The Calls and 10 Questions with TotalNtertainment. Leeds trio THE CALLS release their FALL INSIDE AGAIN EP on 20 November on Atomic Records, a record that combines their three most recent singles, A Change Is Gonna Come Around Here, Fall Inside and I Just Thought I’d Say, with two previously unreleased songs, Tell Me Why and I Should’ve Known. SO we took some time to have a quick chat with the band.
1. You’re about to release your new EP, Fall Inside Again, an appropriate title given we’re likely to go into lockdown again. Is it inspired by current events?
Interestingly no, it actually isn’t. That’s the weirdest thing about it. These songs were all written a couple of years ago. We definitely noticed a lyrical connection with current events but that was a complete coincidence, although one that we’ve embraced, particularly in the video for I Just Thought I’d Say. I’m glad that it’s been a coincidence though. I often find that songs written for current events, such as protest songs, often have this air of ‘forcedness’, like they’re just trying to crowbar some relevance in. As much as it doesn’t feel like it, life is still continuing despite lockdown, so not every line of every song needs to be talking about it. I actually think that not hammering it home makes the lines which are about lockdown have more effect too. Not that it really applies to us because, as I said, our songs aren’t really about lockdown anyway.
2. What has writing material been like for you during the last six months and what plans do you have following the EP?
I’ve been pretty busy writing-wise. Obviously, you can’t help but write about what’s going on around you but I’ve found myself increasingly looking inward, writing more introspective songs. It’s not been an easy time, but that always makes for a creative environment and you have to look at the positives where you can. At the start of lockdown, we couldn’t meet up and jam which was a challenge because we’re so used to meeting up every week and putting new songs together, and that really tested our patience. We did some covers which we recorded remotely as a bit of fun to keep busy, which went down really well. But since we became able to meet up again we definitely got more productive. It’s hard to know which way things will go now though. We’ve already been working on some follow up material for next year. We’ve got a bunch of tracks we’re really happy with which we’re hoping to start releasing in 2021. It’s another step forward for us and hopefully you guys will like it too.
3. The EP features the three singles already released; do the remaining tracks follow a similar pattern musically and what else can you tell us about them?
I think every song on the EP has its own distinct identity. I Should’ve Known is a lot more shoegaze influenced than the other tracks, and is structurally quite unusual in comparison. It’s probably my personal favourite on the record. Tell Me Why is more of the darker, trip hop vibe in keeping with A Change Is Gonna Come Around Here. But it has these nice melodic choruses which give it a different flavour. I think all together, there is a definite Calls sound which ties everything together, but you definitely won’t be hearing the same song twice on the record.
4. As we’re going into more strict lockdown rules, other than the band, what are you doing to keep busy?
Well, I’ve still been working the whole time. I’m a delivery driver at Sainsbury’s so I keep out and about, listening to music and thinking of ideas on the road. It’s been really good for me during this period to be honest. I think I’m lucky to be doing that when so many people are so uncertain over their futures. I’ve been listening to a lot of music as well, and watching videos on YouTube and Netflix, you know how it is. There hasn’t been a huge amount of options to keep busy with but between those things I’ve been getting by.
5. Everyone is binge-watching a series or two on Netflix or similar, what would be The Calls go-to series?
Ooh, that’s a tough one but I think I’d go with BoJack Horseman. So brilliantly written, such a great world that it’s set in. It’s funny but also serious and very deep. After Season 3 it gets really heavy – still brilliant, but heavy. Seasons 1 and 2 are definite go-tos for me. They get the balance just right.
6. You’ve been compared to the likes of The Libertines and the Stone Roses; which bands or artists have had the biggest influence on you and what was it that was so inspirational?
For me personally, both those bands have been massive influences for definite. They’re both bands which do what I love the most – write great songs which are catchy and relatable. Music doesn’t need to be anything more than that. Of course, the more music I make the more I want to push myself but at the core that’s all I really want to do.
With regards to those two bands, though, I’m a huge fan of the sincerity of Pete Doherty’s lyrics, which I always find have an emotional resonance unlike any other songwriter out there. There’s so much about the Stone Roses that makes them so special, but a big thing for me are the drum grooves. They show that you can make anthems you can both sing and dance to. The guitarwork also deserves a special mention too – John Squire is my guitar hero.
When I was a kid, though, The Jam was my entry into music because they’re my Dad’s favourite band, and Paul Weller’s songwriting just hit me so hard. Without that I probably wouldn’t be making music today. Arctic Monkeys were huge for me as well, when I was a bit older. They were to me what The Jam were to my dad; they were a current band talking about the world I was living in. They always hold a special place for me and I still love their music, even their latest album!
Recently, though, the biggest influences on me are Tame Impala and Radiohead. Tame Impala’s second album, Lonerism, completely blew my mind when I first heard it. It changed my ideas of what it was possible for music to sound like. Beatles-esque melodies combined with synth sounds unlike anything I’d heard before, with sweeping phasers and flangers coating the entire music in a warbly haze. It was a revelation, and possibly my favourite album of all time. Certainly, top three. As for Radiohead … what can I say that hasn’t been said before? They’re just phenomenal. The way they can make great, memorable songs out of complex musical ideas and experimental sounds just puts them on their own level. No other band does what they do. Their use of drum machines and other interesting bits of equipment like that in particular has been a big influence on us, and that will become more apparent in our upcoming material.
7. Supermarkets are now covering up ‘non-essential items’ to stop people buying them. If you could stock up on one food to get you through lockdown, what would it be?
Haha, well it’d have to be toasties, because they literally are what’s got me through lockdown! Not exactly great for a balanced diet but who cares!
8. On the subject of A Change is Gonna Come Around Here, one of the singles on the EP, when we come out of this and life returns to normality, what is the one big change you would like to see?
I think the main thing I’d like to see is a change in appreciation for music from the general public. More people buying music and coming to local gigs. If the streaming services could pay out more too that’d be great too. As things are, musicians who write real music just can’t survive. Everyone wants good music but no one’s prepared to nurture it. Unfortunately, that’s why I can’t see either of those things happening if I’m honest. I think the status quo is far too convenient for everyone involved. But I live in defiant hope …
9. Just for fun: if the band created their own unique pizza during lockdown what three things would make up the topping and what would you call the pizza?
I’d definitely have to chuck some salami on there. Can’t have a pizza without it! Will (guitarist) would probably have to throw in some BBQ chicken. Marcell (bass) is so easy going I don’t know what he’d add … probably olives. So yeah salami, BBQ chicken and olives. Sounds quite good that …
10. Just to finish, how would you sum up 2020 for The Calls and what are your hopes for 2021?
It’s been a really good year, despite the craziness. We’ve put out a fair bit of new music and got a really positive reception from it. We’ve grown as a band more than ever and we hope that in 2021 we get more of the same. Just without with the killer virus!
You can find out more about the album here: https://www.totalntertainment.com/music/fall-inside-again-new-ep-the-calls-out-nov/