Inspired in part by singer Thomas Harfield's interest in self-help books and what have you, the new album from South Coast punks GLOO is a quest for happiness, something that honestly couldn't be timed a great deal better what with 'current' 'events' 'n that. They've got a lot to look forward to, too - what with touring coming back, a newfound love for yoga, the opening of a skate shop, and also Tom and his brother-stroke-drummer Mark's mum getting married ("[we're] writing our mum's wedding speech tonight"). Aw. What a nice time.
Hi Tom, it's been a couple of years since your debut album - what have you been up to since then? Any major life developments?
What have we been up to? God! Feels like so long ago that album. Because of the whole lockdown situation, we've actually been quite busy writing the follow up to the album (coming soon) so we are way ahead of the game when restrictions are lifted.
In terms of personal life, Mark's gone and got himself a house and done it up. I've really gotten into yoga and written a book on Advice for Unsigned Bands, which you can find on Amazon. Simon, our bassist's been learning new guitar techniques and stuff... I wouldn't even know where to start on, like, vibrato and jazz shit.
When did you start work on your second record? Was there much overlap with the first?
Apart from one song on our upcoming album, 'Takes the Piss', which was half-written at the same time as our debut, it was only a few months after recording our debut that we started writing for the 'Stop and Stare' EP. After that EP was released, we had a one or two-year break from writing, not on purpose... Just because we couldn't seem to come up with anything we liked that much. That's where a break-up helps and a bit of time off on the side builds up that excitement of writing new songs again, haha.
Did you find it easier to put together this one, or was it just differently hard?
This album was definitely harder to write for us because we're always trying to compete with previous songs that we're already super proud of. Some of the songs did come quite easily, yes, but it's more like we're picking the best 10 of 200 songs rather than 10 out of 100 now, which certainly makes for a better album. We would've 100% kept some songs before, whereas now we're making the difficult decision to cut some loose.
Did the pandemic get in the way much? Or impact the vibe at all? 'How Not To Be Happy' feels pretty pertinent right now.
Luckily, we got in the studio just in time, in between the lockdowns right at the beginning of the outbreak, so we could still manage to get these new songs of ours recorded with that fresh feeling. I couldn't imagine having to record these now, knowing that these songs would be like 3 years old.
The pandemic has mainly just delayed the release of the album. We've been having to keep it to ourselves, knowing that we've got our best to date songs. It's not been easy, to say the least, especially as we like to class ourselves as a live band, but worse things are going on in the world at the moment for sure!
It's a really interesting concept. You've mentioned reading a lot of self-help books to try to be happier, do you have any favourites?
My favourite self-help book ever is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle just because it's the only one that seems to have worked for me at all and is for some reason memorable enough for me to quote to myself when I don't have a guide to hand.
I also really liked Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking because I really relate to being an Introvert or (INFJ) and the Subtle Art of Not Caring because I really enjoy reading books with swear words in, cause that's how we actually fucking talk "ain't" it?.
Have you picked up any useful, unexpected tips for being happy?
I'm quite used to it now, but one thing I didn't expect before I read self-help books that would help and I know does actually work for me now is just practising to really be in the moment as much as possible. This also ties in with how I believe I write my best songs, which also makes me happier, and that is not overthinking. The less over-thinking when creating something, the better!!! Don't overcomplicate things and tap into that subconscious space for some unexpected rewards.
Do you actually do and stick with the strategies you read about? A lot of that stuff is really hard to put into practice.
It's definitely an ongoing process of learning what works for you, and accepting the fact that you can't be perfectly happy all the time for me takes the load off. Just making the effort and doing something about it, enjoying what you are in that moment, works for me. I also really can't stress enough the value that yoga has brought into my life, more specifically Yoga with Adriene, which is absolutely free. I don't know what I would have done without them videos over lockdown!
What else are you guys up to at the moment? You've a tour to prepare for, right?
Yes, we are literally so excited we could cry; it's gonna be insane! Fingers crossed it's actually going to go ahead this time, though. We sadly had to cancel the last one we had booked a couple of weeks before we were due to go!
This is the longest tour we've ever had booked in; also some of the best venues we've ever played at, and it couldn't come at a better time. We're just counting down the days now until we're back in that thing we call a van now and basically go on holiday! Haha
I'm taking some much needed time off writing until life's back to normal, but some big, seriously cool news is that Mark (bro and drummer) if you've forgotten who he is by now, has opened a skate shop/shack in our hometown, Littlehampton with his mate that you can find on Instagram @r_u_board_af which we are using for our album release show date at the start of the tour.
More news on the Board AF skate shack to come soon… Bring on the summer of freedom!!!!
GLOO's album 'How Not to Be Happy' is out 27th August.
Featuring Trash Boat, Turnstile, Meet Me @ The Altar, iDKHOW and more.