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Palps Q&A

With an excellent new single mixing emo and indie influences, 'Aliens' is the first offering this year from Chelmsford band Palps who promise more material coming our way over the coming year. Singer and guitarist Alex took some time out to answer a few questions for BBMATB - see below.

Palps are Alex Gray (Vocals / Guitar), Liam Kelly (Lead Guitar), Dan Chapman (Bass) and Hayden Crease (Drums)

'Aliens' was released on the 5th March and is available on all the major digital sites (along with a Youtube video) as is last year's excellent 'Letters To You (That I'll Never Send)' EP.

Hi Guys, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with Palps, could you give a short history of the band? Thank you very much for having us! It is an absolute pleasure. We are a 4 piece Emo band from Essex, UK. Palps originally began when I (Alex) had a long period of illness in 2017. Because of this for a long time I could only do two things, sit around and mope for extended periods and write music when I was feeling more productive. Eventually in early 2018, I felt I was in a place where I wanted to get back out gigging again. I contacted Hayden and Liam and asked if they would help me perform the songs live and after playing together, we enjoyed it so much that we decided to go ahead and form the band. Finding a bassist proved very difficult for a long time, it took us almost a year to find someone suitable. But, eventually we found Dan in late 2018 and completed the line up.

Palps is really as much an outlet as it is a band. A way for me to express how I am feeling and document myself trying to get better. As much as the lyrical content can be a bit heavy at times, it really is a pleasure to be able to play in a band with my 3 best friends. Where did the name Palps come from? As previously mentioned, I had a long period of illness starting in 2017. At the time I believed that this was due to having a heart condition. It actually turned out to just be severe health anxiety causing panic attacks etc which I later found out are often misinterpreted as heart problems. During this time I would have frequent episodes of palpitations that would really concern me. When my family would ask what was wrong I would always say 'I'm getting palps again'. When I started to write the songs I would save the files as 'Palps song idea 1' etc and this name just sort of stuck.

And who would you say were the main influences on Palps? For me, the main influences are older emo bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate as well as some newer bands such as Basement, Superheaven and Balance and Composure.

However, I think this is quite an interesting question as we all have differing tastes in music. A good example of this would be with Hayden. Whilst he certainly likes the bands that I mentioned previously, I think it is fair to say that his tastes are quite a bit heavier than this and this is reflected in his drumming style. I believe this is a really good thing as it means when I show him a new riff, he will often play something that I wasn't expecting at all and hopefully this makes us stand out a bit. You have a new single, 'Aliens' out - where did you record the single; somewhere you'd recorded before? This was actually recorded at the same studio where we recorded the EP. Pyramid Recording Studio in Reading. And honestly we would not want to record anywhere else now. Jack has become a good friend to us since our first time attending the studio and we would recommend him to any band looking to get some recordings together. He really lets us take our time and encourages us to try things to get the best out of the recording. He also isn't afraid to give advice, which we have needed at times when our ideas get a bit too stupid! Do you feel that it is a 'step on' from your 'Letters To You (That I'll Never Send)' EP you released last year? And what is the theme of the new single? We are extremely proud of the EP and the process of recording our first record together will always be a cherished memory for us. But yes, I would say the new single is a step up. I think that as a band or an artist, everything you release should be your favourite and the best thing you have released so far, otherwise you may become stagnant or releasing new music for the sake of it.

Aliens was originally written when I had just started a new job and was hoping to finally enjoy a new career and some financial security. I have previously struggled to hold down jobs long term due to various issues, mostly mental health related. The lyrics are about having an opportunity but ultimately knowing that you are doomed to fail. The idea that I feel like I am pretending to be normal and wishing I could deal with the monotony. Feeling like an Alien.

I believe you have some new material 'waiting in the wings' to be released - are there any particular songs you're excited about getting out there? I am extremely excited about the new music we have coming out soon, but I must say I am also very nervous as there are some themes that we have never covered before. Some of them are very private, though I am hoping that the process will be cathartic and perhaps some other people can find comfort in the song if they have had similar experiences.

What is the writing process within Palps? Do you have a main songwriter or do the songs come out of a more 'jamming' process? Usually I will come to the rest of the guys with a riff or part of a song that I have written at home. They are music more musically savvy than I am, so will help me put the song into a basic structure. We then just usually jam the song over and over, with people asking to try different things until we have the finished product. Songs can usually change drastically during this process and when listening to the first recordings of songs compared to the finished versions, its always funny to hear how much they have changed. I notice you played a 'livestream' session recently at Card Trick Music - how did it feel playing a 'livestream' in comparison to a live show? And do you think bands will continue with livestreams, podcasts etc in addition to live gigs when we return to some sort of semblance of normality? I have to admit I was extremely nervous before the livestream gig. After not playing live for such a long time during the pandemic and it being such an unusual situation, I was worried it would become awkward or I would continually mess things up etc. As soon as the first song was finished however, It was just like any other gig and it was strange how normal things felt considering there was no audience. Perhaps that says something about the usual attendances of shows that we play! Everyone at Card Trick did an absolutely amazing job with making us feel comfortable and it is amazing how quickly they have gotten to grips with setting up the live streams and making them look so professional. They deserve a lot of credit for giving bands like us a platform during these difficult times.

It's going to be interesting over the next few years to see how the industry recovers and what live shows are going to look like. I think that things such as live streams could become much more prevalent, especially in the wake of Brexit for UK bands. With working visas for bands becoming an issue if they want to tour in Europe, I think that things such as livestreams could be a happy compromise for UK bands wanting to perform to European audiences. Do you feel there is a strong 'underground / indie' scene in Essex? Are there any particular bands from the area you'd recommend readers to check out? Absolutely! We have met some extremely talented people at gigs over the last few years who have become good friends. I am probably forgetting some people in this list but would thoroughly recommend any of these bands: Jellyfish and the Milkmen Admissions Kill Bosco Slumber Shooting Gale Ransoms Looseleaf With High Regards And finally, what plans for Palps in 2021 and going forward? This year is going to be extremely busy for us! We are booked in to record our debut album in May, so we will have multiple new singles and music videos out soon. We also have lots of covers and interesting things lined up so keep an eye out for those. Most of all we really just want to get back out and play live again. We had to cancel our EP release party last year, so it would be really nice to get that rearranged for some point in the second half of this year!

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