THE WAY AFTER’S ‘YOU BUILT A WALL.’ PURE, INNOCENT, POP JOY.
OUT now, from Coventry/London trio THE WAY AFTER, their ‘60s inspired, Manfred Mann-tinged ‘You Built A Wall,’ three and a half minutes of pure, innocent, pop joy, evoking memories of The Kinks, The Birds, and The Beatles.
Formed immediately prior to the pandemic, the trio reunited having spent their time in various indie-rock bands. Lead singer and songwriter Tim O’Connor and brothers James (guitars) and Dave Houston (drums) initially began work on an album out of a sense of unfinished business, only to be kept apart when the world went into lockdown.
And now, with the release of ‘You Built A Wall,’ the band have opened up about their influences, their creation – and the perils of working with Kula Shakar.
“My brother is in the band, I’ve known Tim since primary school, and we’re about as close as mates can get,” said Dave Houston. “I think Tim’s a gifted songwriter and James is a talented musician, so getting to work with them both is a joy and a privilege.
“For me, we’re a band that has something to say, and it’s presented with love and care in melody, and rhythm.”
“I’ve always said we’re friends first, and a band second. I don’t know if that’s always worked in our favour, but with everything that’s happened over the last few years, it’s been a bit of a lifeline,” added Tim. “I feel very lucky to have two close friends, who also happen to be great musicians.
“As far as musical influences are concerned, my parents have a shocking record collection, so I had to educate myself and I must’ve got stuck on ‘B’ in my local HMV: The Beatles, The Byrds, and The Beach Boys. I’m not sure Covid had a silver lining, but lockdown was a bit of a reset for me, and I suddenly had the time to explore other types of music.
“I want to improve as a lyricist. Don’t get me wrong, I work hard on the lyrics and I’d put them up against most other bands’ but the words don’t always come easy to me and I’d like to work quicker and say more. If The Way After could achieve enough success to afford me more time to work on the songs, then I’d be a happy man. But then, I’m pretty happy anyway.”
Going back even further, a previous incarnation of The Way After met in primary school before a shared interest in music once again drew them together, culminating in a support slot with Kula Shaker.
“The Kula Shaker thing was pure dumb luck,” explained Tim. “Our first gig was in a pub in Fulham about a year before they got big, and they might’ve been friends with the promoter.
“It was a roomful of teenagers – audience and bands – and they were a bit older and sharper. I remember Hayley Mills turning up in a limousine with her brother-in-law from Dynasty, and we were like, “Bloody hell, is this what every gig is going to be like?” They really weren’t, which is probably as well as I ended up in A&E having split my head open on an overhead speaker during my first, and last, stage dive.”
The band are currently self-producing their debut album ‘Musical Statues,’ which will be available to pre-order in January.