They have just returned with their first new music since 2014’s Only Bodies and their recent single ‘Silence’ blew us away. We had a chat with Simon from London four-piece ESCAPISTS about their new tracks, supporting Imagine Dragons and what they have in store for the upcoming months.
We can’t get enough of your recent single ‘Silence’ over here at BORN – it sounds massive! How do you create such an enormous sound?
Synths, lots and lots of synths (and some brass). It’s something new for us, we used to just crank the guitars and maybe some reverb to get big sounds. We’ve always loved creating textures and sonic spaces kind of like how a cinematographer frames a shot. By bringing in a new sonic palette we feel like we can push the light and shade. We were trying to hint at a more electronic sound using those big lush analogue synths.
Both ‘Silence’ and ‘Pyramid Scheme’ sound quite different to your earlier work. Where did the change of sound come from? Was it intentional or did it develop naturally?
I don’t think it’s intentional it just happens to bands, you get better at playing and more confident in your ability as songwriters. Writing on a computer might have slightly helped because you can create a pretty good sounding demo on your own and it allows you to find different vocal melodies as you don’t have to sit there and play the guitar. We’ve always been big fans of rhythmic hooks and dance music, you can hear that back in ‘Burial’ from our first EP. I guess we’ve just changed the pallette of the sound as we’ve matured.
Tell us a little about what inspired ‘Silence’ lyrically.
I think I was having a bad day and was getting frustrated that people around me were just staring into their phones instead of talking to each other. It kind of went from there. I think everyone can relate to that.
Do you share the same vision for your sound? Where do you draw influence?
Definitely, these songs are the most diverse and collaborative that we’ve been. ‘Silence’ was Oli’s baby and came pretty much fully formed and ‘Animals’ was something that Max one day just dropped in my inbox. I know when the songs are good when the melody comes quickly and with these two I think I had a rough sketch in half an hour or so. It all is polished off with Andy’s playing which I think is really unique and integral to the sound. There are some great bits in both of these records that we didn’t re-record and just kept from those original demos like all of Max’s amazing ambient sounds and the pitch shifted vocals at the start of ‘Silence’.
We hear that you have an EP in the works; what can we expect? What was the writing and recording process like for you?
Yeah, we’ve recorded a few songs but we’re not sure what it will be yet, maybe an album. It’s all sounding pretty cool and really diverse. There’s some pop bangers, some heavy stuff some dancey stuff maybe an instrumental track.
You’ve played some big gigs in the past few years including Reading and Leeds and supporting Imagine Dragons. What were those experiences like for you and how do they compare?
Wicked, amazing. What can I say playing to lots of people is loads of fun! Our best show was probably supporting Manic Street Preachers. It was in Bournemouth and we had heard that supporting them was a really hard gig as their fanbase is so hardcore. We also thought no one would be there. But 3000 people turned up and it was the most amazing reception we’ve ever had. A lot of bands sound’s don’t translate to big rooms but we think we sound better when there’s space for the sound to breathe and bounce around the room so you can hear the harmonies and textures as well as the pounding drums.
How do you prepare for a live show and how do you connect with the audience?
We don’t really have a set routine (we probably should), but once we’re out there you see a group of people giving everything from the first beat. The more the crowd vibes off it the more we do and it’s a pretty heady feedback loop.
Do you enjoy touring and performing live, or do you prefer writing and recording?
Nothing beats performing live in the sense of raw power and emotion but I love being in the studio it is just the most amazing place. The opportunity to record is always the most excited I get. The possibilities of making new stuff, playing with new instruments and sounds is the most amazing feeling.
Escapists AA-side ‘Silence/Animals’ is now available to listen to on Spotify.