Tuesday 13 August 2019

Control Of The Going - Interview

Control Of The Going return on Friday with a new EP called Reflections, a series of songs recorded before front man Liam Hart relocated to Chicago last year. We talk about the songs on the EP and how the transatlantic distance between Illinois and Tameside hasn't dampened their creative spark.

This EP saw another line-up change in the ever-fluid set-up that is Control Of The Going.  Who's on the record?

Ashley - We're all on the record, our producer Dean is also on it because he's fantastic and he wanted to be on it. I've seen the band as being modular from the start so when the last line up changed again I saw it as a great opportunity to change the sound, get new people in or just switch things around a little.

As you've seen and heard, we do like to collaborate with other musicians and get them on stage with us from time to time.

Liam - Fluid is the key word to me there. Like Ashley said we’ve always seen ourselves as modular and love collaborating. This is our biggest line-up change so far and as of right now it is Matt on drums, Tom on bass and backing vocals, Minesh on keyboard, Ashley on rhythm guitar and me on lead/rhythm guitar and vocals. On the record is all of the above plus Dean Glover who recorded and produced the album. He was also the sixth member of the band throughout the recording too. He played on every track apart from Panophobia.

How is it working out being a Transatlantic band – how are you managing the writing process?

Liam - It has been so relaxing being Transatlantic. The gig commitments aren’t there right now as I’m going through the immigration process, so over half of the band has been on holiday pretty much. Just enjoying the free time we haven’t really had over the last few years has been so freeing. Though I’m sure I speak for us all, we majorly miss playing as a band. When I miss playing with the band, that’s generally the time when I work on writing.

In some ways, the writing process is the same. I have always prepared a rudimentary demo, brought it to the band and we have finished it off together. The only thing that is different is that we’re not finishing the tracks off in the practice room anymore. 

How much new material do you have ready - and what are your plans for recording it?

Liam - I’m aiming for a new album’s worth of new material. As of right now I have about half an album’s worth of ideas which I am working on turning into demos for us to work on turning into tracks. Once we have ten or so tracks we will work with Dean again. The lads will record their parts in England and I will record my parts here.

Has being apart and being in two different countries influenced the subject matter of the songs you’ve written?

Liam - All of our previous work has been very personal to me. I literally sold a little bit of my soul to those songs. With this new EP there is a chance in the subject matter. Reflection is the exception to that rule because the lyrics were written eerily very early on in the history of the band. Panophobia is also something different too as it is a kind of protest song, but a protest about everything wrong with the world. From the death of originality to the cult of stupidity and from cultural appropriation to the fear of everything, which is where the song gets its name from. The fear of everything.

Day By Day and Girl Of God lyrically are the embodiment of this new change in subject matter for me personally. I don’t want to sing about what I have been through anymore, I want to put myself in the shoes of characters in stories and to be even more creative with my lyric writing. The new setting I find myself in is perfect to carry on the writing metamorphosis started back in Manchester with the Reflections EP and even our most successful song She.

The new EP was recorded before Liam moved to Chicago.  Could you tell us about the tracks on the EP?

Liam - Reflections is a collection of reflections essentially. Let’s start with Girl Of God.

Ashley - Girl of God is one I wrote a few years ago, I actually wanted the EP to be called The Girl of God. It wasn’t until the summer that the composition started to come together when myself, Matt and Liam really started working at it.

Liam - Lyrically, Ashley wrote this song. Which marks the first time I am not the primary writer on a song, although I did take Ashley’s lyrics and arrange them into what essentially became the song. I really enjoyed this process, as writing with your brother is actually a lot easier than the Gallagher brothers make it out to be! The story behind Girl Of God is probably more personal to Ashley and probably has a completely different meaning but to me its kind of like a Greek Myth with a Medusa sort of figure cursing the listener. Maybe I thought about the lyrics too much. You’ll have to ask Ashley what it really means!

Reflection, I hinted at in the last question but it is so eerie to me, lyrically because it does mean way more to us now that we are older and wiser. It is the quintessential should I, would I, could I song, but it really hits home now we are older and wiser… I love the guitar on this track. I worked really heavily with Dean on the lead guitar on this track in the recording studio and he really pushed me to be a much better guitar player. Strangely enough when this track and Girl Of God were written and practiced in the room, I played and wrote the drums while Matt and Ashley worked on the guitars.

Ashley - Reflection, like Girl of God was recorded in the same session. Similarly again it was when myself, Matt and Liam got into the practice room to rehearse the song, its a cliché but we caught lightening in a jar. We sent a dodgy phone recording to Dean, along with Girl of God - he loved it and they were both recorded a couple of weeks later.

Liam - It was really refreshing to change up who played what and the result of it was what is my favourite song on the record.

Ashley - Its quite stripped back in comparison to the last record, I suppose its as if we went back to our roots a bit. Its a less noisy record and there’s more space to breath, I like that about it.

Liam - Day By Day to me, is a story about a stalker essentially. This person in the song is brooding and obsessing over this figure which they see undressing, dancing and enjoying their life while they stand outside wishing that they were there with them. They want it all, but they can’t, so they want to destroy them instead. Day By Day is the only track on this EP which we have actually played live. I cannot wait to bring the other three to our fans when we can play live again.

Panophobia came from this really cool guitar hook I wrote. We practiced it in the room as a band and I just started putting lyrics to it. It became a protest song of sorts. We took it into the recording studio and once again Dean really moulded it into the beast of a track it is now.

Reflection is a reinvention of one of your earliest demos, which you were very prolific with on soundcloud.  Do you often go back to old songs and take an idea and then revisit it with fresh eyes?

Ashley - I love to go back and listen to the old demos and watch live recordings! Reflection is one of my favourite songs, I always wanted it in the setlist because I enjoy playing it. I've wanted to re-record it for a while now so when it was decided we were going to do an EP, it had to be on! It also helped that we could all play it blindfolded so I thought that would save some precious studio time.

Liam – Again, like Ashley said going back to old demos and focusing on them is exactly how we write songs. I have thousands of audio clips, notes and demos on my phone, computer and old phone which I kept specifically because it has old material on. It is impossible to focus on all of them, especially as a band who used to play once or twice a month or even more, we just couldn’t spend the time on new material that we wanted to. Now I have the time and I’m going over all of those random things I hummed in my sleep and recorded, those catchy hooks I randomly recorded and cool lines I wrote after a few beers or on the plane travelling to and from the UK. A fresh ear with a new perspective is all those potential new songs need and I’m really enjoying revising them and reinventing them like Reflection.

Liam - Reflection as a demo was really good but it just needed a maturity. I feel like we achieved it now with this recording of it. We know what our sound is now and that is what I would expect to hear from us in the future.

Ashley - It was my idea to bring back Day By Day back to the setlist after watching a recording of it on YouTube. It proved so popular it we recorded it.

Liam – Yeah it’s crazy Day By Day. Because it was like a huge part of our live set but it was forgotten when we were recording the album and from then it dropped from the live set. If we would have remembered it at the time of recording the album it would have definitely gone on I Love You But It’s Going To Rain.

You've talked about plans for shows. How will that work and when can we expect them?

Liam - I should be eligible to work in the next six to nine months. Soon as that is resolved expect us to be doing a UK reunion tour and after that a string of US shows too. It is early days now so we are short on details but we have had plenty of offers while we have been away which we are going to cash in very soon!

And new material?

Liam - There is new material, but not at the stage for people to get excited about yet!

Ashley -  I've written some things down and made some noises on the guitar, I'd like them to become songs one day.

Liam - I really want to get Reflections onto vinyl. If it does well digitally and there is a demand for it. It will be pressed and released on vinyl. So those of you who want to see it on vinyl, get behind us, buy our merchandise and it will happen.

Control Of The Going are on FacebookTwitter and Soundcloud.

Read our interview with them about their debut album I Love You But It's Going To Rain here. Our review of the album can be found here and Liam's story about the recording of it here. The album is released digitally and on vinyl and can be ordered from their Bandcamp.

Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates

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