WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD | PHOTOS: GEORGIA RAWSON
Counterparts are a band who know the value of vinyl records like no other. Having recently released a covers’ split with friends Stray From The Path that is only available on vinyl and after purchasing both of their recent albums; Nothing Left To Love and Internal Atomics, which both released on the same day towards the tail end of 2019.
Frontman Brendan Murphy and guitarist Alex Re met with us to chat about records, with both of them agreeing that the first record that they remember buying was probably some form of Now! compilation – or maybe something by everyone’s favourite punk band the Backstreet Boys, which Alex remembers owning on cassette. However both first bought some form of seminal pop-punk album with their own money, a Sum 41 record (but he doesn’t remember which one) for Brendan, and the rare edition of The Mark, Tom and Travis Show by Blink-182 live album CD for Alex.
Of course the artwork on a record has always been an important factor in getting people to buy it – especially in the days before streaming, and the pair listed off several album covers that they remembered as the most striking: “The picture on the front of the first Alexisonfire record, any early Marilyn Manson stuff, and Iowa with the goat.” The general feeling was that they enjoyed stuff that according to Brendan was: “shit where I felt like I was being bad as a kid by buying it.”
“I LOVED SHIT WHERE I FELT LIKE I WAS BEING BAD ASS AS A KID BUYING IT.” – BRENDAN
Everyone has disappointing records that they were really excited for and end up being let down by, but Brendan’s initial answer to his most disappointing record was not anything that he waited forever for, but rather Counterparts’ own The Current Will Carry Us, which despite spawning one of their biggest hits and set closers in ‘The Disconnect’ the band seem to see as a let-down. However both Brendan and Alex say they have neither been actually mad at a record, but Alex did say: “initially Vheissu by Thrice because I just wanted Artist and The Ambulance part two. I do now like it but I haven’t fully come around on it like most people. But that’s the only one I can think of.”
Naturally despite the occasional disappointment there are also those rare sleeper hits that jump out completely unexpected. For Alex it was a Kendrick Lamar record several years ago, while Brendan remembers coming across a guy named Etienne Sin who “was a dude from Long Island with a bunch of covers. He had a song called ‘Remember’ where the video was really bad and everyone was goofing in it!”. However it was later when he released an album called Sinner that completely changed Brendan’s opinion:
“It’s a weird scene music meets trap thing, and initially our bass player and I listened to it as a joke but it’s actually sick. It’s awesome and so fun to listen to. Now when anyone criticises him I’m just like “you just think he’s fucking weird and if anyone else did it then everyone would love it.” He’s an overlooked king!”
“I REGET NOT GIVING THE 1975 A FAIR CHANCE EARLIER ON…”
One of the biggest annoyances in music is not giving a band a chance earlier in time and then actually falling in love with them several years down the line, and both of the lads had been through this, with Alex saying: “I never gave a single care about The Story So Far until their newest record and it absolutely floored me. It kinda made me tear up a little bit. They’ve got me now. I just think you have to grow up to appreciate several things.” The vocalist on the other hand now feels:
“I regret not giving The 1975 a fair chance earlier. Everyone was going on about them and I was like ‘yeah yeah whatever.’ Then my girlfriend at the time told me ‘you will like this’ and she put on the ‘Girls’ video and I thought ‘yeah this is sick’ and eventually did a deep dive and felt ‘damn I could’ve been enjoying this for years but I was just too stubborn, I blew it on that.’ Everything’s fine now though, they’re my favourite band and I’ve made up for lost time for sure.”
“I WISH I COULD LISTEN TO STRAY FROM THE PATH COVERING ‘MOVIES’ BY ALIEN ANT FARM.”
One of the most unique releases of last year was the Counterparts and Stray From The Path split covers release which was vinyl only, and that decision came about simply because: “It’s so dumb, it’s just a funny thing. I don’t think anyone’s actually gonna think oh I wish I could listen to Stray covering ‘Movies’ and us doing ‘Somebody Kill Me Please’ in the car.” It was just an idea for both bands to push their records while also doing something different.
Counterparts have had a successful career thus far, and with both members naming The Difference Between Hell and Home as their favourite Counterparts record it is clear that the artistic journey is important for them on a record. “It was the first one we stopped collectively fucking about and the first one that we finished and liked a lot.” Evidently they both feel that they owe a lot to this album, and having released another three since then; all with various vinyl variants, and with no plans for stopping then expect plenty more record releases from a band who just wants to get physical.
Nothing Left To Love is out NOW Via Pure Noise Records.