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Artist Interview: “Here In My Rock” by We The Living

Q: H! I love the nostalgic feeling “Here In My Rock” gives me when I listen to it. I was surprised to learn that the idea for it formed in 2015, but the recording didn’t come until eight years later, which isn’t bad. I view music like wine; it needs to age. But why did it take so long to record it?

WE THE LIVING: I composed the songs back in early 2015. After that David Morley and I got together a few times to start recording, sometimes for just a few hours, sometimes for a couple of days. Demos were developing, but there was not a clear ‘concept’ emerging from our work.

Following the pandemic, it was only in July last year that we sat together for two consecutive weeks at David’s studio, with an extra week in November, to record and mix what has finally become the first album of “We The Living.”

Q: “Here In My Rock” is the second single on your “Making The Living Great Again” album. What’s the concept around the album, and how does “Here In My Rock” contribute to it?

WTL: “Here in My Rock” is a blueprint song for the rest of the album. When we had the song done, we realized we had found the ‘concept’ I was referring to before. In sum, we agreed to befriend ambient and indie music around laid-back vocals, serene drum beats and dreamy guitar arrangements.

In a world of 15’’ playlist listeners and an insistence from industry and media on endless variations in songs, we wanted to claim back the ‘album’ approach that invites the listener to join attentively the sonic flow of a full set of songs.


Q: Where did the album title come from?

WTL: We had decided on the band’s name and happened to be having a drink during a break from the recording sessions. We started talking about international politics, and our conversation derived from a famous political slogan in the US. I don’t recall if David or I said, “That is precisely what we are doing; we are making the living great again.” We laughed and realized we had found a good title for the album.


Q: We The Living is based in Brussels. How does living there impact your music?

WTL: Both of us have complicated lives across Europe, but Brussels was where we met back in 2004 when David recorded a live performance for a punk-rock project I was singing for. I have been in and out of Belgium for nearly 30 years, and David’s studio is located in Belgium, so it seemed the sensible thing to do.


Q: The ’80s sound in “Here In My Rock” got me excited and made me wonder who We The Living’s influences were.

WTL: We are avid consumers of almost every musical genre. David is a figure in the ambient universe, with a heart for the pioneers of heavy metal and for the German legend band Tangerine Dream. Myself, I have a weakness for many indie and punk-rock outlets, so many I would not know where to start from. But it is true we came of the “musical age” in the ‘80s and in the early ‘90s, and one can tell we do enjoy genres that emerged those days, such as trip-hop, new wave, etc.


Q: What was the best thing about making the album?

WTL: The friendly atmosphere inside the recording studio. We worked hard but had lots of fun and long conversations about anything and everything. I also realized that the lyrics I wrote back in the day still meant a lot to me and, in a way, still reflected some of my own existential challenges.


Q: What was the most difficult thing about working on the album

WTL: Probably finding the “concept” I mentioned earlier, in short, a distinctive sound for WTL. And maybe also building the rhythmical part of our music proposition.


Q: What do you want to say to those who are about to press play on “Here In My Rock”?

WTL: I would maybe share with them a short story behind every song:

• Anthem: it is a stripping exercise from another WTL song, easy to tell if one listens calmly to the album.
• Here In My Rock: as I said before, it is the blueprint for the rest of the songs.
• Hard Times: it is the story of how WTL ruined a mainstream single à la Coldplay,
• White Hole Sun: a humble proposal on how the world can exit from hell and join the executive lounge of heaven.
• I Am Silent: we got camping with REM, didn’t we?
• Serendipity: a song re-born from its ashes after it was buried deep underground.
• Distant Waves: our way to invite a listener to embrace (and don’t fight) the music’s slowness.
• Amplified: I think it is the song I have listened to more times in my life, initially more rock, now “Trindie” (where trip-hop meets indie music).
• Boundless Blue: our submarine didn’t implode, luckily.
• We Shall Return: ending the trip to show again who are the wrong people in this world.

Interviewed by Taylor Berry






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