Anyone who knows me is aware Neck Deep holds a special place in my heart. 2015’s Life’s Not Out To Get You is an immaculate album. It carried me through my senior year of college filled with wallowing due to heartbreaks and the sad realization that the four year party was officially over.
The Peace and The Panic was released as the follow-up project in the summer of 2017 and while I personally wasn’t a big fan of it at first, seeing it played live changed my perspective.
Well folks, we are almost mid way through 2019 and as summer approaches, we Neck Deep fans would hope there’s something in development, right?
After wrapping up an early 2019 Europe and UK tour, lead singer Ben Barlow caught up with Press by Bad Seed to talk fashion, tattoos and revealed it’s time to focus on the fourth album.
“The record [The Peace and The Panic] really took us to a new place and maybe proved a point to a few people that we could actually write a diverse record and weren’t just a one trick pony pop punk band. From here, I think we’ve set ourselves up to do whatever we what, or at least expand our horizons a bit. It could’ve been a risky record for us to make, but it actually turned out to be the record we needed to make. After a Europe and UK run in February, it’s pretty much fourth album time. “
While Ben and the band know it’s time to put pen to paper, he also explains there is no rush to deliver.
“It’s fucking terrifying when you have nothing done for it and you don’t know how things are going to come out sounding. I’ve sat at home and I’ve written stuff but I rely on the other guys a lot to bring stuff forward and I just don’t know what everyone else is writing yet. We’re going to take our time with this record, essentially. We’re going to take up to a year to write it, if it happens sooner then cool, if it happens later then that’s fine too. We’re putting no pressure on ourselves with it.”
Heartbreak and the struggles of life have always been interwoven in any ND song. Although, there was a change in tone, particularly in ‘Happy Judgement Day’, in which one can see the early seeds of politics influencing the band:
Is it just me or does anyone else feel like this could be farewell?
Oh, we almost had it then we pissed it all away
Building walls, dropping bombs
Stop the world, I'm getting off
Oh, we almost had it
Never thought I'd see the day
When the world went up in flames
“I think politics is important, but rather than making ‘political songs’, maybe make songs that define the time, rather than a specific social or political situation. Ultimately everyone is sick of hearing about politics so you can’t talk about it without pissing some people off, but you can make enough of a statement about the time that we’re in without going too far either way. It’s shit like this that you have to consider. I want to say something and I want to talk about the times that we’re living in, but at the same time, I don’t want to alienate a group of people. Fuck Trump, but there are perfectly normal, nice people who listen to our music who support Trump. I’ve learnt from it, it’s murky water and it’s tough.”
Ben continues, “I think The 1975 did a fucking good job on their last record [‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’] of being politically and socially aware, without overstating a certain message. I think it’s about getting that balance right from here. It’ll be a challenge but without a doubt, that’s the biggest pressing issue in the world now. You can’t ignore it and I don’t want to write songs about ex-girlfriends. I strayed away from that quite a long time ago and now I’ve got to look around me and there are certain things you can’t ignore. You’ve got to do it in a way that’s not going to alienate people. It’s tough.”