Another Sky are set to follow a bumper twelve months of touring, festivals and biting social commentary with another standout year. Leading the charge with new single 'Brave Face' - out now via Fiction Records - it's an assertive and thoughtful first step towards their debut album, due later this year. Vocalist and lyricist Catrin Vincent tells us more.
Hey Catrin, how's it going? Had a good first-few-weeks of the year?
It's been intense, but good, thanks. Dropped lots of eggs. Drew the death card a few times, which means a big change is coming.
Tell us about your new song 'Brave Face', what's it about?
The term 'brave face' was written for a friend, inspired by something an ex said to me about toughening up, something that loosely translated as pretending nothing was wrong. I guess he felt I shouldn't ask for help because he'd been taught not to ask himself. When I started standing up for myself more and asked for what I actually wanted, he told me I'd changed. It seemed like a big double standard.
So with this song, I wanted to question the meaning of a 'brave face'. Bravery isn't acting masculine; bravery is multifaceted. I could tell my friend was the opposite, scared that if she wasn't a giving and self-sacrificing person 100% of the time, she wouldn't be a kind person anymore and she might lose what made her who she was. But in my view, that was a way for this guy to control her, to make her think she wasn't as much of a woman if she demanded what she deserved. Kindness and assertiveness aren't directly correlated. If the only person you're not kind to is yourself, it's not true kindness.
You can break down one day and put on your brave face the next, and it doesn't change who you are. You don't gain masculinity by being stoic, just like you don't lose femininity by standing up for yourself. They're not related.
I really love what Naomi Alderman wrote in her book The Power, "Gender is a shell game. What is a man? Whatever a woman isn't. What is a woman? What a man is not. Tap on it, and it's hollow. Look under the shells: It's not there."
I think there's an age every woman reconnects with their anger and we are met with a lot of resistance because of stupid ideas about what women and men should be.
And it's a teaser from your debut, how exciting! How far along with the album are you?
So close to finishing. More vocal takes dammit. They'll never end. We'll be updating the songs on Spotify after we've released it, I swear.
Have you figured out your ratio of older material vs new for the tracklisting?
I think it's exactly half and half!
Are there any new songs we've not yet heard that you're especially excited for?
The whole band are excited for a certain song about a past life as a fish. It's super relatable.
Have you come up against any unexpected challenges in creating the album? Has there been much of a learning curve?
We produced a lot of it ourselves, so it was difficult to know when to give up on certain songs and work with a producer. Producer Jolyon Thomas adds a visceral clarity to a few tracks. There's one song we went into the studio with him for, and I cried every day. I couldn't write the chorus, and I felt like I was letting everyone down and didn't deserve to be there. I guess I've learned how to let a song go because it's a collaboration, and learn not to be a perfectionist. It's okay if there's one chorus I can't nail. In a life full of writing choruses, one I'm not 100% on is pretty good going. I'm sure it's the same for all of us. This album has been made over the past five years, so we've all grown with each other and learned how to let go of our egos.
Have you put much thought into the album's accompanying artwork or aesthetic yet?
As usual, Mikey Burey will be making our artwork, and the concept is subversion. The artwork will feature floors in an abstract way. In one song, Riverbed, there's a line about the sky becoming the bottom of a well, so it'll be fun to play with that. There's a lyric I had to take out, so I guess I can tell you! 'In the ground lies the most honest view, death in the roots of a world built for you'. I love the idea of 'hitting rock bottom' or 'the gutter' actually being the most beautiful place because you can see clearer there. The artwork will continue Burey's beautiful aesthetic of face-melting school children and eggs. Man, I've just remembered he has an obsession with eggs in his artwork. I've been dropping so many. Maybe there's a connection there...
What else have you guys got coming up, lots of live dates?
We've got a UK tour in April. Is it announced yet? I don't even know. I don't actually know how much I'm supposed to be telling you.
Is there anything else we should know?
If this album doesn't do well, we're packing it in to follow our dreams of being receptionists and fireplace company representatives. Finito. Goodbye.
Another Sky's single 'Brave Face' is out now; they'll tour the UK from 15th April.