American Wives EP is out now.
Let us introduce you to Northern Irish indie pop quartet brand new friend. Led by brother and sister song writing team Lauren and Taylor Johnson, this is a group who create the most wonderfully upbeat and infectious and concise indie pop songs. As with all great indie pop though, there is an undercurrent of foreboding to their major chords and sugary vocals. Song titles such ‘I Love You, Goodbye’ and ‘A&E’ are a decent hint that not all is 100% rosy in the garden.
We had a chat with Taylor and Lauren who unpacked the songs on their debut EP in detail for us. Topics include parents, the break down of relationships, and, generally, love. For better and for worse.
1. American Wives
Written in a daze very early before work one morning, ‘American Wives’ was the first song we ever played together as a band and the first song we ever played live. It was also the first track we ever had played on Radio 1, a huge moment for us! It’s essentially about a relationship starting to fall apart, when there’s no distance left to run. Trying to hold on to something that isn’t there anymore, or maybe it never was. It’s more melancholic than the drum beat lets on!
2. I Was An Astronaut
‘I Was An Astronaut’ has soundtracked some of this band’s happiest times. It’s about feeling so totally in love with someone, so at home when you’re with them, that you can’t possibly be on this planet anymore. We released it as a single before the EP came out, with the artwork a polaroid of my little brother Logan, who’s been to everything this band has ever done. A friend of ours covered it at a gig in Dublin recently and there’s a video of people singing along with him; watching that was one of the best/bizarre moments I’ve ever had in music.
3. I Love You, Goodbye
Lauren and I wrote ‘I Love You, Goodbye’ together, so it definitely means a lot to us. It’s about our family, our love for the ocean and keeping the people you love with you forever. It’s for our Mum, who gets a guaranteed shout out with it at every gig, whether she’s in the audience or not!
4. Settle Down
‘Settle Down’ is one big singalong from start to finish! It just seems to make people happy, which is ironic because it came from a very sad place. It’s about trying to explain to someone just how much they mean to you, how they brighten your life by just being there. “I love your colour” is one of my favourite lyrics we have. Even though it doesn’t end well, I think there’s a bit of hope in it somewhere. For every heartbroken walk home, there’s those friends who’ll always get you through, keep picking you up.
Of all our tunes, ‘A&E’ is the one people seem to connect with the most, which is the most unbelievable feeling. We don’t get the opportunity to play it live very often, but when we do you see what it means to people, which makes it a very special song to us. It’s a true story, but I love how people project their own meanings on to it.
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