Another Sky talk the rebirth of their second album 'Beach Day'

Interview Another Sky: How The Light Gets In

Upon the release of their second album ‘Beach Day’, the band’s Catrin Vincent talks us through the anger, hurt and challenges that fed into the record, and the glimpses of hope they’ve felt as a result.

The notion of rebirth isn’t exactly a new concept when it comes to artists, but, after Another Sky’s last four years, theirs felt like a necessity. “We had to start again,” nods the band’s Catrin Vincent, on the release day of their gorgeous new album ‘Beach Day’.

The journey to reach today has been one filled with scarcely believable hurdles. First, the band - completed by guitarist Jack Gilbert, bassist Naomi Le Dune, and drummer Max Doohan - lost their previous studio in Limehouse when it was flooded by a neighbouring weed farm, only to find a new musical home in the crypt of the south London church where we sit today, just as the pandemic loomed over the release of their debut ‘I Slept On The Floor’ in August 2020.

“It’s just been the most intense time - in the world - and then that seeps into your personal life. It’s been so rocky,” Catrin explains, reflecting on the band’s last few years. “We’ve been a band for ten years now, and no one wants to do the same thing as an artist again and again, so we were naturally gonna reinvent ourselves, but we really had to.” She pauses. "Something we can’t talk about happened to us, then the pandemic happened, and then we were in the crypt and Jack was executive-producing the album and we all chipped in, so it did have to sound like a completely different band... I dunno, I prefer this to what it felt like we were being pushed into before.”

Despite their crypt studio having forged a safe haven for the band, things haven’t gotten much easier since. The turbulence of the pandemic has meant money became tighter than ever for the quartet - both personally and as a band - and last year, Catrin and Jack found themselves without a home after their landlord sold the flat they were renting. Now, the pair are unable to afford the staggering rent prices of the capital, and, after a year of living out of a van, have been staying on the sofas of friends and family.

“Everything just feels real wonky at the moment. We’ve just created an industry where we’ve gutted anything for the actual artists, but that’s what the industry exists to support,” Catrin says, of the dire circumstances, from low streaming royalties through to the impact Brexit has had on touring, facing some artists today. Admitting that she’d previously been told not to reveal that she didn’t come from wealth “because people won’t support you, because people think, ‘Oh, you’re not going to make it anyway’," their story doubles as a damning realisation for anyone trying to break into the creative arts without a privileged safety net. “I noticed that as soon as I was being honest about what was going on - that I’m not making money from music, I can’t sustain the lifestyle - people just go, ‘Oh well, you’re not gonna work then’."

Another Sky talk the rebirth of their second album 'Beach Day'

“We’ve been a band for ten years now, so we were naturally gonna reinvent ourselves, but we really had to.”

— Catrin Vincent

The old saying goes that diamonds are only made under pressure, and that’s a sentiment that feels to permeate every inch of ‘Beach Day’. A record that harnesses the pain and anger of the last few years and attempts to not just navigate through it, but face it head on too, Another Sky’s second is a powerful offering that ushers in a new, more open chapter for the band.

“With our first album, it wasn’t calculated…” she ponders, “but we just didn’t really have a lot of control. It wasn’t the label; it was other people and other pressures. We’re lucky to have a label that want us to make art. But when we were a 'hype band' - if we ever were a hype band,” she laughs, “we got pressure from the wrong types of people, and we weren’t happy. It wasn’t right; something wasn’t right, and I think it’s important to show people, through things like music and art, that you can always begin again.”

Tired of putting on a front and in the midst of her own personal mental health struggles, instead, Catrin was forced to be more honest with herself than ever before. “We were here in the crypt, we weren’t engaging with fans, no one was hearing what we were doing, and I was just brutally honest with myself and really shocked at what came out,” she explains. “I think, whereas before, I was trying to live up to expectations and be this perfect moral person, this record is about going, 'I’m a flawed human being and here it is’. There’s a lot of anger here and actually, underneath that anger, is a massive amount of grief.”

Whether facing the toxicity at the heart of ‘The Pain’ or the tremendous fury of ‘Psychopath’; the gut-wrenching hurt that flows through ‘Death Of The Author’ or trying to address her people-pleasing tendencies on ‘Playground’, the rawness of ‘Beach Day’’s lyrics are, at times, staggering. It’s perhaps little wonder, then, that the degree of Catrin’s honesty even took herself aback. “I was just shocked because I was seeing myself for the first time,” she nods. “I didn’t like the second record when we finished it. I listened through and thought, ‘This can’t go out!’. But now with distance, I get it. It’s just part of the journey.”

“I was just shocked because I was seeing myself for the first time.”

— Catrin Vincent

Reflecting on the past four years, it’d be easy to assume that Catrin and her bandmates are still resolutely - and justifiably - furious with the hand they’ve been dealt. Yet, on the contrary, ‘Beach Day’ seems to have extended a reminder that, whilst anger is sometimes necessary, it’s important to move through it too.

“I was angry and I’ve been in denial about that for so many years,” she notes. “Anger’s an important emotion. It’s important not to stay in the anger, but people have a right to be angry, and isn’t music the most amazing outlet for that? That’s why people are homeless to do music, that’s why people cannot give it up; because it’s sometimes the only outlet in people’s lives where they can just be truthful.”

Even with the record’s title, the band felt it important to still bestow a crack of light within the darkness. Originally set to be named ‘Death Of The Author’ - a nod to Roland Barthes’ 1967 essay - it was after some external intervention that they decided to change tact. “My mum said no,” Catrin laughs, “and I do understand, because now it’s called ‘Beach Day’ it’s about the joy at the end of that anger.

“‘Death of the Author’ is about ego death,” she notes, “and I feel like the whole record’s about that: ‘I’m gonna be this musician and everything’s going to be great’, and then it’s just life absolutely smacking you to the floor. It would’ve been this really powerful name, but ‘Beach Day’ offers hope and I think that’s what we wanted to do with this record. Yeah, things can be really difficult but that’s living a life. ’Beach Day’ is supposed to be this ray of hope at the end of it."

'Beach Day' is out now.

Tags: Another Sky, Features, Interviews

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