“We’re going to be making up for this pause for the next two years... “ - Sea Girls talk their debut LP Open Up Your Head
London via Leicester and Kent foursome Sea Girls have been building towards their debut album for a long, long time.
We first wrote about them back in 2017, they’d wowed everyone with debut single ‘Call Me Out’ and had just started to work with former Hundred Reasons man Larry Hibbitt to produce their first EP.
Since then, a series of tracks and EPs, all produced by Hibbitt, have followed, while steady touring in front of ever-expanded crowds has kept the band’s profile growing. All of it building towards Open Up Your Head, their long-awaited LP, which finally arrives on shelves this week.
Built around choppy guitars, bright electronics and an array of influences which stretches from classic Killers and Bloc Party to Paul Simon and Talking Heads.
We spoke to frontman Henry Camamile about the making of the album and why lockdown finally put a stopper in the process...
It’s a strange time to put out an album, never mind your debut, are you managing to enjoy it at all?
“I’m pleased we’ve got something to do. I’m trying to look at it that way. We’ve got a record to promote and this doesn’t stop us doing that. Obviously it’s stopped us touring, which is a disappointment, but we’re managing to stay super busy. None of us can complain.”
Has it been finished for a while?
“Lockdown was the catalyst for finally finishing it. We had to stop. We’d been tweaking and tweaking and tweaking and lockdown finally meant we just had to say enough. If we’d been allowed to carry on, we might well have added a couple more songs, but it was good to have a full stop.”
You’ve released four EPs, was it a difficult decision to decide how much of the album would be brand new and how much would be songs fans already knew?
“It’s about half and half. There are a few songs that we knew just had to be on there, but you want to make sure there’s a good whack of real new material.”
When were the songs written? Are they all quite recent?
“The oldest one is at least four years old, the newest is about six months old, so it’s a real mixture. It feels like a journal.”
Is that where the title comes from?
“Absolutely. It’s my mental health captured across these songs. You get real darkness, but also plenty of light too. It’s nice that we’ve got that cross section of songs, but it’s also because they’re the strongest ones we have.”
How many did you have to pick from?
“Maybe 70 tracks? A lot. It took a while to trim it all down to what made the album, but I think the strongest ones stood out.”
Did you all agree on which ones to cut?
“Pretty much. There weren’t any blazing rows.”
You worked with Larry Hibbitt, why did you decide on him?
“Aside from our first ever recording, which our friend did, he’s done everything with us. We’ve grown together and we really trust him. He’s a great musician and he knows us so well, it was the natural thing to do.”
He’s been where you’ve been, big sold out venues ahead of your debut album, did he pass on much wisdom?
“I’m sure he did. I’ve not got a zinger for you. But he’s Mr Rock and Roll, he knows how to get that best out of bands.”
Was the album always called Open Up Your Head? Or were there any other titles?
“It was Forever for a while. We just liked the way that sounded. But it’s a very first album name, Open Up Your Head makes a lot more sense on the lyrics and our journey.”
You’ve got tour dates booked in November, how’s that looking?
“We’re really hoping so, and, at the moment, it looks like it’s on the cards to go ahead. Those dates are already pushed back from April so we’re crossing everything that we can get them away in November.”
You’d be right in the middle of festivals now...
“We’d be in the thick of a really busy festival season right now. Lots of gigs. But at least fans have the album and the chance to really get to know it before we play for them again.”
How’s 2021 looking? Is it chock-a-block?
“It is, indeed, chock-a-block, as it should be. We’re going to be making up for this pause for the next two years at least. It’s going to be non-stop.”
Have you been writing while you’ve been in lockdown?
“We have been writing. Pretty intensively actually. We’ve got five really strong new songs. We’re not going to record them. I don’t want to get that process started for a while, but they sound great. We collected for four years for the first record and it’s good to have made a start now.”
Have you been able to get back to rehearsing? Lockdown must have been the longest time you’ve spent apart from each other for a long time. Has it been weird?
“It has been weird. I think it’s been a good thing. We’ve been enjoying spending time together that much more and it’s made rehearsals into a joy, rather than something we have to do.”
Sea Girls’ debut album Open Up Your Head is out now and available here in hmv’s online store.