot of money for them, and then you’d show up at shows and support the bands. You had to come together in order to survive - if you didn’t support it, it would die. Now with Spotify, people will listen to a band like Nails but also listen to The Weeknd. People’s music tastes aren’t defined by genres like they used to be. There’s no need to put yourself in a box. You can explore while being true to what you are.”
IS THERE REALLY ANY LIMIT TO HOW THE BAND CAN EVOLVE GOING FORWARD, THEN?
“We’ve written songs that we’ve thrown away because it didn’t really work - you don’t know until you try. We’ll put on a hip-hop song or a metal song and say, ‘This bit is cool - why don’t we try and do something like that? We’ve had time to really play around - we’re in the final stages, so it’s less messing around and more crunch time. I feel sorry for people who say ‘Yeah man, we’re a pop-punk band so we’ve written a pop-punk record.’ It must be so boring.”
LYRICALLY, WILL YOU CONTINUE TO BE DRAWN TO THE DARKER AND HEAVIER TOPICS IN LIFE?
“The new album is way different lyrically to ‘Be Nothing’. That was a very apathetic record and I wrote a lot about myself, but this record is nothing about me. It’s more about my views on things, so the theme is a little bit more central. It’s a very angry record to be honest, musically and lyrically. I feel as though we’re more comfortable being a bit more out there. It’s quite liberating, really. I’m pretty sure people will think I’m a bit of a c*nt, but I’m not bothered.”
HOW SOON ARE YOU HOPING TO HAVE THE ALBUM OUT?
“We haven’t got a date set, but I would say that by autumn it should be out. We’re working with Mike Sapone again who is a fantastic creator and musician, but he’s a nutcase too. He’s brought a lot out of us that we didn’t know we had. He’s an evil genius!”
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN GOALS WITH THIS NEXT RECORD? IS IT ABOUT SUCCESS OR SIMPLY FULFILMENT?
“I mean, I’m not making a lot of money from this band - I’m not exactly at risk of putting out a bad album and losing my mansion. There are unlimited resources to both listen to and make music. A lot of people are doing very interesting things, but in our little world you do hear the same thing a lot of times, particularly when a wave hits. When that wave dies out, you get a rehashing of the same stuff. I listen to it and ask, ‘Do they even enjoy what they’re doing?’ I would get bored if I knew it was something that didn’t excite me or challenge me. That has to be the goal.”
This interview is taken from Issue 236 of Rock Sound, which is available to order WORLDWIDE at shop.rocksound.tv.