INTERVIEW: The Welcome Party | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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As the ambient chords that open The Welcome Party’s debut EP Always Winter swell like sea surf into a crescendo, it’s immediately clear that the Newcastle four-piece have produced an ambitious, meticulously crafted first offering that has been well worth the wait. The instrumental introduction incorporates both the light and shadow that defines The Welcome Party, setting the mood for a record that has been six months in the making.

“We’ve all been involved in a variety of projects in the past, but I personally had wanted to do this sort of stuff for a very long time,” explains vocalist/guitarist Jamie Thomas.

Recorded, mixed and mastered with technical wizard Chris McManus at Blank Studios, Always Winter was originally meant to be done and dusted within two months, though the process became somewhat fragmented along the way due to track changes and the addition of Josh Sercombe on guitar. “We started writing the EP around July 2015,” says Thomas. “It may have been fragmented but it’s been the most rewarding experience I’ve had in making a record. When things take a lot of time it’s easy to start questioning everything you’re doing, but then once it starts taking shape, you’re desperate for more time to iron out the creases. We’ve learnt an awful lot from this record, and we’re extremely happy with how things have turned out.”

our music does make it easier to take a more honest and sometimes darker approach when it comes to the songwriting

Good things don’t tend to come easy, and if anything the extra breathing space has allowed The Welcome Party to produce a stunning debut that is perfectly representative of their multi-faceted sound. The influence of both The National and Interpol (cited by Thomas) is apparent throughout, though not in a derivative manner: in the swooping yet understated drama of the record, its lush and often melancholic textures and particularly in Thomas’ Paul Banks-esque baritone style vocal. His vocal is nothing short of sublime, driving each track without being overpowering, particularly on stand-out Sour Days where it glides compassionately over atmospheric guitars. “Sour Days is quite airy and ambient in terms of instrumentation, but then takes a step up to our heavier, more shoegaze side.”

Lyrically, The Welcome Party tend to verge upon the pessimistic, though on tracks such as recent single Where We Go, any negativity is offset by a sense of hope projected in its soaring, anthemic nature. “We do get tagged as ‘dark’ and ‘melancholic’ which I suppose does suit, but it’s not all doom and gloom I assure you,” laughs Thomas. “I am aware that the lyrical topics present quite a bleak and pessimistic view of the world – whether that relates to personal relationships, social insecurities or musical aspirations. I’m not necessarily always so bleak in person, but our music does make it easier to take a more honest and sometimes darker approach when it comes to the songwriting. I would just like to think we’ve come out with a record that both cements who we are right now, and also gives an indication of what is to come. Not one of these songs are completely representative of The Welcome Party, but I hope the EP as a whole provides a worthwhile introduction to what we do.”

The Welcome Party release the Always Winter EP on 3rd June, followed by a launch show at The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Saturday 4th June.

 

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