Now more than twenty years deep into their career, InMe have had a bunch of highs and lows in their career, but one thing that the Essex rockers could never be accused of is pandering and compromising.
Each and every one of the their releases doesn’t sound like the one that came before it, and with the scrapping of a planned trilogy of concept records and a few set backs and delays to what they decided to create in its place, it’s been a longer wait than expected to get our ears to consume their seventh studio album, ‘Jumpstart Hope’.
Thankfully, it seems like all of the speed bumps are now out of sight, and that the record will finally be with us in a matter of months. To stir up the excitement for what’s to come, they’ve headed out on a UK tour – their first as an official five-piece – to showcase their forthcoming material.
Ahead of their show in Manchester, we spoke with guitarist Gazz Marlow and drummer Tom Dalton to discuss the new album, transitioning from a quartet to a quintet, playlist culture, and more.
DP!: You’ve got a couple of dates left of this UK tour now. How’s it been?
GM: It’s been a hoot thus far.
TD: It’s been excellent.
GM: Yeah, there’s been a good turn out at all of the shows and the new material has been going down really well.
TD: It’s our first tour as a proper five-piece as well with John O’Keefe joining us on guitar after Dave’s sketchy parkour moment in Bristol a couple of years back.
GM: Loosely, the story behind that is that we all got tatted, and Dave got a bit more tatted. Walking home he just tried to do some stupid wall jump – he’s got no physical dexterity in these kinds of things at all, but being drunk he thought he could and that he could kick off of a wall. He did that and fell flat on his face and whatever, and then the next morning he couldn’t play guitar because his wrist had swollen up. We sent him off to A&E and we were trying to work out how many songs we had to cut from the set and do as a three-piece, and John was like “Er, I know how to play all of the songs” in his little Scouse accent, and we were like “Oh, do you want to get onstage and we can jam it out?” You never know, right? We couldn’t tell much of a difference, so we let John do the rest of the tour and on some subsequent shows, and people really liked Dave just singing on the last three songs of the sets. We got some feedback off some people saying that it sounds arguably better with Dave being able to focus purely on his vocals and crowd engagement, so we had a think and a chat about it. We decided to put John in the video, just to give it a new vibe, and then we just thought we should do it properly and become a five-piece. It’s going down really well.
TD: He’s really warmed up to it as well. For the last few shows you can see that Dave has really started to find his role as a frontman.
DP!: Well, despite how long the band has been going, throughout the whole career he’s always been performing guitar, so it must be new and refreshing for him.
TD: Yeah, sure.
GM: Definitely. He’s doing a lot more cool things with his vocals now too, because, you know, before he was singing and also playing guitar so sometimes he’s looking down to see what he’s doing, and at times that can be a little constrictive. Now he gets to do a lot more ad libs and improv stuff, screaming where there weren’t screams before, and all manner of things.
TD: Some guy came up to us after a show the other day who has seen us about fifteen times before and he said that it looks like we’re having more fun as a five-piece. I think that’s true as well. It just brings more energy to the shows.
DP!: Do you think it’s rejuvenated the band as a whole a bit too?
GM: Yeah, and I think that the same thing happened when Tom joined, and the same thing happened when I joined ten years ago. Things can stagnate to a point, and I think just having that new approach and new songs, etc. kinda writes itself.
DP!: Obviously we’ve not heard the new album ‘Jumpstart Hope’ yet, but are there discussions or songs that are written or are yet to be written where you’ll incorporate three guitars?
GM: Not yet, but to be honest there are probably bits on the album and our older albums that have three guitar parts. ‘White Butterfly’, for example, is impossible to be played fully as a three-piece – you’d have to do it at least a four-piece, but preferably a five-piece. There are double-tracked chords, an octave part and then there’s another higher ambient part. It’s always been done that way anyway, but we might. It’s certainly not off the table to do some kind of triple harmony guitar Iron Maiden kind of stuff, you know?
TD: Dave has already started thinking about the next album anyway at the moment, so, yeah, that could well be in the pipeline.
GM: They’re all quite dynamic ideas too. As time goes by what we start off with isn’t usually what we end up with. We’re like “Let’s write it like that”, and then it ends up being something completely different. Sometimes you need to let the songs write themselves, you know? It might start off sounding like a rock song but in time it eventually starts sounding like a metal song.
DP!: We’ve heard a few singles off of ‘Jumpstart Hope’. Are they good indicators of what to expect?
GM: Yeah. I mean, I think those singles are all very varied. We came in with ‘For Something To Happen’ which is deliberately InMe-light, just to give people another aspect of the band instead of coming in with a metal song. Then we came in with something in the middle, ‘Blood Orange Lake’ is kind of down the heavier end. There’s another song on the album which is acoustic and orchestral, there’s another song that has pretty much a scream-fest at the end of it.
TD: Yeah, it’s a very heavy track on the album. It’s much heavier than ‘Blood Orange Lake’, and there is other stuff that’s a lot lighter.
GM: Some of it is a bit more Biffy Clyro and stompy kind of straight-forward rock too.
TD: It’s really cool, and there’s a really good mixture. We’re playing five songs from it on this tour, and we’re also selling tour editions of the album on the tour too, which is basically half of the album for a bit of a taster for people to go away with. We had 300 of them to sell on this tour.
GM: Yeah, and then they can enjoy the whole thing a little later.
DP!: ‘Jumpstart Hope’ is quite a positive title to land on for the record. Would you say it’s an uplifting and hopeful album?
GM: Partly. Lyrically a lot of is about what Dave has been dealing with and been quite public about lately; dealing with issues around addiction and also mental health. There are some uplifting moments in there I would say, but there are also some dark moments and lyrics in it.
TD: I think Dave has been pretty honest with his songwriting on this album, and the lyrics and stuff are quite personal on some of the songs for sure. His confidence to come out and talk about his mental health and addiction issues has been a really good thing and a positive thing for him, and he’s taking that on board and trying to turn things around really. A lot of that has been channelled into the lyrics.
DP!: You’ll finally be releasing it in January after a few set backs and here. What’s been causing the delays to getting it out there for people to hear?
GM: Lots of things.
TD: It’s difficult. I mean, the album has been finished for quite a few months now, but sometimes what we want to do and what other members of the InMe team want to do are not always the same thing. It’s kind of a matter of trying to accommodate everyone really, and delaying the album to put it our a little later meant that we were able to push out a few more singles which is good because, you know, we haven’t released an album in quite a few years now. In some respects InMe kind of dropped off the radar a little bit, and allowing these singles to come out before the release of the album allows people to start listening back to the band again before we drop the album.
GM: In summary, we had to line up all of the ducks first.
DP!: Makes sense. I think this is the biggest gap between albums so far in InMe’s career, is that right?
GM: Yeah, it is, and one of the real delays is in part what has happened over the past two and a bit years with Dave and his struggles. That’s one of the real reasons why we’ve waited before working on putting out a new album. I mean, there’s the ‘Trilogy’ album series that we started in 2015. As soon as we went into the new line-up and we were trying to write the second album for that which by its very nature had to be different to the first one, had to be a lighter album – I mean, it wasn’t writing itself. We wanted to go into a new direction really and showcase Tom doing his thing and the new band dynamic, so we binned it and started working on ‘Jumpstart Hope’ instead. It would’ve been a very different album, and sometimes you have to press the reboot button.
DP!: Was there any material written for that second ‘Trilogy’ record that is going to feature on ‘Jumpstart Hope’, or did you scrap that project completely?
GM: Yeah, some parts. ‘For Something To Happen’ was actually written and set to appear on that second ‘Trilogy’ album, but back then it was a bit lighter, and ‘The Next Song’ was going to be on it as well, and another song on the new album too but we haven’t released it just yet.
DP!: Looking back even further on InMe’s history and releases, I noticed that ‘Herald Moth’ recently hit its ten-year anniversary. I know neither of you were in the band for that record, but what do you feel about those kinds of album milestones, and how do you two feel about that record?
GM: Yeah, that album is just before my time with the band. I sort of became friends with the band at that point, so I was sort of hanging out with Dave and going to their shows, and when I joined the band it was in the ‘Herald Moth’ album cycle. I was playing the tours for that album, so for me it is quite a nostalgic and important record. I still think that it’s really good, and I like the sort of dark turn and idea that it was the ugly version of ‘White Butterfly’. We haven’t got this mentality of “Oh, we hate the old stuff” but it’s nice to change and do different things. Some fans would have us play ‘Overgrown Eden’ forever and just write more songs that are exactly like that, but that’s not how you progress musically. You’ve got to be honest with yourself, and you can’t do what I think quite a lot of bands do which is think “Oh, we’ve got that sound and the fans want that sound, let’s just keep doing that.” There are a lot of very forward-thinking bands that re-invent themselves and we would rather be perceived as that, and hopefully people like it. It’s art and we write it for being what it is, and not to pander to other peoples’ wishes.
DP!: Well, InMe has been going for around two decades now and, again, I know you’re not founding members, but in this digital music age and streaming consumption there seems to be more bands emerging nowadays than ever before, but also bands splitting up more often too. What about InMe do you feel has made it survive for so long?
GM: I guess InMe were lucky in the period when they first came out that it was when there was some notably money in the industry for bands, and that they got to have that initial level of exposure and marketing and stuff like that, and get that touring under their belts too when they were all young. I don’t know, though. I mean, we’ve all got full-time jobs alongside this, so we actually in a way don’t need for the band to make a tonne of money. It’s not like we have to pay our rent with music, so that in itself certainly give us a bit more freedom.
TD: We do have a pretty good core fanbase too which has stuck with the band for years and years, and for sure that makes a massive difference with keeping us going. For example, we have a Patreon now where people can sign up and subscribe, and helps us to keep going with more every day things like rehearsals and stuff like that. It’s a massive help.
GM: Also we’re not a band that people just like one or two songs of or they just think we’re generally okay. We’re genuinely either one of your favourite bands, or you hate us, or you don’t know us. We’re quite cult, and in a way that’s good because the fans you do get want to purchase the album, they want to purchase a t-shirt, and want to go to a show as opposed to just shoving a song or two on a playlist and leaving it at that.
DP!: That is something that you see nowadays with playlist culture, where people won’t listen to an album and just the singles.
GM: I hate that. It’s one of those things that drives middle of the road shite to the top, but it’s just shit that people search for “blah, blah, blah, top 40, current favourite songs” and they’re not even listening to it. It’s sitting in the background whilst someone is making their dinner, and it’s a load of bollocks. It doesn’t reward deep listening where people get the album experience by listening to it from start-to-finish. It’s just ones that get stuck on in the background because people get lazy and just listen to curated playlists. I’m not going to name any artists, but I consider the charts in general to be a load of shit. Modern music nowadays is manufactured rather than created – you get a team of like twenty songwriters to write a chorus that’s like “Woah-oh, woah-oh-oh-oh”. You sometimes get these writing credits and reading them is outrageous. I think a musician’s job is to write and perform their music. If you don’t write it, you can fuck off. If you don’t perform it and you lip sync and all that, you can fuck off as well. I’m strongly opinionated on the music industry. I think it should be musicians only, and not models with money and auto-tune.
DP!: What else have you got planned for the rest of this year and 2020?
TD: We’ve got a couple of more singles coming out, so that’s pretty awesome, and then next year we’ll be doing some more touring. We do a lot of stuff in-house as a band, which is quite nice because it means we can push out more content and control it.
DP!: Any final words or anything else you want to share?
GM: Well, it’d be rude to not mention what happened last night. So, we had a day off last night and it was my girlfriend’s birthday, so we went to Canal Street which is quite an infamous party zone, and we all got absolutely spannered. One of the highlights was when Greg went to my girlfriend’s dad’s partner, and was all over the place dancing with people and trying to dance with her, and all of a sudden stacked it and pulled her onto the floor with him.
TD: It was a complete wipe out and we caught it all on video too.
GM: He’s been suffering today, and he was a bit poorly in the night too.
TD: Yeah, he was really poorly in the night, and he’s even more poorly today because he just managed to snap a tendon in his finger… by getting dressed.
GM: It’s the second time that he’s snapped a tendon in his finger by tucking and untucking his shirt.
TD: He needs to work on his tucking technique I think.
GM: We’ll probably do some more partying tonight though.
The band’s seventh studio album, ‘Jumpstart Hope’, is out on January 17th 2020 via Killing Moon Records.