Ben Barlow “…every member had a say and we were all kind of
involved in the process of writing and recording the record” about the release of ‘The Peace and the Panic’
Currently slaying Warped Tour, the new album Peace and the Panic is really setting the band up to become the next All Time Low and the album is on track for a #1 debut in the UK. The upcoming 11-track album, produced by Mike Green (Pierce The Veil, Paramore), is a meditation on the constant duality of life and the struggles that come with it. It comes blessed with an acknowledgement that seizing the day and having a laugh with your mates is important, but so is the personal growth that comes with pain and existential crisis.
Their previous full-length, Life’s Not Out To Get You, debuted at #9 on Top Current Albums and hit #17 on the Billboard 200 charts, as well as #8 in the Official UK Top 10 chart. LNOTGY has sold over 60,000 units in the US and over 35,000 in the UK. The record was also listed as #3 on Rock Sound and #13 on Kerrang!’s ‘T op 50 albums of 2015’ charts. Additionally, the album has seen over 100 Million streams on Spotify and saw great play on Sirius XM Faction and additional radio stations. Their latest single was #48 on the Spotify Global Viral chart upon release.
We were lucky enough to have a chat with lead singer Ben, of Neck Deep and here is what he had to say about the release of “The Peace and the Panic”.
With only one more day until the release of “The Peace and the Panic” we kicked it off by asking if they’re excited to finally release the record.
“Yeah absolutely man, the response so far has been sick. The people here who have been coming to these in-store acoustic shows have gone home with the album early and their response has been amazing too. So, yeah, all good stuff. Very, very exciting and I’m stoked to see what people think about the record.”
On the topic of the new album, we asked Ben what his favourite song on the album is and why?
“[Uhh] My favourite song on the new record would probably be “In Bloom”, which we just released as a single. Well straight up first off it’s just catchy as fuck so that always helps [laughs].”
A few months ago, you [Ben] posted on Instagram “this album is the most Neck Deep album we have ever written”, what criteria do you tick off to ensure this & what goes into being a “Neck Deep” album?
“The fact that we were kind of all involved, the fact that every member had a say and we were all kind of involved in the process of writing and recording the record – and a lot of bands do it, it’s not an uncommon thing and it’s not a negative thing at all. In the past the writing has been handled by just a couple of members but this time around we all grew on and were involved and that’s what I think makes it the most Neck Deep record. The fact that all of our influences have come across in the record which makes it a Neck Deep record, so yeah, I think that’s what I meant.”
Obviously, a huge talking point of The Peace and the Panic is the inclusion of Sam Carter as a feature artist, were you ever worried about the reaction of fans that are used to the pop punk sound of Neck Deep?
“Absolutely not [laughs] not at all, you know, Architects are very much widely appreciated band worldwide, they’re a huge band. Sam’s vocals are some of the most unique in the genre. Honestly there are a lot of people out there that kinda rip his vocals to be honest, he used to be OG on it, you know? So to have him on a track especially with us all being huge Architects fans is awesome. I wasn’t really worried about the pop punk fans not liking it, they shouldn’t be concerned whether its pop punk jam or not. If it’s under our name (Neck Deep) then it doesn’t matter what genre it is, that’s kind of the point we are trying to prove with the record is that we can right whatever, you know?
If you could have one Australian artist feature on a Neck Deep song who do you think it would be? Maybe sort of a John Floreani from Trophy Eyes kind of thing?
“Oh, I’d love to have John on a track. I would love John on a track as well because I know that I can hand the part to John and he would write awesome lyrics. You know, it’s not like we would have to write the part to him and be like ‘hey dude sing it’. John is such a talented lyricist too so to have him on the record would have been awesome. I honestly would have said John would be one of my first choices. Outside of that, let’s just go straight AC/DC. One of my friends has just thrown up a devil horns at me. [laughs]
[ADDED] Vice Versa, could you see yourself featuring on a Trophy Eyes record?
“I mean yeah, If the boys wanted me to. I have been known to do one or two guest parts in the past but they’ve always just been for friends. I’d never do it for money or anything like that I never do any of that shit – it’s kinda stupid. If they were friends of ours and if Trophy Eyes asked us then absolutely, of course, because Trophy Eyes are the boys. You wanna be involved with your friends and you want your friends to do well. [Laughs] There you go, they’re gonna read this and I’m gonna get an email in a couple months. [Laughs]”
Have we just caused on of the great punk collaborations of 2017? Neck Deep and Trophy Eyes?
In the early stages of writing the new record, did you have a plan to include fan favourite acoustic singalong songs like December and A Part of Me?
“Uhhh, yeah you know we wanted to do some more acoustic stuff, maybe some sad stuff. But yeah we didn’t set out to write a song like “December” or “A Part of Me” or anything like that, we just kinda just did what we always did and it just so happened that amongst the many, many demos that we did there were a handful of songs that sounded like that too. Yeah, it was really an intention I think, it’s just a part of what Neck Deep is, we’re always going to have those sad songs and those kind of balladry songs, it was just a natural thing that occurred.
With The Peace and the Panic, did you have any new influences during writing and recording time than there were with Life’s Not Out To Get You and Wishful Thinking?
“Yeah, definitely. Like I mentioned before, we all have very different influences, generally. A lot of the same influences but at the same time a lot of very different influences. For this record, I mean, fuck, you could ask us all individually the same question and we would all say different things but for me, a lot of sad stuff and a lot of acoustic stuff. Modern rock generally, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers were kind of an influence for me, but even though the songs didn’t come out sounded like that, it’s just what I was listened to a lot. A bunch of stuff, Catfish and the Bottlemen I was listening to a lot. Whereas past records, Life’s Not Out To Get You we wanted to write a straight pop punk record so at that time it was kind of (and I still listen to) Blink 182 and New Found Glory but you know we tried to push the bar out a little bit with this one I think. So yeah, we were listening to a bunch of stuff, I think we found a few genres with it, I listened to a lot of Rock and Pop, some emo shit. I’ve never been a huge Brand New fan until kinda like half way through writing this record. I was having a conversation with one of our friends saying I don’t fuck with it, it’s not my thing then he showed me a few of their big banger songs and he kind of hooked me in, so maybe a little bit in there – that was a discovery I made half way through the record which may have helped with some of the sadder tracks.”
[ADDED] So it sound like a huge mix of bands shaped together to shape that Neck Deep sounding album.
“Yeah man, honestly, we all have super, super buried taste in music. I’m sure Sam would tell you John Mayer and Dani would tell you the heavier shit, so you could ask anyone of us and we could all give you a different answer which I think is a good thing because it all comes together in a coherent way.”
You released some songs off the new album during your time at this years Warped Tour, what has the reaction from fans been when you play these new songs live?
“Awesome, yeah really, really fucking good. Honestly bigger than some of our older songs. Seems like people have picked up on them pretty quick, especially “Where Do We Go When We Go” that’s pretty easy and gets stuck in your head pretty quick. You know, they’re memorable. Especially with “Where Do We Go”, it’s obviously based off the nursery rhyme which kinda immediately sticks in your head. We intentionally write songs with a live show in mind, so the fact that they translate well live and that that was intentional, I’m glad that the intention has kind payed off. But yeah, it’s been really well, gives me lots of hope for the future releases.”
[ADDED] Do you have plans to chuck “In Bloom” to the setlist for the remainder of this year’s Warped Tour?
“Fuck yeah! Completely, that’s going straight in there, we have been wanting to play that song live for a long time!”
And just finally, to wrap it up do you boys have any plans to return to the shores of Australia with the release of “The Peace and the Panic”?
“[Laughs] There’s always plans to return to Australia, if you’re looking for an Australian tour announcement then you might have to wait a minute but there are plans and they are in motion, nothing confirmed and nothing solid yet but it’s all in motion.”
And would you bring State Champs again, like the last two years?
“Dude, if we could tour the world with State Champs again let’s do it but we have toured with each other so much now it’s like oh shit”
It’s such a good mix though as well!
“Yeah it was a really good mix, and hey, maybe it’s something we can do in like 10 years – a reunion and just do it all over again. Out of anyone, Champs are the band that we have toured with the most and we absolutely love those guys. You know, real, real close friends of ours so I’m sure we will get around to playing more shows together at some point.”
Thanks again for taking the time to have a chat, enjoy the rest of the summer on Vans Warped Tour and all the best with the release of The Peace and The Panic – I reckon it is one of the bangers to be released of the year.
“Absolutely, no worries man! Thank you! Appreciate it, we are hoping so!”
Buy + stream The Peace And The Panic now! https://neckdeep.lnk.to/TPATP