We Catch Up With Against the Current as They Headline Rock City on Their Nightmares & Daydreams Tour

Photos: Izzy Lux
Interview: Gemma Cockrell
Thursday 30 November 2023
reading time: min, words

Our Assistant Editor and Music Co-Editor Gemma Cockrell headed backstage at Rock City to chat to Against the Current on the first night of the UK leg of their Nightmares & Daydreams tour…


How are you guys finding Nottingham so far? Cold, I assume?
Will: This venue is very cold.
Chrissy: The green room is warm, though!

I promise it does warm up in here…
Chrissy: That’s always the hard part, getting dressed for the show. I'm freezing now, but in two songs, I know I'm gonna be drenched. And then you're just like, what do I wear? Layers, so you can strip them off.

Last time you were here you performed at Rescue Rooms round the corner, what’s it been like stepping up to these bigger venues for this tour?
Will: Pretty much the whole tour has been our biggest ever, which is crazy. We're just doing the thing. I mean, it's awesome. We've been doing it for a while. So, to finally feel that big shift. Every night is a big show packed with people. 
Chrissy: It’s a dramatic difference compared to our other tours. 
Will: It almost doesn’t feel like real, because we’re just doing the same thing we've always done.

Back then, you’d only released your debut album In Our Bones, but since you’ve released your sophomore album Past Lives, an EP titled fever and a few singles more recently. What differences do you feel playing tracks from each of these projects live?
Will: We wrap them all up together but I think if we really went for a true representation of each album, it would be pretty difficult. There’s a lot of bands that you don't even know of and they've been a band for ten years, and then they blow up and their career kind of starts then. I don't know, I feel like with fever, we kind of started the actual Against the Current that's going to be around, hopefully forever. That kind of sound, we're gonna elaborate on that. Those songs get the best reaction. It's not that we’re throwing away the old music but we’re definitely playing it less.
Chrissy: On the Past Lives album, it would be anything pre-Past Lives that would get the better reaction. And then now, fever is definitely the one for everyone, but there's still some of the old stuff that gets a great reaction. We play a song from our first EP ever and people still go nuts for it, I don't know if there's just a lot of people that were listening but never made it to a show or if everyone's just gone back and listened to it, because it seems like the shows have gotten bigger, but people still remember that song somehow.

Why do you think fever gets the reaction that it does?
Will: People just want the like fast, upbeat, rock and stuff. I actually listened to fever last night for the first time, actually straight through it. I mean, I get it!
Chrissy: I think also, what we did with fever too, with it being an EP, there are no filler tracks. Every track stands on its own. There’s a ballad and that's the only one that's softer, but there's nothing that's 'just an album track’ - everything is like a single, so when we play it live, every song feels like a moment as opposed to ‘this is the song we were waiting for off the album’.

You have recently gone completely independent, how has that changed the way you put together your track lists?
Will: Yeah, there's way less pressure. When you're signed to a major label, you definitely, at the back of your mind, want to do whatever is gonna make you super successful. You want to take the bait. But we've already done that and it just wasn't right for us. So now, we're just taking the other approach and not thinking about anyone else except for us in the moment of making the music and whatever we want to do. And it was really scary! Like, before we put out that won’t save us, the first taste of fever, we really didn't know what was going to happen. We definitely knew it was a risk. But after, we knew it was the right thing for sure. It’s way more natural, it's easier to perform. It's better. Playing some of the older stuff, it kind of felt like we were just playing the songs for the people rather than it being a shared experience. With the fever stuff, you instantly feel the energy and everyone's in it together rather than us being like we're gonna perform this dramatic piece of music for you.

Playing some of the older stuff, it kind of felt like we were just playing the songs for the people rather than it being a shared experience

Do you find yourselves reverting back to some of the methods you used back at the beginning of your career before you had signed to a major label?
Chrissy: It feels more like what we did on the Gravity EP, which we did independent as well. No one was around yet, so we just made the EP we wanted to make, we didn't really think about it too much. And then there was a lot more overthinking on the full-lengths.
Will: Even from just a production or sonic standpoint, when we were younger, you get distracted by all of the different things you can cook into your music, and I feel like now our approach is way more about using what we actually have, the stuff that never goes out of style.

You’ve been doing some acoustic versions of some of your more recent singles as well, which I feel like harks back to those days. 
Will: We’ve just always loved doing that. Some of the old songs we play acoustic live and it's easier to play some of them like that.
Dan: Like Almost Forgot - it’s sonically super different to fever so being able to do it acoustic lets it fit in nicely. 
Will: The songs that we love, they’re just great songs, so they work acoustic and stripped down too, which is nice.

I wanted to speak about some of the collaborations that you guys have done, particularly for fever, such as writing with Jordan Fish of Bring Me the Horizon on the track lullaby.
Chrissy: He came with an idea that he and Oli [Sykes, Bring Me the Horizon’s vocalist] had collaborated on. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Bring Me the Horizon, so for me, it was awesome. I'm also just a big fan of Jordan as a songwriter and producer. So, I kind of bugged him for years, he’d let me come to shows and stuff but I was always like ‘hey, you know, if you ever have time…’ and actually, it was after we put out that won’t save us that he was like, ‘oh, if that's what you're trying to do, I can help you with that, let's work on something’. He’s awesome. Before that wasn't the right time. It was pretty much a dream come true.

The EP also has a feature from guardin on the track again&again. How did that come about?
Will: It was really different for us. We'd never really had a feature like that. He’s a super sweet guy.
Dan: We’d written a track with no bridge on it, and he came back and he’d done his thing on it.
Chrissy: We’d never done a feature where we didn’t write the part for them, or if we’ve ever been featured the part has been written for us, so this was the first time that we've kind of had someone else writing onto our song for a part that they were going to perform which was really cool.
Will: And the first time we’ve done a feature with someone that we’ve never met before, too. 

I’ve seen you comment that a track like “good guy” is one of the easiest ones to perform live, Chrissy. What are some of the hardest ones?
Chrissy: It was until our last show in Paris! I was so sick, and it was tough that night. But normally it's not so bad. weapon used to be really hard. It still is hard because it's at the end of the set and it's so full on. But I feel like I get such an adrenaline rush now that it overcomes it. jump is not as hard as I feel like it sounds like it is, maybe because those long held out notes are just held in one spot, so if you lock into that it's actually not as bad as some of the stuff where it's quite fast. I would say one of our oldest ones Paralyzed is pretty full on, too.

How do you go about putting the setlist together and deciding which songs will be on it and which songs will go where?
Will: A big thing is the feel of it, it has to feel good. It used to be that we’d put a setlist together and then you play like the first night, or first couple nights, and there's definitely moments where it feels like it’s just not right, it's slow or sluggish or whatever. So, you have to rearrange it. But recently, I use the BPM of the song, so I can really control the ups and the downs and make it a nice smooth ride for everyone, which has helped a lot. It's a little insider info but it is definitely hard to pick songs but I feel like actually now we kind of know the old ones that feel really good live and all the new stuff.
Chrissy: And there are some that fit together. We found that Strangers Again from Past Lives and blindfolded are just in a similar feeling, they’re a bit poppier, prettier, but they're still upbeat, so they kind of just fit well next to each other. They go into each other nicely, as opposed to some of the darker songs. silent stranger goes nicely into lullaby because they're kind of darker, but not fast. So, just kind of matching moods and like Will said, tempos. There’s a lot that just don’t work, we’ve tried playing I Like The Way a couple of times on this tour and we like that song, but it just never fits in the right way. On its own, it's fun, but there are just songs that just don't fit in, in the right place. Voices is a pretty unique song so we put that after the acoustic part of the set because then it's not bumped up against anything that it would compare to, it gets its own moment. So yeah, marrying the different eras is interesting. 

I use the BPM of the song, so I can really control the ups and the downs and make it a nice smooth ride for everyone

Are there any songs you don't think you'll ever play again?
Chrissy: We’ve actually never played Scream live!
Will: We hadn’t played Demons but then we played it… 
Chrissy: And we played Zombie, too. Which is one of our Japanese deluxe tracks.
Will: And we’ve played Steal the Night, which is the other bonus track.
Chrissy: A bunch of people ask us to play our third single ever Closer, Faster, but I really don’t see myself ever singing that song again. A song I would like to play live but I don’t know if it would fit is Something You Need, from our first EP. It’s a bit pop-country.

When did you last play that one?
Will: Great question, maybe seven or eight years ago?
Chrissy: A long time ago. There was a point where we had two EPs so we had to play every single song we've ever had plus a cover or two when we did a headline show. That’s the hard part, there's so many songs that are right there, but they don't take precedence over what's in the set right now. Like even what's in the set now, it's really, really hard to take anything out of it.

I also wanted to ask about the two support acts for tonight’s show, LØLØ and Call Me Amour?
Will: We've all been big fans of LØLØ so we were super excited when we got her on the tour. 
Chrissy: She's been touring with other bands that we've toured with or who are in our orbit, so that one made a lot of sense. Then, Call Me Amour came to us and they're awesome, they had a cool vibe and they do a great job every night of getting the crowd hyped. They're very good at warming up a crowd, they go out there without any fear, which is really nice, because I think it can be hard being a one of three. Especially because they're a newer band and they really go out there and get everyone involved, whether you know them or not, and I think that honestly sets up the night to be a great energy.

Last time you headlined a show in Nottingham you had Beach Weather supporting you. It’s been crazy to see their song Sex, Drugs, Etc. blow up on TikTok recently.
Will: Yeah, they’d actually broken up before that, they were just going about their lives, and then one of their songs got a gazillion million streams and they were like, we’re back on!

Have you guys ever had a situation like that?
Chrissy: The closest thing is probably Legends Never Die. It never stopped, which is kind of crazy because it’s six years old now and it still gets 100 million streams a year. 
Will: We also didn’t realise how popular Dreaming Alone was, streaming wise. That's like one of the cool things about streaming services and all that now, you could go away and your music is still out there and someone could resurrect it. There’s always a possibility of that.

I won’t keep you any longer because the fans who have VIP tickets are already queuing outside, but I have one more question. What’s next for you after this tour is done? Do you have any plans in place for your next full-length project yet?
Chrissy: We don't really have a plan quite yet. We've been on tour a lot this year. We got lost in the tour and then next year, we'll kind of dive in and see what what's up. We've never really taken time, it's always like rushing into the next thing, even during the pandemic. We started working on fever right before it hit and then like week one of the pandemic, we wrote weapon over Zoom. Trying to force an album doesn’t work, it's hard to see the forest through the trees and you’ve gotta step out and look at it all for a second. We never really took a break, and it’s nice to not have to be on a timeline, we can take a second and breathe. 

Against the Current performed at Rock City on 29 September 2023 and you can buy tickets for the rest of their upcoming Nightmares & Daydreams shows here


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