Emerging Pop-Punkers Between You & Me Explore Exciting New EP ‘SH!T YEAH’ [Q&A] | THE NOISE


Photo Credit: Max Pasalic

Off the heels of their first-ever North American headline tour on which they packed high-energy rooms every night, Australian pop-punk outfit Between You & Me are excited to share their highly anticipated new EP SH!T YEAH. As their first independent body of work since their sophomore album Armageddon after parting ways with their record label, the band felt the pressure to create something unique.

"SH!T YEAH has become a phrase synonymous with the BYAM family," the band revealed. "A war cry for every little win in our camp, moving us forward and making us stronger as a unit. This EP is a culmination of us believing in ourselves to achieve the goals we have dreamed of, but also having the most fun on our own journey. The audacious title sets the tone for the EP. There are no bounds for creativity, and this is us writing our own story."

Tucking themselves away in an Airbnb in regional Victoria with friend and producer Jack Newlyn and Canadian producer Sam Guaina, the band began workshopping and recording the EP over three weeks, resulting in a diverse, six-track body of work that boldly dives into personal themes and explores fictional narratives and light-hearted tales.

Diving deeper into the new release, The Noise had the chance to chat with lead singer JT Wilson and bassist/vocalist James "Bassy" Karagiozis to discuss the band's future and the origin of SH!T YEAH.


Currently, you are on the road for your first headlining US tour. How's the road treating you, and how do you feel about the EP release coming so soon?

JT: I'm fucking fabulous. The US started cold because the UK tour had been so cold. Now it's Texas, and we're in the sun. I'm loving it. Everyone's shirtless.

Bassy: I don't even care how the show goes. We're in the fucking sun. [laughs]

JT: Yeah, I'm just in holiday mode right now. I think we're kind of losing the plot a bit. I feel like we're ready to go home. I love my job, and I love this, but I'm definitely ready to have a bed.

Bassy: Yeah, I'm definitely in an almost delusional state. It's the last three shows now. The sun's out. Everyone's excited to be going home. It's sad to be leaving everyone, but we know we're gonna celebrate in these last three for sure. And we have the EP coming out on Friday!

JT: True!

I can only imagine how excited y'all are. This is your first release since going independent. Was there anything y'all were aiming to say with this record or were y'all just having fun with this one?

JT: So Armageddon was a bit of a big statement.

Bassy: We had an idea we were running with and wanted to encapsulate some stuff there.

JT: Whereas with this, I think we're like, I think it's time to write some new music. So let's see what happens. I was lyrically so dry in the well of inspiration. So this is what nobody wants to hear, but I don't give a fuck-

No, no, I prefer you be honest.

JT: Sometimes songs are just songs.

Bassy: I feel like with Armageddon, we were putting a lot of effort into trying to encapsulate a lot of ideas that we wanted to speak about. And we kind of ran ourselves dry in regards to musical ideas and things we wanted to talk about. 

JT: We were busy, too. We hadn't really been writing for the next piece. We knew that we're independent, so we put out "Nevermind," and we're like, “Ok, there's ‘Nevermind,’ and then we'll go with the flow after that." So yeah, there's a bit of this on the record and a bit of that, but lyrically, there's no greater message to be spread; let that be very clear. There have been plenty of records where we've gone HAM on the lyrics. Like, our first record was a lyrical nightmare. The second one was still lyrical but a bit more loose. And then we wrote, "YEAH!" and I'm like, "Maybe songs can say ‘yeah,’ and they don't have to be pretty existential," you know? 

Yeah.

JT: Yeah.

Bassy: Yeah! [laughs]


Let's talk about the early days of the record. I saw that y'all were in Bali working on music. Was that for this project specifically, and did you feel like being in a new environment helped reinvigorate your creative flow?

JT: So when we went to Indonesia, it was well after recording the EP. We went to Indonesia to work on the cover we would do for Triple J: Like A Version.

Bassy: Yeah, we worked on this one at a beach town, probably two hours outside Melbourne, where we just got an Airbnb. We only had a plan for everyone to bring their demos to the Airbnb, and then, in the first few days, we'd sift through all of them. Then we saw what riffs felt like they were songs already, and then we chose seven. And we used that week to work on those seven. But some of us prefer to concentrate on things for a short time. So we wrote two more ideas. And then we bumped two of those seven. And then, SH!T YEAH became what it was. And we got Sam Guaiana, who did Armageddon, to fly out from LA, and then Jack Newlyn, who also assisted on Armageddon, came out. So, we had two writing sessions going on the whole time. We're there for two and a half weeks-

JT: And one pretty epic lawn golf station.

Bassy: We invented a golf game. As I said, we like distracting ourselves. And we spent much more time trying to chip a golf ball into a cup than writing the songs. 


Please tell me more about the rules of this game.

JT: The rules for cup golf are as follows! There are a bunch of plastic golf balls, like ping-pong balls with holes in them, and we sit at one end, hit, try to get a cup, and do that for three and a half weeks without getting bored.

Bassy: And that's pretty much it! It's a really long game, and it's customized to fit however much or little time you have.

JT: We had three and a half weeks, and I had a lot of things to do. I had to write some songs. I was like, "I'll just play some more golf. Maybe I'll get some ideas," and I ended up just getting high and playing golf for three and a half weeks. 

Bassy: Yeah, the music took about two and a half weeks, and then the lyrics took about two and a half years.

JT: I finished "In The Middle" just before we were leaving Bali.

Listen, sometimes you need to play golf and be high for inspiration to strike properly.

Bassy: We were trying to vibe it out, and that's what we did. As a result, we got this EP, and we're pretty happy with it.

You mentioned that this record didn't have a greater message. Still, while listening to it, I couldn't help but notice this underlying joy and celebratory energy within the production. Was that more of a conscious decision, or was that just how you felt when making this record, and subconsciously, that just seeped into the final product?

Bassy: So I didn't write any of the lyrics, but I feel like subconsciously we did our "the end of the world record," and then for this, we were just like, "well, we're all gonna fucking die, so let's just have a good time." [laughs]

JT: [laughs] Yeah! That is pretty true. I mean, lyrically, what I was pulling from – because I had nothing going on in my life; I was pretty content, I was writing about whatever, really. You can hear it in the songs. But the underlying thing in our band is that energy you're talking about, like that happy energy. We want to have fun. We want people who listen to our songs to have fun and come to our shows to have fun. When I'm writing, I think about how it's going to be live and how people can interact with it. So maybe it was conscious, maybe it was subconscious, maybe it's Maybelline.

Bassy: I think so. Yeah, that was actually a tentative title for the EP, but we went with SH!T YEAH.

You can use it for the next record, I'm sure! Where did "shit yeah" come from?

Bassy: It was on our Armageddon headliner where the "shit yeah" term was coined. 

JT: Yeah, the whole reason that "shit yeah" has come about and kind of taken over our entire brand is because we were driving in Brisbane on an Australian tour a while ago; how long ago?

Bassy: 2022.

JT: Right, and we were stopping over somewhere like in some random town at a friend's or a friend of a friend's place.

Bassy: His parents' house.

JT: and he wasn't even there! So we stayed with these lovely people and didn't have any weed-or actually no we did-

Bassy: We didn't know how to get up to the question of asking them if we could smoke weed at their house.

JT: And then the dad-well, we gave up at that point, and then we're outside. Then the dad comes out, opens the drawer, grabs a plastic snap lock bag, dumps it on the table and goes, "There you go boys just leave me Tally-Hos and me lighter."

Bassy: And we were like, "Oh, thanks, Ron. We were actually gonna ask you if we could smoke our own weed," but he was like, "Nah, just smoke that."

JT: What did he say? He said something like “oh shit yeah,” or something like that, and we kind of just lost it and we just kept saying it, and then it somehow-

Bassy: I think we were high, and we just kept going, "Oh, shit yeah," and then the next day we just kept rolling, then you said it on stage once, and that was the end once it got said on stage. It was the end of everything.

And now we're here.

JT: And now we're here.

Bassy: On a full world tour called SH!T YEAH!


What has been the most gratifying thing about being your first headlining tour and seeing all these crowds come out for you? The last time you were at the venue where you performed in my city, you were doing support, and one of you cracked a joke that you were the only band still together from the last time you were in that room. How does it feel to see growth in that span of time?

JT: The main thing we're taking away from it is we are getting so much money now it's not even funny.

Bassy: [laughs] Hold on, let me get it. This whole bag is full of money.

JT: Yeah it's all in ones. We have to cash that in before we head out.

What are you going to do with all of those ones???

Bassy: Well, I got them last night because I had to work a second job while I was here.

JT: Truthfully, though, every night, it started in the UK, where we see the ticket sale numbers, you walk into the venue, you kind of like-

Bassy: try to picture the number of people in the room.

JT: You're like, will they all come? Will any more people come? 

Bassy: Will people leave after the main support band because did the main support band bring all these people? That was like a big concern in the UK because Broadside is such a good band, and we were just like fuck, everyone's gonna leave, and then they stayed, which was great. Actually, on the first show, Gayle, our TM, was thinking the same thing, and then everyone left the room, and she was like, "Ah, fuck, we have to play for no one," but everyone's a smoker. So they all came back in.

JT: The US, too, was more daunting for us. We had a better idea in the UK. There are fewer shows, and people are more willing to travel.

Bassy: Some of the UK shows had also sold out. So it was a very cool feeling having an overseas show sold out, even though bands in that city probably can't even play that room, which is insane to think about.

JT: Yeah, it was mental! So, I don't know, just every day setting up the show, seeing people sing the words to "In The Middle," especially a song that's only been out for a little bit. It's crazy, and I never thought there would be a headline tour. We always wanted to headline but never felt like a headline band. I don't even know if we feel like a headline band now. 

Bassy: Even doing the rooms like LPR and going on stage every night and realizing we're the last band on tonight, people are here hanging out with us. This is crazy. And we're so far from home, and we can play New York City on Saturday night, and people will come out. It's crazy.

JT: Well, the things that blew my mind more were, like, we played Dallas, Texas, yesterday. Yeah, to like 100 and something people on a Tuesday, it's fucking weird.

Bassy: Yeah, it was at, like, a community hall.

JT: Yeah, like a youth center, but it was sick.

Bassy: There were 100 or so kids at this show from Dallas, Texas, who we didn't even know about on a Tuesday, and they went off too hard!


What song has been your favorite to perform live from the new record? 

JT: "In The Middle." "Nevermind" is on there, I guess, but-

Bassy: We've also been playing "Nevermind" for almost a year now, so-

Do you feel a bit tired of it?

Bassy: No, no, it goes off! 

JT: That is, I reckon, our second best. That was our best song until we wrote "In The Middle." So those two songs are my favorite whenever people sing loud. It's crazy and gets us hyped when people get excited about it. So "In The Middle" for me.

Bassy: I think "In The Middle." As you said, it's quite an emotional song, so people can resonate with it much more. Yeah, a lot of people have been through shit, and it's so cool that they use our music to get them through that. I've definitely used our own music to get through stuff. When we went into the studio to record the rest of the songs, because we only had "Nevermind" before we actually went in to do the rest, when Jake finally penned the lyrics for a bunch of the songs, I was like, "Oh," and realized we're all kind of in another limbo state. All of us were going through different stuff then, and those were the topics he had somehow gravitated towards, which spoke to all of us. It's so nice to have your thoughts somehow concisely put into words for you.

It's always amazing when music can touch on or explain the things we struggle to process. One of my favorite songs on the EP is "Kill My Vibe." I love Joe from Knuckle Puck's presence on the track. How did that collab come to life? Did you always know it was going to be Joe?

JT: It was kind of always what we were thinking of [with] Joe. Like, we wanted to get a feature on there because we don't really do them. Like, we've got one, and that was our friend Mikaila from Yours Truly, and we tried getting stuff here and there for things, but there's always like a huge fuck around with labels and managers and money and blah, blah, blah. So, like, I think it's better for us if we're just like, "Hey, dude, song has got your name on it. You wanna sing on it?"

Bassy: We had the demo for it when we went on that tour with them because we just went in to record before we went on the KP run.

JT: His part wasn't written.

Bassy: Yeah, nothing was written, but I remember that we were just vibing and hanging out with him every day, and we just became closer and closer. And then we became homies, and it was easy to text him and say, "Hey, do you want to sing on this part? We've kind of written it."

JT: Yeah, it was a no-brainer. He said sure, we're chill, and that's pretty much what happened. We're still waiting for his video part, which is getting edited right now. So maybe when this article gets released, the video could be out.


Who would you love to collaborate with or feature if labels, managers, money, and all that nonsense weren't an issue?

JT: Assuming they would want to do it as well?

Yes!

JT: I would love the singer of The Starting Line to do a feature on something of ours one day. There are no dream features for me. Like I love Hayley Williams, but I will never get a feature from Haley Williams. So that's fine with me. If Haley ever has a daughter or something, maybe we'll still be going, and she'll be less famous. She'll need a couple of streams. We'll have 2000 monthlies at that point. [laughs]

Bassy: It'd be more like writing a song with someone than getting them to feature in a certain part specifically.

Let's reframe the question a bit. Who would you love to write a song with?

JT: It would be great if we could invite just our friends! Anyone from Knuckle Puck, Homesafe, Young Culture, or any of our mates' bands would be great.

Bassy: We get along so well when we're hanging out and like each other's music. So when we do write together, if we ever do write together, it'll be the same workflow.

JT: Same vibe.

Bassy: We did a semi, not a writing session, but Nick from KP came down when we were doing some writing in LA. It's started, and we'll see what happens after that. I guess. There may be a KP x BYAM album. Who knows!

Is there anything you can share about new, upcoming music at this time?

JT: We haven't spoken about it much, but we'll probably do a third record. Next, I really want to do a third record. As soon as March was finished last year, and the songs weren't even fully done, I was already thinking about record three or whatever the project is. I've been writing on tour, or I've been trying anyway. It's hard with, you know, a lot going on. But we're all ready because this has been ready or mostly ready for a year. For everyone else, this EP is new. But for us, it's like we've heard it for a long time, and we've been playing some of the songs for a long time. I'm definitely keen to experiment and write more for record three. Who knows what it'll be.

It'll be a welcome surprise, I'm sure.

Bassy: That's what's happening, what we're going to do next, because after finishing this tour, we will go home, and then we have, like, two-and-a-half months off. So we kind of want to fill it with something, and I think writing will be that thing that we fill it with. 

JT: I think having ADHD, too, even if I'm halfway through an idea, I'm already thinking about the next idea.

Has your writing process at all changed since the first record?

JT: It's always different. For example, in the first record, Chris would write the music, and then I'd write lyrics for the finished music. Second record-

Bassy: We all wrote on it-

JT: I think we all sing. [laughs] if you caught that reference. But yeah, a few people wrote songs musically on Armageddon. I've been writing more music stuff, like in my spare time post 2022. I've been trying to fuck around with doing that. It's whatever works at the moment. I've tried doing the same thing on different days, but it doesn't work on some days. Mixing it up is cool, even if you get like someone else in the room, take your laptop to the beach, or whatever is inspiring.

Do you have anything to say to anyone who resonates with the record and could be reading this piece right now?

JT: Fuck, it's so hard. It's so hard for words of wisdom when-

Bassy: We don't think that we wrote a wise record.

It doesn't have to be wise words, just words.

Bassy: Thank you for giving a fuck and for being on this journey with us. And if you get something out of this EP, and it helps you, then that's fucking amazing. And thank you for even considering listening to us. 

Sh!t Yeah.

Bassy: Sh!t Yeah!

Jake: Sh!t Yeah!

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