Displaying unflinching authenticity, LA’s Not From England share their radiant rock EP ‘for the second time’, their musical influences, and the stories behind the songs.
Stream: ‘for the second time’ – Not From England
With the band name Not From England, Los Angeles’ buzzing indie rock group have made their roots clear.
This is not in any way a dig at England musicians. In fact, they are huge fans of all things British – especially the musical talent, and their name pays homage to that influence.
Not From England’s boisterous EP for the second time, released December 1st, 2021, has that same rebellious grit that can be heard in much of England’s rock music. This offering focuses on growing into a new version of you. There is so much power in their journey through reflective evolution. This complex five-track body of work masterfully showcases that concept of rebirth. During the height of the pandemic, we all had to learn to adapt to a new normal. “for the second time” touches on a lot of those intense emotions that arose from the unfamiliar change.
“Bluebird” and “The Kite” are head-bopping, effervescent tunes while songs like “Drag In” and “Delivery on the Way” possess a subtler laid-back sound. Every track off the EP definitely stands out though, with bold and carefully curated arrangements. “Me my Strat and the Road” also makes a big statement with its organic instrumentation and deep lyricism.
These days, no one seems to know a thing
I try to hold on, but I don’t seem to know
I hold on to nothing
The energetic and charismatic teenage foursome is comprised of Cass Blum and Leo Blumenfield (guitar/vocals) DeRon Munroe (bass) and Beckett Pasdar (drums). Inspired by icons such as Sonic Youth, Not From England exude a similarly entrancing rock sound and style. That distinct quality has gained them a loyal following and allowed the band to record with prominent players like FIDLAR drummer Max Kuehn. Atwood Magazine spoke with band members Leo and Cass about their name, formation, their sophomore EP, and so much more.
A CONVERSATION WITH NOT FROM ENGLAND
Atwood Magazine: “Not From England” is a very fascinating name for your group. What inspired this unique band name?
Not From England: It doesn’t have too much inspiration. It came about in eighth grade and in Leo’s kitchen, and it was just a cool name. We thought of names that were cool. At the time, we thought it was super cool and we stuck by it. There’s not too much meaning behind it. We’ve always been a fan of British bands and English music. We still are.
How did you guys meet and form this spirited indie-rock outfit?
Not From England: We met back in middle school. We went to school together. Then we met Darrin. He did these guitar covers of bands online. We just found him on Instagram and talked to him. It was fun.
I understand the title of your EP for the second time pays homage to the UK band Black Country, New Road whose debut album is called For the first time. Can you explain more about the EP name and some themes that run throughout the release?
Cass Blum: DeRon and I specifically are big Black Country, New Road fans, and we’ve been for a long time. There was this thing going around where everyone was predicting their second album would be “for the second time” and I always loved that name. They ended up not doing it sadly. So I thought of the name “for the second time”, and it sounded so nice. It doesn’t have this direct meaning, but it feels like it means a lot. As far as themes, it came about during COVID. A lot of the tracks touch on different things we experienced during that period.
Leo Blumenfield: It’s definitely an interesting experience recording and writing the songs apart from each other and not in the same room like we usually do. A lot of the song’s sound sort of nostalgic.
The EP begins with “Bluebird.” The track hits you hard with heavy drums and fiery vocals. How was the track concocted sonically and what is the inspiration behind the tune?
Cass: I wrote that song originally and showed it to the band. It was a chill acoustic song that had a lot of gentle emotion. We played it and then I felt like, oh wow, this could be a lot more. I thought it could be a lot bigger. So it took a big shift from how it was originally.
Leo: I remember when Cass sent me the demo over, he sends me a lot of different demos, I thought that one really stood out to me. It just felt emotional. So it was definitely a very different vibe than the original demo.
Cass: I think inspiration wise, I usually start writing after hearing a song that inspires me. I can’t remember what song made me think god, I need to go write this song right now. We jammed around and it came naturally. Then we threw down and recorded and it’s sort of the raw state that it has always been.
“The Kite” is a colorful offering bursting with so much raw energy. What is the message behind this rowdy rock hit?
Cass: Not much of a message, it’s more around an experience I had. People can draw upon what that experience was to the lyrics. That song is about this odd experience and usually most of the songs I write are. I write them after I experienced something or experienced an intense emotion about something. Now I usually tend to keep it true to what I felt right after that moment. So it came after an experience I had with one of my close friends, and it just grew from there.
The video for the song displays filmed clips of the band just having fun and being themselves, while also pairing that with fanciful animation as well. How was the video’s concept developed?
Leo: We wanted to have the EP be songs we recorded by ourselves. We were hanging out together and developing the songs. We wanted the video to capture that same kind of thing. The animation for it just came out. We thought it would be cool to add different parts in the video. We got an animator to animate a little story. It’s sort of like a dream, one big montage. We like videos that are more homemade and authentic.
Cass: We wanted to give a little peek into how we recorded it and make it a little more lighthearted.
The EP concludes with “Delivery on the Way.” I understand there is an interesting story around that track’s conception. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Leo: That song is written by DeRon who’s the bassist. We were jamming and I was messing around on the guitar. I wrote this guitar line and we had a jam. We built upon that and he sent us a little demo. We loved the demo so much. We thought we should try to record it. We never recorded it though, we never got the feeling that the original demo had. So on the album is actually the original demo he recorded by himself because it just wasn’t the same kind of track. When we tried to record we always kept it in its core form.
Cass: I think also, I don’t want to speak too much on the meaning of that track because I didn’t write those lyrics. I think the song is sort of about some of the struggles he went through during COVID. It’s a view into how many of us were feeling, especially at the beginning of COVID being alone. The song used to be called cookie in the cereal box. I think there’s a story behind the name of that. We decided we were going to have that be the name when we recorded it, but since we kept the original demo, we wanted to change the name. We did that so if we want to re-record in the future we can use that original name.
You have built a fervent fan base through your bold sound and candid lyrics. What is the biggest thing you hope fans can take away from your music?
Cass: I think it’s just about the way each person wants to interpret our music. A lot of our songs are the way we feel about certain things, but with how any music is, it’s the way each person relates to that.
Leo: With our songs we tend to not go for anything too specific or literal. It comes down to how we felt in the moment and then they can feel it if they want. In terms of music to come, I hope a big takeaway is that it’s growing every time and the sound is changing and moving as we change.
What’s next for Not From England?
Leo: We’re trying to play shows and put out new music eventually. I think we’re going to focus on performing because that’s what we love. It’s really fun to be playing shows again so we definitely will keep doing that. Then of course, we’re always writing and recording.
Are there any musical talents you are digging right now that you can recommend to our readers?
Leo: We just saw Crack Cloud perform, which is a band from Canada. It was one of the most exciting performances I’ve seen. I recommend anyone who can see them live go see them.
Cass: I’ve been really into this band Deeper. Their album Auto-Pain is pretty cool.
Stream: ‘for the second time’ – Not From England
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