Haunting. Powerful. Honest. Those three words describe Too Close To Touch’s phenomenal album ‘Haven’t Been Myself’ which delves on loss and bereavement!
The much-loved rock band recently touched down in the UK for the first time to support Set It Off and With Confidence on tour. They certainly won new fans in every single city.
Just before their second ever international show, we spoke with the Kentucky quintet backstage in Manchester. Keaton, Kenneth and Mason answered our questions.
In our exclusive interview, Too Close To Touch discussed: the cathartic process of recording such a poignant album, their new single ‘Miss Your Face’ and much more.
You can read highlights and hear our full interview with Too Close To Touch below!
For people who haven’t heard your music, how would you describe your sound?
Keaton: “I would say we’re kind of all over the place. For the most part, kind of darker and ambient as far as the mood goes and the music and content. I mean there’s still a brightness to it.”
Kenneth: “Yeah, like hard rock with some R&B vocal influence and we have died down verses with a bit of piano and other instruments. A lot of instrumental sort of vibey stuff. There’s just a lot of influences there; you can go from The Weeknd to 30 Seconds to Mars and just all of the different things we listen to.”
You’re currently touring with Set It Off and With Confidence – how excited are you to be performing in the UK for the first time?
Keaton: “Very excited. It’s great to be away from home; at least for the most part. I like to see all the new sights and hear all the new accents. It’s been great. We’ve been really wanting to come over since we started the band; we’ve wanted to always be somewhere new but we were kind of stuck in the US for a long time. Now we’ve got to sort of break out of that and experience you guys for the first time. Hopefully we’ll be back sooner than later but it’s been awesome. It’s been cool.”
You released your sophomore album ‘Haven’t Been Myself’ last year – how did you go about creating the record?
Mason: “We had a handful of demos that we were writing. We literally had a mobile recording rig set up in our van at home and we were touring with Secrets at the time and Palisades. We would just kind of go in and do our duties in the venue then come back and try to demo out as best as we could just on iPhones and things like that. Eventually, we took it to the studio. We were at the studio for quite a lot time. The majority of the record came from writing in the studio.”
Kenneth: “It’s hard to write in a van. We were in an Airbnb for a week prior to the studio but we got a lot more work done there.”
Mason: “We just tend to get more work done in the studio because it’s set up for music. It’s not some place we’re trying to make happen or make work. It’s already geared up ready to go and then we can just grind out.”
Kenneth: “There’s not a whole lot of distractions.”
Keaton: “I suck at writing on the road. I recall one moment specifically when I was sitting in the van tracking something out and just totally being in a different place mentally. I was never really able to fully immerse myself in what I wanted to say. Then once we got to the Airbnb, we were just sort of encapsulated in a contained area and environment where you’re literally just there to write music.”
Mason: “There’s not somebody like ‘we need you for five minutes’ so you’re not getting pushed or pulled. You get like tour brain where everything is foggy. You’re just trying to get to the show and make sure everything is in its right place so you can perform. Then tear down is stressful; it’s kind of hard work heavy lifting stuff. By the time you’re all loaded up ready to go, you’re too exhausted to think about anything but sleeping.”
Kenneth: “And writing is a very draining process in itself. Trying to write a song, for those that have tried know, it’s really hard. It’s something you’re going to be judged for later and you kind of know that. You’re about to put yourself out there a little bit so there’s a lot of pressure. It’s just trying to put out something you’re proud of and you want people to see the effort. You feel very drained after a full day of writing because you’re either staring at a screen or you’re playing a part like sixty different times. It’s just a lot of focus and a lot of mental work. Yeah, it’s a little bit stressful.”
Lyrically, it’s an incredibly personal and emotional album. By pouring your heart out, did you find the recording process harder or did it help you find closure?
Keaton: “It helped. The songs came fairly quickly when we were in the studio. When we were on the road writing, I didn’t really know what I wanted to say on the album. That tour happened so soon after. Obviously the album is about the emotional and personal journey that someone goes through when experiencing a deep and personal loss. Yeah, there wasn’t really any time for me to decompress before we went out on the road with Secrets and Palisades. I think I was still blocking it out. I was ignoring coping with it. Then once we were in the studio and the Airbnb, my way of coping with it was writing about it. There was so much I wanted to say and so many different ways I could go about it. Something like that can change you in a lot more ways than you realise. It’s not just about your emotions and stuff; maybe you pick up bad habits to cope with it and you can go off on that route. So yeah, it wasn’t very difficult at all. After writing one song about it, I knew that was what the album had to be about.”
Are there any lyrics on the record that you’re particularly proud of writing?
Keaton: “Like just songs? ‘Eiley’. Obviously that’s where I get to get a little more personal and it’s kind of like a one on one conversation metaphorically with me and God himself; an angry conversation.”
CelebMix: “The bridge of that song is chilling and really powerful.”
Keaton: “Yeah, it’s cool. The guys let me just do my thing on that and there’s not another song on the album like it. There’s not a song that’s nearly as heavy as it; that kind of explains how dynamic we are as a band too. I don’t scream a ton but when I get the chance to, it’s for a reason. That song is obviously very personal to me and that sums up pretty much the rest of the album. ‘Sympathy’ as well; that’s the start of the album and the start of the problem. Which ones do you guys like particularly?”
Mason: “Lyrically? I really like ‘The Art of Eye Contact.”
Kenneth: “I’d say ‘Sympathy’ and ‘Crooked Smile’ are my two; they’re also the singles but rightfully so. They’re just really good songs. Those two are the ones I’d probably listen to the most personally. I like the way the songs are written as a whole and the lyrical content and everything. I think those are really strong songs and a good way to connect; not too metaphorical. It’s writing the balance where you can connect without having to really sit there and digest and investigate into it. Being creative whilst also writing to appeal to a broad group of people that all think the same.”
Keaton: “That’s the science behind writing singles too.”
You recently dropped the official music video for ‘Miss Your Face’ – what made you choose that track as the next single?
Kenneth: “We actually kind of put it up to a fan vote. A couple of songs stood out so we picked ‘Miss Your Face’ and went with that.”
Keaton: “I think it’s different. The last one we released was ‘Sympathy’ which was very dark. I think ‘Miss Your Face’ has a brightness to it.”
Kenneth: “Also, we wanted to do a live video. We wanted the focal point to be more around the band. We thought about doing ‘Crooked Smile’ because of the energy. ‘Miss Your Face’ is the other song with probably the most energetic instrumentals and stuff like that for movement to be in an interesting live video.”
Keaton: “Also, the response on tour to ‘Miss Your Face’ too.”
Kenneth: “We got off the tour and kids really dug it. We just wanted something that was energetic and we already gave ‘Crooked Smile’ its push and its moment so we wanted to give the fans something new. We didn’t want to put out content for a song that everyone was kind of already listening to. We figured we’d give them something new all around; something that wasn’t so much in the spotlight but it’s still one of our more popular songs as well. It just made sense.”
What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Too Close To Touch?
Keaton: “Warped tour is going to be good; we’ve got some really cool things going on.”
Mason: “We just got out of the studio as well doing a bunch of things. Actually, we have a lot of cool shit that we can’t tell you about but you should know it exists. You will know soon. It’s pretty awesome. We have a lot of cool audio/visual/live stuff coming.”
Kenneth: “You’re about to get dropped on really hard. There’s something coming very soon. There’s going to be an announcement of something and then probably soon after that. It’s going to be a busy year; it’s been a busy year already and we’ve been doing a lot of work this year.”
If you could leave a message for you fans, what would you say?
Keaton: “We’re over here in Europe for the first time and we’re scared and cold. Come find us. Pick us up please.” (laughs)
Kenneth: “We like Beanie Babies. We’ve never said that before and I kind of want to say it because I want some Beanie Babies. I really like you guys. We like Mexican food, Burritos and Beanie Babies. Mason has a 6,000 Beanie Babies collection. 6,000 Beanie Babies; all summer long. Beanie Babies; all year. 100 days. Beanie Babies. 600 days. If anyone gets that Rick and Morty reference, I love you. Beanie Babies.”
Keaton: “On a real note, we’re over in the UK right now and we wouldn’t be over here unless our music had spread so broadly to a place where it was demanded for us to come over here and we had offers to come over. That’s incredible and it’s kind of hard to grasp; being that it’s our first international. So thank you for supporting record two, and record one but record two as well, because things have begun to pick up at a very quick pace. We can write cool music all day but if no-one appreciates it, it’s just for us. The music we write is for you guys.”
Kenneth: “And us. It’s both. It’s healing for some members and it’s creating art. It’s one of those things that’s for everyone.”
‘Haven’t Been Myself’ is available here on iTunes alongside the band’s debut record. So far, Too Close To Touch have released three official videos to promote their new album and those are for: ‘Sympathy‘, ‘What I Wish I Could Forget‘ and ‘Miss Your Face‘.
Make sure you follow @TooCloseToTouch on Twitter to keep up to date with all of their latest projects and updates. You can also keep Keaton, Kenneth, Mason, Thomas and Travis on your radar by following their very own personal profiles: @KeatonPierce, @KennethMDowney, @MasonMarble, @Thomas_Kidd and @TravisTooClose.
What do you think of ‘Haven’t Been Myself’ by Too Close To Touch? Which is your favourite song on the album? Let us know over on Twitter @CelebMix!