Madonna once famously said on the topic of self-actualization, “No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” Such a statement, while uplifting and heartfelt, is an egregious oversimplification. When we think of self-actualization, we don’t tend to give the process all the recognition that it deserves. It takes years worth of development of mental and physical faculties to be able to grasp the mindset and tools requisite for such an endeavor, which, in turn, leads us to embark on a lifelong journey in finding ourselves. To wish to understand and find ourselves, to yearn for a better version of ourselves at every turn while we progress through the stages of life is one step; the actualization of that becomes much more convoluted than what most imagine. However, once you have even slightly broken into that process, the outpouring elements and products of the fruits of your labor are all that much more enriching and nourishing. It is a process and a conditional mindset that Birmingham, UK pop-punk outfit You Know The Drill is slowly becoming acclimated to with their sophomore album Selfhood.
If you doubt that a pop-punk outfit- stereotypically barred by an underdeveloped amygdala and a self-destructive pattern that suggest prefrontal cortex damage from years of sluggin’ back beer and pizza as a “balanced meal-” could ever uncover a concept of progression and learning self-worth (let alone act upon it), You Know The Drill is happy to stand in defiance of such preemptive notions in the form of punchy and poignant musicality that is as uplifting as it is somber. When vocalist Benji Yapp said of the new EP,
“‘Selfhood’ is a word which describes the quality that makes up a person and just being aware and proud of who you are, which really resonated with us as we wrote this EP. We tried not let ourselves be limited by the “pop-punk” label and write without worrying what people were going to think, which definitely ended up benefitting the record,”
We want to assure you that he has the most forward of intentions behind his written and lyrical verbiage.
Today, we have the utmost pleasure in presenting the official and exclusive track-by-track commentary of You Know The Drill’s Selfhood, penned by Benji Yapp. The album formally releases digitally and physically on June 22nd via Scylla Records- as such, a limited amount of tracks are embedded for the betterment of your audio/visual experience. Enjoy!
“Overcast” is a song about realisation of who you are, your downfalls, and owning the mistakes you’ve made in the past. This song started with the jumpy, hyped up intro which Damo (Bass) and Brad (Drums) came up with together in Damo’s living room, and we all worked on it from there. Ever since the song had that faded in intro, we knew it was going to be track one off the EP. Although we [haven’t] played it live yet, we know [that] it’s going to be the opener of our set for a long time. It’s definitely the song we’re most excited to play live because of the pure energy and the back and forth vocals; we’re hoping it’ll go down really well.
This first thing I wrote for “Homesick” was the chorus. It was one of the rare occasions for me where it came so naturally when writing it, to the point where the lyrics I initially penned down ended up being the final lyrics. Lyrically, it is one of the most revealing songs I’ve ever written, which is about my doubts in being able to make it in music and wondering whether it is all just a waste of time, but then it’s disguised in this really fun, bouncy pop punk song- which I love about it.
We had a show the day after this song was released as the second single. We weren’t really expecting anyone to sing along just yet, but as soon as we started that intro there was about 6 or 7 people singing it back at us and getting involved which was absolutely insane. If that’s the kind of reaction it’s getting already, then I can’t wait to see how well it goes down elsewhere.
I’m sure if I looked hard enough I could find voice records of myself hiding in the toilet at work singing a super rough chorus of “Suspect.” “Suspect” is the story of someone who feels their significant other may not be faithful to them and how it is affecting their relationship. One of my favourite lyrics is taken from this song in the chorus: “We’re separated like the sea between the shores.” I think it is a really powerful metaphor for feeling distance from someone.
It was this song in particular that made me really desire a summer release for the EP because it has such an uplifting vibe throughout, despite the contrasting lyrics! This track also features one of my favourite moments on the EP: the final chorus when it drops into this big, open quarter time section which just feels so powerful and kinda makes you wanna go out and rule the world!
In between writing sessions down in Eastbourne, Luke would head outside and sit on a brick wall with an acoustic guitar, whilst Alex’s dog, Maddie, would come and keep him company. Within a couple of days he had written this super pretty acoustic track which we knew we just HAD to put on the EP, so we worked on that, too, and put it on the record. Lyrically, I see it as a continuation of “Overcast,” only this time an apology is being made as well as promises to be better and to grow from the past.
This is the only track on the EP which was recorded entirely at Nightcrawl Studio in Eastbourne with our good friend, Rich Dack. We recorded all of the acoustic late on a Saturday night and it was the most chill environment to record in. We’d be playing PS4 and hanging out with his dog, Amy, between takes! It was really relaxing and I think that comes across when you listen to the song.
Luke did have to re-record one line for this though, when we realised a couple of months after recorded that he sang “I lost control of all my goats” instead of “I lost control of all my ghosts,” which was REAL funny because none of us realised it for ages!
“Blossom” was [initially] tentatively titled “Maddie” (named after Alex’s dog) for a long time, but we felt it needed a more fitting name, and “Blossom” just seemed to fit perfectly with the lyrical themes and overall sound of the song.
“Snake Eyes” was the very first song written for the EP; it all started with the clean guitar riff just before the verse kicks in, which Luke came to practice with and it just expanded from there. In terms of composition, it changed a lot throughout the writing process, to the point where we ended up cutting sections we had already recorded vocals for. We were very lucky to have Joey Fleming of In Her Own Words lend his vocal talents to the outro section of “Snake Eyes.” All the way along we knew we wanted someone to feature on that section, but we weren’t sure who, although we did toy with the idea of Joey for ages before actually asking him, assuming he just wouldn’t have been interested, so it only goes to show: don’t ask, don’t get!
Continuing on from the themes of realising your mistakes and then owning them and making them right, “Snake Eyes” touches on realising your self worth and allowing yourself to want better out of your relationships.