Interview: Me Vs Hero

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In the ever changing music scene, four years between album releases can seem like a lifetime, however for North West pop-punks Me Vs Hero, they’ve come through a troublesome time which saw members come and go and lead vocalist Sam Thompson becoming homeless for a brief time. Now they’re back on their feet and with a new album, ‘I’m Completely Fine’, and with a UK tour nearing ever closer, we thought it’d be a good time catch up with the band.

The new record is more focused yet has that distinctive pop-punk sound that Me Vs Hero have honed over the years. Lyrically it takes a more thoughtful route, which is fully understandable considering Thompson’s recent struggles. Nevertheless ‘I’m Completely Fine’ is a throughly boisterous album that sees Me Vs Hero pick up where they left off.

Senior Editor Sean Reid recently caught up with Sam and guitarist Bobby Pook following their appearance at the Hevy Fest where he quizzed them about the new record. The pair obliged and discussed the making of ‘I’m Completely Fine’ in great detail.

AH: Can I get your names and role in the band?
Sam: My name is Bobby Pook and play the guitar.

Bobby: My name is Sam Thompson and I am the best vocalist in the entire world.

Sam: Aww you little…

AH: So this is your return to Hevy. You first played here in 2011. How does it feel to be back here?
Bobby: Good. It feels great. I like this festival even though it’s small; it’s still good though. It gets a lot of the bands who wouldn’t get on the other festivals. It’s a cool thing.

AH: How did your set go earlier?
Bobby: I think it went well.

Sam: Yeah it was good. For us its the first time we’re playing a lot of new songs , so besides the fact that we set off at 7 this morning with no sleep because we both work long hours.

Bobby: We basically had no sleep.

Sam: But apart from being really tired and a little ill, we enjoyed it. It’s a nice day and we played the main stage, which had a lot of space.

AH: I’m guessing this is the start of the album cycle?
Bobby: Yeah it’s easing us into it.

AH: What can you tell us about the album (‘I’m Completey Fine’)?
Sam: It’s new but old. We started writing it like four years and probably finish 2 years ago. It’s taken awhile to get it out.

Bobby: We’ve grown older, so Sam’s lyrics are a lot more mature.

Sam: Yeah the first album was literally lyrics about anything.

Bobby: There has definitely been a lot more thought into it. It makes you prouder of the final product.

Sam: I was sitting in a coffee shop trying to write lyrics when I had no home to go to. It’s more about the sort of struggles we’ve gone through and we go through as people in life. It actually means something. They are relatable to us, wheather they are relatable to anyone else I don’t know.

AH: You mentioned the four year gap between releases. So did you start writing four years ago?
Bobby: It was slow paced. We started writing a couple of songs four years ago then it was a really slow pace. Dee, our drummer left, then it was finding a new drummer and teaching him the new songs and starting back from scratch.

Sam: Our guitarist Ross left.

Bobby: So we got a new guitarist then that happened again. So it was a struggle but we did it and we’re proud of the final product.

AH: How have Grant and Simon fitted into the band? Have they settled in?
Bobby: Yeah. They’re both great. Simon is a great drummer and Grant is a fantastic guitarist. To be honest it is the best we’ve soudned live for years.

AH: In terms of sound, how has it developed on the new record compared to previous releases?
Bobby: It’s not as poppy.

Sam: From our EP to our first record to our second one, there in progression. You get a bit older and the songs are more musical. The lyrics are more indepth and relateable.

AH: More meaningful?
Bobby: Definitely more meaning.

Sam: Yeah. It’s not just stuff like major keys with power chords. We’ve got some minor chords in a pop-punk song, which is…

Bobby: Unheard of.

Sam: Yeah which we are happy with. We’ve got a lot of stuff, a lot more technical. A lot more thought has been put into it.

AH: You’ve had four songs from the album online for a few months now. How has the reaction been to those songs?
Bobby: Great for some but not as great for others. What is the one that has got loads and loads of hits on YouTube? ‘Marks of a Slave’?

Sam: I don’t know. I think ‘Marks of a Slave’ and ‘Things We Know’ have gone alright.

Bobby: ‘Opposites’ which is our music video we bought out a couple of weeks ago, that is doing well. That is all of our personal favourite song off the record. Yeah the reaction has been good man.

Sam: The reaction has been good. If you change the sound a little bit, people will say you’re trying to soundlike someone else. We’ve had a little bit of that, but not much.

Bobby: It’s always going to happen though isn’t it?

AH: You worked with Romesh Dodangoda again. How was that?
Bobby: He just saved us man!

Sam: Do you want me to talk you through the process?

AH: Yeah.
Sam: I won’t mention names. I mean we are still friends with some people but not with others but when we started recording, we put faith in people, gave them a lot of money, our own money, to record us but we didn’t get the sound what we wanted, so we tried to go somewhere else and try and do that.

Bobby: Obviously we wanted it to be the best it could because you put your heart into these songs.

Sam: We knew the way we wanted it to sound, so we ended re-recording everything ourselves. We did drums quite well, in a nice big room. Vocals was in a high rise council estate flat.

Bobby: Guitars in Grant’s garage.

Sam: Two weeks solid in Grant’s place in Cumbria.

Bobby: Then we handed it all to Romesh. We got the first mix back from him when we were in Japan, and we were like “thank god”. After 2 years, it is something we would want to listen to.

AH: Since its been 4 years since the last album, pop-punk has grown in popularity. Have any new bands influenced you in anwyway?
Bobby: No not really. I mean pop-punk as a thing is just a few chords. Its all major key and there is not a lot you can do with that, so we tried to do more. Change it up a little bit.

Sam: If anything we think from the first EP and going through the albums, we sort of listened to new bands less and less. Maybe revert back to older bands.

Bobby: Old Punk-a-Rama type bands and Epitaph bands, stuff like that because that is what you grew up listening to, and that is what you love so it gives you that nostagia as well.

Sam: So not really no.

AH: Speaking of UK pop-punk bands, you’re taking out Roam out on tour with you. Are you looking forward to the tour?
Bobby: Yes we are looking forward to the tour. we’re hoping it is going to be a well sold tour.

Sam: It’s selling ok at the moment but we’ve been away for so many years.

Bobby: That’s it. We’ve been away for awhile so it’s hard to get back but it seems to be going well. Roam seem like good guys. There manager Lee is a good mate, so it’s all good.

Sam: And they’re the band at the moment. We took Neck Deep.

Bobby: Yeah we took Neck Deep and they got massive, we take Roam and maybe next year they’ll be massive and we will still be sat here.

Are there any UK pop-punk bands you’re fans of?
Bobby: I like Gnarwolves. They’re great. I guess they’re classed as pop-punk.

Sam: Decade are great. That new album is dead grungy.

Bobby: I’m not sure other then that. We listen to a lot of stuff like Basement and stuff.

AH: What aims do you hope to achieve with this new record?
Sam: For me and I think the rest of the guys, it’s just to get out on the road again and go travelling play different places. Just experience those different things. Wheather we get big or not…

Bobby: I’d like to step it up a notch like when Parkway Drive were playing to 15 – 100 people, I know it’s not the same genre of music, but when they were doing that they were doing it all themselves. They’re fully DIY and we’re the same as them.

Sam: We record our own videos.

Bobby: Yeah we do our own videos, our own recording, book our own tours more or less with help from other people. So to step it up a notch would be great.

AH: Any closing comments for this interview?
Bobby: Pre-order the album.

Sam: and complete vinyl package.

Bobby: Yeah at MevsHero.co.uk and you will get loads of cool bundles, t-shirt type, vinyl type things.

Sam: If you don’t check it out anyway and have a listen to it anyway. Let us know what you think, show it to people.

Bobby: Give us feedback. Show it to your friends.

Sam: Have a good time over it.

‘I’m Completely Fine’ by Me Vs Hero is released on 1st September.

Me Vs Hero links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|YouTube

View more of Already Heard’s Hevy Fest 2014 coverage here.

Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)

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