There are a few incredibly pressing questions: Do all good things have to come to an end? And, is it really cooler to burn out as opposed to fading away? Or is it even cooler to say you’re going to break up just as you release new music and then change your mind in order to sell more t-shirts? Nobody can really be sure, and in any case nobody has sent me the memo. But recently it’s been looking like the end of the road for some of our favourites, Home Schooled, who earlier this month posted a pretty sad message on their social media.
Right guys, got some pretty crappy news for ya. Our guitarist Jamie decided he longer wanted to be a part of the band due to personal reasons, although this sucks massively we still and always will remain best friends.
However, I had a chat to them, and it seems like all is not lost. After spending some time reassessing what things are important and recharging their batteries, they’ve decided to continue. And it’s not about selling t-shirts or getting more attention for their record, but about the simple fact that it’s not always possible to do all of the things we want to. Sometimes we have to take the time to look after ourselves.
Home Schooled have played an important role in the Birmingham DIY scene over the past year. Not only that but they’ve put out two phenomenal EPs, including the latest fruits of their labour, released through Local Colour Records: Take This For What It’s Worth, released after their decision to stay together.
Their brand of melancholic grungey punk shines throughout this record – which was produced by none other than Bob Cooper (Self Defence Family, Rob Lynch, Citizen). “Fake Happy” is a stand out single. Lead guitarist and vocalist, Jamie, gloomily emanates lyrics that evoke strong feelings of empathy: “I’ll be fake happy for everybody.”
The following track, “Crash the Car”, is a pop song for people who don’t do happy sing-a-longs. The punchy start to the song instantly grabs attention and plummets the listener into a jaunty progression, whilst the dual vocals underline the band’s nonchalant approach.
Every song tells a thoroughly engaging story, carefully decorated with gentle harmonies, or a well-placed lyrical motif, or a thought-provoking guitar tone.
We talked to Jamie about what it’s like to suffer from depression, all the great things they’ve achieved in the DIY scene this year and awesome release.
Congrats on your new release! What do you think is your favourite song on the EP and why?
Thank you so much! One song that really stood out for me when we were writing the EP was the track Fake Happy, we were having to take a lot more time out of practicing for work, so I had fears that the growth in writing would start to fade. It was one of the first songs we wrote and we all connected with it. It really put us on track to write the rest of the record.
What was it like recording with Bob?
Recording with Bob was an entity in itself; I’ve never met anybody with such a passion for their work, positive outlook and bad ass amp collection. Bob and I were both really ill when we recorded the whole thing, I drank a whole bottle of TCP in hope that it would get me through to recording vocals; it was both hilarious and devastating. I’m not sure what the outcome of the record would have been without Bob, he pushed us all to be better musicians, gave us a place to stay and told us jokes when we were all dying at 2am.
The EP seems to touch on some really important issues surrounding mental health and what it’s like to struggle with personal wellbeing. Is it important to you to talk about these kinds of things?
Everything came so naturally when we were writing, we were all so stoked with just jamming the songs. When it came to lyrics I had no worries in expressing the content that I put into the record. Alex and Phil are my best friends and a lot of times we would just sit around and talk about how the environment around us was affecting us. There’ve been a lot of times over the last year where I felt like I was losing control of my mental health. I found myself so hung up on everything; work, relationships and a lack of confidence. I tried to channel a lot of self hate into the most positive aspect of my life in hope that it would help me grow. I’d find myself awake almost every night thinking, “is this really working?” It was just so important for me to talk to my friends about the stuff I was writing about, I felt conscious that from the outside looking in on it, it would all seem like a blurry call for help. I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of people surrounding me who would give up their time to talk to me about anything. I would certainly do that for any person who just wanted somebody to understand how they are feeling.
You’ve played a lot of cool gigs this year – with everyone from The Sinking Feeling to Nai Harvest. Who has been the most exciting band to play with?
We’ve been lucky enough to play with some of the best bands in the music scene so far this year. Growing in terms of writing started to show in our performances, or so I’d like to think so. I stopped making as many dumb mistakes and really started enjoying just playing, every single time we’ve been on stage since late last year I’ve had the best time of my life. We played a show with Caves at JT Soar earlier this year and they killed it so hard, I’ve never seen a band perform better. I’d be stoked to play with those guys again!
What’s next for Home Schooled?
We’ve had a little time out to focus on work and family, because I think it’s important that all aspects of our lives get the right energy and concentration which we can then reflect back into the band. We have a couple more tracks recorded that we will be putting out in a couple of months, I’m not sure what the plan is with them yet but it’s the best stuff we’ve wrote and I’m excited to see where it takes us as both a band and individuals.
Home Schooled’s latest record Take This For What It’s Worth is out now on Local Colour Records. The band play Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham with Free Throw (US), Holy Pinto and Panda Watch on September 9th.