‘Selfhood’ is a turning point in You Know The Drill’s development as a band. Factoring in a much greater recording quality and a noticeable forward development in their lyricism, this EP is a big step forward for the Midlands based band.
As a leading single, ‘Snake Eyes’ gives an overall approach to what this EP sounds like. With a guest vocal appearance from Joey Fleming (In Her Own Words), the track is a nice push into the future release. The bands second single however, ‘Homesick’, admittedly could have fared better as the band’s first single. ‘Homesick’ is an all-around strong track, only lacking the guest vocals that perhaps helped push ‘Snake Eyes’ to the top of the bands single list. While the track doesn’t necessarily capture the catchy hook/chorus that most pop-punk tracks seamlessly use, it’s heavily guitar lead elements keep the track enjoyable and entertaining.
On the other hand, ‘Overcast’ as the EP’s opener isn’t the most memorable. Fitting more of a general introduction, there is nothing there to help it really stand out in any particular way. Similarly, with ‘Suspect’, the track is good, but it just falls slightly below the line compared to the other tracks. With any pop-punk record, it is easy to fall into a repetitive cycle which You Know The Drill do occasionally rick falling victim to. Strong tracks with memorable lines, but not quite enough to stand out on top.
However, ‘Blossom’ is definitely the most variant of the EP’s five tracks – the acoustic ballad. What is a pop-punk release without one? To put out a track in a more intimate and emotional perspective, You Know The Drill certainly check all the boxes. With the EP’s pre-production produced by Alex Adam of ROAM, it is no surprise that the soft acoustic style is reminiscent of the acoustics from their similar counterparts ROAM.
To put it in a simple way, ‘Selfhood’ is a much cleaner, polished development of their debut ‘Losing Streak.’ You Know The Drill have solidified their sound and it is now just a matter of strengthening further throughout their future releases.
Pop-Punks You Know The Drill recently announced details of their forthcoming sophomore EP. The 5 tracker ‘Selfhood’ will see release via Scylla Records on 22nd June 2018, with vocalist Benji Yapp saying: “Selfhood is a word which describes the quality that makes up a person and just being aware and proud of who you are, which really resonated with us as we wrote this EP. We tried not let ourselves be limited by the “pop-punk” label and write without worrying what people were going to think, which definitely ended up benefitting the record.” A first taste of ‘Selfhood’ was also unveiled in the form of single ‘Snake Eyes’ here, which premiered on the Radio 1 Rock Show. Now Yapp is here to discuss the creation of it’s striking cover artwork…
If memory serves me right, then the artwork (or at least the idea behind it) came before the title did. We were toying around with a lot of different ideas at the time, but we knew for certain that we wanted to go with a photograph rather than a cartoon again, in attempt to break the mould and stand out a little more.
When I first thought of the idea of the dandelion and the lawnmower, I thought it was kind of dumb and wasn’t expecting the boys to take to it at all, but much to my surprise they loved it and starting planning how we were going to go about shooting it. In terms of photographer we didn’t consider anyone other than our long time friend and talented visuals guy, Mike Mann (Schmannly Visuals).
Before involving Mike, we thought we’d have a go at demoing the artwork ourselves; just to see how it might look. We couldn’t find any real dandelions for our practice shoot so we found a yellow ball and stuck it in a ground hook, to replicate the weed.
From this tester shoot we decided the artwork could work and with a little bit of magic from Schmannly, actually look good!
The photo was shot in Damo’s (bass) back garden on a fairly cloudy day. Damo is also the person in the photo mowing the lawn! Despite the weather conditions, Mike did a fantastic job of editing the photo to look like a beautiful summer’s day!
The story being told in the art is that we have this dandelion at the forefront, and dandelions by nature are classed as weeds, which in most cases are undesirable. Meanwhile lurking in the background is the lawnmower, pointed in the direction of the dandelion, but despite this the dandelion is bright, colourful, stood tall and ready to face adversity head on and that’s what Selfhood is all about; being proud and owning who you are, despite what anyone else might say.
Pop-Punks You Know The Drill recently announced details of their forthcoming sophomore EP. The 5 tracker ‘Selfhood’ will see release via Scylla Records on 22nd June 2018, with vocalist Benji Yapp saying: “Selfhood is a word which describes the quality that makes up a person and just being aware and proud of who you are, which really resonated with us as we wrote this EP. We tried not let ourselves be limited by the “pop-punk” label and write without worrying what people were going to think, which definitely ended up benefitting the record.”
1. Overcast – Overcast is a song about realisation of who you are, your downfalls and owning the mistakes you’ve made in the past. This song started with the jumpy, hyped up intro which Damo (Bass) and Brad (Drums) came up with together in Damo’s living room and we all worked on it from there. Ever since the song had that faded in intro, we knew it was going to be track one off the E.P and although we have played it live yet we know it’s going to be the opener of our set for a long time. It’s definitely the song we’re most excited to play live because of the pure energy and the back and forth vocals, we’re hoping it’ll go down really well.
2. Homesick – This first thing I wrote for Homesick was the chorus, and it was one of the rare occasions for me where it came so naturally when writing it, to the point where the lyrics I initially penned down, ended up being the final lyrics. Lyrically it is one of the most revealing songs I’ve ever written, which is about my doubts in being able to make it in music and wondering whether it is all just a waste of time, but then it’s disguised in this really fun, bouncy pop punk song, which I love about it.
We had a show the day after this song was released as the second single, and we weren’t really expecting anyone to sing along just yet, but as soon as we started that intro there was about 6 or 7 people singing it back at us and getting involved which was absolutely insane. So if that’s the kind of reaction it’s getting already, then I can’t wait to see how well it goes down elsewhere.
3. Suspect – I’m sure if I looked hard enough I could find voice records of myself hiding in the toilet at work singing a super rough chorus of Suspect. Suspect is the story of someone who feels their significant other may not be faithful to them and how it is affecting their relationship. One of my favourite lyrics is taken from this song in the chorus “We’re separated like the sea between the shores”, which to me I think is a really powerful metaphor for feeling distance from someone.
It was this song in particular that made me really desire a summer release for the E.P because it has such an uplifting vibe throughout, despite the contrasting lyrics! This track also features one of my favourite moments on the E.P which is in the final chorus when it drops into this big, open quarter time section which just feels so powerful and kinda makes you wanna go out and rule the world!
4. Blossom – In between writing sessions down in Eastbourne, Luke would head outside and sit on a brick wall with an acoustic guitar, whilst Alex’s dog, Maddie would come and keep him company. Within a couple of days he had written this super pretty acoustic track which we knew we just HAD to put on the E.P, so we worked on that too and put it on the record. Lyrically, I see it as a continuation of Overcast, only this time an apology is being made as well as promises to be better and to grow from the past.
This is the only track on the E.P. which was recorded entirely at Nightcrawl Studio in Eastbourne with our good friend, Rich Dack. We recorded all of the acoustic late on a Saturday night and it was the most chill environment to record in, we’d be playing PS4 and hanging out with his dog, Amy between takes. It was just real relaxing and I think that comes across when you listen to the song.
Luke did have to re-record one line for this though, when we realised a couple of months after recorded that he sang “I lost control of all my goats” instead of “I lost control of all my ghosts”, which was real funny because none of us realised it for ages.
Blossom was tentatively titled Maddie, named after Alex’s dog, for a long time but we felt it needed a more fitting name, and Blossom just seemed to fit perfectly with the lyrical themes and overall sound of the song.
5. Snake Eyes – Snake Eyes was the very first song written for the E.P and it all started with the clean guitar riff just before the verse kicks in, which Luke came to practice with and it just expanded from there. In terms of composition it changed a lot throughout the writing process, to the point where we ended up cutting sections we had already recorded vocals for. We were very lucky to have Joey Fleming of In Her Own Words lend his vocal talents to the outro section of Snake Eyes. All the way along we knew we wanted someone to feature on that section, but we weren’t sure who, although we did toy with the idea of Joey for ages before actually asking him, assuming he just wouldn’t have been interested, so it only goes to show, don’t ask, don’t get!
Continuing of from the themes of realising your mistakes and then owning them and making them right, Snake Eyes touches on realising your self worth and allowing yourself to want better out of your relationships.
Birmingham pop-punk band You Know The Drill recently announced their sophomore EP ‘Selfhood’ with the release of new single ‘Snake Eyes’. ‘Selfhood is a word which describes the quality that makes up a person and just being aware and proud of who you are, which really resonated with us as we wrote this EP. Explains vocalist Benji Yapp. ‘We tried not let ourselves be limited by the “pop-punk” label and write without worrying what people were going to think, which definitely ended up benefitting the record.’ Make sure to familiarise yourself with the video below and read just what the guys had to say about it!
‘From the moment we hit record on this E.P, we knew Snake Eyes had to be the first single. It’s very different to any other song we’ve done before, it has a very raw edge with rather dark connotations. We originally had this super intense plot in mind for the narrative of the video, but we scrapped that when we realised we wanted the video to not take away from the song. Once we had Joey from IHOW on the track, we knew we wanted to include him somehow in the video. So I came up with the idea of having the set decorated with loads of different TVs, which would play these creepy, unsettling images throughout the video, before turning to static to reveal Joey on all the screens for his section.
The video was shot at a dance studio somewhere in Hoddesdon with Lifeisart Visuals, whom we were previously a big fan of. They’ve done some amazing videos in the past for bands like As It Is and Trash Boat, so getting to work with them was amazing. Prep for the shoot took weeks as we had to try and track down as many unwanted TVs as possible to stick with green fabric to create the green screen effect!
The video shoot very nearly didn’t happen as our van consistently broke down on the motor way. We were convinced we’d have to cancel and lose all our money on the shoot, but luckily in small doses we managed to get there! Oddly enough we managed to drive back just fine without any problem whatsoever! All of the b-roll footage broadcast across the screens was actually shot ourselves on our phone cameras. The snake seen on the TVs is actually owned by Damo and his name is Dave, it’s his first acting job and we couldn’t be more impressed with his performance!
During the shoot Luke (Guitar) got a little too rock and roll and managed to kick a dent in his guitar cab whilst attempting a cool spin, so if you look closely in the video you might be able to spot the damaged speaker cabinet!”
Selfhood is set to be released on Scylla Records on June 22nd!
You Know The Drill have been dwelling in and around the local Birmingham scene since the release of their debut single ‘No Ambition’, occasionally venturing outside this border. However, with new single ‘Snake Eyes’ already gaining recognition and a playthrough from Radio 1 and a new EP ‘Selfhood’ to follow, could this be the start of something bigger for the 4-piece?
Following their previous release ‘Losing Streak’, ‘Snake Eyes’ is already a massive improvement upwards in terms of recording/mixing quality. Even from the start everything is clear, from quickfire guitar track to the underlying basslines. Of course, at first, like with many songs in this genre, this track could appear to be just your average pop-rock playlist track, but in itself it is a lot more than just that if you give it the chance. This band are familiar with the average sound of the genre and fit into this well, yet at the same time bring their own aspect to the table. Vocals from lead vocalist Benji Yapp help add a distinct tone to the track, while even the extra harmony/fill-in vocals by Luke Astley add a nice light touch to the track. Even guest vocalist Joey Fleming (In Her Own Words) adds a subtler raw vocal touch to the final part of the track and while not entirely necessary, an enjoyable touch either way.
Keep an eye on their new music, as You Know The Drill are moving forwards, and if their new EP ‘Selfhood’ is anything to be based off this song, this could be their ticket to launch them out further into the rock scene.
The British pop-rock crossover genre is slowly becoming less known amongst the modern scene. Shows are getting smaller, as are audiences. Yet even the snow and cold can’t keep some fans from rushing to see their favourite bands, such as Milestones playing Birmingham’s The Asylum 2.
Known relatively well in the Birmingham pop-punk scene, local rockers You Know The Drill were billed as the starters for the night. Be it the misery of the weather or the lack of an audience, they started with a slightly lacklustre performance. Yet, from midway of their second track, the true pop-punk energised style of the collective we know was unleashed. Of course, with one EP and another due to come, the performance of unreleased track ‘No Ambition’ held up well both on stage and through those listening. You Know The Drill played a good lengthy support set and even though they did miss out their much loved Taylor Swift cover, still gave a fun and lively performance.
Better Days were up next, bursting through with tracks from their previous release. While it took a while for fans to get into the music, lead vocalist/guitarist Graeme Costello managed to forward a spark to the audience with their plethora of enjoyable tracks. Stage presence also kicked up well, despite a few almost disastrous collisions amongst members! Following a few issues of a lost bass, the band didn’t actually have too many issues performance wise. Filling the accidental tuning issues with improvised stage banter, the set did appear a little unplanned, however, this didn’t set the 4-piece back, if anything, highlighted their ability to add a few lighthearted touches to their set. These days, Pop-punk is often referred to as a ‘dying genre’, but Better Days helped prove there is still a collective presence out there.
Midway through their headliner, Milestones left no room for errors. Yes, they may not be the most well known band in the scene, but with such lively, excellent performances, they’re on the way for certain. Opening with ‘This Is My Life’, the band managed to kick off the show with a slower track, rather unusual but working in their favour. Milestones definitely bring back a reminiscence of the early eras of British rock bands You Me At Six and Mallory Knox. Yet through their early 2006 pop-rock style track ‘Bittersweetheart’, their dedicated ecstatic performance came through strongly. In some respects, it’s understandable that the band had more fire and vibrancy during their newer tracks. Nevertheless, older fan favourites such as ‘Call Me Disaster’ still emerged through the set and weren’t tossed aside, still keeping up a strong energy. Even the slowest of tracks ‘Shot In The Dark’ still has an unmistakable charm about it, being stripped back but still having a slower, well reformed energy.
‘Red Lights’ isn’t just an album of fast paced pop-rock angst, but also features heartfelt ballads that come through just as strongly live as they do on recording. Emotion throughout the setlist was never diminished, not once. Stripped back melodies of ‘Hold On’ sent waves through the room, whereas even the slowed down beginning of single ‘Paranoid’ added a different interpretation to the albums tracks. More importantly, the emotional connection, especially between vocalist Matt Clarke and the audience was recognised. Between songs, there was a slightly awkward atmosphere, but this was quickly made up for between songs with everyone getting deep into the music of each track and the band jumping endlessly around the stage and onto the barriers.
Of course, with any crowd in Birmingham, one ending track is never quite enough. Finishing with their hopeful ballad ‘Against The World’ saw a collection of fans come together in a lovely singalong. Yet, despite ending on a beautiful track, in hindsight, Milestones probably knew a demand for an encore was coming. Unexpected and unplanned, demands from the audience led the band to perform an old rendition of ‘Hindsight’, not quite as polished as the other tracks, but in their defence it wasn’t planned. If anything, it formed quite an entertaining performance that didn’t quite go horribly wrong, but certainly was a fun finale either way.
Milestones know how to perform and connect with their audiences. Between songs, they do lack a little but this is easily made up with their connectivity with the audience throughout their tracks. Definitely go catch Milestones at a show near you, you’ll thank us later.
Before their Halloween show in Birmingham’s The Sunflower Lounge, we had the chance to chat to pop-punk band You Know The Drill about their new music, touring and the struggles of eating the worlds hottest Chilli!
Playing a special themed set in Birmingham’s The Sunflower Lounge were local pop-punk band You Know The Drill and their friends in Northshore and All The Rest.
First up performing as ‘naughty noughties’ were pop-rock newcomers Northshore. With half of the band bringing their Halloween spirit coming as Mario and Luigi, they quickly understood the issues of playing in a costume. However, this wasn’t a major issue as Northshore brought their own style to well known hits such as Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’ and My Chemical Romance’s ‘I’m Not Okay’ as well as some of their own. Northshore definitely know how to play a gig, and even with limited stage space, brought the energy further into their playing to make up for their lack of space.
Next up on the Halloween themed show were Coventry rockers All The Rest in the form of pop-punk legends Blink 182. While All The Rest played some well known hits and had a clear audience connection, energy lacked and the performance sadly seemed a little off in terms of playing. The energy of the set sadly didn’t match but they did have their standout set moments such as their version of ‘All The small Things’ which had the highest energy and brought the set up.
‘Pop Divas’ You Know The Drill are the final headliners to the stage, arriving as their terrifying personas Of Santa, Ali G, a lawyer/barman and Andy Murray. It’s safe to say that You Know The Drill brought out their inner divas from the start, bringing a sassy energetic kick to hits such as Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’ and Taylor Swifts’ ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’. Even through their own tracks such as ‘411’ the diva fulled energy never halted.
Even with a smaller stage, You Know The drill used all the space they could get, moving around the space and using it it their advantage. The bands connection and involvement with the audience was clearly present, joking around (with literal jokes) and poking fun at their other friends in Northshore as well as their own band mates. Even with small tech issues such as Luke’s (Guitar) wireless running out of battery leaving the rest to improvise.
For a Halloween cover show, there was certainly a high energy and some pretty serious band covers going on. With costumes, a blow up ghost and some inner divas, this was definitely a good Halloween show.
Opening a festival is always hard, especially if you are a smaller band. However, this wasn’t a problem for competition winners You Know The Drill. After being voted by the public to open the Rocksound Breakout Stage at the Midlands event, they already had a set of fans/friends ready at the stage for their big performance. Continue reading “GIG REVIEW – YOU KNOW THE DRILL – SLAM DUNK MIDLANDS 27/05/17”→