"It’s about showing off as much as possible in the way that makes the most sense.”
Never Loved have just released their debut full-length 'Over It' via Equal Vision Records.
A culmination of near enough five years of songwriting and soul-searching, it's a record chock full of as much sun-stained joy as existential melancholy. Fun, furious and full of piercing familiarity, it's been a labour of love for vocalist Cameron Knopp that also serves as a jumping-off point for what's coming next.
We jumped on the phone with Cam to discuss the process and what the journey so far has taught him...
How did you know when it was the right time to piece together a full-length album?
“So I wrote some of the songs on this record almost five years before Never Loved was even a band. This project started in a similar way that the Foo Fighters started, what with it just being me not being able to find the right footing, so deciding to focus on the music part more than the band parts. When I took some songs to [Matt] Squire to work on before Equal Vision was involved, that’s when we realised that this was more of a band and what we were working on.
“So it was never really a case of sitting down and working on a full-length. It was more a case of just getting all the best songs together. The moments it hit us what we were doing was when we were on tour in July 2019. When there were conversations with the label and dates started to be set, that’s when it all of a sudden started to feel a lot more real. That was the snap moment where we knew we had to start cracking down on some tunes. In terms of actual time since then, it feels like it has been a long time waiting to get these songs out into the world. We spent so much time and effort in the studio working on this, and it didn’t feel right to release it just because. It felt right to wait till now.”
Those songs that have been with you for nearly five years, what is it about them that has stuck with you? What is it about them that has meant they have made it this far?
“We haven’t just kept them there just because every song had to fight its way to get onto this record. But I think keeping those older songs was because I don’t write songs like them anymore. There is something different about them, and that’s why I don’t like writing records all in one go. Doing it over some time means that you’re able to see how you evolve and grow as a writer.
“And sometimes there are gaps in an album that you need to fill with a certain track. ‘Find Out’ is a good example, which has existed since before Never Loved, and has a certain feeling that the record didn’t have. The same with ‘Autumn’. They are tracks that offer up something different, regardless of the date. I go through different phases in life as a writer, and I think that bleeds into the music. ‘Autumn’ was written off the back of a pretty rough breakup, so I was writing some more melancholy stuff at the time. It’s all dependant on what I'm going through.”
So you consider this record a culmination of all of those different mindsets and experiences and present it as a cross-examination of every side of you…
“I feel like this record became more of a symbol for me to keep on pushing. I remember sitting in the studio with Squire working on the EP we were going to release before Equal Vision signed us and saying, ‘It’ll be amazing to one day do a full record with you’. At the time, it seemed pretty impossible, you know? Then sitting there two and half years later making this album, it’s become a monument of sorts to me.”
So what was the thing that you wanted to be the string that ties ‘Over It’ together? What’s the common theme throughout all these songs?
“We had a couple of through lines, and creating them was the biggest task. A lot of it we tried to derive from tones. So the guitar tones and drum tones were the starting point, then we moved onto my vocals and making it sound like a Never Loved song, even if it was a different style. Then it was about letting the album breathe and exist allowed it all to come together much better. We’ve always felt as though there’s a Side A and a Side B to the band. The A-Side is much upbeat and pop-punk. Then on the other side is things that are darker and heavier. It’s about showing off as much as possible in the way that makes the most sense.”
It’s like the heart fluttering on one side and it then breaking on the other. Life has a Side A and a Side B, too, so making sure your music does too is equally as important…
“That’s exactly it. The result is more like a diary to me. I didn’t sit down and try and write this whole album in one go about one thing. It’s all of this different shit that has happened, and writing about it has become an outlet.”
So, where does ‘Over It’ as a sentiment fit into all of that?
"There are common themes in these songs where there’s a resolution. So with ‘Over It’, it’s about going through something you don’t want to be going through, but it’s ok to feel like that. It sucks right now, but keep going. Then you have the choice to wallow in it, or you can continue. Ironically, we didn’t anticipate the title and feel of this record to mean something such as this with COVID happening and everything. Like we felt like we related to it even more so than before.
“I wouldn’t say that the term ‘Over It’ defines the whole record, but I feel like Never Loved is pretty well defined by it. Most of our stuff is about pushing through all the existential crisis that we have whenever they hit.”
What are your immediate feelings with the album now being out in the world?
“It feels like we’ve been able to close the book on the last year. Holy shit, that was terrible. It’s time to move on now. There are a couple of things I have taken away from experience, though. Trust your gut, trust the process, chill and be grateful. Like we feel so lucky that we have been able to drop this record at the time we have. I had no idea where we would be if we had released this earlier on. For a new band like us, it’s important to keep things fresh and new. So things could have been very different. There were many ups and down within the process of making this album. But I’ll always remember to tell myself that everything is always going to be fine. I feel like we are taking things with us that we wouldn’t have known if we hadn’t been forced to step back for a moment. Now we’re here and ready to go.”
Through any doubt and worry, the thing that stood with you through the whole thing is these songs you have written and this album you have crafted…
“It became the light at the end of the tunnel.”
And what does it mean to have Never Loved being such a massive part of your life right now?
“Not to sound lame, but it pretty much is my life. Music is what we love doing, but the band is about so much more than that. It’s about the experiences and the people that it brings. Being able to get back to it and do what we do is everything. I started this thing by myself, and now we have so many amazing people with us on the journey. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”