hmv.com talks to... - March 17, 2022

"The whole album is kind of bitter-sweet..." - Sea Girls on their return with new album Homesick
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

"The whole album is kind of bitter-sweet..." - Sea Girls on their return with new album Homesick

London-based quartet Sea Girls had been steadily building a name for themselves as an impressive live act and had amassed an enthusiastic fanbase in the run-up to the release of their 2020 debut album Open Up Your Head, but with the various lockdowns that plagued the year of its release the band were unable to play live shows as they'd have liked, resorting instead to keeping the momentum going with series of online live shows for their fan base.

Now, though, the world has opened up and band are ready to unleash its follow-up, Homesick, which arrives in stores this Friday (March 18) and sees them reunite with Hundred Reasons' Larry Hibbit, who produced their debut and returns to man the controls on its follow-up.

Ahead of its release we spoke to the band's frontman Henry Camamile about how they used the situation to make their next LP more focussed, being more direct with his lyrics, and why they're raring to get back out on the road...

 


You’re one of a handful of bands we’ve spoken to recently that had to release their debut album in the middle of a pandemic – how did you adapt to that?

“It was a bit weird, it definitely wasn’t ideal, but we’d stayed in touch with our fans a lot, we managed to keep the vibe that we already had and carry that on with all sorts of things throughout it. And that was pretty cool, that we had them there hyping it online, seeing their reactions on the screen. So we just did it that way, and we were very lucky to have that, but this is definitely going to be much more fun and it feels more real because we can do all of that, but now we can gig and go to record stores, play proper shows. It’s fun to be doing another album so soon after. Well, I guess it’s not that soon after, but it feels like it.”

 

Was it quite a while before you could play your debut album live? Has being able to get out and play live more shaped the sound of your new album in any way, do you think?

“It was odd waiting to play some of those songs for ages and it was amazing when we did it. With this one, I think we just had time to really think about how we wanted it to sound and make sure it was laser-focussed, and we made sure that we all had bits where we shone individually throughout the album.”

 

When did you actually start putting together the material for the new record?

“In terms of writing it, it was about two weeks into lockdown. There’s actually a song on there called ‘Higher’ that was written before lockdown, that’s the oldest song on the album. That was kind of us just going ‘Let’s write a new ‘Mr. Brightside’. You know how everyone was saying you should wash your hands for the length of that song? So we did that, and then it was lockdown and ‘Oh, alright, bye guys!’ So we just started writing. But it was a bit of a gift, creatively. Almost immediately the songs we were writing had a different feel, it felt like ‘album two’ straight away, the identity of the album came together a lot. Thinking about stories and people that had shaped us, immediately this collection of work came together and these songs just sort of popped out.

“So it wasn’t hard, we had a lot of time to think like that and just be grateful for everything that happened with the first album, where we were and the fact that we had the opportunity to write a second one with amazing fans. There’s a song on the album called ‘Lucky’, which is just about feeling like ‘F***, I’m on fire! I feel amazing!’ In lockdown my mum my mum showed me a letter from her grandfather, so my great-grandfather, that he wrote just before going over for D-Day, and it ended with a kiss. It was so emotional, it really struck something in me, like ‘Wow, I don’t have to do that’, you know? I just have to stand on a stage, living this amazing life, it just made me feel very grateful. There are all these situations that could have been, better or worse, but this is amazing where I am now.”

 

It’s been an introspective time, has that fed into the lyrics on the album in other ways too?

“Things like that came about across the album, also the breakdown of a relationship. That occurred just because of lockdown and not being able to see people and stuff, so I wrote about that and everything that comes into that. Just everyday stuff, really.”

 

How does the title Homesick feed into that?

“There’s one song that I use that in, on ‘Paracetamol Blues’, there’s a line where I’m saying: ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect, I just wanna feel homesick’. To be homesick means that you belong somewhere. Whether that’s belonging to a place where you’ve grown up, in songs like ‘Hometown’, or belonging to a person in a relationship, or belonging to an identity, there’s things like ‘Sick’ which is more about belonging to an attitude.

“So I though it just made sense. And the whole album is kind of bitter-sweet, there’s a lot of hope, a lot of forward energy and optimism, but then there’s also a lot about having gone through difficult patches, with partying and depression and stuff. The word ‘homesick’ has got a beautiful start in ‘home’, and then the second part of the word is ‘sick’, so it’s a bitter-sweet word on its own, if you dissect it. It reflects what’s on the record and just sort of encapsulated the album.”

 

Is it you that handles all the lyrics?

“The majority of them, yeah. I’ll always just start on my own with an acoustic guitar, with a sort of lyrical thread guided by a few chords, and then work it out from there with the band. That’s mostly how it’ll be, but there’s a song called ‘Friends’ on the album which is really a baby of Oli’s. Me, Oli [Khan, drummer] and Rory [Young, lead guitarist], that was the last song we did for the album. We wrote that together and it feels really optimistic because it was just about us all being back together, the chance to get back to playing live, or just hang out with friends again, or go to a gig and see our fans.”

 

You mentioned trying to write another ‘Mr. Brightside', were there any other reference points for what you wanted to do on this record? Did you have a clear idea of how you wanted it to sound?

“I think we wanted to push it, we didn’t want to sound too safe, but there’s also a big acknowledgement to a lot of alternative stuff, we are a ‘guitar band’ or whatever, so there’s a big nod to that. There’s a song on the album called ‘Cute Guys’ which is a definite departure, it’s pushing the sound and that’s going to be a big live moment. It’s got a sort of Radiohead, Chilli Peppers, White Stripes blend. And then with songs like ‘Paracetamol Blues’ it’s a bit heavier, a bit more grungy, and there’s more of the massive-guitar-solos kind of stuff on songs like ‘Hometown’. We basically wanted to be able to make all of us shine throughout the album, but I’d say there is a nod to 90s alternative rock and stuff like that.”

 


You’ve worked with Larry Hibbitt again on this album, how did that connection come about?

“I met him in Brixton through someone I knew when we started working, in the very early days when we had just got a manager. We were just talking about producers and stuff and he said ‘I’ll produce you. We got some studio time from the label and so I text him and asked if he wanted to produce an EP, and he said yes. He’d worked with Sundara Karma, who had recently put out a thing I really liked. It’s just been a friendly relationship from the start. He’s got very eclectic taste in music, but he’s also from a guitar / rock world, similar to us. We have similar tastes in music, he’s friends with all the band, we connect pretty well, it just really works and he knows what he likes, he knows what we like. I think that’s a big thing. But on his album as well as him we also worked with a couple of producers in L.A., Jacknife Lee being one.”

 

How did he get involved? What did he add into the mix?

"He just made sure that we weren’t adding anything that wasn’t necessary, you know? But he was really inspirational and was juts like ‘Let’s make sure you guys can shine, pick your moments.” So it’s a lot more laser-focussed on this album and he just brought a real clarity to it. There’s a bit of a nighttime feel about it, there were a lot of late nights, a few 2:00am phone calls. I think quite early on I started just saying it as it is on this album, I haven’t tried to make too many metaphors or anything, because there was stuff I wanted to get out, and if I ever deviated from that he’d just be like ‘you were doing amazing just saying it as it is’. So I kept that writing style up, lyrically, because he was saying ‘you’re on to a good thing.’ A bit of direction from him gave me confidence.”

 

What are your touring plans looking like? Have you played much of the new album live yet?

“We’ve been rehearsing the whole album live, and other songs, pretty constantly, but we’ve got our massive November tour, that’s a big old thing with the Ally Pally in London and Manchester Warehouse, all beautiful venues across the country. So that’s how we’re going to round off the year, in the meantime we’ve got an amazing run of festivals, although I don’t think they’ve all been announced yet. Our first thing though is playing in Europe, we’re doing a show in Amsterdam next Saturday, which will be a good first gig of the year. That’s a headline show, then we’re supporting Giant Rooks. There’s a lot to be doing."

 

Alexandra Palace will be a big one….

“Ally Pally, that was the first proper gig I ever went to, so that’s quite a feeling. I went with a friend, Jake, for his older sister’s birthday, I saw Bloc Party there with them. So I’m gonna put them on the guest list. I haven’t spoken to them for ages, actually, but they can have guest list if they want it.

"Manchester Warehouse is gonna be awesome though, I just love touring, being in a new city every day, it’s really great to be getting back to doing the whole thing with the fans.”

 

 

Homesick is available in hmv stores now - you can also find it here in our online store.

 

Homesick
Homesick Sea Girls

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