Here at Pop Sins, we’re big fans of Sea Girls. It’s days away from the release of the bands second album, Homesick, so it felt only right to dive into this hugely exciting new album. We caught up with Drummer Oli Khan to discuss all things Homesick, touring, and the wildcards the UK album charts will throw you.
Aside from lockdown, and being in your hometowns, what other inspiration fuelled this album?
I think obviously we have that first album, and for us it’s about continuing that without repeating ourselves, that was kinda the key mission statement for all of us. And like exploring some of the different threads we looked at in that album and running with that in every direction, Moving On which is the last song on our first album. That’s the last song we recorded for it and then from that to Sleeping With You. It’s that and then doing it bigger. I guess more streamlined, that was really important for this album. Jackknife the co-producer for the tracks is very good at that and encouraging us to strip away anything that’s not essential and just make it as direct as possible. I guess Lonelywhich has just come out is the best example of that. It’s just drums, bass, guitar and vocals. Then the whistle obviously, but it’s just stripping a song down to its core elements. I guess it makes it more power by doing less you make it bigger. Which sounds like, you know, you’d think that was counterproductive. But actually, it lets everything shine a little better. And it gives everyone their little moments, I think lonely, especially does its kind of, you know, when that’s the verse and stuff is very focused on singing. And then as it builds in intensity you get like a new guitar player enters then that’s the focus of that bit. You know, there’s a cool drum fill and that’s then the focus on that, which is definitely like a step up from the first album. We’d never been in the studio for like that long period of time, we were there for like, two months. And so, we’re just like, you know, piling everything we could onto it. Trying out lots of different instruments. But this time, it was like no lets be very focused, you know just put the essentials in it I think that serve the song a lot better.
What was the most difficult part of recording this album?
I think that just the recording circumstances, obviously Covid was definitely challenging. We would barely ever get all four of us in the studio at the same time. You had to you know, only have two at most because you weren’t allowed to be more than that. It was a windowless room and deep inside the studio. So wasn’t the most Covid safe place. Obviously, we’re testing every day, but yeah, I think that it’s trying to create this creative body of work while we were not always in there together. Then we co-produced it with Jackknife who lives in America. So that was like sending stuff over there, then he would work on that in the night. Then the morning we go back in and see what he’s done then work with that. I think it was definitely a challenge to make this a cohesive set of songs under those circumstances. I think we managed it; I hope. That was definitely interesting. I mean, it’s totally the opposite way to how we recorded the first time, which was just all of us playing together in the room. I don’t think there was any one song on this album that was all of us playing together in the same room, it was definitely built up and broken down, and lots of trying out different things like different arrangements, different people, we definitely went through a few versions, like Hometown we went through like three or four different versions before we arrived at the final one.
On the opposite side of that, what was your favourite part of the recording process?
I think just that whole first album was you know, four or five years of our life. Writing songs, recording songs over that period and then culminating that in an album. Whereas this is a real snapshot of us, over the six-month period that we recorded the album. It was just a chance to build this whole world for the second album in this intense rush of time. I think that kind of comes through in the sound of it and the music. So, something like hometown has a kind of breathless rush to it. Which is definitely indicative of how we recorded it for sure. Just being able to make a second album and doing music is exciting. Just to be able to give our fans something more and something new is always really exciting, you know?
With the album there is a huge feeling of nostalgia and reflection. Are there songs from other bands and artists that give that same feeling?
One that we all have is The Killers. I think their music definitely, for us takes us back to like our childhood. That’s when we were like when we were like 13/14 and you’re very impressionable. There’s massive guitars and big melodies you just take notice of. So that’s definitely stuff we’ve been trying to evoke. On Hometown we were not you know trying to emulate, but it was inspired by Dakota by Stereophonics. We all agree that’s just an amazing song. That was that was definitely going around the studio. Definitely a variety of everything. Henry loves Amy Winehouse and Frank Sinatra as well; I was trying to channel that channel. That is also very nostalgic. I think that, especially Amy Winehouse, like growing up having that big, powerful voice, and soul music as well, something different to chew on then guitar rock? That was really important.
Live shows really are becoming a thing again tours are starting to more frequent. What’s your favourite thing about playing to a crowd of people?
I guess seeing people who are in the position I was in when I was their age, I mean it’s all ages at the shows. I mean, I was that person in the crowd, loving every second of it, and I’d go to as many gigs as could and I still go to loads of gigs. Just the fact that I can bring that amount of joy to someone else is awesome. It’s just, it’s such an event playing show. The excitement surrounding it is awesome. It’s an honour to be part of that, you know, making someone’s night maybe making their week if we’re lucky. It’s such a special feeling as well, you know.
On a personal side, I saw you guys in Oxford a few months back and It genuinely did make my week. I was actually injured a few days before so on crutches and that show genuinely made it so worth it.
Oh thank you for persevering!
From this new album, is there a particular line or lyric from a track that’s impossible to get out of your head?
I guess all of SICK. sick of being drunk sick of being sober sick of being alive sick of it being over. Those kinds of things, I think. Yeah, they definitely run around in my head a lot. And there’s a song called CUTE GUYS.
Cute Guys is one that really stood out to me while listening through the album and Friends as well.
Friends, that’s my baby Friends! For the first album, you know, every so often you’re like, Oh, God, what are we doing? Who are we? And then I listened to Forever and I’d be like, Okay, no, this is awesome. This is it. So for this album that song is Cute Guys probably and Paracetamol Boys are my favourites. I’ll be like, what the fuck are we doing then I listen to those songs and I’m like, Okay, we’re definitely onto something, we’ve got something. At least I know I love these songs and that’s probably the least you could ask for.
So Lonely. It was actually one of the ones that just I absolutely loved in Oxford. I genuinely couldn’t get It out of my head. I was just counting down for it to be released, so when I found out it was a single I was over the moon. What goes into deciding what tracks and the order you’re going to release singles in?
I guess for this album, especially for Sick, it was like, something that was similar to what we’ve been doing but definitely like a departure. We wanted to be a little bit unexpected. It’s not got as similar sort of song structure to our other songs, it’s a bit more linear, and it’s got a bit a bit different sounds a little bit more like hip hop influence that song. I think we just wanted to, you know, show people that we’re not here to do the same thing. We’re not just doing another album, as tempting as that would be to do another album of just high energy guitar bangers. There are those on there for sure. We definitely wanted to draw a line in the sand between what we’ve done and what this is. I’m not saying it’s a huge departure, but it’s definitely a different flavour to what we’ve done before. Hometown just felt like a big song, for Henry that was really important, lyrically a song he’s wanted to write, like a concept he wanted to write for ages so that meant a lot to him. That made sense as a second single and then Lonely we all just thought was amazing. So yeah, it’s kind of a no brainer. We wanted that to be like the last one before to you know, try and drag the last people into the fold, and it had such a great reception on tour that kind of we’d already decided at that point it was going to be a single, but the reception go on tour was really big. So in our mind cemented it. We had people since then, constantly asking us to release it.
When This Is The End came out, that really drew a line under that era of songs. Do you think you’ll do something similar at the end of this album cycle?
We certainly might… we certainly might. Well, I guess we’ve got a song coming out for Record Store Day. I don’t know how much I’m supposed to say. It’s out there. And the fact that it’s coming out is out there. So, there is a song. There is another song coming out.
What’s been the most exciting part from all moment from this album cycle so far?
I think game to play like, so released Sick just before, like a week or two before Reading and Leeds and being able to play that on the main stage. There was awesome. To be able to show everyone what we’ve been working on. And kind of kicking off with the band was great. It’s just been up since then. Like, it’s funny that we hadn’t even done the album launch shows from the first album before we announced start releasing songs from the second album. I’m looking forward to doing a normal album release and be able to like play the album straightaway. But I think just to be able to release new music is the highlight. For me really, just seeing people excited about it feels great for sure.
If you could give a message to your fans right now what would that be?
Everyone buy 10 copies of the album!
We’ve got to get it to number 1, and potentially avoid any weird chart battles with Biffy Clyro and Taylor Swift…
Exactly. That was unfortunate.
What great people to be up against though!
Yeah. And I was like I will happily take because Biffy Clyro, when I was 14, or whatever I had Puzzle, and I absolutely love that album. So, the fact that we behind them in the charts was crazy back then, I don’t think I would’ve believed them.
Homesick comes out Friday 18th March, and it’s an album you don’t want to sleep on. Pre order it HERE!