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Feature: Kyoto Drive - 'This Is All We Ever Wanted' Track By Track Guide

Later this month Birmingham's Kyoto Drive release their debut album 'This Is All We Ever Wanted'. It is a record that shows how the band has developed and progressed, with us here at Alter The Press! giving it a 4 out of 5 review.

With the release date just round the corner, we thought it'd be ideal for the lads from Kyoto Drive to give us a track-by-track breakdown of the record.

1. Transitions
Adam: When writing this song we had intentions very early on of it being the first song on the album. We wanted it to be something you could rock out to with one fist in the air, a pint in the other hand, singing at the top of your lungs with all your best mates. The lyrics to the song are about the transition that we had each gone through from our old bands to Kyoto Drive, quite fitting for the first song on our debut album I thought.

Mark: For a long time I actually didn’t like this song much, we had all said that we wanted a song that was in your face and dirty sounding for the start of the album, but to me it never felt like that, until we started laying the vocals down. Then I started to hear what the other guys were hearing and it quickly grew on me.

Mike: I remember wanting to have the first song on the album hit you and grab your attention from the start and I think we achieved just that with this song. It’s always a fun song to play live, it has loads of energy and I think is a great opening track.

Chris: This song for me, when we wrote it, was supposed to be a good fast hard hitting song just to start the album off. Personally I think we achieved what we wanted. The bit I love about this song is the break down where it is only Mark and I playing.

2. I’d Give It All
Adam: This is actually the last song we wrote for the album. I think its one of the most memorable songs on the album. The middle section where Mark sings ‘Lets drive due west…’ was the fourth or fifth vocal I wrote for that part, I couldn’t find anything that I liked enough to be a keeper. At first I sang it and after a couple takes someone suggested Marks grainer voice would give it that something we were looking for, and it did, it’s a great part of the song. Finally something good came from him smoking so much. The lyrical meaning is pretty straight forward; it’s about spending a night with someone (girl or guy, in my case, a girl) and never wanting that night to end. Pretty soppy I know, but everyone’s been there and everyone loves a love song. Once, twice, three times a lady….

Mark: I love playing this song live, its something you can really dance to. We had all said after writing ‘Fighting Talk’ that we wouldn’t write anymore songs, but when Mike started playing the intro me and Chris started jamming with him and the song just took off. I think it took us about 2 hours to write the whole song. I really like the lyrics to this song; it’s a good love song for Binder and his boyfriend.

Mike: I remember coming up with the intro just after we had finished writing the rest of the album. The other guys didn’t want to carry on writing anymore songs and wanted to concentrate on practicing but I was so buzzin’ off it I was like “We have to write this into a song!” Sure enough the boys said ok and I think it’s was a great decision. It’s my favourite song to play live and one of my favourites on the album. I think it’s the song that most people know us by now.
Chris: This was quickest song we wrote and the song that ‘gelled’ the most. I think because we had all the songs wrote for the album there was no pressure to write anymore songs, so when we started jamming it all just seemed to fit.

3. Make Up Doesn’t Cover Everything
Adam: This song was on our EP under a different name. I doubt I can still remember how to play this song actually. Its one of first songs we wrote as a band, still really love it though, it’s got a killer chorus and great sing-along-middle. Listen out for the Baywatch-esc piano in the middle also, it will make you want to blast on your little red speedo and run across the sand in slow motion. Or is that just me?

Mark: The guitar lick I play at the start of the song shaped the way Mike now writes riffs. Since I showed him how to play it he’s really come on as a songwriter, putting in little fast guitar riffs here and there. One day he will be a good guitarist.

Mike: What can I say about this song? It’s catchy as fuck and the oldest song we have. I was really sceptical about putting this track on the album as I wanted an album of completely new songs but it does have a killer chorus and a lot of our fans buzz off it so in the end I needed it to go on the record.

Chris: What can I say, fast and catchy (I hope).

4. Are You Taking Me Apart Just To See How My Insides Work?
Adam: I remember exactly where we were when this song first came about. We were playing the old Birmingham Academy 3, we were sound checking and Mark started playing the guitar part you hear at the start of the song, I really liked it and said he should definitely remember that for next practice (Mark: Liar, I said “I really like the sound of this, listen!”), so he showed it us again at our next practice and the ‘Oh, Oh, Ay, Oh’ in the chorus just came out and we wrote the rest of the song around that. I love playing this song live and getting the crowd to do the ‘Oh, Oh, Ay, Oh’ bit. This song has another pretty soppy meaning also; it’s about that feeling of being broken up with out of nowhere, when you don’t even see it coming. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you’re one of the lucky ones, but you will learn! And when you do, you’ll know what it means!

Mark: This is one of my favourite songs on the album; I love the sound of the guitar at the start. When we first wrote the song I wanted the guitar sound at the beginning to be clean and bassy, but before I started tracking the guitar for it the clean sound had a touch of distortion and was very ‘jangly’, so we did a take and it fit perfectly. I loved it that much that I tracked a layer of that sound under all the choruses.
I also love the fact that the chorus is the chord progression for ‘It’s Not About Revenge…’ hence why the two songs are together. The lyrics aren’t too bad either, just getting a little bored of Binder pining for his ex boyfriend to take him back.

Mike: This is a song begging for crowd participation with the “Oh’s!” in it and I think the chorus really sticks in your head and it’s always great seeing kids chanting it back at us at shows. I really love the guitars in this song too, they sound epic, which I love.

Chris: I am a sucker for the mellowed out songs and that is what this song is to me.

5. It’s Not About Revenge, Don’t Make It Personal
Adam: This song is a message to all those people that make the ‘music biz’ the vile beast that it is. I love the section that leads into this song. We had the reverse guitar you hear at the start saved on one of Mike’s pedals and we used to play it as an intro to our live set .Chris had some mad idea to play some fast beat with it to make an intro for this song, which most of us didn’t understand until he actually did it but after he and Jim (Jim Turner the producer) played round with it and added some reverse piano and some delay, it came together brilliantly and leads perfect into the song. I love how this song is non stop; it never slows down for more than a few seconds and never switches to clean.

Mark: I’m a huge fan of the TV show Lost, so I was stoked when the guys took my idea of using a line from the show as the song title.

Mike: I had an idea for an intro to our set and used my loop pedal to reverse the guitar section, it sounded awesome. I knew I wanted it to go on the album before this song. With the reverse cymbal bringing it in really punching you in the face at the start it just made me love the song even more. I love little cool intros to songs on albums and when this was finished I was proper stoked. My favourite part is at the end of the ‘we’ll still no every line’ bit when the music stops and it just comes straight back in but beefier.

Chris: It is about revenge, take it personal!

6. Make This Alright
Adam: We wrote this early on in the album writing process. I think this was our attempt at trying to writing something a bit more musically intricate. I think some of the other guys were listening to too much Prog-Rock at the time. Saying that though, I love the vocals in the chorus, they’re so simple and something you can really shout along to, hence the section where it breaks down us chanting the vocals. This song is about how some people that have a tendency to let their wondering eyes get the better of them. Damn cheating swines!

Mark: This is one song that I was nervous about putting on the album, because it’s nothing like the other songs. I was worried that it would kill the mood, but once it was recorded and we listened to the songs in order it seemed to gel and fit perfectly. What I love about the song is that it’s a platform to progress, we don’t want the next album to sound the same as this one.

Mike: This was a song we all were unsure about before heading into the studio. I think it was because it’s a lot slower than the rest of the record but I love it, especially the delayed guitar parts in the bridge and ending. Was so stoked to finally hear it recorded. It was a song that we chopped up a bit in the editing process which Jim suggested as he thought the song was a bit too long. He was right. Nice One Jim!

7. Notes From Look Out Point
Adam: This is probably our most straight forward pop song and our sexiest song. It’s our equivalent to ‘The Thong Song’. Makes you just want to get down and dirty. Mike first showed us his idea for this song on the way to a show in the van and I remember being stoked on the rhythm and the way it made me want to dance…… and get down and dirty!

Mark: When we play this song live I wish we could put down our instruments and just start doing a dance routine with those Madonna style head set microphones.

Mike: ‘Notes…’ was always a song that we all just loved to play live. Hearing the finished result I think the song really stands out as being that type of fun track to play. It’s such a danceable tune; it was the perfect song to go after ‘Make This Alright’.

Chris: This is a simple catchy pop punk song. When I play it I feel like I should be imitating a session drummer on Top Of The Pops.

8. Fighting Talk
Adam: It was written quite late on in the process. The guys bugged me for weeks to tell them what the lyrics were about because you can’t really nail it down when listening to it, but I let in and told them and I’ll tell you. Its about the large number of guys in the world who are always looking to make themselves feel and appear to others to be more ‘manly’ or ‘macho’ than others. It’s something that really bugs me in other men and sometimes I find myself doing it, it must be a testosterone thing. Some parts are written from my perspective and some parts are written from the perspective of these people. I can see how it’s difficult to figure out what it’s about by listening but hopefully if you listen to it now it will make sense. I have really got to start writing about happy things. Though this song contains my favourite drum fill on the whole album, so much air drumming was done in the studio to this song.

Mark: I think this song is about how Binder wants his men to be. Not to try to act ‘manly’ or ‘macho’ as he has said. Those are the sort of guys Binder doesn’t go after. So if you want to be with him you’re going have to open up and learn to cry in front of him.

Mike: This is one of my favourite songs to play live and on the album. It’s one of the more rocking tracks. I love the ‘Don’t call me out’ chants, it’s a song to grab your friends and just rock out to. The ending is sweet too; I thought it would be cool to carry on the chants but slow down the tempo of the song and make it sound like we were playing in a massive hall. Big and epic, which I think sounds really cool!

Chris: This song really speaks out to me because I am very manly and macho!

9. Hold Your Head High
Adam: I love the guitars in this song; ever since Mark started playing it at practice I thought it was a really catchy lick. Another one where the lyrics probably aren’t too obvious what they are about. This song is about all different aspects, situations and feelings of being in a band like ours. There are parts about how a lot of getting anywhere in a band is about timing and luck, parts about the dream of doing this fulltime, parts about telling myself never to give up on making music and parts about the love of playing live.

Mike: ‘Hold your Head High’ is another song that’s really fun. If I remember right, this song pretty much wrote itself within a few practices which is always good. Plus who doesn’t love a big old Stadium Rock ending to a song? Also I got to mess around with my pedals at the end of the song and make noise, haha, I love it!

Chris: I love this song also. Again I think we can write catchy pop punk well but also put a little one of our own little twists (usually a little delayed guitar).

10. Waiting
Adam: Putting an acoustic song, that turns into a full band number last is so cliché, but we don’t care, it works so well, that might be why it’s done so often. Mike takes the lead vocals on this song, he pretty much had free reign. You might say this was his baby. He did a stellar job in my opinion. The ‘choir’ in the verses were just me and Mark laying loads of different vocals over and over, which was loads of fun to do but we had to stop so many times because we were laughing so hard and so were the guys in the control room. It was one of my highlights of the whole process. The outro programming was a lot of fun to do, it was one of the last things we did in the studio, it mainly consisted of as all standing round the mixing desk with Jim and coming up with different sounds and then layering vocals from other songs we had already done over the top. I think it’s a great way to end the record.

Mark: Since day one of writing this song I always wanted it to end with a xylophone. When I wrote the end guitar lick all I could hear was this xylophone taking over from the guitar so I’m pleased we still stuck with that idea. One of my favourite albums is Jimmy Eat World - Clarity and I love the way the last song goes into all electronic drums and goes on for like 10 minutes, so when we wrote this song I wanted to recreate something similar, and I think we have, which is great. I love the fact people recognise it and say it sounds like “Goodbye Sky Harbour”, that is what I intended.

Mike: I have to say this is the song that means a hell of a lot to me on this record. I wrote it after a death in the family last year and it’s about losing someone close to you and trying to deal with life without that person. We thought it would be cool if I wrote the lyrics from both points of view. The first being the person who had died and the second being their friend/partner/family member etc. We were going to get a girl to sing the second verse but due to lack of time and a female vocalist I changed the lyrics and sung it. One of the funniest times I’ve ever had in this band was recording the choir section to this song! Me and Chris got Jim to cut the music in the control room so we could just hear Mark and Binder tracking these low and high “I will be waiting”. Was hilarious! Good times! And making the ending was awesome I think it’s such a cool ending and we’ve already had the whole Jimmy Eat World comparisons in reviews for the record. But we think it’s cool because we love that band, so I am very proud of it.

Chris: It was actually my idea for the xylophone. I’m not letting Mark take all that credit! We acquired the xylophone from my girlfriend’s mom. I also wanted the guitar at the end to fade out into a xylophone. Mark wanted it then to go into electronic!
For me this is my favourite song on the album. As I say I’m a sucker for a power ballad and for me this ticks all the boxes. Mike did a great job on this song.

'This Is All We Ever Wanted' by Kyoto Drive is released on February 23rd on Engineer Records/Pacific Ridge Records.

'This Is All We Ever Wanted' is currently streaming on Purevolume.

Pre-order 'This Is All We Ever Wanted' here.

Kyoto Drive on MySpace

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!