Seasonal - 'Bloom' Track by Track

"With an EP title chosen to represent the new beginning for the quartet, vocalist/bassist Matt Truseler gives an insight into it's content: "Lyrically we take a very honest approach. The songs on this EP are all about personal experiences from our lives and feelings. We wanted to avoid having songs with generic lyrics that although anyone could relate to, do not have a personal connection to us: a balance between, what is relatable for the listener, without losing the meaning of each track for us." Once happy with their repertoire, 9 months had passed and the band headed into the studio with the intention of recording just one track with Oz Craggs at Hidden Track in Folkestone. However, upon hearing the first mix, they were inspired to dive in, going on to lay down all of the songs that became 'Bloom'." Bloom is due out on May 19th, and Matt is giving fans an insight into the EP with his track by track guide...

1. ‘Certainty’ is essentially a very simple song. Structurally and musically we worked on a basis of ‘less is more’ to give the vocals some space and dynamic.  The song was built around the original idea of just one guitar and vocals, as heard in the stripped back section of the middle eight. The chorus was originally written with the 2&4 beat that you hear in the final chorus, but as vocal ideas developed we decided to half time it to flow and compliment the vocals more, while saving something extra to build to at the end. This was one of few changes that happened when writing this song as it came about very organically, so we hadn’t over thought things.

Lyrically the song tackles the situation of being unsure of your future in a relationship. I wrote this from a very personal perspective but it is obviously an issue that a lot of people can relate to. It is a very open and honest song so the lyrics don’t really need much explanation. The line from which the song takes its title was actually the last lyric written. The breakdown vocal changed a lot in the writing process as it is so exposed in the mix it had to be just right. The simplicity and dynamic in this song makes it great fun to play live. It’s always nice to play a song that gives you the freedom to focus on delivering a strong performance. Having a big instrumental middle 8 gives us all a chance to break away from the mic stands for a bit and really give it some.

In the studio we focused heavily on guitar tones throughout. Making sure the tone used on each section not only complimented the drum sounds we had already achieved but didn’t overpower the vocals or other guitars. We found that adding subtle over dubs of an acoustic guitar really added texture and definition to the heavier strumming patterns, and went on to use this technique in certain sections of other tracks on the EP.

2. ‘Headphones’ is a really upbeat, happy pop rock song. I think that you can hear that it was written in the summer months. Musically the basis of the song came together very quickly, but the finer details like finding the most fitting lead guitar lines for choruses took a few turns. The upbeat feel of the music really set the tone for the vocals and lyrics.

The song is all about reminiscing about being younger and having no real responsibilities in life. The idea stemmed from hearing a certain song that immediately reminded me of those times and I was struck by how strong of a connection music has with your memory. The song really just reminisces on what we used to get up to and pays homage to the songs that will always remind us of those “simpler days”. Being so upbeat makes this song super fun to play live for us. It’s hard not to move to and adding that 4 to the floor final chorus makes that impossible. It’s one that we especially look forward to playing to a home town crowd as it’s all about growing up around Guildford, so we expect a good reaction.

When recording the track we worked very similarly to the other tracks, selecting different guitar tones and sounds to suit each section and at times using multiple guitars and amps over the space of the song to give each guitar line its own definition. Oz (production, mix and master) was very encouraging of this from the start, and we all agreed from the outset that it was all about making it sound as good as possible so why limit yourself to just one guitar and amp per song. It’s done in a very subtle way but we think comparatively it makes a massive difference to the overall sound and feel to each track.

3. ‘These Games’ was the first song we wrote together that features on the record. We went down to Hidden Track Studios with the intention of just recording the one track and using it to get some shows and show friends. By the end of that weekend we already knew that we would be back down to do a full EP imminently. The song is one of the more technical songs on the EP both structurally and musically. It is a faster paced track and has more sections to it. It definitely leans more towards pop punk side of our sound.

Lyrically the song is about a fallout that one band member had. The whole thing was drawn out for a long time and it started over a pretty ridiculous situation, so the song really just points to how stupid it all was in the grand scheme of things. It’s really just about putting petty things behind you and putting aside egos when your friends are involved.

From a live perspective it is now great to fun play live as one of the heavier tracks we have. It has taken some time though. With so many rhythm changes and harmonies it was one of the more challenging songs to get sounding as tight as on record but we have it locked in now. It has really come back around as one of our favourites to play.

4. ‘Ranger’ is another track which leans more towards the pop punk side of things. With higher tempo and 16th high hats beats it’s a really energetic song. This song went through a lot of stages in the writing process. We went back over this song time and time again to get it sounding how we wanted, focusing a lot of time getting lead lines and accents between sections nailed. Alex got really technical with the drumming on this song. The chorus beat is totally different each time it comes back and he basically just goes off on one for the whole middle section of the song which sounds great.

The lyrics for the song came from wanting to reach out to friend. It’s always hard to see someone struggle with fears and see how they can hold someone back. Rather than get too personal the song looks at it from a wider perspective and really just says that there is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have fears and if you talk about them and express yourself it normally helps. It’s meant from a very positive perspective, as you see more and more people feeling they can’t reach out to even a friend nowadays, which is sad. At the moment we have been closing the live set with this song. We like to end with a song full of energy so this song was an obvious choice. It’s full of call and response vocals and big drum fills and a climactic build up so it’s a great one to catch live.

The main difference between Ranger and the other tracks from a recording process would be the drum work. A lot of time went into choosing the right fills and accents and really letting the drums flare out adding excitement to the track. Again, we use a mixture of guitars and amps to get the right tones, flipping between the Marshall and the Friedman to find what worked best for each guitar line. By taking 3 DI’S of the bass tracks (dry, compressed & filthy), we could blend in a bit more crunch or dirt where it needed it which was great option to have when it came to mixing. We are really looking forward to people hearing this song because it shows the other spectrum of our sound to ‘Certainty’.

5. ‘Homeward’ is a song that means a lot to me personally. It is a slow and soft song to begin with, layering simple guitars and melody instrumentally. It is really more about the point that is being made than flexing any technical muscle. As soon as Max played the opening guitar line idea I knew this was the chance to write a song that I had wanted to for a while. Being almost exactly 2 years since the passing of a close childhood friend, I felt it was time to say goodbye properly. Having not seen each other much in the time before the death and a long complicated wait for the funeral it felt like it had taken a long time to process, but I still wanted to say something. The lyrics basically speak for themselves. It was written from my personal situation, but I am sure there are a lot of people out there that can appreciate and relate to the message.

It’s always hard playing a song this personal live, particularly from a vocal perspective. But given the positive/celebratory tone behind the meaning I find it relieving to play live. It’s nice to just throw your head back and sing it like you mean it and I think that comes across well for the audience.

Recording ‘Homeward’ we used a very stripped back approach. We added some over dubbed acoustic strings and glok for texture and atmosphere but other than that very much left it alone and let the song speak for itself. It was a step out of our collective comfort zone to record a song like this. Despite always listening to bands that played this style of a heartfelt softer ballad, none of us had ever been in a band to record one. Luckily Oz knew where we were coming from and understood the point of the song so he was a big help throughout the process and we really couldn’t be happier with the end result.

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