Neck Deep's Ben Barlow Talks Singapore, Pop Punk And Billie Joe Armstrong

Neck Deep is a band on a mission.

When Ben Barlow and co. started writing and production for their sophomore release Life’s Not Out To Get You, it marked a turning point in the Welsh band’s fledging career. Recording outside Barlow’s house for the first time as a band, Neck Deep are set to take a huge leap. That is, they are no longer that promising pop punk band that sounds like that other accomplished pop punk band – Neck Deep are clearly trailblazers with this latest full length album.

Spearheading the new wave of pop punk with bands like State Champs and Real Friends, the Neck Deep boys are stopping at nothing to keep the genre alive. With a new record reminiscent of the early naughties’ pop punk, Neck Deep has clearly what it takes to take the world by storm.

Ben Barlow (Photo: Facebook)

In light of their upcoming show in Singapore, we speak with Neck Deep’s lead singer Ben Barlow about his thoughts on coming to Singapore, the existence of pop punk and what the future holds for his band.

Hi Ben! Since it’s your first time playing in Singapore, is there anything in particular that you guys are excited to check out or do in our city? What can we expect from your set here?

We’re just stoked to soak up the local culture, see the history, the landmarks, the people and food. We’re just stoked to be touring somewhere completely new to us, and to finally be able to play for our fans, it’s been a long time coming. You can expect what you would always expect from us, high energy, fast-paced pop punk, with singalongs, mosh pits and crowd surfers left, right and centre.

Neck Deep’s new album “Life’s Not Out To Get You” is brimming with optimism and positivity, and has been well-received by pop punk fans. Do you think that this is a turning point for your band’s musical production?

For sure, it’s the first time we took our music outside of my brother’s room. The first time we worked with other people to write a record, and I think that shows. We learnt so much from this record, just about songwriting and what makes a good song. We also learned never to settle for second best, always try and make every song as good as it can possibly be. I think from now on we’ll take that experience and apply it to everything we do, so expect big things!

How has the rise of online music streaming sites like Spotify / iTunes music changed the way that Neck Deep puts out music for fans?

It hasn’t really. It’s really just the way that people listen to music these days. If this was 10/15/20 years ago we’d be putting our music out to radio stations and TV channels. I think all those platforms exist as a product of the modern world. They’re all awesome but I don’t think it particularly effects how we do things.

The lead singer of Green Day recently tweeted that his new year’s resolution is to “destroy the phrase ‘pop punk’ forever”. What do you think he meant by this? As a pop punk band, are you offended by this statement?

Who knows! I think it’s kinda ironic because arguably Green Day created the genre with “Dookie”. It was one of the first times punk music was accepted by the mainstream and had ‘poppy’ structures and hooks. For years he toured with pop punk bands too. Maybe he’s being a little elitist. Billie Joe is the ultimate punk, at least in the modern era don’t get me wrong, so maybe he’s playing up to that. I really look up to the guy, he’s truly a legend but I don’t quite get that statement, maybe he’s doing it to stir up a fuss.

I think it kinda sucks he would be like that but whatever, it has no effect on what we do. If you like the music then you like the music, if you don’t then you don’t. Fuck labels and fuck being swayed by people’s views and opinions, no matter how highly regarded their opinions may be. You do you, that’s the most important thing, and that’s ‘punk’.

Rank the top three bands in the genre that you’d die to tour with.

Blink 182
New Found Glory
Green Day

Tell us the first thing that pops into your head when you see these words:

Dark Blue– Jack’s mannequin
Justin Bieber– give.
Real Friends– BOYS
20/20– hindsight
Macbeth– Sweet shoes

At the end of the day, how would you like Neck Deep to be remembered?

A bunch of dudes who we’re given the chance to chase their dreams and had a fucking good time doing it, wrote some bangers along the way and left behind a small legacy for others to follow. Peace.

Neck Deep 2016 World Tour – Singapore:
27 January 2016
*SCAPE Ground Theatre
Tickets from SGD$49.99 via Rockiss


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Explore latest trends in contemporary culture