British pop trio New Hope Club headlined The Foundry in Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 12th for the first stop of their “Getting Better” USA tour. Following the recent release of two singles titled “Getting Better” and “Girl Who Does Both,” the group is beginning the rollout for a new album, the follow-up to their self-titled debut from 2019.
New Hope Club consists of Blake Richardson, George Smith and Reece Bibby, who all sing and play various instruments. In the five years since their first release, they have amassed nearly two million monthly Spotify listeners, along with over 2.4 million Instagram followers collectively. Before the show, The Triangle had the chance to speak with New Hope Club about their new music, their growth as a band and their visits to Philadelphia.
Atticus Deeny: You’re on a world tour right now, the “Getting Better” USA tour. I saw that you played this same venue about three years ago on your “Love Again” tour, does it feel like that was forever ago?
New Hope Club: Yeah, obviously a lot has happened between now and then. We’re really happy to be back in Philadelphia. It was an amazing show last time. It just feels so exciting honestly with all the new songs we’ve been writing over lockdown, with the new album coming, obviously we just released “Getting Better” and “Girl Who Does Both” So, we can’t wait to play the new stuff. We’re really excited to see the Philadelphia crowd again.
Deeny: How has the band and the live show changed since [the 2019] performance?
NHC: It’s changed a lot behind the scenes. I think we’ve really found ourselves and exactly where we wanted to go musically. We even have a drummer now. It allows us to have so much more freedom when we can add stuff and improvise mid-set. We couldn’t really do that before, it gives it more of that live element.
Deeny: You have a whole album of material out already, but you said you’re going to be playing some unreleased songs tonight. Can you talk about any of them at all?
NHC: The first album we obviously released when we were quite a bit younger, and with this two-year break that everyone has had, it’s given us a lot of time to really think about this next project. That whole five-year period at the start of the band, we were still growing as people and as artists. This [album] feels for us like the real start of New Hope Club to be honest.
Deeny: [With the first album] Were you as writers less involved compared to the new stuff?
NHC: Yeah, for sure. We were so young, when you’re put in this industry, everyone around you has so much experience so you kind of look up to them. It’s not that you just go along with everything but your opinion means less, in a way. Now we’ve become a lot more comfortable. It was hard for us to be like “No” to something because what do we know? Not that we weren’t writing songs, we’ve been writing since we were kids. Some of the biggest songs were written by us. This whole album, every decision, every song, every artwork, it’s all decided by us. It means so much more when people sing it back. When the songs are your own.
Deeny: Your two new singles “Getting Better” and “Girl Who Does Both” are your first new releases since 2020. Has this album been in the works since then?
NHC: These two singles sort of came at different times. “Girl Who Does Both” was earlier on in the writing process. We had written the song but we just hadn’t gotten the production right. Then “Getting Better” came out, it was at the end when we thought we knew what the singles were. it just changed the whole thing.
Deeny: And that’s the name of the tour now!
NHC: Exactly. It’s super cool because we’ve written with this amazing writer called Ross Golan. When we wrote “Girl Who Does Both” he was working with us. When it came to “Getting Better,” it came out of the three of us. The fact that that was the lead single is very special. It also sums up the whole entire album as well. I think there’s no better way to start the process of this album by releasing “Getting Better” and “Girl Who Does Both” because it shows such a wide variety of what is going to be coming on the album.
Deeny: I saw that you [Blake] have production credits on “Girl Who Does Both.” Can you talk about that?
NHC (Blake): Yeah. I’ve produced, I’d say, about 85 percent of the album. It kind of came around. We were literally staying in different houses all around the UK when we were writing this, and we didn’t have any outside producers come in and one of us has got to do it. I did a few songs on the last album and I’ve always tried to get better at it. We got to a point where we thought “We actually don’t need anyone else,” because it was way easier to just have a conversation about it instead of it being [with] a different producer each time.
NHC (George): We start from scratch, and then in six hours you can have a song sounding exactly how you want it to sound, go home and listen to it and then come back the next day and go, “let’s just change that tiny bit.”
NHC (Reece): It seems like every time you go into a session (with a producer) you have to explain your backstory as a band and explain your sound. Keeping it in-house is the way to go.
Deeny: What programs, like DAWs, do you use to record?
NHC (Blake): I just use Logic. We have a pretty basic setup. When we’re doing demos it’s an interface and mic, and then we go into the studio after and redo a lot of the stuff.
We do a lot of it live as well. A lot of the time we actually plug instruments in at the same time, press record and do like three tracks at once. The “Get Back” documentary came out during lockdown, and we always knew [The Beatles] used to record like that but it was so fascinating actually seeing them all playing at the same time in the same room, putting it all together. Then you get the little mistakes, the imperfections are fun.
Deeny: Speaking of The Beatles, “Getting Better” shares the title of one of their songs from [the album] “Sgt. Peppers,” is this just a nod to them or is there anything more in-depth about it?
NHC: It wasn’t on purpose. For us, “Getting Better” kind of embodies the whole album really. It was a period of time, coming out of the last project, where we really fell in love with music again. We were having so much fun in the studio everyday writing songs and recording. Also, we want to be a bit of light to people; something they can listen to and feel better. We’re not that band who’s just talking about breakups. We just want to talk about our life. There’s not really any song on there that’s not based off our current situation. It’s all true, it’s all honest. I always prefer when you know that the artist is telling the truth and not just making up stories.
Deeny: I’ve heard that you’ve been here in Philadelphia for a few days now. Have you had a chance to get around at all?
NHC: We’ve been to a lot of coffee shops. We stayed on a nice street called Chestnut.
Deeny: Do you remember whereabouts in the city?
NHC (Blake): There’s a lot of shops. Clothes shops. We sort of wandered around there. Last time I was in Philly I did the “Rocky steps.” I’m a big “Rocky” fan so I had to do that.
NHC (George): We’ve yet to have a cheesesteak. The crew has apparently had many but we have not.
Deeny: There’s a place on South street, kind of far away, but it’s called Woodrow’s. If you have a chance, I’d stop by there.
The first show of the “Getting Better” tour was ready to commence. The opening act vaultboy readied the crowd with a short set of emotional tracks, some off his new self-titled EP and some yet to release. During early 2021, vaultboy found viral success on TikTok with his track “everything sucks” and has been releasing new music along with remixes of the track since.
New Hope Club blazed the stage shortly after, opening up with “Getting Better.” The set consistently featured George and Blake on guitar (both acoustic and electric), and Reece on bass while all members provided vocals. At one point Blake took a turn on the drums, exemplifying the instrumental talent that the group holds.
The group’s setlist consisted of 14 tracks spanning their entire discography, which included four unreleased songs presumably off of the new album. They prefaced a few of these songs with titles, those being “Whatever,” “Call Me A Quitter” and “Don’t Go Wasting Time.” It is confirmed that New Hope Club’s sophomore album will be released in 2023 and attending the “Getting Better” tour will provide a sense of what’s to come for the group. You can listen to them on any streaming platform.