Neu Childhood: ‘We’re Trying To Do As Much In One Album As Possible’

London group show there’s proof in the youth - Childhood come of age.

It looks like we’ll be starved of a summer this year, but there’s a flock of bands hoping to provide remedy, offering radiant, resplendent noise to bask in. The common denominator is the tie-dyed tees, hazy melodies and the overuse of the words ‘vibes’ and ‘wavy’. Swim Deep, Jaws and Splashh may have provided us with a hearty dose of tropical escapism, but lingering in the shadows have been their long-time friends Childhood.

When we catch up with Ben Romans Hopcroft, the band’s frontman, he is making a playlist for the road and tells us about sessions that are set to fill their debut album. Minus a definitive release date, Ben tells us about the standard “chat and natter” that’s taken place with various labels, all interested in working with the London group.What do these new songs sound like and how do they compare to your previous singles?
B: It's the same kind of style - there are a lot of tunes that showcase different ideas. We've a lot of songs with big choruses and other songs that are more based on a groove. We're trying to do as much in one album as we possibly can - we don’t want to be a band that makes one kind of song, so we're working on a load of different styles.

Are all of these songs newly written?
We've been writing songs together since 2010 at uni, but now we're properly doing stuff, instead of being at uni releasing demos and not actually playing gigs. We're trying to make it more of a band effort, so we want a new set of songs, as well as our old ones to choose from when we decide what's going to be on an album. The songs are emerging quite quickly, because there are more brains involved instead of just me and Leo.

How was playing out in France with Only Real?
It was really cool. Paris was just like playing London, but then we went to Nantes and we played with Niall. Everyone was really excited about us. I don’t think they are that privileged there with bands playing every day, so they were really up for it. It was really refreshing and the promoters treated us really nicely, gave us lots of food, so it was a pretty privileged experience for us I think.

How did it feel to be touted as ‘one of the bands to watch’ for the upcoming year?
B: It is all really positive and I like it. Some aspects of the media are weird, but I really like it that people are excited about us in some areas - so that is really encouraging. It's the time now where we just want to put ourselves out there and to be judged, because we've always been there, but we haven’t really released that much music. It feels like we have been holding our cards to our chest, so I'm excited to unleash it to the world now.

From an outsiders view it seems that you and quite a few other bands coming through are good friends like Splashh, Swim Deep and Only Real. What is that like?
It's weird with Only Real - Niall has been Leo’s best mate from school kind of thing for years so that was kind of separate, then with Splashh it was more of a music thing we talked to them quite a lot because they contacted us and said they liked the music, so it went on from there really. It's just the way it has evolved really, especially with Palma Violets, we just saw each other out really and it developed from there. I like it. There is no weird tension, which I always thought being in a band was like.

How did the Palma Violets tour go?
It was our best experience of being in a band we've had I think. It was so old school, it was quite archaic travelling up the M1 and playing from Preston to wherever. It was pretty intense, but pretty eye opening to see what it takes to be in a fully functioning band all the time. Also we knew Palma Violets from before, so it made everything feel like a big motley crew.

Whose idea was the ‘Blue Velvet’ video and how did that all come about?
It was kind of my idea, but it was only because we had a few ideas and they didn’t logistically work, so all we had left was this one scene that I thought would be alright for the whole video, which was just in the laundrette with a load of bubbles and people having a party. The label just gave us money to do it and we just spend it all on alcohol really, so this video coming up they gave us a direction and said they wouldn’t give us money until we shoot it.

So the ‘Blue Velvet’ one was as fun as it looks?
It was ridiculous. I don’t actually remember it when I saw the video. I was quite shocked because I couldn’t really remember it happening. I think that night I ended up in some weird club and I didn’t even know what was going on, it was horrible. A very confusing experience that night for me, but it looks really fun so I am happy with it.Once you are off the road is it back into the studio?
Yeah we kind of do this thing where we rehearse then we write and we always demo things. We have a load of demos that are quite good, so we're kind of halfway there, with the demos we listen and decide whether they are good enough for the album then if they are we mix them. We don’t really like wasting time in the studio too much because I get a little bit depressed when I'm in the studio for too long, because I feel like I'm overwhelmed by the task. I like it when it's impulsive and it feels like you've just done it there and then. I think we're going to have a look at what needs to be re-recorded, but most of the stuff is recorded anyway.

Are there any prevailing themes?
The songwriting is very upbeat, a lot of pop kind of tunes and then there is darker side to our sunshine vibes, these songs still have our sunny theme to them, but they a bit more guitar heavy and darker. That is kind of the theme we have been working with really, as much summery vibes and positive sound as we can get, but also a lot more depth than just a blissful summer tune that you can listen to and forget about. We are trying to making sure we get that big deep sound whilst still sounding like our old self.

Read the full interview in the 27th May edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.

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