Band reinventions can always be a bit tricky, but Home Counties seem to have smashed it. Formerly known as punk whippersnappers Haze, the Bristol-based group re-emerged earlier this year with Squid-meets-Britpop banger ‘Redevelopment’, dropping their debut EP of the same name last month.
“Haze was all about energy and vibing off each other, but this has been a lot more thought out,” explains guitarist Conor Kearney of their exciting new chapter. “We came up with the name Haze on a walk once, but this time we sat down and actually had a brainstorm of names.” “One of the high contenders was Nu Labour, like Nu Metal,” singer Will Harrison chuckles. “To be fair, there weren’t a lot of names on the mind map…”
Eventually landing on Home Counties, the band’s revamp sees them exercising more consideration musically and, in Conor’s words, “not just spamming all the chords and hoping for the best”. Taking inspiration from the likes of Parquet Courts and Television, they pinpoint their new style as a lot less “abrasive” than their previous offerings, with bouncy, tongue-in-cheek EP gem ‘Dad Bod’ as a shining example.
Lyrically, the band’s political commentary is more subtle and playful this time around too, exploring British living over the last 50 years by breathing life into its “boring grey spaces”. “There’s a playfulness and it’s not too serious, which reflects us,” Conor emphasises. “I feel like we’ve become Home Counties so much more and we’ve really decided about the music we want to make,” Will agrees. “The EP really marks the transitional phase.”
Though finally feeling like they’ve found their footing, the group aren’t quite done experimenting just yet, however. “Everything we’ve written since lockdown has been a complete departure!” Will laughs. “We’ve actually got really into shitty ‘80s synth music, and ‘70s cop drama music. I think we’ve amplified not taking it seriously to quite extreme heights. Lyrically, it all seems to be honing more into the hypocrisies of middle England and middle class life. That’s why I was saying it feels like we’ve become our band; every bit of it feels a bit more tailored towards us as a project.”
Overall, the quintet are feeling stronger and surer than ever before. “I think Home Counties is the band we always wanted to be, even when we were Haze,” Connor smiles. “This is where we wanted to get to.” And we have no doubt they’re here to stay.
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