In Conversation with Palace: Longing for Live Performances

All image credit: Chuff Media

Lockdown didn’t stop restless London-based band Palace from releasing their new EP ‘Someday, Somewhere’ on 23rd October. Olivia Hall spoke to drummer Matt Hodges, who revelled in the challenge of a stripped-down home studio set-up – just a snare, a light cymbal and a piano – to produce a ‘liberating’ record, one which seeks to harness a sense of mental stability and calm amid all the noise of today. From feeling the loss of live music, to band members NOT being conceived in Buckingham Palace, this is what he had to say.

The single ‘I’ll be Fine’ was recorded in lockdown – the name fills us with a kind of hope, which I think will resonate especially with your fans this year. Was the significance of this on your mind whilst recording it?

Yeah totally, to be honest it was a song that we came up with together during lockdown, but it is not about lockdown or anything. There is definitely a sort of mental wellbeing aspect to it; the song is about finding a sense of consistency mentally, and trying to harness a bit of stability and calm, while wondering if that is even possible or exists at all. I guess it was quite fortunate that it was very relevant for the time and I hope that resonated with people too.

Did recording in lockdown bring any challenges? Are you guys all still friends? Or did it feel like business as usual for creating new content – was there a sense of relief in just being able to create and block the rest of the world out?

(Laughs) Yeah, the latter – it was really cool actually. Me being the drummer, there was only so much that I could do from home. Drums, you know, you need a decent set up and decent mics and enough room to get that sound. There were limits but I think that’s what made it really exciting; you’re limited with the equipment, you’re limited with the space and what you can do, so we kind of wrote the song around that. I was just playing the light cymbal and a snare drum and I played piano on that track too. There wasn’t really too much time to over-analyse or worry about it so we just recorded our parts and passed them onto the next person and so on – there’s only three of us but it was fun, the process was liberating, really fun to do.

Can you tell me about the band’s decision to use previously unreleased tracks on your latest EP? Have they taken on new meaning since you recorded them?

I’ll be Fine’ was a new one that was written for the EP – the others have been around for a while – ‘Someday, Somewhere’ has been around for a long time. We’ve always wanted to put that one out, but there was never really [time]. We played it live a couple of times and it just went down so well – we were getting a lot of comments from people asking when it was going to be released. It’s nice to get feedback from people about a song that doesn’t really exist in the world, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring it to life and put that out there for people.

The other stuff like ‘The Fallen’ were simple love songs that we had knocking around on the previous record that just didn’t make the cut, so we just thought, ‘Why not?'

Compare this to a packed summer last year performing at Latitude and Glastonbury – which I think would be terrifying and amazing in equal measure. Is there anything you really miss about touring or live music? Any particular venue, and why?

Oh my god, is there anything I miss about touring? Everything... where to begin? We talk about it every single minute of every single day, just about how much we miss it. Touring is everything for us. Not just financially of course – there’s a lot of stuff in the press about musicians and everyone in the arts and the creative world who are struggling financially –but it’s not just about that for us. We miss that feeling of playing to people and that energy you get back from the crowd, it’s why we love being in a band and do what we do. [Missing] that live experience is a huge hole in our lives that we’re hoping we can fill sometime soon in some way – it’s pretty crazy.

Venues? I think it’s the small, sweaty, basements that all seem to be going under, which is so sad. Those are the ones that we miss – they’re the real ones where you cut your teeth when you start out and you can see the whites of people’s eyes when you’re playing in those close-knit environments and it’s just vibes.