Theme Park: "It’s about the spirit; the voice of the band"
Back with their second album, Theme Park are putting up a fight.
Published: 8:24 am, May 02, 2017
The last four years have seen some glorious highs for Theme Park following the release of their self-titled debut. However, they were tempered by one almighty low as the band parted with their record label. From adversity, though, has emerged a new Theme Park. Ultra-confident and ready to shoot for the moon, they’re determined to push things further than before.
To begin with, it was a matter of just adjusting to being back in the swing of things and what they were about, as singer Miles Haughton explains. “It was really nice to remind myself that that was my job. It was nice to remind ourselves that we were in a band.”
Once they reconfigured to band life and worked out a new path for Theme Park, they embarked on the process of making new album ‘Is This How It Starts?’ with a new sense of self-sufficiency and vigour. “This time we’re putting the album out ourselves,” Miles continues. “We did the last one with Transgressive, but we were dropped. It sounds sad, but actually, it was quite a good thing.”
The album is in some ways a reaction to the debut. While still proud of their first release, Miles admits they wanted to approach it differently this time. “I love the first album, and it was a great time, but when I listen back to it there are lots of things I’d like to change,” he begins. “Lyrically, the one thing I wanted was for the songs now to be about actual things. I was always a bit nervous with lyrics and tried to make them ambiguous and hide behind things.”
It was a simple spark that led to this greater lyrical clarity, as producer Ben Garrett (aka Fryars) implored Miles to “do your lyrics like you do your tweets.” The results were imbued with a freshness and directness that gave Theme Park a new lease of life. “That was a challenge, and that was exciting,” exclaims Miles. “There’s a track called ‘LA is Stealing My Friends’; I wrote that, and it made me laugh. That was originally going to be a tweet.”
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With the pressure off, the feeling of freedom and a relaxed atmosphere allowed Theme Park to spread their wings. There was a slight fear that maybe their new songs were a bit too different but ultimately the feeling of excitement and something new shone through. Their circumstances may have changed, but they’re ready for the fight. “It’s about the spirit. It’s the voice of the band that you hear when you listen.”
There’s no distinct theme or concept around Theme Park’s return, but if there is one defining characteristic, it’s an overwhelming desire to push their boundaries. “The theme of challenging ourselves was something I was thinking about,” says Miles. “When there were decisions to be made, we didn’t want to go for the easy choice.” Stepping way out of his comfort zone, he even attempted a rap on album highlight ‘U R Real’.
Learning from Fyars, the band became adept at producing themselves and completed the album on their own. A stark contrast to the restrictions and demands placed on them with their debut. “It was just so much freer and made more sense to me as a way of working,” says Miles. “The whole process took a long time, but Theme Park were no longer required to jump through hoops for anyone. I saw a tech talk video recently, and the guy was talking about procrastinators and how creatively procrastinating is a good thing. People often come up with good ideas if they let an idea marinade a little bit. I’ve had to defend that position quite a lot with management and labels in the past. Maybe this was an album of procrastination, but that’s for the better as it gave us time to let the songs breathe a bit.”
The band that Theme Park are now isn't drastically different to the one that emerged in the early part of the decade. Instead, the trio are more refined, aware and resolute. “We’re much more in control of what we’re doing. Now, we can see it through from the start,” says Miles. Looking to the future, they’re even beginning to write songs for album three. For now, though, Theme Park are very much back on track.
Theme Park’s album ‘Is This How It Starts?’ is out 5th May.