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Speaking with Bears In Trees and Talking About New EP I See Blue

Bears In Trees Photo by Mags Luckhurst

Bears In Trees, an alternative indie band from Croydon, London, just released their new EP I See Blue featuring five tracks after two years of hard work.

Bears In Trees consists of four members: Callum Litchfield on vocals, ukulele, and keys; Iain Gillespie on vocals and bass; Nick Peters on guitar; and George Beary on drums. The group officially became a band in November 2014 and started releasing music in 2015.

As this EP has taken a bit longer than their typical creating time, they consider it more personal than previous releases due to the EP representing their life experiences over the last few years. It was an evolving time as they experienced going to and leaving college for the first time.

“It’s more mature lyrically and sonically more interesting as we’ve developed as musicians and human beings,” the band says. “The previous releases are a bit more ‘woe is me,’ and this EP [more so] goes, well maybe we’re the problem.”

I See Blue EP cover
I See Blue EP cover art
Art by Mags Luckhurst

The band describes themselves as “happy emo pop” which is the perfect description because at times their sound takes on that happy, light tone. However, at the same time, heavier, more emotional lyrics accompany the pop sound. On their Facebook page, they also note their genre as being a “ukulele-punk” which is another fitting description as you can hear the instrument throughout their catalog. And then there are the other instruments and vocals adding that edgier, punk/rock sound to each song.

With the EP, the band explains there was definitely a method behind the order of the track list.

“The first two songs are about partying and being a bit of a mess,” the members of Bears In Trees explain. “A sudden change [occurs] in ‘Don’t Drink Coffee’ which begins the reflection. [It’s] the musical version of a ‘hard reset.’ The final two songs are about reflecting on who you’ve been, where you’re going, and how you’re going to move on.”

The band’s primary influences include The Wombats, The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, and Fall Out Boy. However, with this release, they credit influences including dodie, Car Seat Headrest, Bleachers, Slaughter Beachdog, and Stormzy.

The EP starts with songs “Nights Like These” and “Life’s a Beach” which, as the band explained, have concepts talking about get-togethers or parties. They’re both very light-hearted in sound, but the belting vocals in “Nights Like These” make the track a bit more meaningful, as opposed to just some cookie-cutter pop song. The vocals in “Life’s a Beach” are a bit more blunt, cutting into that light-hearted sound as well. However, the softer group vocals on “Life’s a Beach” offer a good balance so that the bluntness isn’t too much.

"Nights Like These" single cover art
“Nights Like These” single cover art
Art by Mags Luckhurst

The first two tracks are songs that you want to listen to if you’re just looking for a fun time and looking to escape any negativity. Despite the vocals taking on a more-emotional tone, the lyrics themselves are light and fun.

“Don’t Drink Coffee” runs in the middle of the EP as a transition song— it only runs one minute and 33 seconds in length. It consists of one chorus with some group harmonies that follow, beginning and ending with drawn-out instrumentals. It serves as a good transition between the two halves of the EP as it is shorter in length, but it also stands on its own, not exactly having a light-hearted feel. At the same time, it doesn’t get as deep lyrically as the following tracks.

Concluding tracks “Starting Fires” and “I Am Cold” take on darker, more mellow rock tones compared to the first two tracks. “Starting Fires” starts out slower before launching into louder vocals and instrumentals a little over halfway through. “I Am Cold” is a bit different, starting out and also ending with a faster beat whereas “Starting Fires” takes a minute to pick up. But the two songs still work together toward the end as they both symbolize self-reflection and recognition of feelings.

Overall, this is a solid release as it offers a perfect balance of playfulness and deeper meaning. This makes sense as the times the band were inspired by include when they went to college, the parties they experienced there, and some of their post-college experiences. While they only have the five tracks, this process took some time.

“Fleshing out the songs, re-drafting and re-recording is what took the time,” the band notes, “along with us being in different parts of the country. Being away and being busy meant the EP took a while to come together. We also wanted to make sure the EP was exactly how we wanted it and we didn’t want the EP to be released until we were all happy with it.”

The band plans to hopefully work on some music videos following this release. They are currently in the process of writing new songs that they’re hoping to get out to fans sooner rather than later. The official I See Blue EP Release Party takes place on August 24 at Croywall which you can check out the info for here.

“We are so grateful for all the people who support our lame band and let us do what we’re doing,” the band says.

Listen to Bears In Trees’s new EP I See Blue on Spotify or Apple Music. You can keep up with the band’s projects and future shows on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tumblr.

Get to know the group a little better in the Q&A below!

Q: What’s one song you wish you wrote by another artist/band? That you had as your own?

A: “Pina Colada Song” – Rupert Holmes (Nick) “American Pie” – Don McLean (Iain)
“Streets of London” – Ralph McTell (Callum)
“TiK ToK” – Kesha (Band)

Q: What’s the last concert you went to? What was your first concert?

A: Iain and Nick’s first concert was You Me At Six, Callum’s was Mayday Parade, and recently Iain went to Boomtown and saw Congo Natty.

Q: Who is the quietest in the band? The loudest? Who’s the one that can stay up all night? Who’s an early riser?

A: Quietest: George (but no one is particularly quiet)
Loudest: Iain
Up all night: Iain
Early riser: Iain

Q: Describe your band in three words.

A: Slippery (Nick), Slide-y (Callum), Bros (Iain)

Headed to see Bears In Trees perform live? Check out their recommended pre-show playlist below!

Bears In Trees Road Trip Playlist
Infographic by Jenna Kauffman

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