Abandon Ship! Discuss music, being a band and their latest release | Interview

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We chatted to Abandon Ship! about their new track, ‘Say The Word’, and its influences, as well as their upcoming EP, ‘Wrong Again’, and much more! 

Hiya lads, could you please introduce yourselves, who you are, and what your role is in the band?

I’m Luke, I play guitar and sing. 

I’m Jordan, I play lead guitar and backing vocals. 

I’m Clayton, I play bass and backing vocals. 

I’m Martin, play the drums. 

You’ve claimed that your tracks often draw on ‘observations of the pleasures and disaffections of post-millennial Britain’, serving a kind of ‘emotional wasteland between swagger and self doubt’. It seems like this is also reflected upon in the band name, Abandon Ship! Would you say this rings true?

Haha, never really thought about this before! But I think you’re right. We ripped off the name ‘Abandon Ship’ from a song called ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ by ‘The Receiving End of Sirens’. The first line of the chorus is ‘Abandon Ship!’ and I really liked the idea of it. The idea of leaving a situation you weren’t happy with, wanting to abandon your responsibilities and chase your ambitions as much as you could etc. It sounds cheesy, and maybe that’s because it is, but a subconscious theme throughout our bands brief existence has been dissatisfaction of the norm and the drive to strive for more. People love to hate where they’re from and Maybe this is reflected in the name? I don’t know..

Now onto your latest release! ‘Say The Word’ has a great, uplifting production with upbeat guitars almost reminiscent of The 1975. With this being said, which artists would you pin as being most influential in the production of the track?

Thanks! I’m glad you like it. The 1975 for sure are a huge influence on the production. There’s a tapenotes podcast which features Matty and George from the 1975 which I’d recommend anyone interested in producing music listens to. They self produce their stuff and they break down a few of their tracks off of their latest album – it’s really cool and interesting hearing about the different techniques they use. It was after listening to this podcast we decided to self-produce our stuff. George Daniel (The 1975) also produces a few other artists such as Japanese House, No Rome etc. Pretty much everything he touches is golden. 

On top of that – Foals are another band whose production is always phenomenal. When we were in school/college Foals’ Holy Fire was new and it was the album everyone listened to. What Foals did so well to me was the blend of indie-jangly guitars juxtaposed with heavier moments best illustrated on the song Inhaler. 

Their most recent record(s), Everything not saved will be Lost Pt. 1/2 was largely produced by the band which was another inspiration/motivator for us to self-produce. 

The track has been described by BBC Introducing as ‘Catchy, anthemic, and raw as hell’, claims that definitely stand up. How important are such accolades to you considering you began your musical journey in small, grimey bars?

It’s really cool to have people be so nice about our band for sure! We’ve all played in bands before that never really got going. This is the first time we’ve had people who aren’t friends/family be into our music which we’re obviously stoked about. Mostly so because we have worked for it. We’ve all played copious amounts of small shows, playing to no one and whilst there is character building in doing that, it is nice to get recognition for the fruits of your labour.

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One of the tracks notable lyrics for me is ‘Let’s go and cure some cabin fever’, this line alone appearing to have the capacity to resonate widely. Is it important for you that your music does this? 

For sure. I think collectively we’ve always been fans of lyrics we can directly relate to. The Arctic Monkeys’ first couple albums, Jamie T, Pigeon Detectives etc spring to mind. Of course we want our music to resonate with people, but most so we want to be true to ourselves. We’re not about to write a 2 hour long concept album about a creature from a different world or anything like that because we’re just a bunch of dumb kids thrust into adult-hood doing things other people thrust into adult-hood do. If people take to it and it means something for them then great, if not then no worries. 

The track contains a fair few hidden subtleties from you, Luke, particularly with the incorporation of The Menzingers’ track, ‘Casey’ in ‘Oh me and Casey, we always take it too far’ and ‘Now Casey’s half the world away, it’s for the best I think you’d say, but you know I’m not sure’. How did this come about?

Haha, well, the character Casey in the song is supposed to represent that mate you have who always wants to go out on the sesh and always wants you to go with them, and all too frequently you say yes. When I wrote the lyrics I had in mind my friend Nick who got me into The Menzingers, before he eventually moved to Canada (escaping the cabin fever in the most dramatic way possible) which is where the ‘half the world away’ part comes from. 

Your debut EP, ‘Wrong Again’, is set to release in February of next year. How important to you as a band was it that you exclusively produced the record yourselves, and is there a summative feeling you can give to the collection of tracks?

I wouldn’t say it was especially important to us to produce it ourselves – it was more that we wanted to see if we could and we’re really happy with how it’s turned out. Moving forward, we’re keen to explore other avenues of production. With this EP, we recorded the drums at a studio in Southampton called The Ranch with one of our good friends, Dom Wright, (who sings in the wonderful indie/emo outfit Death By Shotgun) before recording everything else in my bedroom. Maybe next time we’ll record everything in a studio? Maybe we’ll work with a producer? We’re not sure yet but whatever we do we’ll make sure it’s sick.

We also need to give a mention to our good friend, Jordan Timms, who worked with us to mix the record. He runs a studio called Numen studios in Chertsey which is worth checking out if you like horses and sausage dogs.

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‘Wrong Again’ has been mastered by the legend that is Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Blur, Everything Everything). What would you say the biggest musical influence on the EP appears to be?

It’s hard to say one band. In regards to songwriting i’d have to say.. probably early Arctic Monkeys. The Whatever People Say I Am/ Favourite Worst Nightmare is probably who we’d be filed near. 

In regards to production.. The 1975.

In that same vein, which band should we be listening to at the moment?

Bands to check out – definitely Pup The Band, but I’m sure you’ve probably heard of them. There’s a story here. When Jordan and I (Luke) first started playing in bands together, going back to like 2014 or so my sister took us to The Joiners in Southampton on a whim and saw this band Pup play. They were a Canadian punk bad. There were maybe 5 people there, they only played for 20 minutes, but they were amazing and put such a shift in despite only playing for 20 minutes. 

We went to see them the next time they were in town, supporting a band called Pure Love (who were lead by Frank Carter), again at The Joiners and afterwards we hung out with them, showed them our AWFUL songs and they were so nice to us, gave us loads of advice. They could easily have just packed their stuff down and fucked off to get a kebab or something but they really made an effort with us. 

Fast forward 5 years, they’re now one of the biggest bands in the underground alternative scenes and absolutely killing it. Their new record Morbid Stuff is amazing, all round great band. 

A perhaps slightly more underground band worth checking out – our hometown homies in the band, Buds. They play a blend of punk/pop punk with a kick-ass, energetic as hell live show and are a lovely collection of people. They recently put out a dope EP as well which is definitely worth checking out. 

It’s clear that you’ve been busy as of late gigging all over the shop, for instance at Tramlines Fringe Festival as well as with TUYS after supporting the likes of Larkins, Muncie Girls and Milk Teeth. What are your plans going forwards in terms of live performances?

Sorry I got a bit carried away there.. Plans moving forward.. We’re gonna play as many shows as we possibly can in 2020. If you’re looking for a band hit us up we’ll play anywhere. A house party, a pub, Reading Festival, you name it we’ll be there. 

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