INTERVIEW: Keep Breathing | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Keep Breathing’s frontman Liam Milne admits that, at some points during their year-long hiatus, the group “were pretty close in some cases to losing everything.” However, the band formerly known as WTCHRS have taken their experiences and turned them into a positive driver for their new, rebranded group. “As much as the hiatus was a nightmare, in a way, it was an experience which has been unifying,” says Liam. A little more than a year down the line, the group have resurfaced with a brand new single that refines everything good about WTCHRS but with an even more epic spin on their rock sound.

Liam explains that Weather Warning “sums up the time before we recorded the song. The band was slipping away and being suffocated in a variety of ways, thankfully it found its way out into this. It’s not an angry song though, I see it as two fingers of resilience.” Though the song has gone through various incarnations, there’s now the distinct tone of epic resistance in the track that Milne describes. Its reverb-drenched crescendos are more emotionally intense and engaging than anything the band has achieved previously, with a rousing chorus and outro reminiscent of Simple Minds’ best moments. Liam even occasionally displays the slightly shaky but altogether endearing vocal affectations of Ian McCulloch.

“The band was slipping away and being suffocated in a variety of ways, thankfully it found its way out into this. It’s not an angry song though”

Some of the single’s atmospheric and sweeping sound was down to the production of Ed Buller, who has previously worked with Suede, Pulp and Spiritualised. “He could hear big sounds and encouraged us to think big,” Liam says. “Certain touches like the twelve strings and the Prophet are Ed in his purest form.” It wasn’t just Buller’s production skills that helped the band, though. Buller’s invite to Belgium also helped to give them a new lease of life. “The opportunity to record with Ed offered us the chance to return with something of merit and worth,” Liam says. “Belgium helped us mend some fairly fractured relationships and allowed some of the lads a chance to take stock of why they had liked doing what we do.”

Liam doesn’t really want to dwell on the past, as the group are now in a much more positive frame of mind. “It’s much better now. The last few months have been the best in an age,” Liam says. He makes it clear that “only we really know what happened and the absolute strain it put on us” but at the same time acknowledges that the unknown events of that year has “cemented us together and given us the impetus to move forward better and stronger.” It’s come to the point where they can even occasionally joke about it (“there’s a very good book in it,” Liam quips). WTCHRS may have been asphyxiated but Keep Breathing are more alive musically than ever.

Keep Breathing launch Weather Warning at The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle on Friday 30th October.

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