Much like festivals and Greggs sausage rolls, Cold Years’ cathartic new album ‘Paradise’ is something we’re going to have to wait just a bit longer for thanks to COVID-19. Ahead of its release this September, bassist Louis Craighead reflects on the frustrations that shaped it.
Hey Louis how's it going? Are you guys on lockdown at the mo?
Hey! Myself and the boys are doing great still in good health and working away like any other day. Rumours of Tanks and all sorts but no lockdown or us just yet... Guess we will have to wait and see.
Tell us about your new album, what's it about? Did you have a mission statement going in?
Our new album 'Paradise' – a play on the false utopia of our hometown Aberdeen covers a lot, when we first sat down to write this album Ross already had a lot he wanted to say musically and lyrically. As we wrote more and more and things in the UK unfolded the way they did an ongoing narrative formed, and we found a lot of the songs were in tune with how fucked everything is for our generation as a whole. It feels like this record takes all aspects of what growing up does to you, financially and emotionally. It's a record that I hope speaks for our generation. It's angry, punchy and it's all about shit that really matters right now... don't worry, there is some nice stuff thrown in there too.
Did you enjoy the process of putting it together?
Yeah, we sure did! We are pretty lucky that our local studio Captain Tom's give us full use of his recording studio to write and demo. It's a really cool way to approach writing records, you can flesh out ideas, hit the practice room and realise they are shit and go back and rewrite until your happy! It's a nice environment to be in too, much more relaxed and we can all get our ideas across to each other without wanting to punch each other in the face over a chorus melody or a drum fill. When the album was written, we had the pleasure of going down to Southampton for two weeks to stay with our good friend Neil Kennedy and the rest of the guys at The Ranch. We have spoken to Neil for a long time about making a record together it was great to finally get down there. I've always said if you are working with a producer who couldn't give a fuck about your music, don't waste your time making the record in the first place. Neil has always supported this band, it's an ace feeling when you and your producer are all in it together to make a record as good as it can possibly be. It's pretty special. We hammered the hours though, we didn't stop for two weeks straight we started to lose our minds a bit by the end, Neil would finish up after a ten-hour day with us, and he would give us the keys to the studio, and we would carry on working on ideas through the night.
How did you approach curating the tracklisting?
Like most things with this band, we all put our ideas in, we argued, and then we finally came up with a solution. We all had it in our heads the tracklisting would be a certain way, our label actually suggested a completely different track listing, and for me, it changed the record completely. It made it fresh and exciting after listening to it one way for the guts of a year at least. It's funny listening back now I would never have it the original way.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the record's creation?
It certainly wasn't writing the music, surprisingly. The hardest part was probably feeling that the final product we had worked for was enough for people. People are so critical of bands these days it can be pretty daunting putting your heart and soul into something and never know if it's going to be enough. Ross has always said this album for him feels like the one from his collection he never had. I think that's pretty cool, it feels like we achieved something pretty great and overcame the hardships that go with making a record.
Is the virus outbreak going to impact the record's touring, do you think? What are your plans?
We are faced with very capricious times just now. This virus is going to impact everyone in the creative industries; whether you own a venue or you play down the local boozer on a Friday night in a cover band, it's all going to change for a little while. It's pretty damn scary, to be honest. Right now we honestly don't know if it will affect anything this year for us. All we know is for the meantime we are working hard behind the scenes to use social media to our advantage, and hopefully, we will be able to reveal some exciting content for our fans to enjoy soon! Everyone needs to work together through these tough times, and we want people to know will always support them in any way we can.
Is there anything on the album that feels more pertinent now than when you wrote it?
When we wrote '62', Ross came into the studio to demo down his vocals and immediately the lyrics hit us hard. My favourite part of the whole songwriting process is hearing what Ross has come up with after he has taken it away. That song out of any other songs on the record sums up the main leitmotif of the record. After seeing and hearing people's reactions to it amidst the Brexit chaos that song, in particular, has meant more than it ever did right now. We also took a really old song called "The Waits" which was off of the first-ever Cold Years release and revisited it with the mindset of taking away any punk elements it may have had. It was super fun to take our music in a bit of a different direction, and it's now becoming one of our favourites to play live!
Is there anything else we should know?
We have already started on the next record. There's so much we want to tell people, but right now we have to keep our lips sealed!
Taken from the May issue of Upset. Cold Years' album 'Paradise' is out 4th September.
Featuring PVRIS, Boston Manor, Dance Gavin Dance, Enter Shikari, Trivium, Angels & Airwaves, Diet Cig and loads more.