Words - Stevie Blackburn
With the release date of Above the Undergrounds new EP approaching, Noise Addiction caught up with Frontman, Will Kirkman and Bassist Nick Barlow to talk about the meaning behind ‘Autumns’, their ideal festival line-ups and the bands recent signing to Lazy Bear records.
What do you think had been the bands best achievement to date?
Will: I think for me, writing and recording “Autumns” was our best achievement. We’ve played some fairly big shows and gone on some decent tours but musically Autumns is the best thing we’ve done and the first thing we’re all totally proud of.
Nick: I feel that everything we have done is an achievement. Looking back on the 2 and a half year we’ve done a hell of a lot, played some amazing shows, toured with some great bands and written a record that we’re all proud of.
How did the name Autumns come about for the new record?
Will: Certain songs on the EP describe events that happened in, or were related to in some way, Autumn. Although it doesn’t have a theme overall, a concept that keeps coming up repeatedly in the lyrics is change. We felt “Autumns” tied in with this and described the overall mood of the record.
Nick: Autumn has been really our most positive and hard working season; we got together in Autumn 2009, did our first tour and also wrote this record.
The new record sounds more mature than your previous records, is this the new direction for ATU?
Will: We’ve grown up as people since we started out and I think that’s reflected in our music, so I can’t see us going back to having synths and singing songs about parties if I’m honest. Not that I didn’t love that, it was awesome, but it just doesn’t suit us any more.
Do you think as a band you’ve changed much since your past EP’s?
Will: As people, no. We still work and act very much the same way as we did when we first started out, we’re a bunch of weird guys and to be honest I can’t see that changing. Musically I feel we’ve not so much changed as progressed. It wasn’t a conscious decision as such. We’ve never really sat decide what we like and what we don’t. But things are definitely different, the music now means more to us I think.
Nick: A lot changes in music anyway and it’s forever progressing. After Joey (ex-synth and member) left the band our writing focused a lot more around the guitars. I just think it’s the growth of the band, there’s been a lot of hard work into this release so I feel it’s more honest and more so ‘us’ as a band.
Where do you find the inspiration for the songs?
Nick: I only really write bass so what lyrics are written and such are more than likely personal to Will.
Will: I tend to write almost as a natural response to anything that’s happening in my life at the time. One thing I noticed, when I was writing Evelyn, was that if a song meant more to me personally, it would come out as a better song than if I was writing about something I didn’t care about. So I guess I find inspiration from the things that mean a lot to me at the time or that I learned something from in hindsight. It makes for more honest music that way I think.
Which bands or artists inspire the band?
Will: So many bands. We all love pop-punk, from early Blink all the way to the bands like Fireworks and The Story So Far that are coming out today. Al and Nick are really into their hardcore, and Bran’s a big metal fan. Personally, when we wrote the last record, I was listening to a lot of post hardcore, a lot of emo bands like Midtown and Daytrader. I think it all has an effect, although it might not all be obvious, it’ll be there somewhere.
Nick: Blink 182 always is the one for us. Myself being a bassist it’s Mark Hoppus. We grew up listening to Blink, New Found Glory and Sum 41 and this is still the case. I think we also inspire each other to work harder and really push our boundaries.
You’ve recently been signed to Lazy Bear records, How did that feel?
Nick: Great to be honest. It’s nice have another opinion and option on board with us, it gives us a better idea of what else we can achieve as you very much can’t see out of ‘the box’ I like to call it cos we’re the ones who make it all and maybe don’t realise where we could be going right or wrong. So it’s good to have some professional guidance there to help us along. We’re really looking forward to our future with this label, they understand us as a band and what we do, so it’s the best of both worlds and now we can actually concentrating on being in the band, being musicians rather than business men and having to do loads of marketing and PR, cos the label know exactly what they’re doing.
The video for Under The Weather has over 9000 plays on YouTube, have you noticed the increasing fan base?
Will: It’s hard to tell. It’s definitely seems to have got people excited for the release; there have been some really amazing comments on the video. I’m excited that other people are excited to hear our stuff.
Nick: We notice the likes going up on the Facebook page and more people coming out to shows.
Where can people go to listen to you guys?
Will: Facebook, YouTube, just search Above The Underground. We’ll have a link up on May 18th where you’ll be able to download our new EP for free.
What’s the plan for Above the Underground for the rest of the year then?
Will: We’ve got some pretty major tours in the works, so we’re focusing on that at the minute. We’re also planning on putting out a 7″ split with another band.
Nick: and a new music video or something like that!
Above the Undergrounds EP, Autumns is set for release Friday 18th May via Lazy Bear Records and will be available as a free download. Keep checking out the bands Facebook page for more info. Their video for Under The Weather is currently on YouTube, watch it by clicking here.