INTERVIEW: Homebound (02/09/2018)

Credit: Promo

Homebound‘s subtle rise has been both quiet and emphatic. The band’s 2017 EP, ‘The Mould You Built Yourself Around’, combined ferociously energetic pop-punk with an added air of heavy intensity that made it one of the most accomplished releases in its area of that year.

A little over a year later, follow-up EP ‘More To Me Than Misery’ takes everything that was successful on its predecessor and adds a delicious bit of spite whilst adding on a heavier and bolder tone than we’ve heard from the boys before.

As the group headed out on their first ever headline tour across the UK, we sat down with frontman Charlie Boughton ahead of their show in Glasgow to pick his brains about support culture, influential bands, and inter-band friendships.

DP!: Hello! So, Homebound are out on their first ever headline tour. How have you found it so far?
CB: Really good. Actually, eye opening in some senses and quite surprising. There are certain shows that even before we announced the tour we thought “How many people are going to turn up for that one?”, or even as we saw some of the tickets start to sell thinking “Oh god, is that one going to reach a certain number?”. But, the closer and closer it got to the tour, and especially since the new EP’s been out, the numbers sort of went up, and up, and up. Even on the days of the shows there’s been a load more walk-ups, and it’s made for really good shows.

We were dead nervous about doing a headline tour as it’s our first ever UK headliner. Last year we did a lot of support slots, as recently as May when we supported Broadside here in the Attic. We’re doing a lot of similar venues to the ones we’ve been support acts in, and it’s been really surprising in a good way.

DP!: How’s it comparing to previous tours where you were a support band?
CB: It’s completely different. I suppose equally in both support and headline shows you have no expectations. I think there’s this idea that, because it’s a headline tour, you think everyone is going to be here for us and that it’s going to be a really good show. But then there’s another part of you that has that self-doubt that it isn’t necessarily true. It’s a different experience.

As a support band, which we were a lot last year, we were just happy to be there and to be playing big rooms and not a lot of people knew us at the time either, whereas with the headline tour we’ve got a little bit more expectations since people are here for us. With the headline tour, we’ve had a bit more freedom as it’s our tour, so we’ve been able to choose the band we’ve been able to go out with, have a longer set list, and be a bit more creative with that in terms of production and stuff like that.

DP!: With a lot of experience as a support band previously, do you view support culture as a big part of the scene?
CB: I think it’s important that we have support bands still. I know a lot of people just view them as being there in the background and just waiting for the main headliner. I mean, you can’t force anyone to sit and watch a support band. At the end of the day, they’ve paid their money and in their rights to do whatever they wish really. For me, I’ve discovered a lot of bands when I was younger going to shows and seeing bands and thinking “This band opening the tour are really good.”

I remember years and years ago I went to see Parkway Drive, and at the time they had The Ghost Inside supporting them. At the time I was very much into that type of music, but I had never given The Ghosy Inside a listen, but seeing them live – they blew me away. Since then, they’ve always been one of my favourite bands. In terms of what support bands can do, you have to go out there with a no-half-measures energy, because people will sense right away if you’re not quite committed to it. I always went in with the idea that when we play shows, you have to actually put on a show and make people think “Oh, wow, this band deserves to be playing this stage.” That’s the only bit of advice I’d give, just fully commit to what you’re doing and enjoy it.

DP!: Your new EP ‘More To Me Than Misery’ came out last month. Do you find it easier to play shows when you have more songs after a releasing new material?
CB: The EP hasn’t been out very long, so a lot of people are still obviously getting to know the songs. It’s been obvious because we’ve been playing the new EP in full across our set list on the tour and the songs that have only just come out, there’s less people who know those ones. But it’s exciting and really cool to see even the singles that have been out, there a lot of people who do know them.

For example, last year when we put out our EP ‘The Mould You Built Yourself Around’. Those songs everyone knows now, and everyone will get involved in those. I think the more you go out and the more you tour with an EP, you start to see a steady climb in terms of the amount of people singing along and people coming to the shows and picking up records. All that sort of thing.

DP!: Speaking of the EP, where did the title ‘More To Me Than Misery’ stem from?
CB: Nothing particularly special. When I was writing it, there was no conscious decision to be like, “I want it to be like this.” It’s a lyric from one of the songs, ‘Indelible’, and the actual lyric in the song “Nothing more to me than misery”, which, obviously, is quite a negative, sad, or poignant line. But I wanted to spin it, so that the title was ‘More To Me Than Misery’, because I wanted it to sort of highlight the fact that all the experiences I’ve been writing about and talking about in our songs have actually helped me prove myself. That there’s more to me than misery, and it kind of rolls off the tongue. It felt right.

It was one of those ones when we were discussing potential titles that everyone was kind of like “Yeah, that sounds solid.” The title really just highlights all of the topics I’ve been talking about in our songs and sort of highlighted and talks about the issues you go through and the highs and lows, peaks and troughs of life and happiness. There’s a huge theme on the EP about finding what makes you happy and sometimes realising that actually what you thought made you happy doesn’t, or the things that make you happy are also a deep rooted cause of anxiety and your problems. For me, it was quite a cathartic experience to figure all of this out as I wrote the songs. It’s probably the most personal songs I’ve written about. It felt good to finally release it.

DP!: Does that explain the darker presence on the EP? For example, you appear to have added an extra bit or grit to vocals across the record. What was the thinking behind that?
CB: That was a conscious decision. We’ve always felt like we steered in the darker lane in some aspects of this music. We obviously have had poppier songs in the past, but we’ve always felt like the direction of the band was always going to take us down a slightly darker way and towards a sound that was more in line with what we listen to and what we grew up listening to.

This EP was kind of like a warmer into where we’re going to go. In comparison to our last EP, there’s a stark difference as ‘More To Me Than Misery’ is darker, my voice is grittier. There’s just generally like a rawness to it that wasn’t so obvious on the last record. The last one was a lot more polished whereas with this we took different influences. Bands like The Used and Underoath were like big influences and inspirations I suppose. They were both bands that we grew up listening to and we thought actually, if we want to write something like this then let’s just do it. We took on a mindset this time around where we were like “If this was going to be the last thing we ever release, what would we want to do and what music would we want to write?”. Even if there’s bits where we thought when writing, “Is that too out there?” or “Is that too different?”, we just thought “Whatever, screw it, let’s just do that.” I think throughout the EP, and as the singles came out, a lot of people were surprised by some of the sounds of the EP.

DP!: You say that The Used and Underoath inspired your new EP. Was this a direct influence, or was it more personal?
CB: No, I don’t think so. I mean, maybe some people do write like that. They think “Alright, I want this to sound like this kind of band”, but it was never like that. We’ve always been steering towards a darker way, so for us it just felt like a natural progression from what we were doing already. That being said, I guess it might sound a bit different from our old stuff, but for us, it felt like the right way the songs were going. But, no, there wasn’t a conscious decisions I suppose in the sense of “Let’s emulate this band.”

We know what vibes and areas we like more in terms of our own listening, and we want to do everything on our basis. We want it to sound like the way we wanted to sound as opposed to the expectations other people may have set for us. It just went there as well as we started writing the record. We kind of just delved into these areas more and more. There were songs that we wrote for it at the start of the process that, by the time we finished writing, there was no chance those songs could fit on the record because it’s just so different from where we are now. It was definitely a journey in that sense, and we’re happy with where it ended up and the songs we did pick in the end. We had to be bold with the choices, and that’s kind of why we picked the songs we picked.

DP!: Apart from your own release, what other bands’ releases within the scene have you been checking out this year?
CB: To be honest, we don’t actually listen to that much music within the scene anymore. I suppose when you’re surrounded by it so much you just want to listen to something different. Most of us listen to hip-hop or anything like completely different pop music, even stuff like Post Malone’s album, new Drake – although I’m not so keen on his new record. In that sense, I guess it also gives us time to rest our ears as well, because if you’re listening to the same music all the time it’s quite draining.

I really like the new Bring Me The Horizon song. I just love that band, to be honest. For me, that kind of sound they’ve gone for is the end game. That should be the end game for most bands. Their progression over the years is just unrivalled, because they’ve done it so well. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Chase Atlantic, and I really like them. I guess they kind of delve into the hip-hop areas of things. I’m also quite excited for the new Boston Manor record. I’ve always been a big fan of those guys, and we’ve toured with them before. They’re the nicest dudes as well. I’m excited for them and seeing what happens with that album too.

DP!: Following on from your friendship with Boston Manor, how have you guys found the community-style friendship between bands within the scene and how did it impact your journey through it?
CB: It’s interesting, because a lot of the bands we first spoke to when we started are still very much there and in the scene and doing well. I think it might have been our very second show ever and we were with Trash Boat, and we literally both played together in Sheffield to, no joke, like ten people. I think a couple months later we went on a long weekend run again in similar kind of venues too. We’ve been friends with them for all of this time, and we even went on tour with them last year. It was crazy really. We were talking throughout the tour about how crazy it is from where we both were to where we both are now and in a different places.

I suppose it helps if you have got friends in the scene, because you start off like that. I don’t think it happens as much anymore, but when we started, it was a real big thing to get out on the road, get playing shows, and make friends along the way and enjoy it. We had that approach and, the more you do it, you find that different people know different people from different places. Like once, I met one of the guys from Can’t Swim and he knew our manager, but I’d never met him. It’s crazy how close knit everything is. I think there’s a strong sense of community within the scene, but it can get twisted and manipulated. I think some people have the wrong mindset when they go into a band. I think you just have to enjoy it and be yourself and you’ll make the right friends in the right places your own way. I know there are fake people. There’s always going to be fake people. You’ve just got to go out and enjoy it, and it’s what you make of it.

DP!: Finally, what does the rest of the year look like for Homebound?
CB: It’s really going to be focusing on this EP and getting the most out of things on it as we can. We don’t really know what the next few months are going to entail, but we’re just excited to have this record out and see where it will take us. Hopefully there’ll be more touring, new places, new crowds, that kind of thing.

I think what was important for us when we wrote this EP is that we didn’t want to put ourselves in a box where we necessarily had to associate or tour with certain bands. We wanted to kind of leave it in a place where we could tour with a really poppy band still, but we could also go on tour with an Underoath or someone like that. That was why we picked a band like Modern Error for this tour. We wanted to show that we are more than just this pop-punk label that everyone gets splashed with, and we don’t want to be painted with the same brush. It was a case of us wanting to play with the bands that we wanted to play with, and Modern Error are a good mould for this tour and what we we’re trying to set about doing. We wanted to be associated with playing with those kind of bands as well. Hopefully that will lead to more opportunities and meeting new types of fans who wouldn’t have normally come across us otherwise.

The band’s new EP, ‘More To Me Than Misery’, is out now through Pure Noise Records.

You can purchase it online from the band’s official webstore (here), iTunes (here), Amazon (here), and Google Play (here).

You can keep up to date with the band online by following them on Facebook (here), Twitter (here), and Instagram (here).