Safeguard gets personal on new EP ‘I’m A Stranger to Myself’

Coming off of their debut EP ‘When Did You Stop Caring,’ U.K.-based pop-punkers Safeguard are gearing up for the release of their new EP ‘I’m A Stranger to Myself,’ available via Wilheim Records on December 1st.

The quartet employed a new approach on the creation of ‘I’m A Stranger to Myself,’ producing a more mature and hard hitting record that deals with the very real themes of depression and masking true feelings.

That being said, guitarist Martyn Marsh wants the bands listeners to know that the most important theme of the record is that you’re not alone in feeling certain ways.

Safeguard has already released a track off of the EP, “Harbour,” which has been met with positive reviews.

We recently got the chance to speak with the guys in Safeguard about the new EP and what it took to create it.

First off, thank you for spending some time with us to talk about your new EP. So, how was the writing process for I’m A Stranger To Myself different than the writing process for When Did You Stop Caring?

Martyn Marsh: For “When Did You Stop Caring?” I had pretty much written a bulk of the music parts to every song, and just brought them to practice, told everyone their parts and there was a few tweaks here and there but they pretty much stayed like that. Then, Declan (Gough) went off and did some lyrics, and because they were our first songs we all thought they were awesome, and went straight to recording them as we just wanted something tangible out there for people to see. But with “I’m a Stranger to Myself” we took a lot more time and care writing, everyone has contributed fairly evenly to the whole thing, so it’s a lot more of a group effort this time round, and I think it’s really worked out great.

Further, the entire EP seems to have a more mature and polished sound than the previous release, was that just production or was it a decision made by you guys? If it was a choice, was spurred that change?

MM: Again, going back to question one, it was a lot more of a full group effort writing these songs, and as we wrote them over a longer period of time, more and more parts got added and tweaked. We actually started playing “Harbour” live quite a while ago, and since the first time playing it, we added a whole post-chorus to it which then went into the final release version of the song, so that’s how much things changed. But of course, the whole recording process played a massive part in the production value. We had the pleasure of working with Drew Lawson from Steel City Studios, who most notably produced and mixed Backbone by Roam, and he was just an absolute fountain of knowledge and helped take the songs up to that next level.

What was the biggest challenge or obstacle while writing/recording the new EP?

MM: I think the only real big issue was the heat. We recorded in the middle of summer and everyone was just melting, we were only allowed into the control room one or two people at a time because our body heat was making the computer overheat, there was just no escape from it.

“Harbour” seems to deal with self-doubt and perhaps some depression, are these commons themes throughout the EP. What other themes are present?

MM: Yes, the whole EP centres around the feeling of not being who you once were, having to put on a mask in front of people to hide your true feelings (“Harbour”), showing up to places [that] you’re not really comfortable going to [and] sav[ing] face (“November”) and ultimately spending your time stuck at home alone thinking back on things you should have said and done and living in the past instead of focusing on the future (“No Man’s Land”).

What do you think sets this EP apart from the previous one?

Denholm Horn: The amount of refinement and level of production puts the new EP leagues ahead of the previous one.

“Harbour” has already been listened to over 20,000 times more on Spotify than other songs from When Did You Stop Caring?, is that positive change translating to live shows?

MM: We’ve only played a couple of shows since releasing “Harbour” so it’s hard to say yet. Although, the show we played in Leeds on the first date of tour, which was seven days after its release was crazy, and the amount of people that already knew all the words and shouted them back at us was really overwhelming.

Are there plans to tour in support of I’m A Stranger to Myself?

MM: With all of us having full time jobs, mainly in retail and Christmas coming up, December is a pretty full time for everyone, but we’re looking at putting something together towards the back end of January.

What would you like people to take away from listening to I’m A Stranger To Myself?

Zak Lansdale: The thing we want people to take away is that you’re not alone in feeling depressed, isolated or like you don’t fit in anywhere. Songs like “Harbour” are trying to push out the message that it’s okay to admit how you’re feeling to people in order to stop this mental health stigma we shockingly still experience in this day and age. We don’t want to portray what we say as gospel that needs to be followed, but we want to help make a change to how people express their emotions.