Best Years interview

BESTYEARSCOVERRecently I reviewed the sophomore EP Drop Out from the pop punk outfit which I loved, and now you can read why they always wanted to make pop punk music, their career highlight, and if they would make music for a Christmas soundtrack…

What pushed your decision to leave ‘reality’ as mentioned in your press release, and fully focus on committing to the band?      
Every band any of us have ever been in had either not worked or run itself into the ground, we all knew that if we dropped everything and focused properly that we could make something of ourselves this time round and so far we’ve done exactly that.

Was pop punk music always the genre you wanted your music to fit in, and for future releases do you want to stay close to the sound you have developed, or explore different sounds?
When we started this was the initial idea, I would like to say “yeah this is what we’re going to do for the rest of our career and it will never change from pop punk”, but you never know what’s going to happen. For now we’re loving it and we want to make a dent in the scene by attempting to bring pop punk back to its roots instead of every band trying to sound like The Story So Far.

What has been the highlight of your band career so far?                                                                                    For me (Ed) I would say playing our first ever show at the Camden Barfly with As It Is which was completely sold out! I’ve seen plenty of bands there over the years and it was pretty surreal. Also having a chance to play with some of my favourite bands from my childhood (Man Overboard).

Where can you imagine the band in a year’s time?
I imagine us still as strong as we are now, even better friends and hopefully smashing it with our newest release… maybe even touring Europe or further. Who knows.

If you were to describe the ‘unique selling point’ of listening to Best Years, what would it be and why?
We’re not trying to be anything we’re not; it’s all natural and we intend to keep it that way. We just want to have fun ourselves and also make sure everyone else does too.

Who would be your dream collaboration?
Dream collaboration would probably be with Good Charlotte/The Madden Brothers, that would be insane and we would be blown away by it I think!

Have you as a band experienced any setbacks – if you have, then how did you learn to deal with them?
We experienced a bit of a setback with being able to afford new gear to gig with and stuff like that, and with only one of us being able to drive it kind of makes it harder to transport all of us and our gear to gigs, but it’s all fun and we have a good time in the Corsa.

If each of you was placed on a desert island, and could only take one album each with you, what would it be and what are the reasons behind your choice?
Joel – Yung Lean / Unknown Death (2002), as it is one of the most emotional albums of all time and would be perfect to listen to for the rest of my life in perfect solitude.
Holland – Transit / Young New England because it has my favourite track of all time on it and it sums my life up perfectly.
Ed – Alt J / An Awesome Wave because I don’t think I could get bored of it and it’s a very chilled and easy to listen to album.
James – Anything by the Foo Fighters they’re the kind of band that really make me think about the important things in life.
Berzins – Slipknot / self titled so I would have a good soundtrack to end my life to and I could also throw up those God damn horns – am I right?!

Would you ever consider making a Christmas-themed track, or contributing your talents to a film soundtrack?
Yeah definitely if it was for the right kind of thing and we all felt comfortable doing it – I guess that would be cool! We’ve had friends who have done some film soundtrack work and it hadn’t worked out that well for them but I guess we would try it.

If you weren’t in the band, what would your dream career be?
Joel – Film/ Multimedia Camera work.
Holland – Navy / Military / Air Force.
Ed – Touring Guitar Technician.
James – Rubix Cube factory worker.
Berzins – Ralph Lauren model.

Drop Out EP by Best Years will be released on the 28th August, and you can listen to Overrated below.

Best Years – Drop Out review

BESTYEARSCOVERBest Years’ Drop Out EP harvests a bold sound, echoing its members’ bold decision to drop all other ‘reality’ in their lives to focus on the band, hence the inspiration behind the name. The EP, featuring three new songs including leading single Overrated, is the sophomore release from the Mancunian group following on from 2014 debut offering Footwork.

Before I even begin reviewing individual songs, the whole sound of Drop Out undoubtedly has a whiff of nostalgia of early material from pop punk bands resting in the mid-2000s such as You Me at Six and All Time Low. Such a throwback sensation won’t fit everyone’s taste, but as an avid listener of this genre of music, I am delighted whenever I hear new music bringing back a taste of pop punk’s glory years.

A sensible place to begin is indeed at Overrated, which is everything a listener of pop punk would expect. A plunging guitar riff? Tick, courtesy of guitarists Ed Lawson and James Hunt and bassist Josh Holland. Strong co-ordinated drumming providing secure scaffolding for vocals and instruments? Tick, from the skilled hands of Josh Berzins. Motivational lyrics rallying people on which ultimately have a strong message? Tick, as vocalist Joel Plews exclaims that “you don’t realise your life’s the same / Week in and week out” and hints that better is to come. Overrated will become the song crowds scream out at Best Years’ gigs, with an insanely catchy chorus. Yes, the song may be very safe and not step out of the dimension of the pop punk box, but it certainly has the power to become a feel-good, almost protesting anthem of a life that ultimately could be better.

Rather unsurprisingly, the remaining two tracks on the EP continue to channel the choppy guitar riffs and fast pace set of Overrated – Built at Last is set in stone as the group’s strong-headed break-up anthem, comforting those who’ve experiences a broken relationship that despite their partner moving on, the outcome is the best part and they will be completely fine eventually. Back Then being played live is almost certain to result in some serious moshing somewhere in the audience, and just like in all good pop punk songs, there is also a part where the crowd can easily join in, as Joel leads a battle-cry of “woah” which the crowd can gleefully join in at the top of their voices.

There is a danger that if Best Years do carry on future releases in the same vein, they may cruelly be drowned out in a field containing more established pop punk groups with similar sounds. However, for now the band has produced a record that works well, with three catchy songs that are almost certain to become anthems for the Manchester group.

You can listen to Overrated below.