Neck Deep, to describe in just a few words, are an enthusiastic Welsh 5-piece playing catchy pop-punk with an edge. Despite only having formed 2012, they are already planning the release of their as-of-yet-unnamed second studio album on Hopeless Records, and are currently touring the UK and Europe supporting All Time Low. Our reporter spoke with Fil Thorpe-Evans, bass player for the band, spending time in the studio and opening for bigger bands.
Tonight you'll be playing in Utrecht (NL), with All Time Low and Real Friends. How are you enjoying the tour so far?
We've only had one show so far, in Milan, but it was awesome and a lot of fun. A good start to the tour! We've got our tour manager Ian playing guitar for us because our guitarist [Lloyd Roberts] is at home, him and his lady just had a baby. It's funny, seeing Ian on stage next to us, since he's kind of like our tour dad. We'd never done that before, so that was a proper laugh. But the show was great, a good start!
So what's it like, to open for a band like All Time Low? Do you feel that the energy is really different?
Yes, there's a little bit of a different vibe but it's incredible. We're all big fans, you know, I've listened to them for years, and they're on the same label as us [Hopeless Records] so that's great. The show is awesome, and I feel like the kids who come to the show are like the same sort of kids who would hopefully like us. It's a great offer for us opening for a bigger band like that in a similar genre, it's a good opportunity to make new fans and just play big rooms that we couldn't play without someone like them.
Is it hard to get used to, being on the road again after having been in the studio for so long?
Yeah, we were in the studio for a long time! I don't think you ever really forget what it's like to be on the road, no matter how much time off you've had. Maybe there's a little adjusting to sleep schedules, that kind of thing. It's nice, you always get tired after being on tour for too long but as soon as you take a little time off, you want to get right back into it. We're all happy to be back.
So would you say that as a band, you prefer touring to being in the studio and recording?
I actually really like being in the studio! I love touring, don't get me wrong, playing the shows is the biggest thing of all of this. But I feel like most bands, whenever you hear interviews, are all "touring is so much better than recording", but I quite like recording. I think it's really fun, seeing music come together. Starting with nothing and ending with an album, and hearing it along the way. That's one of my favourite parts of doing all of this. But the two both have their pro's, and they've both got their cons.
Are you looking forward to playing new songs live? And can we expect any new songs to be played live on this tour?
Not tonight, but soon; we're working towards that. The end is in sight for playing new stuff, and I'm really excited for that! I feel like the new songs are the best we've ever done and I feel like they're going to be even better to play live. From being on tour a long time you learn what works live and what doesn't, and I think that all the songs on the new record are much more 'live' songs. They'll be really fun to play in front of our crowds, so I'm really looking forward to that.
Would you say that you're tired of playing some of the songs that you've been playing for a long time?
I wouldn't say tired, it's not a bad thing, but maybe a little. We've been playing some of these songs, since the first ever show we did! We were kind of weird in the way we started, with an EP all ready, that's the first thing we did. We never had a period of songs that never got released, or songs that we just played live, so some of the songs that we're playing tonight we have played at every single Neck Deep show ever.
If the crowd is awesome it's a good show and you don't think about it as much, but it does get a little.. I still love playing them, definitely, it's just that you can play them without even thinking, it sometimes doesn't even seem like a song anymore, you just do it automatically. I wouldn't say I'm bored of playing old songs, but I might just say I'm ready to play the new ones.
On August 8, Neck Deep supported blink-182 at their Brixton Academy show. What was it like to open for Blink?
That was ridiculous. I didn't even really believe that was happening. It was pretty funny, I saw that Blink had announced two nights at Brixton, so I called our manager and half-jokingly asked him to get us on one of those shows. So our manager said, 'I spoke to them, and they might happen; we're waiting for confirmation', so that was unbelievable.
We were at Warped Tour [US] at that time, and the next day someone from our label showed me a text from Mark from Blink-182, in which he said that he had been listening to Neck Deep and that 'they'd probably have it'. We got a call not long after, saying that we could open the show, that it was going to be just us and them. The rest was history, it was insane.
Are there any goals left now, having done that?
Pffff.. There's not many left! If we could do a tour with Blink, that'd be sweet. There's a few more, playing Wembley was one of them, but we're doing that on the last day of this tour. So unless I die before then I get to cross that one off [laughs]! We've been very, very lucky. The Blink show is definitely a highlight for me personally, it's in my Top 3, if not number 1. I can't actually think of a 1 that would be it right now. That was probably my best moment, just because the show was insane; it was Brixton; and Blink-182; couldn't get any better.
Tricky question: one of your most popular songs is 'A Part Of Me'. Can we expect any acoustic-like songs on the new album?
That's a good question, no one's asked that yet! I'm not sure what I can say, I don't want to spoil anything. I can't tell you if there is or there isn't, but what I will say is that when we were at the early stage of the album, when we were deciding on what we wanted to do with the album, what we wanted it to sound like, one of the things we had on our list was that we wanted to write another acoustic song that is really good. We figured that it'd be cool if we could put one of those on the album. I can't tell you whether we did or not, but that was definitely on our to-do-list for the album.
Do you all feel that Jeremy [McKinnon, singer of A Day To Remember and producer] had any influence on the creative process of writing the new album?
Yeah, him and [Andrew] Wade [recording engineer and record producer] really helped. They made us see things in a different way and come at things in a different way. Their input was invaluable, you know. Some of the songs with some of my favourite bits in them were little ideas they had here and there.
Jeremy is very much a vibe-guy, some days we'd sit there and he wouldn't say anything at all, and other days he'd have everything to say. He's just got a great ear for it, and he's been doing it for years so obviously he knows what makes a song really good. I feel like they really helped and I think it wouldn't have been quite the same album without them. We're really glad we got to work together with the two of them.
We're already looking forward to hearing all that you've got in store for us, and thanks for the interview!