The Now Are Too Hot To Handle!

The Now chat with David Chave ahead of the release of their long-awaited debut album.

The Now are yet another fabulous modern day rock band from that hotbed of talent that is South Wales. It currently seems to be one of the main areas of the UK disproportionately producing numerous talented musicians who write great rock songs and know how to perform live.

ERB’s Dave Chave got together with Shane Callaghan (lead vocals/guitar), Callum Bromage (guitar/vocals), Jay Evans (bass/vocals) and drummer Will Scott to talk about The Now’s debut album which was released on 1st March 2024. The band have been together for about six years. Originally members of various cover bands, it was inspiration derived from watching an established band that prompted the formation of The Now.

“We went to watch Kasabian live in the Motorpoint Arena, I think it’s called something else now [Utilita Arena Cardiff],” Cal explains. “It was me, Shane, and the old drummer. It was just such a good atmosphere. On the train home, we were just like, ‘Oh we need to start this, and we need to do this.’ So we came to the conclusion, we’d start a band!” Shane interjects, “We were in cover bands, so we wanted to break onto the original scene. We thought we could definitely do what the supports were doing at that gig.”

Shane and Cal already knew each other. “And then we found Jay, we found him in a local pub steaming,” Jay laughs. “And then we hired him,” continues Shane. “We said, he fits the look of the band, but he’s started to not fit the look of the band now.” A reference to the fact that Jay had close cropped his hair that day. “I look a bit like you now Dave,” quips Jay, in reference to your scribe’s sparsely populated dome. “And then we had our old drummer drop out,” Shane continues. “He went to the army and we discovered this other drummer called Will Scott, Will Scott Williams. We changed his name to Will Scott. He turned up to practice one day and he was terrible on the drums, and we were like, ’Yeah, he fits in.’“ Cal adds, “I still remember Jay using a bass as a bow and arrow and that’s how he got in the band.” “It was a bass that we borrowed for me,” responds Jay. “I was a guitarist. I literally got asked to help ‘em out for a couple of gigs to play bass, and I just ended up staying.” What is obvious from the banter between the band members is there are no egos, over-sensitivity or rivalry between them. The laughter regularly interrupts the conversation as they rip into each other at the end or in the middle of many answers to my questions.

At the time of writing, there are nineteen singles on Spotify from The Now. They started using James Weaver, an engineer in Swansea to help them get material recorded, having heard his work with other original artists. “We just heard his recordings and decided to try it and go and record some stuff with him,’’ states Shane. “The songwriting is an organic process rather than structured. All our stuff that we have, even for the album you can’t really explain it because they just fall out the sky,” reflects Jay. “If we go to practice with the intention of writing music, we do nothing but argue. So yeah, it’s a bit mad really. They just fall from the sky. Cal could start playing something stupid on the guitar and then we all just go off that. Or Shane will do something while I’m being stupid on the bass. Literally within two to three minutes we’ve got a song. It’s nuts.” “If we try to write a song, it’ll be the worst practice,” adds Will. “We end up writing something that’s pretty average and then slog over three hours, and never play it ever again.”

Their debut album contains a mix of some previously released material and some new songs. As with their EP release, the band recorded it with Oli Jacobs at Real World Studios, who has worked with such luminaries as Peter Gabriel and the 1975. “We were lucky to use him for the EP and the album as well,” says Will. “Yeah, he’s like lightning to work with. It is hard to keep up with him sometimes and his musical knowledge is…” adds Jay as Cal jokes, “Almost as good yours!” “Yeah, it’s almost as good as mine, to be honest” continues Jay, “He was a massive part of how we found our sound and the direction we wanted to go in, even though he probably didn’t realize it at the time, but he helped us find our way in regards to the music side of things. Because he had done more within the pop scene, just adding that pop value to our music as well. It’s giving us a sound which no other band has.”

The album was released on the 1st of March. “It’s on St. David’s Day” say Will. “Sort of a big thing for us Welshies. Eat Welsh cake, ride a Dragon, listen to The Now’s first album, hold a leek! It was written as a band, as the four of us, but then obviously when you work with producers like Ollie, they change things up. So, quite a few of the songs came out a lot different than we first envisaged, but for the better. Lyrics wise. Shane’s the genius of the band that comes with the lyrical content. Shane would you like to elaborate on your mindset and how fantastically, well written it is please?” “Yeah, I will actually, Will” responds Shane. “So basically, I just get a sheet of paper and I write words on it.” His response generates lots of laughter from his band mates. Jay tries to prompt more from Shane. “You’ve normally got to be left alone when it comes to lyrics, Shane, haven’t you? Especially when you’ve had to come up with something on the spot in the studio, because the song we’ve done is absolutely wank. So, we have to start again. He just walks off into a room and then comes back in 10 minutes later, with a mental idea, it’s happened a few times. “There’s literally been times where the song is completely different,” adds Shane. “The whole melody is different.” “There’s probably three or four songs on the album,” resumes Jay. “Which if you heard those songs when we were going into the studio to record them, they’re totally different. You would never even tell that was that song.”

The album opener is a track called Too Hot To Handle and lyrically references mental health. “We come across in the mental health side of things, in the way we dress, I think,” says Shane. “Well, the way I dress mainly. I want people to come to our gigs feeling like they can wear what they want and not be judged. So, I think that’s where we bring it across more.” Jay explains, “A lot of the songs tell stories of either, what we have done in the past, or just scenarios that we’ve been in as well.” “No song is written the same, the album isn’t purely based on mental health, it’s based on a number of things, but it’s not hard to hear the story we’re trying to tell, if you listen to the songs. The good thing with songs and lyrics, it’s subjective isn’t it?” asks Will. “The way you interpret a song, can be completely differently to the next person. Hopefully the listeners will get that same vibe.”

On the 7th March 2024, the band will launch the album with a headline gig at the O2 Academy 2 Islington. Although the band weren’t sure whether they will play the album in full when we spoke.  “It all depends on how it pans out really, because we recorded the album well over a year ago,” explains Jay.  “We’ve had to relearn the album. So, it all depends on how practice goes beforehand, but that’s the plan.” “We’ve only got X amount of stage time,” Will explains, “So, we’ve got to chuck a few old classics in there as well. For the hardcore fans, they’ll be there.”

We discuss the fact that there are lots of very good emerging rock bands from Wales at the moment, despite the odds being against them, with venue closures in Wales being a significantly large portion of the overall UK figures. “Florence Black are really good mates of ours,” says Jay. “I was in school with some of the boys from Florence Black. To be honest though, it’s not much of a local scene where we are. It’s mainly cover bands.” “It’s a weird industry sometimes being in a band,” adds Shane. “There’s not many places for original bands to play,” adds Will. “So, the reason why the market is saturated with cover bands is because there’s more scope for cover bands to play.” “In Swansea, there’s probably two venues [for original bands] to play,” Jay states. “Cardiff, there’s only one decent venue. That’s why for most Welsh bands, a lot of their tours have been over the bridge. It’s a money thing as well though, isn’t it? Tribute and covers bands earn a lot of money doing it, so you can’t knock ‘em for doing it, because we’ve done it outside of the band ourselves to keep us afloat. But it’s just the way the music industry is at the minute.”

The 11-track album is a fine collection of riffs, melody, and craft. There is space for the songs to breath, but they also rock heavy, a difficult trick to pull off. The influence of Oli Jacobs is identifiable in places on some songs with the non-conventional aural palette. They definitely don’t suffer the problem some bands have of sounding too much like what has gone before, or lacking originality. They genuinely do sound different to everyone else, and that has got to be good for the scene.

Catch The Now in at the O2 Academy in Islington on 7th March or supporting fellow Welsh rockers, Feeder on their Black / Red Tour 2024, on 8th March at Bristol O2 Academy, and 9th March at Cardiff Great Hall.



Band Members

Shane Callaghan – Lead Vocals / Guitar
Callum Bromage – Guitar / Vocals
Jay Evans – Bass / Vocals
Will Scott – Drums

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