Interview: Neck Deep [March 2016]

By Lais

We spoke to Neck Deep bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans when they were touring the UK with State Champs a few weeks ago. We chatted about their world tour, the changes within the band over the past year, and when they’ll be writing new material.

How’s it going?

It’s going good, yeah. The tour has been very very fun. It’s amazing being in these venues we’ve grown up going to, that are far bigger than we probably should be playing, but yeah, they all seem to be sold out and everyone’s having a good time. It’s been pretty insane.

I remember seeing you play about two years ago when you were supporting We Are The In Crowd, and the venues were smaller than the ones on this tour.

Yeah, way smaller. It’s come around quick. We did the headline tour last year and we’re hitting the same places but a level up, so Academy 2 becomes Academy 1. We did Manchester Academy 1 last night, and that’s a big old room and it was sold out. Can’t ask for much more!

So how has it been touring the world with State Champs so far?

We love touring with them and we’ve toured with them a bunch and we’re doing this world tour with them and we’re quite far into it now. We’ve done Australia, Japan, South East Asia.

How did those dates go?

They were incredible, yeah. I mean, Australia we’ve done a couple of times before so we knew what we were getting into there, but Japan we’d never done before and the same with South East Asia, and they were both great experiences. Really really cool, and really well received, and big fanbases, and going to a new country, you never know quite what to expect. We were just glad to get the opportunity to go to those countries, we weren’t really bothered if the shows were that great or not, but they ended up being really amazing so we’re really lucky.

How did you find Japan?

Japan is an interesting place. Very interesting. I’d been looking forward to going there for quite a while and it definitely didn’t disappoint. It was quite a culture shock. We haven’t really toured many places that are culture shocks, like the US, Australia, Europe are all kind of the same, but Japan was the first place we were like, ‘Wow, this is far, we’re out in the world now’. Yeah, it was great. A great amount of people at the shows and they were all going off and they all knew the lyrics and were stage diving and you can’t really ask for much more when you’re in a random country.

And after this, you’ve got the US leg of the tour.

Yeah, we play London, and then we head straight out. We’ve got two Canada shows first and then it’s a full US tour. Those are some of the biggest rooms we will have headlined in the US. We’ve done some pretty big support tours in the US. We just came off a support tour with All Time Low over there, and obviously their rooms are very big, which is great and a lot of fun, but it wasn’t our show and we can’t possibly claim to have been responsible for why the venues were so big because it wasn’t our tour, but this time because it’s headlining, it’s like, these are the size rooms that we have kind of earned I guess. There’s some big ones.

And you’re doing So What?! Festival in Texas.

Yeah, South By So What. We’ve actually done it before, two years ago or something. It was freezing though. There’s a photo of us on the internet about to go onstage in full parka coats and gloves. It’s outdoors and it was freezing cold. It can snow a lot in Texas too. We’re actually doing SXSW as well. I didn’t think we were but it turns out we are. It should be fun.

You released ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ in August. How has it been going down?

So great. We all had high expectations, but you try not to think about numbers and record sales and you try to just hope for the best, but the first week numbers exceeded all of our expectations, so that’s gotta be good. We got to a point with it where we were really happy with it and proud of it and it was like ‘Well, we feel like it’s good and we’re proud of it so if people don’t like it then they’re wrong’. No, I’m just kidding, but at a certain point you’ve just gotta be proud of it, and if you’re happy with it then that’s all you can ask for. There’s always gonna be people who don’t like what you do, but I think we’ve been really lucky, and even now, it’s been out for six months or whatever, and I very rarely hear anybody say anything bad about it.

Do you think that was propelled you to the next level as a band?

When it came out it was definitely like this pivotal moment, like if this album isn’t very good, then Neck Deep will be that band that could’ve gone somewhere and just dropped off. You always see it with bands that everybody thought were amazing, and then they release a record and everybody’s like ‘Meh, it’s alright’, but it just never took off. But I guess we got lucky and the fans responded to it really well and it kind of got picked up in different scenes and different outlets. I think that’s what helped us, and since it came out it does feel like we’ve reached a new level as a band, so I guess that’s definitely responsible for that.

I guess 2015 was quite a dramatic year for you, with both highs and lows.

For sure. There were definitely highs and lows, but I guess there always are.

There were some changes in the band…

That’s always difficult, but Sam (Bowden), our new guitarist, I actually grew up with him and went to school with him, so me and him have been close forever and in and out of bands together, and so it was really nice to have him come in. He’s worked with us for a long time anyway. He used to guitar tech for us and it didn’t really feel like a change. He’s someone who’s always been there with us, just doing a different job.

How’s he finding it?

He got into it fine. It’s not like he’s some random kid we found on the internet, or some dude who was working in an office. He’s been in a bunch of bands and toured and worked with bands, so it’s not anything new for him. Maybe the scale was a bit new: he’d never been in a band that got to this point, but whether’s there 100 kids or 1000 kids at the show, you’re still just playing your part, so there’s not been any transitional difficulties at all. It’s all just felt really natural.

Have you got much coming up once you finish the US leg?

Yeah, so we do the US leg, then we come back for the European leg, and then we do a couple more UK shows, which is kind of a strange format but it’ll keep it exciting, backwards and forwards, and that concludes the world tour. Then I believe this summer we’re gonna be a bit more chill. We’ve been touring so relentlessly. I think we’re just gonna do some festivals. I don’t think we’ve confirmed which ones yet, but it’s gonna be mostly just festivals for this summer, and in between all that, we’ll be writing and taking a minute to catch our breaths and thinking about a new record. So yeah, I think we’ll finish the world tour and then it’ll be a few months of calming down a bit and gearing up to do a new record to start the whole process over again I guess.

It’s crazy that in most people’s heads, ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ is your new album, but you already have to start thinking about writing another one.

I know! Well we’re already thinking about it I guess. In some ways you’re never not thinking about it. There was a period for about a month after the last one came out that we didn’t think about it but once that passes you’re like ‘We’re gonna have to do a new album one day’, and it happens so quickly because you tour so much and time flies, and everything gets booked so far in advance that you know where you’re gonna be every day for a year in advance. So once that year’s passed the cycle’s over and we’ll need to think about doing a new record.

It’s a lot of work, but I guess there’s worse work to be doing.

Oh absolutely, yeah. It’s definitely the best work to be doing. It’s an exciting thing for anyone. Anyone in a band will tell you, you do an album, you’re really happy with it, you write the songs, you record the songs, and you’re like ‘It’s the best song we’ve ever done’, and then by the time you actually release it, which is usually six months after that, you’ve probably written new things, and you’re ready for the next thing. But I still absolutely love ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’, I’m so proud of it and I love it, but I’m excited for what we’ll do in the future.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]