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New Hope Club burst with a gale-force strength onto the UK pop scene in 2015. From countless single releases to music video debuts, their latest album, their self-titled debut album shows a departure from tradition. While single-handedly cementing their legacy within the scene. Granted, legacies don’t materialize overnight. Nay, the New Hope Club boys have been working hard since their inception. Not only does their latest album stand testament to this, but their countless tour dates across the globe show an unwavering dedication to an impending legacy. And we at EUPHORIA., were privy to hearing about the road that led up to their latest release and the inspirations behind it.
Since the start of 2019, you have been non-stop. How does it feel to come off your initial headlining tour to release your first full-length studio album? “Last year was insane, we had the best time ever! I can’t quite explain how it feels to headline a show; it’s a completely different feeling from anything else, knowing that everyone in the audience has come to see you. We love the live shows, it’s one of our favorite parts of doing what we do. We hope the fans go home feeling happy, and that they had a great time watching the show. Yes, it’s our debut album and we are so excited for it to be released. This album has been 3 or 4 years in the works and it sums up the journey we have been on. We are just normal people who go through all the natural feelings that anyone our age goes through so I guess that the music we write means that people can relate as they have been going through those feelings and some point. It is a special feeling being in the room live when everyone is singing their heart out to a song and all living in that moment.”
The road that Reece Bibby, Blake Richardson, and George Smith found themselves on today is rather long and winding. However, by the end of 2019, it was evident that they were burning full steam ahead. As they dropped both the single and the music video for “Let Me Down Slow” in late January. The release subsequently ushered listeners into 2020. With its infectiously catchy lyrics, incredibly dance-able beats, and a hell of a feel-good video to boot.
You kicked off 2020 with the release of “Let Me Down Slow” – How was the reception? “It’s been unreal! The fans are always so supportive, and they are the most dedicated. We had played Let me down slow live a few times before the release, and we were getting constant tweets saying ‘Please release ‘Let Me Down Slow” so I think now they have it they are loving it!”
In the music video for “Let Me Down Slow,” it looks like you guys had a blast! Are you able to spill the deets about the filming process? “Filming the music video in Tokyo was an absolute dream. There is no place in the world like Tokyo, and with 2 amazing directors, we got to create something very special. It’s the first time we had ever used special effects, so being surrounded by green screens was a very strange experience. The video is very trippy and euphoric, so there was no better place to film it than Shinjuku, as the streets are filled with lights and LED signs.”
From the United Kingdom to the streets of Shinjuku, Japan– The road and journey New Hope Club have taken their fans on is an expansive one. They truly hope to share their emotions and feelings with anyone willing to listen. An act which in itself is nothing short of commendable; as often times modern pop music often stresses profit over actually building a genuine fanbase. New Hope Club is different, however; as they genuinely want to take you the fan on the journey with them. Personally, nowhere is that journey more broadly and evidently on display than in their latest release.
Your latest release New Hope Club seems to be a consolidation of all your singles and a few songs off your EPs Welcome to the ClubPt. 1 & 2. “The album shows our journey and we wouldn’t be able to show it without including the songs that are already out! Everything we have done has led to this moment in our career as a band and it feels right to involve all the different stages of our career so far. We love the songs that we have released as singles; all of them are a representation of what was going on in our lives at the time. Don’t worry – there are many new songs on this album. We can’t wait for you to hear them and it’s going to be fun to get to play them live on tour.”
You spent a majority of 2019 on the Love Again World Tour. How did you manage to find the time to record? “Yes! It was a busy year full of lots of shows and touring, yet I always carry a portable studio in my bag which means we can set up and I can produce the songs up anywhere in the world. For example, ‘Give Me Time’ was written mid-tour and I worked on the production whilst on the tour bus!”
Of all of the recent recordings off of New Hope Club’s debut album, a few songs simply struck me as being quintessential NHC recordings. One’s filled with a youthful vibrancy, which makes you want to dance around your living room. Specifically, songs like “Why Oh Why” and “You and I,” which captures this dichotomous balance of youthful ecstasy and devastating heartbreak to an unprecedented degree.
Undeniably, New Hope Club are the masters of crafting upbeat tunes; but after learning about how songs like “Why Oh Why” and “You and I” are nurtured to the recording process. My outlook on the whole process shifted to one of appreciation towards the dedication New Hope Club has devoted to not only their fanbase but their music as well.
When I first had the chance to listen to the album I was struck by how upbeat and generally infectious the music was. Songs like “Why Oh Why” and “You and I” are not only catchy but can make you smile. “As a band, our favorite thing to do is play live shows. So naturally, when we write songs we always have our live show in mind. We want to make music that not only sounds great but plays great live. Songs like “Why Oh Why” and “You & I” were great fun to write and record, and we just can’t wait to perform them on tour because we know our fans are going to have a dance with us.”
When I first heard “Why Oh Why,” I couldn’t help but chuckle at the hook. Where did the inspiration for that come from? “Haha, ‘Why Oh Why’ is a song that came about a little while ago. It is a fun song for sure; the lyrics are quite playful and it’s a good one live as it has a very chanty hook. The song started out acoustically and we always love to have an acoustic guitar in our songs, so it only felt right. The song is all about messing up and making the same mistake over and over again, which I think is relatable especially for us at the time – we were still young and just starting as a band and experiencing things for the first time.”
Did you feel any pressure to live up to expectations? Did you feel compelled to make or fit a “certain type” of sound? “No not at all; for us, these past 3 years have been all about learning and developing which is why I think we didn’t feel any pressure. Some of the songs on the album are from way back in 2017…no, seriously! I know it might seem like a long time ago, but the key for us on this album is to be able to show the journey we’ve been on, and the emotions we have been through.”
The journey leading up to New Hope Club has not only traversed the globe but required some soul-searching from each member. Albeit Blake, George, and Reece not only took the time out of their already hectic schedules [as Blake outlined earlier]; but took time to dig into who they were. What their inspirations were and what the process behind the albummeant to them. Through and through, this album is New Hope Club– it’s an embodiment of the band at a turning point in their lives, but in listening to it from start to finish you can’t help but feel a sense of contagious positivity that they all share about this piece of work.
How did the creative process differ compared to your previous EP? “For the last 3.5 years, we have been dreaming of releasing an album. So, we have been working on this album from the first day we met. The album is a journey; we have grown up together, fallen in love, fallen out of love and learned how to deal with being away from home, all at such a young age. All this time we have been dealing with these feelings by sitting down together and putting them on to paper, it is almost our therapy. The album portrays our lives thus far in the band, including songs that got us to where we are today, which is why we saw it fitting to have the album self-titled.”
What were some of your inspirations while writing and recording the album? “Throughout the 3-year process of making this album, we have been heavily inspired by The Beatles; they are incredible songwriters and storytellers and we have always loved their music as we have grown up with them. However, I’d have to say that our biggest inspiration has to be ourselves. It’s quite a personal thing, song-writing so we tend to write about situations that we have been through, and I’d have to say that our own stories and feelings have found a way onto this album. We think you can hear that when listening to it as a complete piece of work.”
Are there any “out-there” inspirations that your fans would’ve never guessed? “I went to Nashville for a few days last year and surprised myself that I enjoyed some country music! That song ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ is a TUNE!”
Their contagious positivity towards their debut full-length album was notable. Even when they had the chance to listen to it! For Reece and George, the album and the songs on it, namely “Give Me Time,” act as representations of their lives. As “Give Me Time,” according to George, depicts the struggles of long-distance relationships. Which they now have to juggle; as this journey takes them all over the world and farther than ever from their loved ones. It’s this simple act of incorporating raw honesty into New Hope Club which makes it a truly stand-out album; as the songs aren’t arbitrary selections.
Once the recording process finished and you had the chance to listen over your debut full-length album, what was the consensus? How did you all feel once you listened to it? “It was scary putting the album together and then getting it back in all its glory to listen to. But honestly, we couldn’t be happier with the final product; we are so proud of the album, it’s our baby. We were all in agreement that it was the perfect first album and introduction to the world of New Hope Club.”
When you had the chance to listen to the album in full, were there any songs that especially stood out to you? Ones that you couldn’t help but feel proud of? “We love every song on this album, which is why each track on there made the cut. However, the song “Give Me Time” has to be one that really stands out for me as it’s a song that is 100% ours; we wrote and produced the track. The song is all about long-distance relationships which are very relatable to us as we are always away from home, and it can sometimes be hard to keep these relationships going strong whether it be with friends or loved ones. So, for sure looking back on it this song always feels very real for us.”
In listening to the album, the audience will have numerous chances to get to know the band. As this album truly is a manifestation of their world. From delving into the poignant lyrics in songs like, “Medicine” to getting caught-up dancing along to “Crazy,” this new world, that we have crafted is anything but ordinary. Amongst a myriad of their songs, New Hope Club has also included a few collaborations. From famed artists like Danna Paola and R3hab. Blake, George, and Reece are no strangers to collaborations and remixes. In retrospect, you could see their penchant for remixes and collaborations; as the friendships, they’ve developed and built along the way.
Out of all of the songs on the album, if you could have any artist feature on a song who would you choose and why? “I mean if Paul McCartney wanted to sing anything on this album or play bass, he’s more than welcome. However, our song “Give Me Time” has a Manchester sound to it and reminds me of what I grew up listening to. Bands like The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Verve, etc. So, I think Liam Gallagher could smash a verse or whatever he fancied singing.”
By joining New Hope Club on this journey and stepping into their world. Their triumphs become our triumphs, and their losses become our losses. In that sense, the band has truly crafted a persona and accessibility within their career. As fans and friends alike, can truly join them on this journey. And I don’t know about you, but I’m excited and ecstatic to join them on this journey; because if their second album is anything like their first album, we’ll all be in for a genuinely good time.
How would you describe your evolution from Welcome to the Club to the LP? “We have always taken the fans and readers on the journey with us. Each song we have released feels like we are almost updating you with how we are feeling, and where we want to take our music at that time in our career. I’d say you have seen our music slowly become more mature which makes sense as we are getting older, and we are seeing more of the world and experiencing things maybe not for the first time anymore. This helps us as we can sit back and take it all in and look at what we have done so far in our career. We will keep using new songs as a way to carry on updating you with how we feel as we grow older.”
What’s next? “What’s next is to carry on writing for the next album. We started writing as soon as we drew the line under the first album, so definitely working on making the second album different to the first and improving as songwriters and myself as a producer. We will also definitely be heading back out on tour all around the world, and we are so excited to see and hear all the fans singing the new songs from the album!”