Between You & Me Release the Soundtrack to Our 'Armageddon' [Q&A]

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The Noise is Ones to Watch's home for all things punk, hardcore, metal, hardcore you name it.  

The story of Between You & Me’s sophomore album Armageddon is one full of a series of unfortunate setbacks and happenstance. Beginning with the band’s tour in North America in March 2020, their plans to record their second album with Canadian producer Sam Guaiana (Silverstein, Like Pacific), following their live dates came to an unexpected stop as the global pandemic persisted. As a result, the band was required to return home to Australia without an album and without a plan.

After months of lockdowns and living in different states, Between You & Me eventually secured an exemption to bring Guaiana to Australia and record the album. While the 10-month delay proved initially disheartening, there’s a silver lining, Between You & Me have produced their most collaborative effort to date.

Each member, from vocalist Jake Wilson, guitarists Jai Gibson and Chris Bowerman, drummer Jamey Bowerman and bassist James Karagiozis bring something new to the table after their period of reflection and isolation. On this record, Between You & Me explore new themes and have created some of the best and most thought-provoking music in the band’s discography to date.

The Noise had the opportunity to talk with Wilson further about Armageddon, its inspirations, and what he hopes the future holds for the band.

Given all that’s happened since your last release, COVID, wildfires, etc., this record has been a long time coming. What has been something you’ve learned about yourselves during the album’s creation?

As you have alluded to, the past two years have been extremely challenging for us and, of course, many others in the music industry. If we were to look back at the past two years of being in a band, I think we have all become a little more grateful for the opportunities we were presented prior to the pandemic and much more appreciative of all those small wins we’ve had since starting the band. If anything, the circumstances have given us an opportunity to reflect on the band’s journey and further fueled the passion we all have to be able to play music together.

How did you keep spirits high (or at least medium) during all of it?

As with everything about social media, I don’t think what appears of us online is an honest reflection of how challenging the last two years have been. The release of Armageddon has honestly been extremely frustrating and exhausting. That being said, we’ve continued to roll with the punches at times as we are so proud of the music that we were able to create and want it to reach as many people as possible.

Why name the album Armageddon, and how does the name bleed into the overall concept of the record?

The album is named Armageddon as the title track was the first song written for the album - back in 2019. It is a concept that I wrote about as, to me, the world was in a fragile place, both socially and from an environmental perspective. The name came from the lyric “Welcome to the Armageddon.” In 2020, the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement highlighted just how, as a society, the divide was being exacerbated by right-wing politicians. Writing lyrics is my outlet, and so many of the songs are written about my frustrations toward the world.

You address so much in this record, including climate change, sustainability, and politics. Is that the overarching story that this body of work tells?

As above, the album concept was initially largely based around those issues. As the pandemic occurred, it felt as though all those things that I was writing about were evolving around me. Whilst some of the other songs were written during the pandemic, everything around me was negative news, so I decided to fit in some other themes to make the songs a little more light-hearted.  

Cliche question, but what is your favorite track on the album?

The best part about the album is that each of us have a favorite track. Just like our own musical taste, the tracks are actually quite diverse. “Better Days” was the biggest surprise track for the record. The production on this track took it to another level, and I am stoked with how it came together. It’s probably my favorite track on the record.

Which song was the hardest one to write?  

“Real World” was a track that Chris wrote a long time ago, and frankly, I didn’t know where to take it vocally. Whilst in the studio, I was going around in circles trying to figure out something and ended up having a breakdown. In the end, I told Sam Guaiana (producer) that I would need to record the vocals at a later time. I ended up writing the “Real World” vocals about a month after the studio, and we ended up mixing up the whole vibe of the song. Super happy with how it came out, but it was a tough journey to get there.

Which track are you most excited for people to listen to that hasn’t been released yet?

My favorite track is “Better Days,” and it is a super uplifting track. There actually is no better feeling than driving and listening to this track!

This record sounds like a transitional body of work for the band. Listening back, I can hear some traditional pop-punk elements that were implemented in Everything Is Temporary and “Famous,” blended with a more cinematic and experimental touch. What were your influences this time around, and how did you all work on balancing these new elements with your trademark sound?  

I think Armageddon is more diverse sonically than our previous releases. Whilst I wouldn’t say it was intentional, we definitely made a conscious decision to release our best songs, regardless of whether they would sound like a Between You & Me song. The songwriting for this album was a lot more collaborative than previous music, and that is what has made this album so special.

Outside of the five of you, there was quite the team to support all of you and bring the record to life. What was it like working with Sam Guaiana and Jack Newlyn and Grant Berry?

We spoke to a bunch of producers before choosing who we would do this record with, and there is no doubt that Sam Guaiana was the most passionate about doing the record. Unfortunately, when we couldn’t do the record in Canada due to the pandemic, we were super bummed as we knew that we wouldn’t find anyone that would be as keen to work with us. Thankfully, we were able to get an exemption to get him to come to Australia and record the album. Sam was an absolute dream to work with. He was open to all of our ideas and was a huge driving force with how the song selection for the album came together. For the record, we were also able to get our friend Jack Newlyn in on the project. He is such a talented producer and engineer, and without him, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it all together.

You started 2021 with the release of “Supervillain,” and the music video is everything, from its story to your characters. How did you come up with the concept for the video?

One of the major reasons for “Supervillain” being the first single was because our friend, Brandon Lung (videographer), was in the studio with us, and he heard the track. He came up with a really rad music video concept whilst we were there, and we trusted his creative process. We decided to shoot the video in Jai’s shed, and he ended up building the set to save us some money. The shoot was the most DIY shoot we’ve ever done. We ended up flipping the set three times over the two days to film the various scenes, and it was super exhausting.

Humor me, if you were a supervillain, what would your superpower be?

Teleportation, so I didn’t have to ever be stuck in traffic again.

Now that borders have been reopened in Australia, returning to touring is becoming more and more of a reality every day. I know nothing has been announced yet, but where are you most excited to return to?

It’s so wild because we have been so restricted with our travel opportunities, especially in Melbourne, which has been the most locked-down city in the world. We would love to return to so many places, such as North America, the UK, and Europe, but one of my all-time favorite tours was to Japan. I would do anything to get back to Japan to play music.

Which song are you most excited to perform live?

I am not ready for how hard I am going to mosh to the breakdown in "Deadbeat!"

If you could say anything to yourselves from before lockdown, what would you say?

Enjoy your time because you are about to go through hell for the next two years.

Between You & Me's Armageddon is available everywhere you can stream it.

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