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“It wasn’t what we were expecting, but it turned out to be probably our favourite record we’ve ever done. Definitely something that we’re very, very proud of,” says John Floreani, vocalist for Newcastle punk outfit Trophy Eyes, directly after the band’s evening set in Orlando, Florida.
When we catch up with Floreani, he’s managed to quickly grab some dinner before retiring to the tour van, in order to field interviews around the release of their upcoming album, the highly-anticipated Chemical Miracle. “It’s been nearly two years since our last record. We’ve been listening to a lot of different stuff, growing our musical tastes, and so we got to incorporate that a little bit more,” says Floreani. “It was good; we had a lot more time, and we were a lot more relaxed.”
For most bands, the release of their second album is the defining moment of their career. A chance to prove that the success of their debut wasn’t just a fleeting instance of ‘lightning in a bottle’, while developing and building off their already established foundations. It can be a risky endeavour, and one typically fraught with nervousness and anticipation, but to Floreani, that notion of the unexpected helped to define Chemical Miracle. “It turned out being something that we didn’t really … think was achievable,” admits Floreani.
I guess people would try to umbrella us as a ‘pop punk’ band, or a ‘melodic hardcore’ band, and that’s just not the kind of thing that we were writing
[ John Floreani ]
“When you start out writing, you kind of have to use your imagination for the finished product—especially with someone else’s input, like Shane’s.” It’s here that Floreani mentions how Trophy Eyes returned to work with engineer and producer Shane Edwards at Karma Sounds Studios in Thailand, the same team and tropical locale that helped create the band’s explosive debut album Mend, Move On. “He knows us really well, and he’s a really good friend, so we like working with him,” says Floreani. “He knows how to get the very best out of us musically, and knows what to push; how to achieve exactly what he wants with us. It was an absolute pleasure working with him again.”
What Trophy Eyes deliver on Chemical Miracle is nothing short of revelatory when compared to the band’s previous sonic outings. Pre-release singles like the shimmering Chlorine, or the dynamic Heaven Sent, show that their pop-punk roots and infectious, hardcore energy still remain, but they’re now coupled with an infusion of alternative rock, indie and grunge. “I guess people would try to umbrella us as a ‘pop punk’ band, or a ‘melodic hardcore’ band, and that’s just not the kind of thing that we were writing,” says Floreani, happily admitting that the group’s progression was entirely deliberate.