"A lot of this journey has allowed us to get some perspective on just how lucky we really are."
Kill The Ideal have just released their new EP 'Against The World', and it's so much more than a collection of songs for the band.
Combining flashes of classic rock attitude with arena-ready choruses, it's a record that not only sounds incredible but also feels incredible, brimming with joy and good time vibes. Though in many ways, it's a reaction to the world that we're living in now and serves as not just a beacon of positivity for those who listen to it but also to the band themselves.
We jumped on the phone with the lads to talk all about putting the record together and what effect it has had on them through these difficult times...
How did this particular chapter for the band kick off then? How has it resulted in this particular collection of songs?
Ash [Wilson, Vocalist/Guitarist]: “Despite ‘Save The World’ being one of the singles that we have just released, it was actually the first song that we wrote for this. It was the first thing I showed to the rest of the lads and that’s what really got the ball rolling. We had a bit of a slow start from the last EP leading into this one, but when we got talking I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to create in terms of my parts of the band. The big thing for me is that I’m an 80’s kid through and through and I wanted to create a modern classic rock vibe but heavier and with synths behind it. ‘Save The World’ came from wanting that.
“Then we wrote ‘Let’s Get Excited’, and that was just around the time that COVID started to kick in. It was that song though that really set the theme for the rest of the EP. I’ve suffered from mental health quite severely throughout my life and something I really struggle is feeling happy and energetic and seeing the brighter side of life. Hearing the excitement within what we had created with ‘Let’s Get Excited’ was the thing that made us go, ‘There’s some kind of magic going on here’. That’s when we decided to just write the EP and fill it with as many bangers as we can. We just wanted to get people smiling and wanting to shout off the rooftops.
“The thing is that I would never have thought we would have been stuck in whatever we are now back when we wrote it. But now we are getting so many messages from people saying how they relate to these songs and how they themselves have suffered through anxiety but hearing our music has pumped them full of adrenaline. It’s those things that made us realise that this is a message of hope and power and self-belief and a reminder that you are allowed to love yourself even when you’re feeling so shit in a time where there’s no real answer for when that is going to end.”
The biggest hurdle is installing that self-belief in yourselves before you even have the chance to put it into your music and help other people. What have the conversations been like within the band like? What did you have to learn about each other to be able to produce exactly what you wanted?
Ash: “I would be lying if I said we haven’t had some really deep conversations in our time. If we’re being honest, the world right now is fucked. If you look at everything from the Amazon rainforest to disease spreading, things are crazy. Though because we’re all in our own little bubbles where people are pumping things into us via TV and the media, you forget about it. You accept it and think it’s normal. Over time it will start to fester in the back of your mind and that’s when your anxiety will start to come out. Though through us all being able to talk and then write the lyrics for each of these songs and discuss all aspects of it together, it’s such a huge relief.”
So what was it like in the studio?
Ash: “We basically made the EP just in that little break in time when the country was out of lockdown last year. It was so wonderful to be back. It was that little slice of normality that we feel like we have been deprived of.”
Jordan [Bell, Drums]: “We recorded a first version of ‘Save The World’ maybe two years ago and it has been recorded a few times now. But it was only in that little break where we went to record what would become the final version that it became what it is now. It became the song that it is today because of what we went through to get there. Something just came over us. We were just so excited to be able to actually do it. We had so much ready about us that I don’t think I’ve hit the drums so hard. And I think you can tell in Ash’s voice just how much emotion is in there.”
Ash: “I think my favourite part was actually in the weeks running up when we were simply able to get in the same room together and practice. All plugged in and smashing it all out, and that was the first time in about six months. It felt like that first time you come up with a power chord back at college or something. It took me right back. It felt amazing. That’s the joy of music.”
The thing is that now you have a record and a collection of songs that will always remind you of this period of time, both personally and within the band. How does it feel having this as that representation of Kill The Ideal at this point in your career?
Owen [Claxton, Guitarist]: “I think the nice thing about this batch of songs is that I will always be reminded of the flow the pandemic. You know how they say that when you lose somebody you have the cycle of shock, denial, acceptance etc. At the start of the pandemic, people were still a bit worried and that’s when we put out ‘Let’s Get Excited’. Then a bit further on when people were starting to get a bit angry and had had enough, that’s when we put out ‘Scream For Me’. Then we put out ‘Ten’ which is a bit more of a comforting song, which was dropped when acceptance of the situation started to sink in. And now ‘Save The World’ offers a bit of hope as we move forward. When I look back on this in five or ten years time, I will still know that exact trend of events and be able to remember exactly how things were throughout.”
Ash: “It’s about bringing something into the world. I remember when we listened to the record back full blast in [our producer] Simon Jackson’s studio and I had goosebumps, my eyes were welling up and it felt incredible. The thing is that if you want to make money as well as make music, you’re in the wrong job. You have to do it because you love it. This whole journey has just been one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever felt. To get these messages from people that I’ve never met for them to experience this with us, I will never ever forget.”
You also realise just how different a band you are now compared to when the process started…
Jordan: “This EP has given me that thirst for music back. I think as we move forward it will also give me a different approach to how I work after all of this as well."
Ash: “It’s all about finding positives in everything that we do. There is always a positive to be found. One of the things to come out of this whole period is the appreciation of the little things as well. Though music is far from a small thing. It’s a massive thing that saves lives. And a lot of this journey has allowed us to get some perspective on just how lucky we really are.”