INTERVIEW: The Survival Code

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

(Gary) We’ve been great! Planning and scheming and booking gigs frantically before the end of the year also a little impatient to share our new album but can’t complain 🙂

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Along The Way”?

(Gary) Yeah we love that track, it has loads of energy and has a great drive to it with its thick chords. We were looking to write a catchy, strong tune that reflected us and we feel we did capture that intention.  In terms of meaning, The song is meant to reflect what we gain and what we lose on a journey and hopefully most of us enjoyed the ride so much that we are more than happy to give it all away and do it again. It’s bitter sweet.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

(Gary) There was no single event that brought “Along the Way” to life, it was more important for that message to be on the album over everything else. We had a couple of spare tracks we didn’t put on the album as we felt the 12 offered a lovely balance and showed a full spectrum of what we can do. Many of the songs on the album are about people that just didn’t/ couldn’t do what they said they could and the heart break that can cause on small and large levels. So in many ways Along the Way is a song that’s the sum of our parts and an observation on a journey.

The single comes off your new album Hopelessness of People – why taking so long on releasing this material?

(Tom) Haha harsh?! At the end of the day it takes forever to organise a release and the various teams. The fact we did an EP last time around is a testament to that as we intended to do an album but got let down by a producer at the last minute and we needed to release something so recorded the 3 strongest songs at the time.  We have had the album finished for months and months but we have had to try and put the parts in order to get the songs to the ears. We have 2 singles out already, one other “Not Working” aside from “Along the Way”.

What’s the story behind the title?

(Gary) If you have a small violin to hand I would ask you to play it now :), We have had a litany if people who have let us down in this band over the years at crucial times. From a manager who disappeared off the face of the earth and hasn’t been seen since with all the work undertaken, promoters booking wrong venues in different cities, members joining and being secret drug addicts and needing rehab, other members joining but having to leave for foreseeable reasons they tried to work against but were inevitable, members leaving in middle of tour,  producers changing plans after 12 month agreements weeks before a recording…The list goes on and on…. We found that these experiences had embedded themselves into our songwriting and came across whether we thought about it or not. The title “Hopelessness of People” was actually the last thing we came up with for the album but it fits so perfectly. We were going to go with one of the main songs, or a line in a song that’s not promoted but I don’t think any other combination of words would reflect as accurately . It’s also nice and contradictory with the artwork which is so bright and hopeful, we have always aspired to offer contrast.

How was the recording and writing process?

(Tom) it was great, we have always worked in a unique way. Gary comes up with a riffs and an outline of a song, we jam that and look for what we like and dislike. We go away and come back, look at the areas discussed and after one more rehearsal normally have a fairly good idea of what the song is about and needs to do. We then immediately demo the song so we can hear it with all the added parts, it offers great structure tbh and is very productive.

(Gary) For the recording itself we had been planning to work with an esteemed producer for a year in a studio in Wales and 6 weeks before going up they informed us they could no longer do it…At the time this was utter devastation as there was no plan B and we had been chatting all year with this guy. Thankfully we met a producer “Matt Hyde” on our first album and we ended up asking him to do our master. He has worked with Slipknot, Gallows, Ash, Funeral for a friend, Trivium and more so we reached out to him in desperation and between he and us, we made it happen. I had to get to Tooting or Croydon on a daily basis from North London but it was worth it! We worked so hard and got an unreal amount done for the time. The album would be reflection of what it is now without Matt and Meryck who assisted. I’m quire intense in the studio and the lads really got the best out of me.

What role does London play in your music?

(Tom) It’s been central to who we are but there is no denying how much the landscape has changed in recent years. So many venues are gone, so few promoters left. It feels like a handful of people run the scene in London now which is never a great thing as it highlights how few there are left putting on live shows for bands. One of our favourite “Alleycat” on Denmark St closed this year and we were delighted to play the last gig there before it shut.

What aspect of hopelessness did you get to explore on this record?

(Gary) Extraordinary amounts unfortunately! blood, sweat and tears! A lot of the time in this game you’re trying new things and angles, always trying new ways to get heard and develop. All the things that go wrong really do weigh on you! this means the world to us at the end of the day and when people don’t give it the proper respect and time, or treat it like some disposable/replaceable thing, it’s devastating. It feels for many of the past few years we’ve been afloat but constantly fixing holes in the boat rather than sailing in any direction. The decision to change to a two piece was all contributory, I trusted no one more than Tom and if we could make it work between us i really felt we could easily get a good wind behind us and get moving.

Any plans to hit the road?

We hope to be hitting the road in Oct/Nov, still in the planning stages but will be sure to let you know as soon as we do.

What else is happening next in The Survival Code’s world?

(Tom) Our album is out August 31st, be sure to check it out for all things hopeless and hopeful.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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