INTERVIEW: All We Are | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Having already made a splash with their 2015 self-titled debut, Liverpool based trio All We Are have upped the ante for their follow-up Sunny Hills: dealing with social and personal strife whilst still aiming for uplift, the band’s smooth yet lively blend of disco, post-punk and modern pop makes for a sharp tonic to the traumas of modern life.

Drummer and vocalist Richard O’Flynn, speaking ahead of the album’s release, noted that it hadn’t been a straightforward path for the band as they worked towards their second album. “We actually had an album of tracks written pretty soon after the first album was released. We went on a final writing session down at an old punk warehouse in Margate towards the end of that year and we started writing very different music, which became what you’re hearing on Sunny Hills. There was a lot of darkness in us that we wanted to get out, and we found that writing and playing this music was a form of catharsis for us. Expressing that was at the heart of what we wanted to do for the second record, so we scrapped everything we had and started again. We also had some amazing gigs promoting the last album and we realised we wanted the next one to feel more live and driving.”

Aiding them in their ambition to produce a more effective record was their producer, the experimental pop artist Kwes. “Kwes is actually our A&R at Domino, so he was with us from the start throughout the whole demoing process. This gave him a really deep understanding of the songs and he really got it. We were in talks with a number of other producers along the way that didn’t work out for one reason or another, so when Kwes told us he’d like to give it a go we jumped at the chance. He’s a really intuitive guy, a great producer and brought amazing elements to the record. Coming from such a different background musically was a great match too. He really got the music, as well as us as people and what we were trying to say, so it was a very lovely working relationship!”

While the record doesn’t ignore the challenges the band faced working on it, O’Flynn is clear that they wanted to produce an optimistic album in defiance of its times. “We went through a pretty tough time and there was a lot of anxiety we needed to get out of us. This record really reflects our emotions; every note and every lyric is painfully honest. We were a bit in a hole and the only way we could get anger out was through playing harder and faster. It was only after everything was written we started to realise that it wasn’t just our own selves we were reflecting but the times we are living in. But Sunny Hills isn’t a dark record: it’s about hope! Things will get better.”

Playing Think Tank? on Saturday 17th June as part of a UK tour that also includes an appearance at Glastonbury, O’Flynn is excited to present their new work to their fans. “The new live show is bold, hard-hitting and loud. We’ve been blooding the tunes in Japan and over the winter touring with Kate Tempest so we’re well versed. They’re sounding massive.”

All We Are release Sunny Hills on Domino Records on Friday 9th June. They play Think Tank? on Saturday 17th June.

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