Cambridgeshire pop-rock outfit The First have been a band who since their formation in 2009 have been bubbling around the underground, securing the odd support slot here and there but sadly never got the chance to push themselves to stand alongside some of their more successful peers. However, following a slot at this year’s Download Festival and with sophomore full-length ‘Take Courage’ soon to hit everyone’s ears, it appears their day of recognition is due very soon.
Frontman Benny Salter has kindly given us a full insight into the band’s new album and what has inspired their latest work.
01.) There’s No Place Like Home
When we first started talking about writing the next album, we all agreed we wanted it to be more diverse than the last. This song depicts the album and what it’s worth. It’s easy to get a day job and fall into the trap of routine. Being away from those that you love is hard, and it’s a constant compromise of dreams vs. reality for us. Being out on the road is great, still there’s no place like home.
02.) Take It Back
This song started with a big riff. It was the first song we wrote after ‘Swimming With Sharks’. Everyone has been messed around at some point in their lives, and this song is about realising that you’re better than that and that person is really not worth it.
03.) Dare I Say I Ruined Everything
I had this idea once about what it would be like if I was lost at sea, stranded on a boat with no one but myself for company. The song is a conversation with my positive and negative mind. It’s ultimately about taking charge and making the best of a situation.
04.) Start Again
I really wanted to write a very catchy and almost poppy song and I feel I achieved this here. Both the lyrics and the melodies are some of my favourite on the album. It’s a classic relationship scenario, “when everything you ever know ends, just start again”, trying to put a positive spin on things that have gone sour.
I love the lead guitar line throughout this song. I’m very sentimental and think a lot about both the past and future and sometimes forget to focus on the here and now. Often it seems things pass me by too quickly and I wish that maybe I could have maybe made more of the situation, however it’s not until the moment has passed that you realise. Everything was in front of me, now it’s history.
06.) Take Courage
Last year, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. We don’t always see eye to eye, but the experience has brought us closer together. It’s a very personal and meaningful tribute to her suffering and by far the most powerful song that I have ever written. It’s a massive fuck you to cancer.
07.) Shark Attack
This is the fastest tempo song on the album and is almost like a race to the finish line. This song is about ambition and doing what you can in the time you have. We’re all going to die at some point, so let’s make the most of the time that we have. It’s about progressing and moving forward, even though that may seem hard sometimes.
William is an old man who drinks in a local pub that I sometimes go to. He’s an extremely interesting man, though at a glance, you would never know. One night a group of us asked him to come and join us, and it was only then that I understood what an incredible person he really was and what an extraordinary and full life he has lived. I was haunted by the idea that his best years, his love and youth had come and gone and that to me was a very sad thought. One day I will try my best to explain to William how he inspired me.
09.) Love. Regret. Forgive. Forget.
I think this song speaks for itself, it’s bold and in your face. It’s about being screwed over by someone that you loved and trusted. It’s about being helpless and stuck in a bad place, and I won’t forget. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it right now.
10.) Tonight Tonight
We recorded a piano version of one of our songs called ‘My Intentions Are Good’ a while back on an EP called ‘Sink Or Swim’ and wanted to do something similar on this album. It’s not something that we usually do, so it was a challenge, however it turned out to be a perfect end to the album. It’s about how difficult I find things sometimes in love and life, but when the opportunity arises, grab the bull by the horns and give it everything that you’ve got.
11.) Enough Is Never Enough
I’m constantly judging myself and trying to be the best that I can be. For me, enough really is never enough and I will always strive for more. This is a very personal song to me. It’s about my growing up, maturing and progressing, whilst remembering that it’s very important not to forget who you are and where you came from.