Corella Talk Debut Album, ‘Don’t Stop Me’ & More

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After first forming in Manchester back in 2016, Corella have been rising up through the northern music scene to establish themselves as one of the leading grassroots bands on the cusp of a major breakthrough.

With the band in the middle of a sold out tour, Corella can now surely reflect on how far they have come in a difficult industry to break, from their raw, humble beginnings seven years ago.

Now, after a patient wait from fans, Corella are almost ready to unveil their debut album, with new single, ‘Don’t Stop Me’ providing a taste of what to expect from the landmark debut release.

We caught up with Joel Smith (singer) and James Fawcett (drummer) who both discussed the sonic direction of the new single and forthcoming debut record, along with the band’s sold out UK tour, Manchester, and plenty more.

NC: The new single “Don’t Stop Me” is out now, tell us all about the track?

Joel: “It’s touching upon some of the up-tempo, anthemic sounds of the past but also stepping into the realms of where we are going with the new album. The debut album is opening a lot of different doors and this is just the start of it. It’s great to play live, we played it on the last tour and the response was mega. The chorus is easy to pick up, we could see people already singing along at festivals which is always a good sign.”

NC: How does it evolve from the most recent EP release?

James: “We wrote that EP in lockdown so it was two years before we actually put it out, and I felt we’d already moved forward with our sound by the time it was released. We always think further ahead and play catch up with ourselves. I thought the last EP was a step up and the album takes the sound even further so we’re really excited about it.”

NC: Tell us about this debut album then, when can we expect to hear it?

Joel: “We are in the process of recording it and it’s just at the mixing and mastering stage at the minute. It’ll be out some time next year and we’re confident it is the best work we’ve ever done. We wrote Don’t Stop Me as one of the first singles from the album and there is plenty more in the pipeline.”

NC: Why now for the debut album?

Joel: “I think a band just knows when the time is right. Before lockdown, we were trying to scrape together some songs and felt we only had enough for an EP. But when we decided on releasing an album, the songs seemed to just fall out of us. We’d go into a practice room and write a few songs off the bat, and some of those we feel could be singles. Our thoughts are to just be brave and follow our instincts to get the album out there to the fans. We went out there to create a generational album that will stand the test of time and that’s what we feel we have done.”

NC: Will the album encapsulate the full journey so far or is this a fresh project?

James: “It does kind of feel like that was a chapter in itself and the album is its own project. This is brand new, we didn’t want to re-record songs that have their own space and feel. That was always the plan, we know that people love the old sound even if the quality wasn’t as good in the early days. So we are leaving the old songs alone and moving forward with the sound and new tracks entirely.”

NC: Has the way music is consumed through streaming services affected the timeline of releasing an album?

James: “It definitely feels different, especially with things like track length. Some longer songs need to be album tracks rather than immediate singles put out on Spotify, and we like that because it opens doors for us creatively and makes us think about the style of the songs and where they best fit.”

NC: Plenty of new guitar bands are achieving success with number 1 albums recently, it must be a good environment to be in at the minute?

Joel: “Bands like The Reytons and The Snuts are smashing it, and seeing this resurgence and watching bands grow is inspiring. It gives us confidence going forward. I feel like the public want guitar bands to do well again, we feel like that went away for a few years but we are seeing this again, especially with the Twitter community. We love this music and have done all our lives, so to follow in the footsteps of these bands feels like we are on the right track. Some of the venues we supported The Reytons at we are now selling out on this tour, so it makes us think that a number 1 album could also be achievable in the future.”

NC: On the other side of the coin, it remains a difficult market to break into, so what needs to change to help grassroots bands progress?

Joel: “Instead of making things change I think bands just need to keep going and believe in themselves. It’s such a saturated market and standing out can be really difficult. There are times when you feel like nothing is happening and you’re not going to get to where you want to be, but in those times we have wrote some of our best music. You see it with The Reytons, Jonny has been in the music industry for 20 years and is getting his break now. You just have to keep going.”

NC: You have sold out your 2023 tour, how does that feel?

Joel: “We have less dates on this tour but have sold more tickets than last time which is unreal. This time last year we played to 220 people at Night & Day Café, and it has quadrupled in the space of 12 months. It makes us think where we can be this time next year and we’re shooting for the stars. To sell out these venues is crazy, especially 800 tickets down in London as it can be a tough sell for a northern band. Next year we’ll be doing the album tour and we want to push it even further.”

NC: How important has the Manchester music scene been for Corella’s progression?

James: “It has been amazing. We were all based in different areas of the north and met in Manchester so it feels like the band’s natural home. It’s been great getting to know the other local bands and seeing them make their own moves up the ladder. We are proud to represent the city and Manchester itself has been a huge inspiration for Corella.”

NC: Do you feel a responsibility to help other bands in Manchester progress in the same way Corella did?

Joel: “100%. Not just here but all over the UK. I’m from Grimsby originally and there are young bands coming through there that we want to help. I remember supporting Larkins at Gorilla for our third gig and we were so nervous thinking “imagine doing this as our own headline show”. Those gigs have helped us get to where we are now so we’d love to give that same opportunity to up and coming bands.”

NC: Finally, what else does 2024 have in store for Corella?

Joel: “There will be plenty more festival appearances next year and we have some exciting things in the pipeline that we can’t discuss just yet. The headline tour and album release will be the main focus for 2024, and we’re thinking about potentially doing a run of stripped back record store dates around the release, so keep an eye out for that!”

Keep an eye out for news of that debut album release, and listen to the latest single, Don’t Stop Me, HERE.

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