Thursday, 22 August 2013

Neck Deep Interview

Neck Deep describe themselves as "some honest, down to earth pop punk from the UK" and we can't put it better ourselves. Since bursting onto the scene this quintet have released two successful EPs and have recently signed to Hopeless Records, home of The Wonder Years, All Time Low, Yellowcard and more. So on the eve of a big tours with The Wonder Years and releasing their debut album we caught up with bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans to find out what's next for Neck Deep!

Hi Neck Deep! Thanks for doing this interview, we’re gonna start by saying a massive congratulations for signing to Hopeless Records! How awesome was that for you guys and how did it come about?

Thank you very much! It’s on an unfathomable level of awesomeness to be honest! When I first heard there was even contact and there was interest from Hopeless, I pretty much spent the rest of the day giggling like a little girl at the very thought of it. But basically I think it was common knowledge that we were unsigned, and doing a full length and our recent trip to the states to play a couple shows opened some eyes I believe. The shows sold out and the footage online spread pretty fast, I believe they saw some of that and it just started very casually with them wanting to just chat to us about it, learn more about the band and everything progressed naturally from there. Couldn’t be more stoked.

Will signing a record deal change anything about Neck Deep?

Not at all, which is one of the things we found most exciting about Hopeless and what made us feel like it was the perfect fit. They are so keen to help us find what we wanna be, how we wanna do things and how they can help us reach that goal, with them on side as one big team. They aren’t in it to change people. They made it clear in the early stages they want to help find out a band’s mission statement and make it the goal of the whole process, and follow how we see the band, rather than trying to rebrand it or change anything. Plus a lot of the material for the full length was wrote before the signing even came about, so it can’t have changed any of that.

What’s next for Neck Deep? We hear you’re in the process of making a new album?
Yeah we are at the back end of the process to be honest, we are at the stage now of getting mixes back and tweaking them and such. All that’s left after that is mastering and the process is done, so it’s basically a wrap in some respects.

How will your next release differ from ‘Rain in July’?
I feel like it’s a much more mature sound. I hate saying clich├ęs like ‘we really found our sound’ but it really does apply. I feel like it’s still everything people love about us, but refined into a more solid vibe. I don’t want to give much away at this stage so I’ll just say we really feel like it will open eyes to our bands growth and potential. It’s most certainly not the same songs you have heard from us before and it has a lot more variety than our other 2 EP’s.

How do you approach the writing process?
We have a pretty much set in stone process that we feel works for us so it’s the same model each time. Either me or Lloyd (usually Lloyd) writes an instrumental track, we record it sketchy with program drums, then give it to Ben and he just writes lyrics and melodies over it. He then brings it to us and goes ‘here’s what I have’. Sometimes we kinda play with ideas and change things up a bit, but 99% of the time we just love what he has for it and that’s the song done. It’s a pretty standard model for writing a song I believe, there is no mad secret to our method.

You chose to release Rain in July on vinyl, which is starting to see resurgence in popularity, what were your reasons for this?
Well the resurgence in popularity I guess is an accidental by-product of the vinyl release as we took pre-orders for the vinyl literally months ago. It was always supposed to go out on vinyl, but we ended up having problems with who was supposed to release it, plans fell through and circumstances changed so it took a long time to resolve that problem.

Do you prefer recording or playing live?
Playing live for sure, recording is good fun and being in the environment where you can hear a song come to life on record that you have worked over for a period of time is great. But playing that song live, seeing people singing back to you and seeing people connect with that song you have written, is the best feeling in the world.

In November you’re touring with The Wonder Years, how did that come about and are you looking forward to it?
I’m not too sure exactly how that came about to be honest, we just got offered it! But we are so stoked for it, literally buzzing. We all are massive fans of The Wonder Years and of Real Friends also. Plus the ticket sales are doing amazing and most of the venues have been upgraded in size, which has never happened to a tour we have been a part of!

Who is the fussiest person in the band on tour when it comes to washing etc?
Dani for sure. He is a little girl when it comes to this. Everyone likes being able to shower but if it’s not possible you just get on with it, but he will throw a paddy if he can’t have one. He is just generally the most fussy about everything on tour really. To make it fair though I will be honest and say that in the same light I’m the least fussy about showers, probably so much that’s it a bad thing. I’ll go a few days which is pretty gross.

You guys are known for your partying, what are your worst drunken habits and do you have any funny stories?
I was unaware we are known for our partying! That’s pretty funny though. Oh my lord I could write an essay on this subject. Drunken habits… just loads and loads of drunk dancing and singing, we all love to dance when we drink. Even if there isn’t music we will just dance. Stories though… we went to this club night after a show on one tour and all got severely drunk. This place called ‘Kasbar’.  The night went down in Neck Deep history for the events that transpired. I won’t go into too much details but we all got really really drunk- Dani did something gross on Ben’s pillow and I threw up everywhere. I won’t be any more specific than that. 

 All of you come from different parts of the UK, how did you form?
Well Lloyd and West were in a hardcore band called Spires. I met them through another band I was in called Climates and I ended up playing bass for Spires on their last tour. Ben is the brother of Seb Barlow who did all of Spires recording and had all been friends for years. Dani was some great drummer kid from the internet they got sort of recruited really.

What are your top five favourite pop punk albums?
Holy crap, I really can;t even answer that, just Blink, New Found Glory and Sum 41 records. 

Where is the best place you’ve ever toured?
Well we didn’t really ‘tour’ Florida, but we played shows there and it was incredible, other than that we have only toured the UK. But we are going Australia in November!

Who are your favourite upcoming bands from the UK right now and why?
Climates, melodic hardcore band from Lincoln have a couple EPs out which are awesome. Roam are another sick pop punk band we have played with that are ones to watch. Me Vs Hero aren’t really upcoming but they have a new record coming out which I’m looking forward too.

You guys have grown in popularity massively since you formed, what do you put this down to? Devilish good looks, gigging, or just hard work and talent?
Certainly the devilish good looks. Nothing else. Just kidding, I think just really positive word of mouth, we just made music we enjoyed and happened to do something people enjoy a lot. If people are super into something you don’t really need to push people to share something they just do it naturally. I think our band is just a perfect example of the science behind the snowball effect.

Pop Punk is often affiliated with pizza, what are your favourite pizza toppings?
Pepperoni and jalapenos! There is a place near me that I recently discovered makes a Nandos piri piri pizza! So im going to try that this week, so this answer might change next week.

If US Pop Punk is associated with pizza, what food do you think UK Pop Punk should be associated with?
If it’s gotta be proper british then probably fish and chips… or maybe tea and crumpets. Both of which I really like so I’m cool with that. 

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