Taking the title of their forthcoming EP from a beloved The Wonder Year’s song, vocalist/guitarist Seb Harper reveals: ""Someone You Could Trust" is relevant to the context of the EP and the message we are trying to portray: the effect that other people can have on someone’s happiness, health and life experience." As their first band, the project began life as an extra-curricular school activity at the tender age of 14, picking a name which "sounded pretty cool. Not so much anymore." Now seeing the eldest member turn 20, they say: "We’ve achieved more than we’d initially hoped - playing at huge venues such as Manchester Academy, Fac251; releasing our first EP in 2016 and having toured the UK twice. We are nothing more than a high school band that didn’t stop, carrying on to get to the stage that we are now. It wasn’t the quickest journey but its definitely been the most fun." Within the genre they are inspired by the likes of The Story So Far and New Found Glory, creating a scrappy and lively pop-punk, in combination with flairs borrowed from classic rock and hardcore. In the lead up to SYCT’s release next month, the band are pleased to give you further insight with this track-by-track…
1 - Life Hits You Hard:
Life Hits You Hard is our take on the fast EP opener as we really wanted to push that high energy sound that we label ourselves with constantly. It was actually the final song that we wrote for this record, with its origins coming from the fact that we desperately wanted to open the EP with a bang. The song came to life from one chord progression in the intro and we really just pushed it out from there. Our plan from the start was to make this song as fast and direct as possible, no messing about with any interludes or build-ups, as we didn’t want to give people a chance to calm down. It’s the epitome of what we are all about.
Recording this song was simple and straightforward, probably because it’s a simple song! We went into the studio knowing exactly what we wanted this track to sound like so there really wasn’t much work that needed putting into getting it record ready.
I wanted there to be a song on this EP that described our journey as a band since we formed as 15/16 year olds around four years ago, so I thought what better song to use to portray our past, present and future than the song that perfectly defines our energetic attitudes. Starting out as school kids it has always felt that bands around us have looked down upon us in the past and not taken us seriously, which is why for the past four years “We’ve got nowhere fast.” We’re still confident on our ability, we’ve been learning and improving together since we formed and now we are at the point where we are happy with our sound, attitudes and where we are hopefully heading, that’s the message of Life Hits You Hard.
We’re unbelievably happy with the outcome of this song, there wasn’t really much that could go wrong with it so it really has had a perfect outcome to us! For any gig goers out there, we’ve been opening all our shows with this song, so brace yourselves!
2- Take it Or Leave it:
This is the oldest song on the record, originally written in mid-2016. This probably affects the fact that Take it Or Leave it is our most raw, thrashy song. Having said that it feels like the writing of this song was a turning point for us as a band, as it marks the transition between our more childish punk vibes into trying to create something more meaningful and intricate. We altered and edited bits of this song a lot over the years, meaning it contains elements of us at our rawest, but also moments of detail that we never had when we first wrote the song. Most of it is loud, angsty and edgy but as the song draws to a close the vibe completely flips as everything stops into a mellow, questioning buildup until the song kicks back in, but instead of the angst and edge, we went for emotional, powerful vibes that completely contradict the first 5 or so minutes of the record.
We really went to town with recording the end of this song. We’d been excited to go crazy and add as many tracks and sound onto the final section for a long time, so it felt good for the ideas we had to come to life. We layered up track after track of different vocal lines and harmonies and got a few bits of gang vocals in there too. We’re really happy with how this turned out, it could have been very sloppy and messy, but luckily with the help of producer Dave Page (White Bear Studios) it came out exactly, if not better than we imagined.
Take it Or Leave it is the breakup song that every pop punk record apparently needs. The lyrics tackle the topic of insensitivity, selfishness and how people can change for the worse without explanation. Hopefully this breakup song doesn’t come across as cheesy and whiney, but rather a more mature, introspective analysis on personalities.
Having so much hope for this song and so much time to plan it out, we were worried that the outcome wouldn’t reach our high expectations. We were blown away by how the finished track sounded, it met every hope we had and more.
We’ve been playing it live for around 2 years now so we know it unbelievably well! Sometimes we feel that this song isn’t our best because we’ve had it for such a long time, but people’s reactions to us performing it remind us that it’s not too bad.
3 - I Feel Bad, But You Should Feel Worse:
The feel good song. This one’s upbeat, catchy and incredibly happy yet somehow its ended up as our heaviest song. We wrote this with the intentions of creating something for people to sing along and have a good time to, which it ended up being for a while. It’s even got a cheesy key change! When we took it into the studio to be recorded, our producer Dave said he didn’t like the key change. We took his advice and somehow ended up changing the tuning from Drop D to Drop C and writing a 30 second breakdown to precede the key change. It’s a really different song to what it was before the studio and it captures all vibes, from singalong to throwing down. Mega EZcore vibes.
The lyrics for this song don’t really mean a huge amount, we just wanted to get people psyched and have a melody to sing to. The chorus really captures that inspiring catchy vibe in our opinion. Memorise those hooks for us.
IFBBYSFW has changed almost completely during its time in the studio and that’s 100% for the better. We’re so glad that this song turned out the way it did, it’s gone from being our least promising tune to our most exciting and out there banger.
4 - Target Practice:
To us, Target Practice is the best and most meaningful song that we’ve ever written. It’s a song that captures our more serious, hard personalities and it’s a song that we can all relate to lyrically and musically. You can expect to find a mellow edge to this song, switching between calm and questioning energy, straight into full on anger driven hooks.
We wrote this song after pondering on different variations of the intro riff for quite a while. When we finally made it to elaborating on the riff we didn’t want to overcomplicate the song into something technical yet unenjoyable. We wanted to find that perfect mix between technicality and simplicity that creates and interesting yet catchy tune. The ending of the song is our first attempt at a real instrumental section, which hopefully shows our more creative edge.
Similar to Life Hits You Hard, the recording of this song was really straightforward, mainly due to the fact that we knew exactly what we wanted to come out of this song and its not really too complicated at all.
The lyrical content of this track talks about how other people can try their best to bring you down when they see you doing well for yourself. Certain people will try anything to ruin your happiness when they don’t have it themselves and you’ve just got to brush it off and show people that you’re better than that and rise above them.
We’re really pleased with how this song has come out. The recording has captured every bit of emotion that we put into the writing of the track and its come out better than anything that we could’ve hoped for. Hopefully people can relate to this song as much as we do and it can be one of those songs that might inspire somebody to do great things with themselves and others around them.
Live, its quite a difficult song to perform! We love to put it last in the set because there’s no better song to finish a show with but that can take its toll as we probably need the most energy to do this song justice. We love playing it though and we can tell that we’ve got a good one in this tune because people seem to be immersed throughout the 3 or so minutes that it lasts.
5 - Headache:
There was no song better to end the EP than Headache. Its our anthemic, emotional song and it’s a massive contrast to the vibe at the start of the EP. Our nickname for it is ‘Sad Song’, because that’s what it is, a sad song. Having said that it still contains all the catchiness and high energy attitude that we contain.
We wrote this song just after the news of Chester Bennington’s death, so when I sat down to write the lyrics for the track, that was the main thing on my mind. It got me thinking introspectively and how other people’s actions can affect somebody massively, especially when there’s nobody around to listen to you and give you that helping hand that is needed.
Recording this song, we tried a couple of things that are unique to this song. We double tracked each guitar with an acoustic guitar part to add thickness and depth to the sound, which we think worked really well. The bridge section of this song came together whilst we were in the studio. The section felt quite empty and boring to us so we wanted to add another dimension to the song. Luckily in the studio was a piano so we made full use of that. The melody that we played throughout the bridge is a variation of one of the beginning riffs that also closes the song, acting as a little theme for the song.
Once again, we’re so happy with how this track turned out. It sounds so huge, which we were aiming for because if the track was slightly sloppy or weak it just wouldn’t have worked. Again, we have only David Page to thank for the amazing job that he’s done on every track of this record to help them reach their full potential.