Having crafted a set of songs primed for the full studio treatment, the sextet Better Than Never booked time at the hallowed ground of The Ranch Production House in Southampton. “We had 4 specific songs in mind that we wanted to record, but as time grew closer, it dawned on us that actually, we didn’t want to record those songs at all.” Over time they settled on the material they really liked and the outcome is far cobbled together. Homemade Hero is built upon an easycore inspired foundation of meaty guitars and grooves, Better Than Never pepper their sound with a layered dual vocal approach reminiscent of Four Year Strong and vintage Taking Back Sunday, James and Will’s distinct vocals complimenting each other across cleverly crafted hook lines. With lyrical themes ranging from teen romance gone awry to, erm, Prison Break, Homemade Hero has character in spades. Here the band give you further insight into what you can expect from February’s release…
With this EP, we decided to let our hearts take the reigns and just do whatever we felt like doing. We had a good listen to the work of a bunch of talented producers across the UK, eventually settling for Neil Kennedy at The Ranch Production House based on his work with both Trash Boat and Nathan Detroit.
Track 1: Head, Shoulders, Knees & Bones – We really wanted to kick off the EP with something a bit more fast-paced. We booked our recording session a long time in advance, and by the time it came round, we’d decided we weren’t keen on some of the songs we’d originally chosen, so we sat down and wrote some new ones, sometimes recycling old unused ideas, and sometimes bringing in new ideas all together. Head, Shoulders, Knees & Bones was the culmination of a few different ideas blended into one, and it ended up being something we felt happy to make the cut. Lyrically it follows the story of how relationships and mindsets change over time. It’s always a fun one to play live as it’s got some bits we feel we can all relate to in the lyrics.
Track 2: Back Of The Line, Kid – This one has been in our arsenal longer than almost everyone has been in the band. It was written and released back in 2014 after we took a short hiatus because Jim had to move to Bristol for a while. Having stood the test of time in our set list, we decided to give it the time of day when it came to recording. Whilst lyrically it looks like a story about the struggles of anxiety and depression, the way we’d hope people view it is that you’re not the only one who feels this way and with some help and guidance, it doesn’t have to be permanent. As we’d previously released this on our 2014 demo EP, it was really cool to see the way that Neil took it on, he made quite a few changes to the original structure, but we really dig how it turned out.
Track 3: Panama – This song was inspired by two things, Max’s persistence that we do something with the lead part he wrote, and Prison Break, everyone’s favourite TV show. We felt this one really broke up the EP in a good way, providing a flow between the first two faster paced tracks, and the chunkier easycore vibes of Dead Weight. When it came to writing we worked off the intro section at the beginning that Max came up with, and then tried to build the song around it, writing the music first, and then working on lyrics and vocal melody once the track was complete. The lyrics are shamelessly inspired by Prison Break, after months of binge watching it on Netflix James found it was on his mind too much to ignore, so when it came to lyric writing all that was running through his head was a montage of Prison Break moments.
Track 4: Dead Weight – For a long time this song was called “Alexisonharddrugs”, I don’t think that really has any relation to the actual song but just seemed a fun fact, especially as our old drummer Alex was the most straight-edge guy we’d ever met. This was the last song we wrote before heading off to the Ranch to record, one of the things we noticed was that we’d sort of neglected to include anything with big, boomy half time sing-a-long choruses, so when we wrote Dead Weight, the aim was to provide just that. James spent the past few months before in a big ol’ depressive slump, so he found this was a really good way to release some of the feelings you get during those periods, it’s sort of reflecting on what felt like a year gone wrong. The best part about that sort of song we find is that when you play it live, you still find it a great release for everything gone wrong in the past few weeks.
Homemade Hero will be released on February 19th. You can pre-order it on iTunes.