With debut album …and After That The Dark coming out on October 30th (which will be reviewed closer to the release date), Dean from Welsh band The Echo and The Always took some out from his busy schedule to answer some questions about their varied genre of music, the album recording process and playing festivals.
The album is described as ‘chronicling the highs and lows of relationships, struggles with mental health, and how sheer determination can get you through the hardest times’, do you think that this generation’s society has more of a struggle with hard times due to things like anonymity online?
I think that it’s hard to quantify ‘hard times’ as each person’s individual struggle is subjective to them. The great thing about music though, is that it creates a universal language that speaks to different people in different ways. 100 different people can have 100 different interpritations of the same song. Internet anonymity has its pros and cons and there will always be hard times but music has this way of resonating with people and creating a common ground. Everyone has relationships, everyone has mental health and everyone goes through hard times. I find that music provides a theraputic release for problems in any of these areas regardless of the perceived severity of them.
You say that the genre of your music is ‘hard to define’, so have you left it open for interpretation by the listeners or write music across a range of different genres?
I think the reason that we find it hard to define ourselves is because we are five seperate people with completely different musical influences and each of us are part of the song writing process. It’s nice to be left open to interpretation by others I think. I feel that if we begin to try and define ourselves, we fall into the trap of limiting that process. None of us have an ego about this kind of thing. We don’t feel that we’re pushing boundaries or defining genres, we just go song by song.
You changed your name in 2012 from Sleepy Panda Club to The Echo And The Always, was it strange to be known under a different name or did fans and new listeners prefer your new name?
Sleepy Panda Club was a different band, with a different line up and a different approach to songwriting. With The Echo and the Always each member contributes an equal measure to the complete song and because of this, the sound of the band changed. With the change in members came new influences and creative palettes which created a more sombre, widescreen and sometimes delicate sound than the synth pop focused songs from before. We wanted a name that reflected the ‘sound’ and this was closest that we could get! The process of starting again was refreshing and drove us to provide a reason for people to stay invested in us and our music.
How was the recording process of your debut album compared to the EP?
It was during the album recording that we finalised our current line up. All five of us work really well together. When the line up felt complete, the recording process became shockingly fluid. It was like the band was finally comfortable in its own skin. It was nice to hear all of our new material come to life and hear how we had developed over time.
How did it feel to have your music played on BBC Radio 1 Introducing and reaching such a big nationwide audience?
That felt fantastic. Every artist wants their work to reach as wide an audience as possible. We still get blown away and humbled if someone we know likes any of our songs so the idea of them reaching so many people is very exciting for us.
You’ve played Focus Wales for the last 3 years, what keeps drawing you back to that festival? And do you want to play Glastonbury or any other nationwide/international festivals, or just keep to a local level?
Focus Wales is such a spectacular festival that hosts an insane amount of talent. It’s a great way to share our music with a wider audience and network with other artists. It’s just non stop live music for three days and only around half an hour of that is us. There’s nothing that makes us want to stay away! We would all love to play further afield. Nerves and self-depricating attitudes aside, the bigger the audience the better!
You can view the video for their latest single ‘Go Easy’ below and pre-order their debut album …and After That The Dark on Amazon. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1FV3Oq3uqE%5D Thanks to Dean for taking the time to answer my questions. You can follow The Echo and The Always on Twitter and Facebook to see what they’re releasing and where they’re touring towards the end of this month. Embedded below is the music video for their latest single ‘Go Easy’. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin’ and Like my page on Facebook to see what I’m posting next.
A K Jones
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