“When we listen to our own songs we try to look at them like this: would we listen to them if we weren’t in the band?” muses Danny Gaisford, bassist of Essex pop punks, Safe Side. “We genuinely would,” he (fortunately) confirms. Safe Side’s sophomore E.P Blossom, a collection of highly infectious tuneage which successfully blends the band’s pop punk roots with elements of Alternative rock, and vocalist Frank Yates’ distinctly homegrown delivery. “Frank’s voice sets us apart,” opines Danny; “Pop punk is known for American pronunciation, no matter where you are from. So having a particularly British voice in our sound is a good thing.” Ahead of the EP’s release on 15th July, Danny and Frank discuss what you can expect, track by track…
Danny: Blossom we feel is a definite step up for us from our previous release, in terms of production and the writing process. We spent a lot more time on this compared to our last EP. We started laying demos down in September 2015 and went to the studio in February of this year. To us that was a long time to sit on songs but that time helped us in a way. It allowed us to pick at every part of the songs and decide what was right and wrong. We wanted to get it spot on. Going to Southampton to work with Neil Kennedy just took us to another dimension, he brought more ideas into the fold. His way of working is very organic too so this record is very honest.
Frank: Throughout Blossom, I wanted to create a perfect blend of lyrics that were not only relatable and catchy, but also had depth that perhaps take some decoding before fully understanding. I’m definitely not one to write about anything overly generic. I wanted something really rich in texture, so I involved everything! My darkest moments and anxieties, all the way up to my closure and lessons learnt. I wanted to take time to pick out the whole range of emotions that exist when I’m trying to write something. The lyrics are buzzing with various mantras I still tell myself, and I like the idea that those messages are now stamped across the EP; not just for myself, but hopefully for other people to resonate with too. We called the EP Blossom because that’s what it’s all about: self-progression.
Track 1: Wilt
Danny: Wilt was a track that Chris had been working on. His style of writing was a little different to Jordan’s so we felt adding them together would bring two different sides to us and open up the songs. It showcases our melodic side and shows we are more than just a band who write fast paced pop punk songs. This was one of the first songs to be brought to the table and we instantly knew we wanted it on the record. There was a venomous side of Frank coming out at the end of the track too which neither of us had seen before. It’s also a great track to play on stage, we have a lot of fun with it, it’s one you can bounce along with for sure.
Frank: Lyrically I’m quite the optimist in Wilt; being overly polite to my demons and seeing the silver lining. The song itself is partially about having a balanced fire in your stomach. I’ve always struggled speaking up for myself or finding a bravery behind my words so this is me learning how to be strong in myself, and also understanding that being strong can mean being calmed too, not just losing your shit when you want to speak up. The main message I think I took from writing ‘Wilt’ is to understand I’m going to have to expect some shit times if I want to become stronger, and that I’ll push through to gain that fire in my chest.
Track 2: In My Place
Danny: When Jordan sent a demo of ‘In My Place’ then known as song 53, we knew it was going to be the first single from Blossom. It has that feel about it, the chorus is so catchy. This was the first song we tracked in the studio too. Watching it unfold from a demo to a real song just made it feel even better. It’s a sure staple of the set now, especially with it being the single too. We couldn’t wait to start playing it and that will continue for some time I imagine.
Frank: I really love the vocal cross over at the end of the track and it definitely leaves people with a good taster of what the EP is all about – plus it means Danny gets to have some fun getting joined in with the vocals live. The songs hangs off another mantra of mine, that everything is about perspective. I spent a lot of time expecting more from people and ended up feeling more and more disappointed each time they let me down again. I think we all know that feeling.
Track 3: Framework
Danny: A personal favourite of mine to play live. When I was in the studio I kept getting the urge to do karate kicks and noises you would expect to hear from a Street Fighter game or something on the snare hits in the bridge. Of course I couldn’t possibly do that on stage so I settle for foot stomps. Similar to ‘Wilt’ this is another Chris came up with, it has some groove to it. There are some nice vocal melodies in there too. The song’s about PMA. Accept that not everything is going to go to your advantage, just be grateful with what you have got. Things ain’t so bad.
Frank: Framework takes a darker turn in the lyrics but still holds true to putting some remedying optimistic statements throughout. I wrote this song looking back at a particularly hard time I went through. I was ridden with anxiety and reached a point where I couldn’t leave the house, I just had to keep my mentality up and keep going. I like how Framework captured that range; with the verses describing the dirt and the chorus holding the bettering message that I told myself to shed those irrational thoughts.
Track 4: Resolve
Danny: The longest track we have ever created to this point, at four and a half minutes. I don’t think it was our intention to write a long song it just turned out that way. This was one that Frank was really looking forward to sinking his teeth into and he made us wait to hear the finished vocals. It’s fast paced throughout and differs slightly from the other songs. However I feel that they all differ which is what makes this special for us. I guess we’ll keep pushing the boundaries and testing ourselves further in terms of new music. I don’t imagine that we’ll be parking the car creatively.
Frank: Resolve is the heaviest track of the EP, packed thick with variance. A slow section breaks up this hard hitting track and for the most part of Resolve, I spend it pissed off. The track is about leaning into people for help in your life to find that they’re not actually there when you need them the most. Everyone’s had a shitty best friend before, so I hope this one is relatable. In the lyrics, this was a lesson I learnt the hard way, it really hurt, and I was madly upset. I always love the results of writing when I’m angry, it’s a rare occasion, but results in some real cutting lyrics. Plus it’s a really intense one to get into when playing live. The main focus I took was that the experience I had was brutal, but I definitely learned how to sustain myself and my happiness which is a useful lesson for anyone.