Four-piece band As We Leave has just released their new single via Abbey Records called Stories We Tell – it’s a shimmery and nostalgia-laden ode to summer, replete with the feelings the season can conjure. The band’s members all grew up on the Isle of Wight where they formed their strong friendship bonds at school and it’s where they now create and produce their music.
On the cusp of the release of Stories We Tell, I spoke to As We Leave’s vocalist and guitarist Caine Entwistle about music, friendships and island life…
You all met at school – did you become friends through a mutual love of music? I understand you have all been in various bands, so how did you all get together?
Kyle and Tom and myself have been friends since we were about 12-13 years old – we were like-minded misfits and our mutual love of music developed as we became closer friends. As We Leave started about five years ago, me and Kyle just kept plugging away writing tunes and making music for the sheer love of it.
We realised that the songs were really pretty good so we got Gards (Tom Gardner) in and things started to move from there. Kit is the same age as us, he went to a different school on the island but played in bands we knew growing up. We heard he wanted to leave his band Blond and come back home, so we asked him to join. It’s been great ever since.
How do you manage the creative process of writing songs? Do you write your material together or is that down to just one of you? Who writes the lyrics?
That’s the best part about As We Leave… we are all just really into writing music. We write individually and collectively but when it comes to fleshing out the ideas and recording them, everyone gets involved. Usually whoever comes up with the idea gets to put it down but there are no rules and egos… everything is done for the benefit of the song. On the whole, I write the lyrics because I’m the vocalist.
What drives you lyrics wise?
Everything really: life, experience, frustrations, memories, anger, love… I have a deep love of literature (particularly Russian) so words and how you use them are important to me.
What is the significance of the band name ‘As We Leave’?
Me and Kyle just wanted something different really. At the time every band or project seemed to be called ‘The Something’. We kind of wanted a statement rather than a name and so in the end ‘As We Leave’ was the one that stuck.
That’s interesting that your band is from the Isle of Wight. How would you describe the music scene there? And do you have a good support network?
Yeah, it’s both a blessing and a bit of a curse. It is beautiful and isolated which helps foster the bonds we built as children growing up but there is a real lack of opportunities and some crushing poverty. The music scene here is vibrant, it has always had a flourishing musical underbelly. Whether the world ever takes note is almost irrelevant, you can always find something. In the past we’ve had The Bees, Jackson Analogue, Drew, Champs and now besides us there’s Fat Earthers, Kat Fight – lots of exciting new music to be discovered.
There are some lovely studios here on the island as well like Humbug at Osborne, where we mixed and mastered the EP – Jim and Rob are great! Our label Abbey Studios, have a beautiful live-in studio in a glorious location. Strings is a good little live venue (the only one that’s left!) and we have our own writing studio we call ‘The Store’. So in terms of support to make music, if you know the right people, it’s great and even if you don’t, it’s still a wonderful place to make music.
Have you done much gigging or played at any festivals?
We were hoping to do the lot this summer but obviously that’s not happened so fingers crossed for next year. Between us we have done a lot of gigging and festivals but not as As We Leave, mainly because it was just me and Kyle for the first two years and we preferred the studio. But the need to get out there and play again is strong, so expect us on a stage or at a festival near you in 2021!
What bands/artists do you admire? Which artists have had an influence on you musically?
We have many many musical influences, some collective ones like Tom Waits, Radiohead, Gomez, The Beatles, Beach House, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Tame Impala, and some more individual such as James Brown, Shostakovich, Mac DeMarco, Bruce Springsteen. Once a week we usually meet up and just listen to records with a few beers or a glass of wine. A songwriter should always be listening to music.
Your latest single Stories We Tell feels very evocative and conjures up the feel of summer. You have said of the lyrics it’s about “the jarring possibility that the best things have passed“. Can you tell me more about this… hopefully you have some optimism for the future?
Stories We Tell is an ode to nostalgia, a flood of memories and a bittersweet melancholia for better times… maybe not better but certainly more carefree.
The memory of hearing your favourite album for the first time, the energy and optimism of adolescence… there’s a little bit of hope in there. We wanted the sound of the track to be similar to its narrative, pretty, sun- soaked and bittersweet. Thank you for calling it summery by the way, there’s the optimism.
This has been a tricky year for everyone and in particular for musicians. How has it been for As We Leave?
Yeah its not been good for anyone… We should have been gigging, promoting and having fun at festivals but sadly, we aren’t. From a positive perspective though it has been hugely beneficial for our songwriting, we have an abundance of material to work through for the next two releases! Don’t worry though, we only have one lockdown song, no doubt there will be a lot of angsty songs next year about isolation and viruses.
What are your plans for the next six months / year or so… if everything goes to plan in these uncertain times?
The plan is to get this EP out in September. We’ve nearly finished the next one (out by the end of the year) and are starting work on an album as well. By next year there should be plenty of releases and we can get stuck into the gigs, tour buses, festivals and lack of sleep! That’s the plan anyway.
Care to mention any names of people who have helped and guided you?
Jim and Rob Homes at Humbug studios, they have been great, Aude has been super and full of encouragement, and I’m sorting the games night out! I’d also like to thank Trucks and TD in advance, they will probably be joining us on the road for the gigs next year.
Stories We Tell, the latest
single by As We Leave is
out 20th August. Video to
follow on 21st August
As We Leave:
Caine Entwistle – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synths
Kyle Abram – Guitars, Bass, Drums, Keys, Synths, Percussion
Tom Gardner – Guitars, Bass, Keys, Drums, Vocals
Kit Jolliffe – Drums, Guitars, Percussion