"We wanted to be as vulnerable as we could because that was the only way we could show ourselves to the world"
Pridelands have just released their debut album 'Light Bends' through SharpTone Records. And it's been a long time coming.
A collection of songs that play with tension beautifully, it's a record that ebbs and flows between the light and dark that the last few years have provided us. Painstakingly crafted and brimming with corrosive and cathartic releases of emotional grit, it's a debut album of the highest calibre and one that represents not just a shift within the way the world spins but also in the way the band functions.
We spoke to guitarist Liam Fowler moments after the album dropped in their native Australia to find out all about the personal and professional journey they have been on to reach this point...
How does it feel to have this body of work out finally?
"This album has been a long time coming. I started writing it when we released our last EP, and that was in 2018. Because of how long we have been sitting on it, we have gone through the motions so many times. We wanted to get it out, but we also realised that we needed to be patient to get it right. There have been points where it felt like it may never come out, but with every delay and every hurdle, something good has come from it. But at the end of the day, we have written this album because we need to as much as we want to. It’s this innate need to do it, and I’ve also done it with this feeling of not expecting anything from it. When there is an expectation, it places pressure on the things you create. And if you expect something, you’re going to be constantly let down by your own achievements."
So at those first moments of writing, what was your feeling going into creating a full-length? How has that vision shifted throughout actually making it?
"'Any Colour You Desire' as an EP was special for us, especially me. It’s something that I thought was never going to exist. At that time, I even tried to quit. I left the country and wanted to give up. I was at a point when I didn’t think I was good enough to do it. But then I came back, life happened, and everything that I had initially planned on doing outside of music didn’t go to plan. Then the only thing I had was playing music, so making the EP almost felt like a rebirth. Coming out of that and having the drive to write music again and start something was huge. But in terms of how I would approach music and perceive the things that I wrote, my attitude towards things was quite immature. But we knew how much depth we wanted and how volatile we wanted to be in terms of the emotions that we wanted to express. We tried to be as vulnerable as we could because that was the only way to show ourselves to the world. It’s become a collection of frustrations and the darkest sides of our minds because of that. However, it’s been able to show off the lighter sides as well. To me, it’s the sound of coming of age. I feel like I have matured a lot as a person and a songwriter."
It’s easy to forget that the world continues to change and you with it even if you’re going through a linear process like creating art. So the things that you produce will change as well, both in good and bad ways…
"I think that it’s also tough to stop and have those moments of realisation. Not just musicians but artists in general, we all torture ourselves trying to get things out and help them evolve. We all try and tell ourselves to stop taking that step back and take in all of those things. I’m driven and always looking forward, always on to the next something after one thing is done, but I’m trying to stop and find those moments of clarity where you realise you’re maturing and changing. But it takes big things to trigger them, and even then, they only really come with hindsight."
And in terms of the way this album flows is very much the same way your mind drifts. It shifts and bends and explodes at different moments, each feeling impactful in different ways. So how do you go about crafting that, rather than jumping in with two feet and just making something that feels sporadic?
"I think a lot of it comes from deeper reflection. We’ve had moments through this process where we have considered, ‘Fuck this, we are angry’ and written something angry. When we first started, things were very happy-go-lucky, which was fun. That’s where tracks like ‘Antipathy’ come from. But then, in the moments that are more strung out and probably less typical for our genre, it comes down to stepping away from any preconceived idea of what and who other people think we are. We’re not the band who has ever really fitted in. It’s more about what feels right and whether it is real. If it’s forced, it shouldn’t be. That’s where you re-evaluate, and that creates tension in itself. And that tension then bleeds deeper into the music."
So how does all of that become ‘Light Bends’? What is it that holds this album together?
"It’s a title that represents many things, and it’s different to all of us. I can never forget the moment that I knew it was the right thing to define this record. I remember Josh [Cory, Vocalist] coming to me a couple of years before we even started recording anything and saying, ‘What about ‘Light Bends’ as a title?’. I think he even forgot he told me that. But I knew that it was right. To me, it’s something that makes perfect sense. Four of us were living together at the time, three of us still do. We’re brothers at this point, far past just friendship. And ‘Light Bends’ within that means being with each other and seeing the incredible power that comes with being a part of each other’s lives. Seeing each other’s dark sides and at the lowest moments, we all love each other so deeply that we know there is light in there. When you think of that on a broader spectrum, it’s something that I see in other people. Many people like to say that the world sucks, and yeah, it does. Life is suffering, but that doesn’t change its beauty either. It’s a balance. It’s good and evil, light and dark. And ‘Light Bends’ captures that balance. And it feels like the perfect amalgamation of our lives and our times as a band. It’s about being as real as we can about our story."
And that balance is necessary for all parts of your life, especially as we move forwards into unchartered waters…
"Absolutely, and I think that reflects what we are working on now. It’s written about the last couple of years, and it’s not very positive. It’s very dark. But it’s about how you process it and how you can get those feelings out. Personally, I’m not a massive fan of music that focuses solely on life-sucking and pain in a surface level way. We can often underestimate how valuable these dark moments are and how much pain teaches us. The darker side of life also has a lot of light inside it too. You have to find it. That’s the beauty of it. It’s the yin and yang of it all.”