Aussie pop-punks Yours Truly have been making some serious waves since breaking through with their 'Afterglow' EP early last year. A bright collection packed with youthful energy and enthusiasm for self-improvement and pushing forward, it saw them firmly plant their flag as a much-needed positive force to be reckoned with.
With numerous tours and festival slots under their belts - including supports with the likes of scene-staples Sum 41, Senses Fail and State Champs - the time is now nigh for their debut. But, for Yours Truly to get to the point of 'Self Care' being ready for the world, they first needed to get over some anxiety.
Falling victim to imposter syndrome, "so many bands that we are influenced by have amazing first albums," vocalist Mikaila Delgado explains. "It comes in waves. I feel like some days it's really exciting, and I'm super keen to get it out. And then some are like, 'Oh, what if everyone hates the whole album? Or what if nothing happens with it? Blah blah blah."
There's no doubt there's expectation weighing heavily on their shoulders. "Your debut album is a snapshot of what you're going to be able to do," she continues. "If your first album sucks then you're going to be able to do a second one... but are people going to care about it?"
For all that niggling voice's persistence, Mikaila and co. have managed to turn it and as use it for good. "We've learned a lot from anxieties, especially for the next time we actually get to do an album, that you know, probably don't need to stress so much. Everything's a learning curve."
The soft, woven artwork adorning 'Self Care' is key to understanding what lies inside; a token artefact that's made to represent something. It isn't a grand statement of intent, it isn't a place for Yours Truly to pick apart the world and reflect it back. Instead, it's a band doing the purest thing a band can do - showing their true selves to the world in the hope of helping those who need it.
"We had this idea of ourselves, through 'Afterglow' and our previous EP before that," she says. "But I think it was after a year of touring, and a year of growing up, playing music together, we had [a better idea]. You have 10 songs to really figure out who you are as a band, and I think that that's exactly what we tried to do with this album."
'Self Care' is jubilant but focused on reality; a quilt of stories and experience. "I feel like there are so many different sides of it and that's purely just because of us trying to figure out ourselves," Mikaila reasons. "And try to figure out what we want to do next as well."
Growing up together, this unity of the Yours Truly four-piece - completed by guitarists Teddie Winder-Haron and Lachlan Cronin, and drummer Bradley Cronan - is what beats through every soaring melody and in every bright, heart-on-sleeve lyric. As the personal aspect, touring extensively, and living a life they'd always dreamed of, set its path before them, a new facet was unveiling itself.
"It just made us more into a unit," she says. "We've always been really close, but it became the four of us, and that was it. We did everything together. We would come home, and we would do everything together. It was just the four of us living in each other's pockets for so long."
"Writing this album really helped us open up to each other," she adds. "We knew each other so well, but we got to know each other on such a deeper level by speaking about life experiences.
"When you're on tour it's all about having fun, and you don't sit down and talk about the fact that you're feeling shit, you just talk about how cool everything is. You create all these memories and just want to have a good time. But it was the first time we ever sat down and was like, 'Hey, I kind of feel like shit and this is why… this is what happened in my life'."
It was a necessary conversation, given that while devoting yourself to your band - hitting the road for weeks, months at a time - everything else tends to continue without you. "When you're busy, it's hard to keep up a relationship with friends and romantic ones."
Heading home to write the album threw a spotlight on what they were missing out on; realising that they now "don't connect with the people that we used to connect with. None of us are in relationships because we don't have time for it."
Adjusting to the realisation that "this is the way that life is, and this is just who we are now, and it's not who we thought we were," is certainly no easy feat. As for what self-care looks like for Mikaila going through all this, she says: "For me, it's talking. I love to talk - I love to talk things through. I feel like if I can't talk about things I'm gonna explode, that's just who I am as a person."
Which is why writing the album from her perspective came naturally. "It's just what comes out. If it comes out, it's meant to come out," she reckons. "I'm just gonna tell the story that I subconsciously want to tell."
She's also taken on the huge responsibility of telling other people's stories. "I have done that on this album. There are some songs for friends of mine, and that are about the guys and things they've gone through. It's telling someone's story, but doing it justice."
It's been a challenge all of its own. "There are these three dudes that, as close as we are, I'm lucky if I get like any kind of like deep conversation with them!" she smiles. "We've got those deep conversations around the album, but usually everything is fun and games, so it's nice. I don't want to put them in the position of getting into a deep conversation - it's kind of like 'Oh that's really nice. I appreciate you. Let's move on!'"
And luckily, the unity of Yours Truly is only getting stronger. "Everyone's like, 'Aren't you sick of each other yet?' and we're like, nope!' Mikaila laughs, with her band's future lit bright ahead of her.
Taken from the October issue of Upset. Yours Truly's album 'Self Care' is out now.
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