Rejoice, Dear Reader. Leeds sextet - that's six of them, dontchaknow - Talkboy have just dropped their brand new, debut EP 'Over & Under' via Come Play With Me / LAB Records.
Long-term attendees of this parish will be more than aware that we're fans of the band, who dropped their debut 'cut' 'Mother' last year, and since followed it up with new tracks 'Someone Else For You' and 'Wasting Time', which both appear on this latest release.
After a summer of 'festivals and that'. they'll be out on the road this month supporting the likes of Honeyblood, Declan Welsh and The Howl & The Hum. You can read their thoughts on the new EP below, stream it online now, and get a physical release - including bonus acoustic tracks - from 29th November.
This tune actually started life as a very different song - the only part we liked was the main guitar/vocal hook, and the rest of it was just pretty standard nothingness. It took ages to fix, we went through a lot of chords and cliche musical bits, a lot of 'just do something a bit more… random, you know, just mess it up, don't think A- B, think A-X-U-B-Z' and all hope seemed lost. After a while, though we stumbled upon some chords we really liked, and it all came together very spontaneously from there. It's always exciting when you have tried loads of stuff that is really truly just objectively bad, then something comes along that is interesting, and it doesn't feel like you're fighting with the song any more. If we're getting super into this (you did ask - we only need to be asked once) the last bit that made it was putting the intro in G and the main body of the song in C, I think that helps give a really nice lift when it all comes in the first time and then again at the end.
'Wasting Time' was the first one we recorded with Mickey Dale in his basement in Bradford. If I remember correctly it was a super quick process as well, we got all the instruments done in one day and then had a full second day to get pretty indulgent with vocals and percussion and tiny pianos, and for a little while, we felt like we were in the 60s.
Lyrically, it's about the catch 22 situation we often tend to find ourselves in; that we should enjoy our lives as much as we can while we're young, but at the same time, there is an overriding feeling that you are just wasting your time doing whatever you are doing. There's also a hell of a lot of comparison going on at the moment, whether it's to where your parents were by your age, your mates from school, the people around you or even people you don't know from social media. Especially now, bands always have to look as if they are doing amazing all the time, the best gig ever, the best time recording, what a wonderful time we had going to the shop on our break at rehearsal, you know, the kind of thing you desperately skip through on Instagram stories. Even though we are massive culprits of this ourselves, I'm looking at other bands and thinking, "woah that looks like real fun". We all love doing this, we get to do stuff that we really did aspire to as kids, but (of course there is a but) you do have to make a fair amount of sacrifices, and, when you have a few bad gigs or whatever, it can feel like you are wasting your time. With this one, we tried to embrace that anxiety and acknowledge that everyone has those thoughts.
This is our first venture into the scary world of the love song. It's a very honest account of a relationship I had that wasn't even really a relationship. In retrospect, it was one of those that meant a whole lot more to me than it did to the other person, it's weird to look back and think of all the things you did to try to impress someone. I didn't really intend it to go that way, when I have an idea that I think might turn into a song I just kind of mumble stuff (so happy that no one has ever caught me doing this) and the first thing that came out that made any sense was the line 'to think that I was someone else for you' and it was then I realised I had some deep pent up resentment that needed addressing. After that, the song came together very quickly, Jake did a great job of doing his thing and making it INTENSE and then everyone chipped in with ideas to bend your ear.
It was recorded in a session with Over & Under and Hollow Spheres with our man Mickey again. We didn't have loads of time so had to make pretty fast decisions, and I'm really glad for that. There is no way to say this without sounding stupid, it is a very songy song, I'm sure and hope you know what I mean. We could have thrown lots at it, but it would have just made it worse. I remember us all hearing Katie do the vocal and just knowing that whatever we did, that had to be the absolute focus for the whole track.
The initial inspiration for the song came from a dream I had in which my mum saw me on a night out. I woke up in the morning and felt really guilty, which is pretty silly really isn't it. After I got a vague demo together, we finished the writing process together. The lyrics for the second verse were written collaboratively and then Katie had the idea to split the first verse between her and Calum, which gave it a really interesting edge. This was the only one out of the bunch that was recorded at the Nave studios in Leeds with another one of our close pals, Alex Greaves. It was our first session technically as Talkboy and Mother was the only song out of the four we recorded that was up to scratch really.
I think, in a similar way to the kind of thing we were talking about in Wasting Time, you can be made to feel bad about pretty much anything at the moment. There are so many outlets trying to tell you that you're doing something wrong, telling you that you should do this and that to make your life better. I think it's getting increasingly easy to get bogged down by all that stuff. But I like to think that it's ok to mess stuff up, we're collectively pretty good at that in Talkboy, maybe with the exception of Sarge but I think that's just part of figuring out who you are.
This one was written after I had gone back to the town I grew up in for a party and was feeling oh so cynical. I do remember feeling really excited writing it though, the music and arrangement came together really naturally, but the words took a good few weeks to get right. Even after all my trying and brainpower, it didn't make sense - one of the lines originally had the phrase' psychoanalytical analysis' which means absolutely nothing. Thankfully Calum corrected it to 'pseudointellectual analysis' which is actually what I was trying to say all along I was just too stupid. Also, the original demo was a good 40bpm slower than the version that we ended up recording, I think it actually gets better the faster we play it. When we do it live, if you see Katie aggressively tapping her foot and Jake looking angry, it's because Katie thinks Jake has started too slow and Jake thinks that Katie thinks it should be faster than it is. Also, keep an eye out for Charlotte, never has a keyboard been played more intensely.
As mentioned before, this was recorded with Mickey Dale in the same session as Someone Else For You and Hollow Spheres so not much more to say about that - lots of coffee.
A wonderful American Company called vinyl moon picked this to be on a vinyl compilation album for a US release which is very exciting indeed. Brandon, who runs the company, wrote something about the song that I thought was really cool and summed it up really very well so I'll leave that here - "Over & Under is the most fun you've had with social anxiety,It distils the moment you can't stand it any longhand dash out of the party, hand in hand with a new flame, and race out into the night in search of something more, or, at the very least, something different.
As a band who are also a really good group of mates, we tend to write and play music about stuff that has happened to us or someone we care about. I think this song is a really good example of that. People go through stuff every day, sometimes it can be trivial stuff, other times it can be major. In any case, you can't stop bad stuff happening to the people you care about, but I think if you can just show up, then that goes a little way to making it a little better.
We recorded this one in a session with another song (RIP Dragonflies, hopefully, we will make you good one day) in Bradford with Mickey. We had done a fair few sessions with him by this point so had a chance to maybe experiment a bit more with production. I remember us all being particularly excited by the quiet middle section, or the 'Pet Sounds' section as we like to call it.
Let's not beat around the bush here, Hollow Spheres is a big one for us lot. Maybe before getting too far into the meaning, we'll start with the other stuff. The original demo was a really low key sort of thing with arpeggiated pianos and other electronic stuff, I still actually really like that version but, as is the case with all the songs on the EP, it really came to life when we all got together and fleshed it out. Similarly, in the studio, Mickey did a really great job of capturing it exactly how we wanted it.
It's difficult to talk about this one without getting all emotional and deep, but I've been reading this book (one of my two a year) called 'A History of the World in 10 and a Half Chapters' by Julian Barnes and this part in particular I thought was pretty good - "There is no response to most human feelings. Not merely hope, but any burdensome yearning: ambition, hatred, love (especially love) - how rarely do our emotions meet the object they seem to deserve? How hopelessly we signal; how dark the sky; how big the waves. We are all lost at sea, washed between hope and despair, hailing something that may never come to rescue us." If anyone wants me to come and brighten up your party, feel free to drop us a line on any social media platforms.