Brighton four piece Reckless Intentions are on the verge of releasing their debut EP ‘Lights’, Amy grabbed frontman Matty Halliwell for a chat about what’s going on in the world of Reckless Intentions.
Hi Matty, thanks for taking the time to have a word. At the risk of starting on a downer, within the pop punk genre people can be very pessimistic, as it is a genre that is evolving very quickly. What do you think are the largest obstacles facing bands in pop punk? What is Reckless Intentions’ outlook on the music industry today?
“It’s a really tricky thing to get right nowadays. The industry has definitely changed a lot, both in the way that people discover bands, and in the bands that they listen to, particularly in pop-punk. As you said, people can be very very pessimistic! We are deliberately steering clear of a lot of the Neck Deep/Story So Far vibes, as we feel that UK pop punk has kind of developed into one huge blend of the same sound, so we’re looking to do something a bit different, and develop a new take on old school pop punk, with a bit more of a rocky edge. I think the largest obstacles for us are probably just the amount of competition we’re facing. There are so many bands around us that we love, which is great for the scene, which is really thriving, but it does make it pretty difficult to stand out and be heard by the masses.”
Okay, so here’s a platform for you. If you met somebody who had never heard of Reckless Intentions, and you were only able to play them one song, which one would it be, and why?
“I’d have to play them “Home” probably, the last track from our EP. It shows everything we can do in one track really. It’s got a piano ballad at the beginning and just huge, raw emotional guitars at the end. It’s the most personal song to me, as a writer, and I think that comes across when people listen to it.”
Is there a country, or even a city, that is on your show bucket list, and why do you think you’d like to play there so much?
“We’ve always had the ambition to play in America, simply because it’s the natural home of this genre, but specifically I’m really keen to get a show in San Francisco one day. I’ve got some family over there, so have visited a couple of times, and it’s just my favourite city in the world – it’s the perfect mix of loud American-ness and calm European-ness. It’d definitely be a huge deal to us if we were ever able to play over there.”
Good luck! Your debut EP, ‘Lights’, is out on the 14th July, which will hopefully be very successful. I was just wondering how you went about recording it in terms of the creative process? For instance, do you tend to write the lyrics or the music first? Do you record live as a band, or separately?
“It was a bit of a funny one to be honest – our original guitarist suffered a series of seizures before a show in late January, which meant that he had to step down, so we had about 6 weeks to find a new guitarist and finish writing the songs. I also had a massive chunk of writer’s block, which was less than ideal, but about 3 and a half weeks before we went into the studio, we really found our rhythm and got the songs nailed. The format in which we write varies really. For tracks like “Home” and “Ghost Town”, I’ll write them on an acoustic guitar, or something, and then bring them into the band, but for the others, they would stem from musical ideas in rehearsals, which I’d then give a structure and vocal to.”
Was it fun to work together with Alex Gordon on your debut EP? Is there anybody else you’d like to collaborate or work with some day?
“Yeah, Alex is a really cool guy, we’ve been close friends with him for a few years now. It was really reassuring to have someone who knows you inside out handling your creativity. We just felt like he knew what we were aiming for and there was no awkwardness in getting ideas across. We’re also a really annoying group of people, so it was good to work with someone who wouldn’t kick us out of the studio for it! Personally, I’ve always been a huge fan of Rob Cavallo’s work, though the dream of recording with him is a little bit far off. He manages to get these huge walls of guitars, and every album he works on has it’s own unique identity, which is something I’d love to feel in a Reckless Intentions record one day.”
When you come to record your next release, is there anything you think that you would do differently?
“We’ve started writing already, which is a pretty big contrast to the first EP. We wrote like, 4 or 5 songs in the last two weeks, and they’re feeling really good so far. We’re keen to give ourselves as much time as possible to get a whole load of material together, so that we can pick the absolute best tracks to use. We’re constantly growing and evolving as a band, so it’s strange to think that we’ve already come quite a long way in the few months since we recorded “Lights”, but we’re definitely going to make the next release a big one.”
Big is good. We like big! What is it that you like most about the music you make? Is there a song that you’re really looking forward to playing live after the EP has been officially released?
“Someone once said to me that your own band has to be your favourite band if you want any chance of success, which is something we’ve definitely taken on board. I think I just really enjoy our vibe as a band, simply because we’ve taken influence from all of our favourite artists, and created something new in doing so. When we play live, people have often said that Reckless Intentions has this familiarity to it, mixing a sense of nostalgia with our individual personalities, which hopefully is something that we can get across to a large audience in the future. We’ve been road-testing these few tracks live for a while now, but to be honest, I’m just excited at the prospect that one person we’ve never met might enjoy our EP, come to a show and sing along with us. Sounds simple, but that’d be pretty sweet!”
Any new release is a very exciting time, let alone a debut. What advice would you give to other bands trying to get to the same stage as Reckless Intentions?
“There’s going to be a lot of crap where life gets in the way, but you just have to use everything that’s going on in your life as a push towards what you want. It’s only our first EP, and we’re not getting carried away at all, but it is a really exciting time for us, and all the hard work we’ve put in in the last year is definitely now coming to fruition.”
And finally, what’s in the pipeline for Reckless Intentions for the rest of this year and beyond? What have you got planned?
“We’ve got 30 shows across England and Wales in the next 2 months or so, so we’ll just be pushing this EP as hard as we can, really! Once the summer’s over, we’ll probably take a few weeks off and then get back to work on the next release, which we’re hoping to have out early next year, but anything can happen between now and then!”
Let’s hope for good things, eh? Thank you so much for your time, Matty. All the best for you, Reckless Intentions, ‘Lights’, and the tour!
Band image – Nick Lee-Shield
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