For those of you on the go, listen to the interview on my podcast here.
Rising Nottingham/Mansfield based indie-rock band The Publics, headed by Elliot Stephenson and Josh Porter, spoke to me about their new single, Art of War. The single is their first this year following on from a successful 2020 with 8.8k streams and 1.5k listeners over 39 countries and that’s just on Spotify.
Inspired by the ancient Chinese military treatise, the art of war, The Publics’ new single of a similar name, Art of War, explores “the internal conflict caused when one is made to feel guilty and accountable for the actions of others” hence the emotive lyrics“ What if I’m the enemy?”
In my opinion ‘Art of war’ is one of The Publics most powerful tracks, the imagery it creates is not only passionate, but harrowing depicting the struggles that one can face whilst in a destructive yet rewarding position. It echoes the energy of some of the bands older tracks such as Was that kiss meant for me? and All bark no bite although each song is beautifully different in nature.
Elliot shared with me his thoughts on his own songs, he said: “Answer phone is a close favourite of mine as its more stripped back. It’s powerful and emotional, especially when the whole band is brought together for the final chorus.
It’s more personal as it was inspired by a close friend of mine. Out of the tracks we’ve released it ranks a close second to Art of War.”
Elliot and Josh have known each other for 10 years which is why they work so well together. Originally working as a cover band, playing hits by the Arctic Monkeys and Declan McKenna they decided after some advice from a friend to start song writing, to work on their own stuff, releasing their debut single First impressions in 2019.
Elliot explained to me that their writing process was “unique.” He said, “Both of us write each other’s part, playing to each other’s strengths.” They describe their sound as “different but similar,” combining inspiration from familiar indie tracks in order to create their own new sound which is why they are such a hit; echoing the greats of the Beatles, Oasis and of course Arctic Monkeys but they also have their own voice with lyrics inspired by everyday life. Elliot shared with me that the chorus of Art of War came to him whilst on his shift at Tesco’s.
The impact of the corona virus pandemic on the music industry especially for smaller bands ,such as The Publics, who are trying to make a name for themselves was crushing as music studios were closed, people were unable to meet to share ideas or work on new sounds. Working on their latest single since last July, the band was eager to release the track but due to 2020 lockdown all process had to be halted.
Elliot inspired me when he said; ” That the time in lockdown would have given people the chance to, learn a new instrument, or put work into starting band, with the rising online sector music is more accessible.” Now, with venues set to reopen there are big plans in the works for these two, details of which will be released soon.
With studios open once again, and live performances planned it’s going to be an exciting year for The Publics and their fans.
Art of War is out now on all major streaming platforms. If you listen to one thing today make sure it’s that.