You never know what to expect from All We Are. From glossy psychedelia to acidic post-punk, the Liverpool-based trio are chameleons of sound, using genre as a canvas to explore life’s complexities. On their third album, however, the band reach their dawn.
Rhythmic, groove-heavy, and utterly euphoric, Providence sees the group cast aside the agonies expressed on their first two releases and embrace all the beauties life has to offer. That’s not to say that the album doesn’t capture their quintessential edge though.
The record feels weathered, like sunlight peeking through heavy clouds, making the final product shine even brighter. It’s a project that sees the trio lay a lifetime’s worth of baggage out on the table in search of something long-lost and beautiful. They make sure to carefully consider each item of luggage, before folding and returning it to its rightful place in the past. By doing so, they eventually come to find the beauty, the long-lost gem, but only by reflecting on the journey taken to find it.
Although it seems an impossibly massive task for a band to undertake in the space of 10 groove-laden tracks, we never doubted that All We Are could do it for a second. Fresh off the release of the track, we caught up with vocalist/drummer Richard O’Flynn to break down the stellar release and what it means for the band going forward.
After two albums of introspection and longing, All We Are have finally reached the summit: and what a sight it is. Considered, vibrant, and completely irresistible, Providence is an album that most artists only dream of releasing.
HAPPY: Congratulations on Providence!
RICHARD: Oh, thank you. I’m glad you’re into it.
HAPPY: I honestly couldn’t stop hitting rewind. How’s it feel to have the record finally finished?
RICHARD: I mean, we’ve had it finished for almost a year and a half, so it was quite a long process after the second record, writing it and then finally recording it in Liverpool and stuff. So I mean, it’s just one of those things, putting records out takes a bit of time. It just feels amazing to have it out finally.
HAPPY: Yeah, for sure. Could you tell us a bit about the process behind it? Were there any major concepts or influences that went into making the record?
RICHARD: Yeah, for sure. The first record we did is quite languid and has these soft influences. The second one was quite like angsty, post-punk almost. Providence was for us a real healing process. You know, we felt like we’d exercised all that anger around 2016 that was kind of sliding about and we got that out of us. Providence was really focusing on the really beautiful things, like love, sex, fun, dancing, and just friendship. Those beautiful things about humanity and being alive. So yeah, for us it was quite a healing balm, like a healing process. Yeah, there’s quite a lot of depth in there, lyrically and stuff. But really, it’s just about having a bit of fun and celebrating the good things.
HAPPY: Did writing the songs come very naturally then because it felt so right in the lineage of songs that you’re putting out? Or was it one of those releases that you had to tinker with a little bit more?
RICHARD: Honestly, I think all those tracks, they really come from the heart. When you’re writing stuff that comes to your heart and you know what you’re writing about, it just comes so easy. I think that if you’re writing stuff and you’re like; shit what am I actually singing about here? And I need to think about it, that’s going to become quite difficult. I think you can tell with the songs that they’re pretty honest. So they all came pretty easy.
HAPPY: Yeah, for sure. Well, what I really love about what you guys are doing is that you can never really know what to expect when you guys put out a new album. You’re always exploring different genres or styles.
RICHARD: [Laughs] Yeah!
HAPPY: So is it ever a bit daunting going into a new record with a fresh slate every time in terms of sonic?
RICHARD: Yeah, it is kind of actually, which is funny you ask this because I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot. Making an album, you’ve got to think when you’re writing songs and when you’re in the process of writing an album, you’re like; OK, what are we trying to say here? Then as you write more and more, the album starts taking shape. So, it is quite daunting. We’ve just been thinking about, obviously, with the pandemic itself, we can’t tour the record, we can’t promote it. So we’re just thinking about ways to just to keep our fans updated in what we’re up to and just trying to stay busy until we do get touring. But I think that we’re probably just going to write individual tunes and release them post record, rather than focusing on making another album. So it is a totally different thing making an album to making songs. It can be quite complex, you know what I mean?
HAPPY: Oh yeah, absolutely. Well, you guys have made a really interesting point, which you touched on before, that you weren’t really sure where the world was going to be when you released the record, but you were hoping that you could bring some joy to people with your songs. What role do you see music playing in times like these?
RICHARD: Well, yeah, I mean, it’s quite weird, isn’t it? I mean, that is true that we never put in those. But, you know, we always knew that post or second record, but this one, we were just like, look, let’s celebrate the good things. And, you know, that’s just like, you know, it’s quite universal, isn’t it? Just like friendship and love and like dancing and like sex and just all these things, you know, people can relate to because it’s just a pretty human experience. So, yeah, you know we were hoping that it would bring some sort of kind of happiness and stuff. And I guess like, I think music is really important in this time, you know, regardless of the genre or whatever. It’s like, you know, I think it’s really cool that, you know, people are still releasing and doing stuff online and just like kind of keeping people connected and stuff. And I don’t think it’s like a distraction or anything because, you know, that’s not the role of music. But it certainly just gives, like kind of importance and it gives kind of, you know, something for people to focus on and get like and get joy from in what’s potentially a really, really hard time for people, you know what I mean?
HAPPY: Yeah, for sure. Well, you’ve said before, like, the album is very much a dawn in a way, from your other tracks where you’re dealing with some deeper emotions. What new avenues do you see for All We Are after releasing a record that’s as conclusive as Providence?
RICHARD: Yeah, interestingly enough, we’ve started… and I think this is directly tied into how we produced the album. So we recorded the third record in a studio, well I lived there actually, it’s like a live-in-studio where we’ve always rehearsed and done our demos and stuff. It’s like an abandoned school in Liverpool. We decided to do the record there because we really just wanted to be in a place where we could spend as much time as we wanted on it and just have that familiarity and stuff. But, obviously, it had its limitations because it’s not really set up to have an amazing live room or anything. So we had to track the drums in a very particular way, we basically just tracked kicks and snare first and then started building on it. We found that we could use a loud percussion rather than half dancing, that we could park on one track on the album. So now that we’ve started rehearsing and stuff, we were playing with a really good friend of ours who’s a percussionist, and it really added something amazing to the live stuff. It’s almost 70s in a way. So when we start writing the next stuff, I think we’ll potentially write with him. So I think that would be quite an interesting angle to take.
HAPPY: That’ll be really interesting to see how you guys tie that all in, that’ll be really cool.
RICHARD: Yeah, it’s really fun. We just rehearsed on Sunday, we did a live-stream actually just before lockdown in the UK in mid-March, and that was the first time we performed it. But yeah, it’s really vibey, it’s definitely more a collective vibe. Yeah, so I think that would be really interesting.
HAPPY: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. So without live venues open for bookings and stuff. How’s the rest of the year looking? I know you’ve said you’ve got the singles coming out. Is there anything else you’ve got in the works?
RICHARD: As far as All We Are is concerned, I think we are just going to, well actually there is one show in Germany that we’re booked to play in September which is quite interesting. It’s like the world’s first, like, socially distanced music festival. But that is going ahead as far as I know, at least as of now. Then I think we just probably just get some more tunes done and just try and keep as busy as possible. But yeah, it’s kind of a shame that we can’t get out there and play. It’s just the way it is, we’re pretty accepting, you know. Everyone’s in the same boat. It’s just sort of the way it is.
HAPPY: Yeah. For sure. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.
RICHARD: Oh not at all! You too, I really appreciate you calling from Australia, it’s lovely to hear an Aussie accent.
HAPPY: Now it’s our pleasure, it’s lovely to hear a non-Australian accent for a change.
Providence is available on all streaming platforms from Friday (August 14th). Grab your copy here.