Photo Credit: Ashley Osborn
Welsh pop-punk outfit Neck Deep have had a massive breakthrough since the release of their sophomore record, Life’s Not Out To Get You. Though it may not seem like a big deal, the band have gone around the globe, taking home awards from recognised publications, Alternative Press and Kerrang! Coming through and being bold with their material, the five-piece have gone through triumphs and tribulations in their career, but that hasn’t stopped them from showcasing their powerhouse tunes to thousands around the world. Talking with bass player and backing vocalist Fil Thorpe-Evans, we talk about the lengths it took on the success of Neck Deep, working with Jeremy McKinnon from A Day To Remember and the importance of taking risks in order to grow as individuals.
It’s really exciting that you guys are coming back to Australia with All Time Low and The Maine. How do you feel about going back to Australia?
I’m super excited. Australia is always one our favourite places to tour, and we’re really good friends with the guys from All Time Low. We’ve done a bunch of shows with them in the past, so we’re all really looking forward to it. It’s gonna be really good.
Also Neck Deep have been getting a lot of media recognition from media giants Alternative Press and Kerrang! I’ve noticed you guys have gotten awards from them, which is really exciting. What would you say has been the leading factor in the success of Neck Deep?
To be honest, it’s not one thing. I think we were just you know, very lucky as a band and very blessed. We got to work with some great people, and you know, kinda just being true to what we are and just playing the kind of music that we wanted to play; not trying to force it too hard and some other things that were really good. I think in the early days, people already felt that ’cause there was a period of time where we weren’t even sure if we were gonna do it for real. When it happens naturally, it happens way better.
Your sophomore record Life’s Not Out To Get You was a really successful record as well and it cemented Neck Deep’s name within the scene. What does that album mean to you?
That album is the reason I’m still here right now, you know. That album will probably always be the most important thing to ever happen to us. Like, our first album, don’t get me wrong, it’s great and I’m really proud of it but it was kind of an earlier stage. We were a small-ish band, we didn’t know how far this would go. I think everybody agreed that releasing that Life’s Not Out To Get You was kind of what cemented our place in the scene and showed we weren’t gonna be like around for a minute. We were gonna be a real band and try to go the whole way. I’m really proud of it, and I always will be and I’ll always have good memories of it, you know.
Considering the fact it’s your sophomore record as well, most bands sort of go through a slump after their debut record but I feel like this one was when you defined your sound and what you guys were working towards.
Totally. I mean, obviously, it wasn’t something we sat down and really calculated, you know. It wasn’t like, ‘What does it have to sound like?’ It was just really like, we’re just going to write some songs and whatever it sounds like, it sounds like and it ended up being what it was – it happened really naturally. It was one of those things that we couldn’t have really planned it if we tried, it just worked out right and it just happened – that’s what our stuff sounds like and it was just like a continuation of the first record. I think with the first one, it was wishful thinking and we were kind of young. We didn’t really know what we were doing, we never wrote an album before. The basis was there and you could kinda feel what it was gonna be and Life’s Not Out To Get You really kind of like brought it to light and went, ‘Oh okay, I kind of get it now.’
You worked with Jeremy McKinnon (lead vocalist of A Day To Remember) and Andrew Wade. How was it like working with those team of producers on that record?
It was insane because I was a huge A Day To Remember fan growing up. I mean, I still am now and now we’re like good friends but I was a massive fan and I was always really aware of the team behind all their records and the sound of them and the music that they were writing. When it came to deciding he [McKinnon] was going to produce our record, it was actually Andrew Wade. We reached out to him and we loved what he did with ADTR and I remember I had a meeting booked with him to go and meet and talk about it and the night before, he emailed me like, “Yo, I just met up with Jeremy and he really wants to be on it with this meeting. Like is it okay if he comes with me?”
And I was like well yeah sure, that’s fine and Jeremy just freaked out and he was like, “Dude, I fucking love the band. I know exactly what this album needs to be like we will make it sick. Like please let us produce it together it will be amazing.” And we were like, “Dude, that sounds fucking great. Let’s do it.” And the rest is history, we had a really great time doing it and they contributed amazing things and Jeremy’s insights were incredible and Andrew’s experiences were unparalleled and everything just kind of fell into place.
“You’ve gotta take risks, you’ve gotta break some walls and rebuild it and do things that seem different and shocking…”
It’s really rewarding to have those things happen at the right time as well ’cause I remember speaking with Jeremy in 2015, he was really overjoyed with the record. It was like his baby.
Yeah, you could definitely feel that. He was like super excited about it and he has like so much passion for it and he was more excited than we were half the time. It was sick. He’s a good character. The other day, he wouldn’t say anything and he just got up and would contemplate and then he’d get an idea and like freak out about it, making it a huge deal.
With the amount of success this LP has gotten as well, do you guys feel a sense of pressure writing your new album or do you feel a little more confident?
Yeah sure. There’s obviously some pressure because you know, it’s obviously a lot bigger now than it was when we did the last one so, you know, a lot more people waiting to hear it and a lot more expectation but that’s one thing. You can’t worry about it too much, you know. You’ve just gotta do what you wanna do and you gotta write music that you enjoy and if you enjoy it, and you think it’s sick then at the end of the day, if people don’t like it, you can just say fuck it, you know.
I think it’s inspiring to see how far Neck Deep have progressed as well. I know you guys left your day jobs and left university just to make this band work. Do you feel like it’s necessary to make decisions outside of your comfort zones to grow as individuals, especially if you’re in a band?
Oh yeah, absolutely. If you do the same thing over and over again nothing’s ever gonna change, you know. You’ve gotta take risks, you’ve gotta break some walls and rebuild it and do things that seem different and shocking, and that’s the only way you grow and meet some new people and find new things. You don’t know if something doesn’t work out until you try it.
Be sure to check out Neck Deep on the dates below as they support All Time Low during their headlining shows in May!
ALL TIME LOW 2017 TOUR DATES
With Special Guests Neck Deep and The Maine
Presented by Destroy All Lines, Chugg Entertainment & Hysteria
Wednesday 10th May – Powerstation (Licensed All Ages)
Saturday 13th May – Hordern Pavilion (Licensed All Ages)
ticketek.com.au or 132 849
Sunday 14th May – Festival Hall (Licensed All Ages)
ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100
Tuesday 16th May – Thebarton Theatre (Licensed All Ages)
ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100
Thursday 18th May – Metropolis (18+)
oztix.com.au or 1300 762 545
Friday 19th May – Metropolis (Under 18)
oztix.com.au or 1300 762 545