Brighton-based rockers Demob Happy have been busy this year – with a debut album about to drop, the band have been gathering much attention throughout the sphere of the music world, including the likes of NME and Zane Lowe.
Before the guys set off to play Reading and Leeds this weekend, we were able to catch up with drummer, Thomas Armstrong, to talk influences, new music and – of course – Hanson.
We can FINALLY talk about your album! I know the announcement has made a lot of people happy and equally as excited. How does it feel to say you’re releasing your debut album?
It feels awesome. When you’re a kid and you hold an album that you love in your hands, it’s such a tangible and powerful thing. It’s something that we’ve wanted to do forever. We set out saying to ourselves that we wanted to make the best album we could possibly make, something undeniable, and even though we had shit-tons of fun and lots of whisky in the process of making it, that was a mantra that we took really seriously.
The album is titled Dream Soda – is the album going to be constructed of already existing tracks or completely new ones, or both?
Well you have your whole life to write your first album so a lot of songs were brought to the table. We went out to a remote cottage in Wales with no signal or internet and took with us old tracks, new tracks, everyone’s demos, riffs and jam ideas we had been meaning to explore, and a lot of new and inspired stuff came out of those sessions too. For two weeks we’d get up early and play all day and all night until we crashed out and only really leave to drive to the village for more hooch. For a song old or new to make it onto the album, it really had to make sense in the journey of the album and with what we wanted to say. In the end we came out with a pretty even balance of old and new songs.
What exactly is ‘Dream Soda’…?
It’s a gushing, carbonated, artificially sweetened tide of poison making hollow promises that your happiness is consumable. It’s everywhere, on every high street, in every shop, on every shelf, eating into your brain and your pocket in sickly bright colours and you want it whether you can afford it or not.
You’re also going on tour towards the end of the year to celebrate the album, how does it feel to be playing an extensive run of shows like these?
We love gigging. For us our live show is a big part of our identity as a band. It’s why we recorded the album live, to capture those moments, all of us in the room playing at the same time, mistakes and warts and all. So yeah sweaty, messy, rowdy gigs are where we thrive and we can’t wait to get back out on the road. Especially to start playing the album live. Some of the tracks we’ve been playing for a while and they still feel great but there’s some new stuff that just gonna go off when we play it live.
Before all of this though, you’re playing at both Reading & Leeds festivals. First of all congratulations! What are your feelings approaching the slots?
We’re stoked to be doing it. Being from Newcastle, Leeds was the first festival we went to and got mashed up at back when we were smelly teenagers, so it feels kind of significant going back as artists. Also we won’t have to sneak in this time. Totally legit.
There’s been a lot of adjectives thrown about to describe you guys and your sound (all positive of course), but how would you summarise yourselves?
This is the one that has you staring into your drink for way too long at parties before spurting out a big stack of words that don’t really say it like the music would. My favourite description of us is that we’re like “Hanson on crack.”
You recently released the first single from the album ‘Wash It Down’, what led you to write the track?
We wanted a track with a big heavy kind of Dandy Warhols’y riff- something simple and fat that grooves out in the verses. It ties into the wider concepts on the album of being force-fed ideologies in the worship of celebrities and consumerism. The great distractions of our time.
Which new bands/artists are catching your eye at the minute?
Kagoule’s new album Urth just dropped and it’s insane. They’re such a great band and awesome people. They just do what they want and it’s fucking sweet. Also loving Wand who we’ll hopefully catch at their Brighton show soon with our mates Gang – another rad band worth checking out.
If you had to choose one, what would be your desert island disc?
The Blues Brothers Motion Picture Soundtrack. Rad. Or maybe like a Ray Mears Survival Guide Audiobook. Oh and hopefully some kind of media playback device. Otherwise that would just be really frustrating.
And, for a bit of fun, what’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to music?
Not guilty about it but I heard a track from Maroon 5’s first album in a cafe yesterday and remembered how sick that album is. Some shit-hot pop songs right there.
Finally, what’s next for Demob Happy once the tour is over?
Before the tour is even over we’re gonna get busy with new material, we’ll be cooking up some filthy, steamy hits.
Huge thanks to Thomas for answering our questions!
Demob Happy’s album Dream Soda is out 2 October via SO Recordings.