Once Upon a Weekend: Corella’s Debut Album Is a Spirited Soundtrack to Chasing Our Dreams & the 9-5 Grind

Corella 'Once Upon a Weekend' © Jake Haseldine
Corella 'Once Upon a Weekend' © Jake Haseldine
Manchester indie rock band Corella take us track-by-track through their spirited debut album ‘Once Upon a Weekend,’ a soundtrack for weekend warriors, the 9-5 grind, and chasing our dreams until they all come true.
for fans of Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Snuts, Foals, Blossoms
Stream: “Don’t Stop Me” – Corella

I think the everyday jobs were more of a motivation for us to push this even harder and get the absolute best out of what we’re doing.

Nothing compares to that feeling we all get when Friday rolls around.

The weekend is synonymous with freedom and possibility, indulgence and escape. It’s a welcome reprieve from the weekday grind and its unforgiving rinse, repeat cycle; a chance to live how you want to live and do whatever you want to do. For Corella’s four members – all of whom had day jobs up until very recently – the weekends were reserved for the band. For years, the Mancunian four-piece would spend Fridays through Sundays writing, recording, practicing, and gigging, and then return to their humdrum “normal” lives come Monday morning.

As such, it’s no surprise that they would pay homage to those special days and that sacred cycle in their debut album: An indie rock record for weekend warriors everywhere, Once Upon a Weekend is a spirited soundtrack for living out our dreams while enduring the 9-5 grind. It’s a record of life lived unapologetically in the moment; of the little triumphs, milestones, and celebrations that make every day worthwhile; and of following your heart, trusting your gut, and unlocking your potential.

Once Upon a Weekend - Corella
Once Upon a Weekend – Corella
I think about it every moment every week,
Couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be,
The longer, I sit here and wonder.
Wasting time but then I never really care,
You can go out and get a job at anywhere,
and fade out, oh what a waste now.
I feel something,
makes me wanna lose it,
makes me feel alive
So don’t stop me come on, don’t stop me
You’re a little bit lost still,
you’re a little bit lost still
So lay with me, or I’ll fall too deep
you’re a little bit lost still…
– “Don’t Stop Me,” Corella

Independently released May 3, 2024, Once Upon a Weekend is easily one of the most heavily anticipated indie rock debuts of the year. Nearly a decade in the making (the band formed during their first year of uni back in the early 2010s, and released their first single in 2016), Corella’s first full-length album follows their acclaimed 2022 debut EP Today, Tomorrow, Whenever, and arrives alongside their biggest headline tour to date – with festival slots lined up for The Great Escape, Isle of Wight, Kendal Calling, Boardmasters, and more this spring and summer.

Corella © Jake Haseldine
Corella © Jake Haseldine

Formed and based in Manchester and comprised of Joel Smith (Vocals), Ben Henderson (Bass & Vocals), Jack Taylor (Guitar) and James Fawcett (Drums), Corella initially came together over a shared love of riffy indie rock (think Foals and Two Door Cinema Club) and classic rock’s titans (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC).

All four members hail from northern towns, and take pride in channeling the spirit of spirit of northern England into their music. “The Northern swagger is definitely back,” they smile. “It’s been missed in music, but the bands and artists that are out and about now are definitely putting the North in the lead for the most exciting shows and music. Tracks like ‘Head Underwater’ have that northern grit. From the off it’s just go, go, go. We love it.”

But Once Upon a Weekend isn’t just about where they’re from; the album’s refreshing energy and unrelenting drive speak to all four members’ insatiable spirits, and the joy they’ve shared in being on this journey together over the years. At its core, these songs are an homage to Corella itself – a band that, while relatively new to so many, is already so much greater than the sum of its parts.

Corella © Jake Haseldine
Corella © Jake Haseldine

“This record is about highlighting the contrast between living our regular lives with our 9-5 jobs, but then pursuing our dreams of being in a band,” Corella tell Atwood Magazine. “Playing major festivals at the weekend, recording the album and touring across the UK, then heading back to the day jobs through the week feeling like it’s living a double life. The ’Once upon a weekend’ is living the dream and telling everyone about it.”

“Our aim when recording this album was to have a collection of songs that reflect our lives and how things have been for us since starting this journey,” the band add. “We wanted to translate the ups and downs and everything in between through our lyrics and create music that makes us excited to listen to. This has never changed for us, we set out to do it and feel like the songs on the album is exactly what we were aiming for.”

“We feel like we’ve captured every emotion that we put into the album. There’s tracks that are light-hearted, laidback, and then there are heavier, in-your-face tracks. This is exactly what we wanted. We’ll write whatever sounds good to us, and we’ll never put ourselves in a box – especially when it comes to recording new music.”

Corella © Sam Crawston
Corella © Sam Crawston

The album’s title “Once Upon a Weekend” is an homage to Corella’s roots – “for everything we were doing with the band, in contrast to our everyday ‘normal’ lives,” Joel Smith explains. “It’s like our superhero power that no one knew about until now.”

For Smith and his bandmates, so much of the past decade has been spent living for the weekends. “As soon as Monday hit it was a huge comedown, and we’d be counting down the days until we’re back out doing what we do,” he recalls. “I think the everyday jobs were more of a motivation for us to push this even harder and get the absolute best out of what we’re doing.”

Diving deeper into who of the bunch had the “best” and “worst” jobs, Ben Henderson chimes in, “I suppose Joel probably had it best. He would go from restaurant-to-restaurant filming and eating free food, covering cool events and socialising amongst cool people – all while getting paid. The worst job between us all probably was Faw’s, only because he had to get up at 4 AM every morning as he was a chef in a hotel (not a bad job at all) – them early rises definitely weren’t for any of the rest of us.”

Highlights from the album itself include the angsty, restless “Drifting,” the anthem for lost souls “Tommy Loser,” the rip-roaring riff-driven jam “Say You Wanna,” and the invigorating album opener (and lead single) “Don’t Stop Me,” whose spirited melodies set the scene for all that’s to come – filling listeners with a sense of limitless possibility, potential, hope, and above all, raw, unbridled energy.

“‘Don’t Stop Me’ is all about escaping from your normal lifestyle and chasing what you’re really passionate about,” the band share. “It’s easy to fall into a dark place, especially when it can seem like everything and everyone is working against you and your dreams. We wanted to remind people that even in these moments, there will always be something to make you smile. When we play this live, we want to see them lose themselves in the music, even for just a moment; to forget all of life’s problems and stresses, as it’s important to immerse yourself in what gives you that buzz.”

The band highlight recent single “Lady Messiah,” the album’s bold, bustling fifth track (a song praising the inspiring women in our lives), as a shared favorite. “We knew instantly that the track would go down well with our fans. It’s just a feel-good tune,” they share, adding that its lyrics are some of their personal proudest.

Take time tonight
I’ll take you on a walk
It’s the smallest things that’ll make you think
That I need ya, and darling, I need you
On those nights when I’m alone
Say oh boy, never believe me
Oh boy, never gets easy, oh boy
‘Cause I really wanna know
If you’re back when I get home

Corella 'Once Upon a Weekend' © Jake Haseldine
Corella ‘Once Upon a Weekend’ © Jake Haseldine

Wherever you press “play” on Once Upon a Weekend, you’re in for a good time.

Corella’s debut album shines with the freedom of Friday and the sweetness of Saturday; it’s notably the product of four lads who devoted years’ worth of “time off” to chasing their dreams.

And wouldn’t you know it, now they’re all coming true.

“We want listeners to listen to the album in full and really soak up what we were trying to achieve. This is the best work we’ve ever done, and it’s made us hungry for more,” Corella share. “We taken away a lot from this album. Songs can sprout out of nothing, and that’s the most exciting part. We could write the best song in the world tomorrow, who knows? You know, that’s the best part about this – the unknown of what’s next – but what we do know is we’ll have a bloody good go at it.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Corella’s Once Upon a Weekend with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut album!

— —

:: stream/purchase Once Upon a Weekend here ::
:: connect with Corella here ::
Stream: ‘Once Upon a Weekend’ – Corella

:: Inside Once Upon a Weekend ::

Once Upon a Weekend - Corella

— —

Don’t Stop Me

“Don’t Stop Me” is chasing your dreams and not letting anything get in the way. We based this on ourselves pursuing the band whilst juggling our 9-5 jobs and the difficulties that come with it, but won’t let anything stand in our way.

Let Me Go

“Let Me Go” is a love story gone wrong. The verse explains how you have so much love for someone, then the chorus switches to when you want to let it all go, but don’t want to be the person to call it off.


“Drifting” is all about being younger and completely care free. Exploring the jungle that is your neighbourhood, getting up to no good with your friends and making memories that last a lifetime. This transpires through later life as you try and find your path but never seem to find it, you just bounce from day to day doing as you please as you did when you were a kid.

Head Underwater

“Head Underwater” captures that night where you totally let go. The night takes control of you and you’re living your rebellious alter ego, drinking till late and acting on things that you’ll regret the next morning.

Lady Messiah

This track is about a woman figure in your life that you idolise. It could be anyone that is close to you in your life or anyone that you really admire. It’s all about praise and appreciation for that woman.


“Hometown” is a letter to home. Moving away and trying to find your path but your heart will always be home. Like many people that move away and return from time to time, this resembles of the feeling of being back with your family and friends and feeling complete when there.

I Didn’t Know Your Name

This song is about being in dire straights towards the end of a relationship. Too much has happened and things are too difficult to fix, you wish you could go back to the start before you met and start all over again.

Tommy Loser

“Tommy Loser” is about the kid at school that was always up to no good. A bit of a lost soul trying to fit in with the older cool kids, but finding himself in trouble and seen as a loser for it.

Say You Wanna

This track is about lust. Having that exciting feeling when younger and first starting out with girl, while trying to not give too much away to them. The feeling of wanting to make a move but not sure whether you’ll sink or swim.

Laid Back

“Laid Back” is literally all about being laid back. Zero responsibilities and nothing to do, no one to answer to. Maybe like back when you were younger, living with your parents and they’re pushing you to make a start with life but all you wanna do is chill, play video games and switch off from the world.

Rock the Boat

“Rock the Boat” is a personal message about a long-lasting relationship and tackling the obstacles that get in your way. It’s not all plain sailing – the song explains sometimes you’re wanting your partner to mess things up, just so you can get out of the situation. Regardless of the ups and downs, you still have an unconditional love for them.

— —

:: stream/purchase Once Upon a Weekend here ::
:: connect with Corella here ::

— — — —

Once Upon a Weekend - Corella

Connect to Corella on
Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Jake Haseldine

:: Stream Corella ::

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