In Conversation With New Hope Club

After two years of silence and COVID disruptions, the British pop trio New Hope Club – consisting of Blake Richardson, Reece Bibby and George Smith – are finally back on the road and in the studio, working on their sophomore album which is said to be released in spring 2023. This year, they released six singles, each of those in pairs of twos, with ‘L.U.S.H.’ and ‘Walk It Out’ being the most recent ones. In a new press conference, we got insight on their songwriting process, their development as a band, their admiration for vintage fashion and The Beatles – Richardson will actually be making his film debut in the role of a young Paul McCartney soon – and their appreciation for each other and their devoted fanbase.

What inspired ‘L.U.S.H.’ and ‘Walk It Out’ and what was the purpose of releasing them together?

Richardson: The initial inspiration for ‘Walk It Out’ was, we were writing for FIFA in mind, the video game. We have been really big fans of the soundtracks growing up, it was almost as exciting as the actual game for us. So we tried to have that in the back of our minds when writing it. I think on the first album we hadn’t really shown any songs that represented us live, like how we sound live and the energy we offer. It was really important for us to write some songs that show that and these two, they have a similar vibe, a good tempo. You could go to the gym with these songs or go out in town, they just match.
Smith: The fans seem to like them. We’ve played ‘Walk It Out’ live a couple of times on our US tour, over in Asia and the UK. We have not played ‘L.U.S.H.’ yet, we’re super excited to play that one live. I do feel like that one’s gonna go down quite well, the chorus is quite sing-along-able.

What were the concept and the creative process behind the ‘L.U.S.H.’ music video?

Bibby: I think for ‘L.U.S.H.’ it would’ve been quite easy for us to do a classic music video where there’s a love interest and you do the story of the song but we love our humour, we love making people laugh and we wanted to poke a little bit of fun at ourselves in this video. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We love the idea of going to a show, getting hyped up and then we get on stage and there are two people in the crowd and they’re both old people and it’s in an old people’s home and they’re just eating their dinner. I think that’s quite funny how we’re singing these lyrics about a girl and everything and they don’t care, they’re just eating their dinner. But honestly, that video was so much fun! The director was so down to work with us, he was really creative on the day and the whole thing was done on film, which we’ve never done before. The actor at the start of the video, the old man who’s running the old people’s social club, he wasn’t meant to have any lines or dance or anything but he turned up on the day and he was just incredible. He was like “Do you guys want me to dance?” and we were like “Yeah, we want you to dance!” and now we have a whole lyric video with the guy dancing in the middle of the stage. I hope you got the sense of irony and the fact it’s a really sexy song and we’re playing to two old people.

What are some ways you’d like to experiment on future releases?

Richardson: I think for us this whole album has been a huge step forward from the last album and we just always want to keep making those steps forward, into a new world. Not necessarily losing what we gain on the way but just always trying to find new things. The people we look up to the most are The Beatles and bands that challenge themselves and I think we always wanna challenge ourselves. I think we’ve done a really good job of solidifying who we are on this album, it represents our upbringings. But we live in a world right now where technology is so advanced and new things come out all the time, we just always wanna be ahead of the game and see what comes.
Bibby: What’s important for us is that we don’t put our sound and ourselves in a box. For us, music is all about creativity and having fun. I think we’re always gonna be developing, we’re always gonna be figuring out who we are and what we wanna sound like. So yeah, I think we’re just constantly learning and changing and morphing along the way.

What is your favourite song you guys have written and why?

Richardson: There’s a song that we wrote that we played live called ‘I like your face’ which is on the new album and it just really captures our relationship with each other. It’s very fun sounding and there are a lot of imperfections in it which, for me, makes it more perfect.
Smith: My favourite is probably ‘Getting Better’. That one kinda started the whole project for us. It encapsulates what this whole new album embodies, so that one, for me, holds a really special place. It was written so fast; it was like a whirlwind of two weeks when we wrote it, sent it to everyone and received feedback like “Wow this song is so cool, so different than anything you’ve done” and that’s when we decided that it would be the first song that we’d lead with.
Bibby: I think my favourite song to write and record was ‘Walk It Out’, because it was one of the last songs we wrote on the project and I just remember the whole day was really fun and we were just really on it that day, we got the song so quickly. Everyone was throwing ideas around and everything was working.
Richardson: We left that day and played the demo in the car. It was really close to what it ended up being which is quite rare.

Your sound has evolved immensely since the release of your debut album in 2020, how would you describe your sound today versus what is displayed on your debut album?

Richardson: I think the sound on the first album was a good representation of walking into the industry at 15 years old. We had so many amazingly talented people working with us, we would take trips to LA for three weeks and work with a different person every single day, which was great in terms of learning how different people work but it probably wasn’t great for finding consistency. You had people go “Why don’t you try and write a song like this” and we had a few songs that almost sounded like Drake so we definitely tried all kinds of music. The first album was a collection of the best songs that summed us up at that time and this new period is very honest and real now. We didn’t want to hold anything back. The three of us spent the whole of COVID, especially the early part of it, experimenting and that was something that we’ve never been given the chance to do. It was so much fun as well! We were bringing back the relationship between the three of us and why we fell in love with music in the first place. We all wanted to be in a band because we looked up to people that experimented and were able to share their stories.

Who are your style inspirations and how much thought do you put into choosing your daily outfits?

Bibby: Fashion is very important, it’s the first thing that people see so we like to dress well. We do take a lot of inspiration from The Beatles in terms of photoshoots and how they dressed on stage. They always looked very smart, we like to be quite formal on stage.
Richardson: We definitely have a vintage-leaning style always. Apart from when we go into a normal shop and try and find a specific item but it’s often way easier to find a better fit in vintage shops.
Bibby: We don’t like to wear a lot of branded stuff usually. We like to wear things that are left in a vintage store and a little bit forgotten. I think it’s cool to find a custom piece that no one else has.

Do you listen back to your songs and remember the place you were at that moment and begin to realise how you’ve grown as artists?

Smith: Whenever I hear parts of a song, you can definitely locate that moment. You can go through your voice notes and you kind of stumble upon when you came up with that melody for the first time, which is crazy that you can backtrack it that much. It’s so exciting about the writing process of this album that we’ve literally written ourselves. It’s so cool to figure out what you were doing that day. I think it’s even more exciting when you’re on stage and you’re singing it in front of all these people that have come to see you and they’re singing the same lyrics back to you. And obviously, they don’t know when you came up with it or whatever but you’re stood there on stage going “Well, that was just in our garden and we were just messing around”. It’s a very, very surreal moment. It’s weird to get your head around. And we never, ever take it for granted when there are people in front of us singing back the lyrics that we wrote just in our bedrooms.

Written by Vicky Madzak

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