Get to know... ISLAND

Credit: Christian Cargill

Ready to pick up exactly where they left off pre-2020, London indie collective ISLAND are well on their way to getting back on the road.

With a run of live dates promised for October, the band's eagerly awaited new album, 'Yesterday Park' drops on Frenchkiss Records on 25th June – an expansive record filled with intricate, building atmospheres and anthem-ready vocals which offers an intimate glimpse into the band's growth in both sound and personality.

Ahead of the release, we spoke to ISLAND about creating the album throughout lockdown, the artists who influenced it and the things they learned about themselves in the process.

Hey! How are we doing?

The Sun’s finally out and lockdown’s almost over - can’t complain!

You’ve just announced a brand new album! Tell us a bit about ‘Yesterday Park’ and what’s to be expected when it drops?

Yeah it feels good to have that little secret revealed and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it. It’s safe to say you can expect an ISLAND record of course, we didn’t want to lose our identity, but we definitely pushed the boat out a bit this time and explored some sounds and ideas that were a bit further out of our comfort zone.

So you recorded the album in lockdown, how did you find that? Do you think the environment it was created in has had any impact on the sound?

We got pretty lucky with the timing of it all and had pretty much demoed the whole album just a couple of weeks before the first lockdown came in. This just meant that we had what felt like all the time in the world to talk about the tunes and how we wanted to record and produce them. We need a bit of time pressure in the writing phase otherwise we’ll just never get there, but once we had the demos, feeling like we could all just talk and get on the same page with where we wanted to take the record definitely worked to our advantage this time around.

How does this new material compare to what we heard on ‘Feels Like Air’ - any major similarities or differences?

We knew we wanted to work with a producer on this record - something we’d never one before - so we set about ‘speed dating’ producers over Zoom until we met the mighty Mikko Gordon and something just clicked. With the first record we had restricted ourselves to recording only what we could play on stage, as a four, in a live show. Mikko really helped us find new sounds and directions to take the music in for ‘Yesterday Park’ and we honestly couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Is there anything you learned about yourselves in the process of creating the album?

It’s hard to imagine going through the whole recording process without learning a little bit about yourselves. Writing an album, or creating any kind of art with other people, is always going to present different challenges. You’re all working towards this shared vision but there’s so many opinions flying around and there are no right answers. Some days you feel like you’ve got nothing done, you’re experimenting with sounds and nothing’s working, but other days it all just seems to fall into place. Letting someone else join us on that journey this time was a completely new experience for us and hopefully it paid off. You’ll have to let us know…

What have you been listening to over the past 12 months? Any new artist tips to share with us?

Honestly this record was kind of themed around nostalgia so we’ve really been living in the past, referencing everything from All Saints to Weezer, Eminem to Leonard Cohen. Maybe we went a little too deep in the first lockdown, but when it came to laying it all down for real it happened quite naturally because we all knew which direction we wanted to take each song. In general though recently I’ve been seshing the Squid album ‘Bright Green Field’. After catching their live show at SXSW in 2019, their tune ‘Houseplants’ soundtracked the rest of our North American tour, so it’s a record I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

How would you describe ISLAND to new listeners who are unfamiliar with your past work?

We probably fit into the alt rock category, but it’s mostly pretty mellow, mum-friendly, stick it on in the car or when you’re winding down at the end of the night kind of music. We do occasionally pack a punch, more so in our live show, but yeah that pretty much sums it up.

Any exciting plans in the works alongside the album? Live dates perhaps?

We do have a handful of intimate UK shows coming up towards the end of October. Just 5 dates with limited tickets so we can get back in the swing of things and who knows, maybe there’ll be more to come in 2022…