Photo: Richard Stow

Interview “We thought we’d catch people off guard!”: Demob Happy return with ‘Sympathy Boy’

And Matt Marcantonio tells us all about it…

Returning with a synth-fuelled newbie, Demob Happy have shared brand new track ‘Sympathy Boy’, alongside announcing a UK headline tour for later this year, including opening Reading and Leeds fest main stage.

Produced and recorded by frontman Matthew Marcantonio, we sent him over a few qs to find out even more about ‘Sympathy Boy’ and what they’ve got planned next…

Hello Demob Happy! How has this last strange year treated you?
Matt Marcantonio [vocals]: I suppose as good or as bad as anyone really. No one has been immune to the effects of this year, just in varying degrees and ways. But I’ll tell you one thing, I’m sure as shit ready to move on, up, and outta here.

‘Sympathy Boy’ feels like the biggest departure from the riff-heavy backbone of the band so far. Tell us a bit about what you were aiming for with the track.
Agreed. I never set out in any way to make something different, I only followed what felt good, and what felt good was a strange synthy mantra thing that seemed to make whoever I played it to react in a dancy-cum-introspective way. It’s upbeat, but the chords are minor and full of longing, so I found it interesting. I wrote it a few months before The Shit Hit The Fan, and watched as more and more things happened in the world that made the song relevant. It’s been quite frustrating at times sitting on the song, yet feeling its relevance grow. Actually, the whole album is kinda like that! These are songs for now.

‘Intergalactic’ is a word that seems fitting for it. What other adjectives would you like to have it described with?
Intergalactic, I like! How about hypnotic, bittersweet, maybe inter-dimensional too?

Presumably this is the start of LP3 - how is that coming along?
Yes it is! It has been ready - gestating, growing and germinating - for a little while now. But because of the last year, and the foundation having been ripped from the music industry, we’ve been stuck in a kind of limbo, neither coming nor going really, constantly at the whim of other people’s plans. But it’s sounding wonderful, and is, quite frankly, the best stuff we’ve ever done.

Would you say ‘Sympathy Boy’ is a good hint as to the general direction of the new material?
Yes and no! There’s plenty of that Demob you know and love, tracks more traditionally ‘us’-sounding, but there’s stuff we’ve never done, that I’ve always wanted to do. The older and wiser I get, the more I feel able to express a wider range of things under the banner of this band. I’ve been writing piano ballads for example, alongside bits of techno-y electronica, since I was 13, so Demob has never been just one thing to me: just the reflection of what I was writing most recently. We chose ‘Sympathy Boy’ as a first single because we thought we’d catch people off guard. You never want to be predictable, for good or for bad, and a reaction is hard to come by these days!

You’re opening up the main stage at Reading and Leeds festival next month! BIG DAY. How does it feel to be on such hallowed turf?
Very big! It feels very good. It’s an honour to be opening up the festival after such a shit year, when for some people we’ll be the first thing they’ve seen since it all began. We take the responsibility to heart. We’re going to do everything in our power to bring people up into a place of joy, love and compassion for each other, as quickly as we can. The power of these moments together cannot be understated.

What have you missed most about festivals that you’re excited to return to?
Honestly, just mooching around watching the world go by. I love to drink in the atmosphere of festivals, probably more than I ever did actually getting muddy, so you’ll find me propping up some corner somewhere, keeping watch on things.

Any other news/ messages/ hot takes you want to share with the readers of DIY?
Our UK tour is on sale for August/September, and we’re long overdue a dance together. See you there! x

See Demob Happy live at the following dates.

AUGUST
25 - Cavern, Exeter
26 - Thekla, Bristol
27 - Reading Festival
28 - Leeds Festival
31 - O2 Academy, Oxford

SEPTEMBER
01 - Club Academy, Manchester
02 - O2 Academy, Liverpool
03 - Newcastle, Northumbria Uni
04 - Broadcast, Glasgow
06 - Bodega, Nottingham
07 - O2 Institute 3, Birmingham
09 - Scala, London
10 - Patterns, Brighton
11 - Patterns, Brighton


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