Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Above The Underground Interview

Chester's Above the Underground are releasing their debut album, Sonder, on the 17th of February and with Property of Zack already giving us a taste of what to expect, this album is definitely one you should pick up this month. Here, Will Kirkman (guitar/vocals) kindly answers a few questions for us...

1. You've been a band for a few years but how did Above the Underground originally form?
We started out like a lot of bands, just as a sort of coalition of local kids who had played in local bands and wanted to start something new. The difference was we wanted to start a band of best mates rather than just a band of musicians. I feel like that's helped give us some longevity. 

2. You’re releasing Sonder in February; it’s received a really good reception how do you feel about that? Sonder will be available for digital download from February 17th. So far everyone seems to be liking it which I have to admit is a bit of a relief. We try really hard to just write for ourselves and not focus too much on what other people think but when you spend so much time and energy on a project like this it's natural to feel nervy about how people are going to take it. So far everyone seems to be really into it.

3. How do you approach the writing process for your music? It changes from song to song, but we tend to focus around a theme or idea and try and make something coherent instead of just throwing ideas together. Sometimes you have to sacrifice cool ideas because it doesn't fit in with the rest of the song, it can be difficult to do but you find yourself doing it more and more as you become a more experienced song writer I think. The basic song structures are written very naturally with an acoustic and a note pad and then we build on them from there. We always end up going through loads of different versions before we come up with something we're happy with, sometimes you have to leave something and come back to it months later but it's important to only put out material that you're completely satisfied with.  

4. How did you decide on the artwork for Sonder? We used our old friend Joe Latham who we've been working with for years on various projects. Joe's a great guy and always puts a lot of time and thought into the projects he's working on. We brainstormed a load of ideas initially and came up with a few themes which we thought suited the album. We went through quite a few different ideas before we settled with something we were happy on. It took a good few months to come up with the artwork in its final form but we all love it so I'm glad it turned out the way it did. I can't stand it when good albums have shitty artwork so we treat it with as much importance as we would a song.

5. How is Sonder different from your previous releases such as Autumns and your split with On my Honor? I feel like we've grown a lot musically and as people and hopefully that comes across on the record. The writing process was quite a bit different this time around, not only was it a lot more natural but we spent a lot longer on it. We also got to spend a lot more time in the studio recording it with our friend Matt O'Grady this time around and that really helped shape the sound of the record. We didn't rush anything and had the time to let it turn out the way it should.

6. You’ve recently been on tour with Me vs. Hero in Europe, how was that? It was fun, touring's always great. Europe's a lot of fun and we got to see a lot of old friends and make some new ones too.

7. What is your favourite place to visit in Europe? Prague's cool, Rome was cool. I love Germany, I think it's probably my favourite European country. The people are always so nice and the cities are really cool. I'm glad we got to play more shows there this time around.

8. Out of all the tours you’ve been on, what is your favourite tour memory? Probably stepping out of the plane in Knoxville airport on our US tour and getting hit by the humidity and hearing the sound of crickets for the first time in my life and thinking, "fuck, we're actually here". 

9. You’re also heading out to Russia in a few months is that an exciting prospect? Definitely. We love going to places we've never been because it's so exciting. It's always a little scary too but that just adds to the fun of it all.

10. You’ve toured with quite a few bands, but who’s been your favourite so far? That's a difficult question but I'd probably say either On My Honor or Audiostrobelight.

11. Where do you see yourselves by the end of the year, do you have any specific goals?  We're just going to tour as much as we possibly can and keep writing new music. We want to play shows in as many countries as possible and we've already got some cool new tours in the works which we'll be announcing soon.

Listen to Sonder here.

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