A couple of weeks ago we brought you the second single from Watford alternative rockers Passive. We sat down with the band ahead of the release to find out more about the five-piece who met at school and began playing music together when they were 17.
Having only officially formed as Passive in July 2017 the band, formed of Elliott Norman (lead vocals and guitar), Josh Bunning and Philip Snowden (guitars), Matthew Hunt (drums) and Pedro Custodio (keys), have discovered an interesting shared approach to writing music.
As Elliott explains: “It really depends which member of the band started writing the song! Originally, I would bring a pile of lyrics and basic chords to the table, but Matt is also a really good lyricist and wrote the last song we put out on Soundcloud, Premonitions. Either way, once everyone else jumps in, chords and keys change, the song gets more structured, we fit in breakdowns and build-ups, and it’s a completely new song!
“Some of our favourite material has been written this way, but now we tend to write songs together from the start of the process, and pick a theme, subject or situation to reflect on as a group. We try and make sure we don’t get too stuck in one theme, but the majority of our lyrics are based on personal experiences, whether it be girlfriends, highs and lows, or other situations that we’ve learnt things from and feel strong emotions towards. Anti Romantic is an example of this.”
Indeed, most recent track Anti Romantic opens up with light guitars under backing vocals, then a laid-back opening verse including the line “Tell me how he fucked you, And did he get a kiss?” supported by a cool backing organ synth sound. A call of “I need a hobby” gives way to a little guitar lick, which drops into a chorus of “‘Cos I’m just anti-romantic, And you’re just a habit I need to give up, And I’m too sick I can’t stand it, I’m anti-romantic, I need to give up” supported by organ synth sounds and building drums in the background. That drops into a cool guitar solo which feeds back into another chilled verse, before more catchy choruses. Check it out in the stream below.
Debut single Premonitions opens up with a funky guitar riff that continues under Elliott’s vocals “I’d rather be a devil in the fire that an angel in the wind, Oh it’s the church bells that sing your name to me, Oh and I can’t quite remember the times we spent, Must have been early September, Please remind me.” A big blast of synth and driving drums kicks in, leading into a lively chorus of “‘Cos I have to go now, It won’t be long ’til I see your face again, I promise you that we’re good though, It must be true for the future, The future I know.” Check it out below:
Passive have honed a sound that jumps between angsty rock and moments of melancholy to keep the listener on the edge of their seat. It’s been formed out of influences from bands that specialise in build-ups and guitar rhythms like Kasabian, The Strokes and Peace, and more synthy sounds of Tame Impala and Bad Sounds. As Elliott describes it: “Intense buildups and energetic choruses. There’s one or two slow ones in our sets usually. We write and record so often that we won’t go two gigs in a row with the exact same set of songs.”
And this is a band that truly lives and breathes music. Elliott told us: “We all knew from early on, that being in a band was what we wanted to do with our lives, and we’ve played every gig possible since. We’re always writing songs and if not we are down the pub watching a band play!
During Christmas, we’ll be locking ourselves up in a house on Holloway Road and writing for a long period of time. However, we’ve still got a backlog of finalised material and want to arrange recording for this asap. We are always about to see the other acts when we play gigs, whether we are supporting or headlining, and love enjoying a night at so many great venues in London.”
Passive will have another single out before the end of the year, as well as an ‘interesting stop-motion music video’ for Anti Romantic, so keep your eyes peeled for more shortly.
You can also see the band for yourself with a number of gigs coming up in and around London, beginning at The Underbelly on 15 December, The Horns in Watford on 18 December, Camden Assembly on 22 December, Trinity in Harrow on New Year’s Eve, then The Dublin Castle on 10 January. More info is here.