Somehow I've Always Known
Somehow I've Always known is the first single off the new Headwires, Somehow I've Always Known.
I asked the guys in Headwires (Dakota Wright, Lucas Smith, Jesse McClendon and Nick Bryant) few questions about the new album, an upcoming tour, and more!
"Headwires is the one thing we all have, no matter what."
AH: What made you choose this song to be your first single off the new record?
Dakota:It's one of the first songs we wrote as a full band after Nick came along and after we decided we were going to write another record. I think it seems like a pretty solid gateway into the rest of the record, as far as the overall sound goes. Jesse wrote that main riff that you hear in the beginning of the song, and it just gets stuck in your head. Also, on a personal note, this song came from kind of a weird place for me. It's about feeling the stress of spending all your time alone after a separation, and wondering if you're ever on that other person's mind.
AH: Who recorded the album?
Lucas: We recorded the album with Ryan Stidham at Atlas F studios in Athens, AL. Recording with Ryan was such a great experience. We were already big fans of his work on the Belial album he did so we knew it would be great. We couldn’t have picked a better engineer to work with.
Dakota: Ryan Stidham at AtlasF Studio recorded, mixed, and mastered the whole record. I've been a fan of AtlasF for a while, but I was sold when I saw Ryan's name on my favorite record from last year, Belial's (Now XY Spaces') "You Look Good for Infinity." Everything about the production of that record blew me away, and I knew immediately we had to work with him. Honestly, it was the best recording experience I've ever had. Everyone was on the same page and Ryan did a great job of pulling ideas out of us, at times even coaching us through our own individual insecurities. We basically locked ourselves in the studio for the better part of a week and just hammered it out. It was a great time and I would recommend his studio to anyone looking for a great producer and engineer.
AH: What influences did you look towards when making this album?
Jesse: Loud. Sabbath. Coheed and Cambria. Queens of The Stone Age. O'Brother. Hop Along. Every Time I Die. Add 1 cup of Warpaint. Broil for 20 minutes.
Lucas: We were going for a heavier sound for this record. Dakota and I grew up listening to bands like Blacklisted, Converge, and Every Time I Die. As far as guitar goes, we wanted to bring in some of those influences for this record.
Dakota: The first song we wrote for this record, before Nick was in the band and before we even decided to write a record, was Choke. We knew when we wrote that song that our next album would be a bit more structured, a little more grown-up sounding. Over last summer we wrote a song that ended up getting scrapped, Take Away, that sort of told us which direction we definitely didn't want to go in. We really didn't write anything else until we were on tour with When I'm Older last September. After a rough day, Lucas and I began flirting with the idea of a new record. We discussed an EP, just something fun and relaxed to make at home. The more we talked, though, the more it became apparent that we wanted to go ahead and begin work on our first full-length. That same week, I wrote OWLs. Jesse was at school while we were on that tour, and he wrote the riff from Somehow. When we all got home and got back to working on new music, we finished writing San Dimas and the other songs. It all came together so quickly. We had a few ideas that ended up getting culled, but I believe we came out with the best collection of songs we've ever written.
As far as influences, everyone referenced different stuff. As far as writing guitar goes, I was listening to a ton of Blacklisted and Bad Brains, a lot of Every Time I Die, Ramones, Gorilla Biscuits, things like that. Lyrically, I kind of turned to Sylvia Plath, Keith Buckley, J. Bannon, Chance the Rapper, Noname, and Wes Eisold.
AH: How does Somehow I’ve Always Known differ from your EP, Phrenology?
Lucas:It’s a lot more mature. When we recorded Phrenology, we didn’t really know what we were doing as far as gear. I recorded my guitar parts through a busted amp. We were just rushing to put out material. We all wrote this record together so it has a lot more of everyones influences and tastes on it.
Jesse: It feels like we actually wrote these songs. Haha. I love Phrenology, I love playing those songs and I love everything Lucas records. But the songs on this album feel like us, 20000000%.
AH: Is there anyone outside of Headwires featured on the new album?
Dakota: Yes, definitely. On "Scarlet Fades Today," Josh Allen from Dead Heroes came in and did guest vocals. Hunter Dawson wrote lyrics to the ending of "Matrimony," which is probably my favorite lyric on the record.
Lucas: Yes, our good friend Josh Allen did guest vocals on the song “Scarlet Fades Today”. Josh used to do vocals in a band called Dead Heroes and I really looked up to them. They were a big influence on me when I was younger so it was a very cool experience to have him on the record.
AH: I really enjoyed working with you guys on designing the look of the new album. How do you think the visual elements of Somehow I’ve Always Known contribute to the overall experience of the record?
Jesse:Thank you for your artistic expertise. I really, really dig your art an awful lot. It's the most original style I've seen in a very long time. I think it's perfect, because in many ways the lyrics of this album are about some pretty tough subjects. The art is a perfect visualization of what it feels like.
Dakota:I think the album's cover does a great job of symbolizing the stress of separation after giving all of yourself to someone for a period of time and the idea that hindsight truly is 20/20, for better or worse. It perfectly symbolizes that all things past are exactly that and they can't be brought back. I think the idea of the angel on such a dark background really grabs the idea, too, that the fact that what's past is behind you isn't always as bleak as it sounds, and that a harder past can shape a brighter future. And I really appreciate that about your art, because I wanted one of the themes of this record to be that no matter how empty and alone we may ever feel, there is always hope of something better tomorrow as long as we just keep pushing. I really feel like you nailed that.
AH: You have only been a band for a little over a year and you have already been on two tours and released an EP. Now you are preparing to go on your next tour and release this full-length album. What is it like to have accomplished this in such a short about of time? As a band do you feel like you guys have grown?
Dakota: I don't really feel like it's been a year. Haha Time flies, I guess. We've had a pretty solid plan in place from the beginning. We're currently ahead of schedule, which feels great, but we're all pretty adamant about pressing onward. There's a lot of ground to cover and we can't wait to get out there. I feel like we've definitely learned more about the entire process of booking shows and the mechanics of it all over the past year. We've also really figured out our relationships with each other in the band, and kind of the politics we have internally. I'm really thankful for what we've got. It's a family, and we work with and for each other. That's a cool feeling. And music is basically all any of us have ever done or that any of us know. We love it. We love making it. We love hearing it. We just want to dive in endlessly, and we intend to.
Jesse: It's really incredible. I know I expressed several concerns with Dakota when I initially joined, and he told me how fast he was planning on moving. I've heard a lot of people blow smoke and say what all they're going to do, but Dakota is one of the very few people that actually do what they say. I've just held on and it feels like the past year and a half has been a whirlwind. I most definitely feel like we've grown. I remember when Lucas before he was writing songs and leads, I remember when I hardly moved during shows. I remember when Dakota's hair was shorter (mine too) and I remember when Nick first joined. It's crazy how much changes, isn't it? Headwires is the one thing we all have, no matter what.
AH: You guys are playing a lot of shows this summer, including a tour. What are the benefits of playing lots of shows?
Dakota: There are so, so many benefits to playing as much as possible. There's nothing like a hard day's work, you know? Like I said earlier, we're all in love with every aspect of music, whether we're making it or being fans of it. It just feels good to be involved. And it's always an opportunity, every single day. It's such a privilege to be able to meet so many cool people and make so many new friends and new connections just by hanging out and sharing music with each other.
Lucas: Playing tons of shows is something we feel like is necessary for us to grow. We try our best to play every opportunity we get and I think that will help us in the future.
AH: Tell me about the upcoming tour
Lucas: We’ll be going back out on the road with our friends Men and Mountains in late July.
Jesse:Late July! Alongside the bearded men of Mt. Everest. It's really similar to the route we took last year, but we're actually playing in Texas this time. I can't wait for Lucas to get pulled over, Payton to brush his teeth with chocolate milk, and figuring out where to shower.
AH: When can people expect the album to be released?
Dakota: July 22nd, on Bandcamp or at shows.