The Routine – Too Many Times Interview

Following the dissolution of two previous bands, The Routine come alive with a fresh new lease on life and bring us their smashing debut single “Too Many Times” now available on your favourite streaming platforms. We had a chat with the band about this great track and their new project, let’s dive in!

YMX: Hey guys, how is it going? some of our readers might not be familiar with your project, how would describe yourself, in a few words? 

Liam: Never really know how to answer this question. I like hearing feedback from people once they’ve listened to our music.

Ben T: The lovechild of a classic rock connoisseur and an indie aficionado.

Ben N: All good thanks! I think we have a fairly unique sound that is crafted through numerous different influences and playing styles. Predominantly we are more swung towards the rock genre, but we do incorporate some more indie vibes along with a strong and prominent groove. The aim of the game is to make tunes that get people singing and moving!

Mark: certainly say we edge into the rock side of this with some crunchy riffs, chunky beats and cracking vocals. Also, love Ben T’s description!

YMX: Your current work is the result of a long journey; What first drew you to making music? 

Liam: I come from a musical household. My dad is a drummer and my mother and sisters were always singing. I decided to play guitar when my sister’s boyfriend at the time (now husband), Rhys, showed me his electric guitar. A Gibson Les Paul TV special in sunburst. After that, I was hooked. Always trying to better myself technically and build my guitar collection.

Ben T: I grew up in a very musical family so it was pretty inevitable I’d get roped into it one way or another. I love the process of conjuring up a song idea from nothing, working with others to see what they bring to the table, and completing the journey by performing it on stage.

Ben N: I didn’t really actively get into music until my early teens. With that said, my mum always used to play music in the car and was always exposed to it from an early age. I remember getting my first guitar for Christmas and quickly started learning some of my favourite songs at the time. This was around the early 2000’s and bands like Linkin Park, Blink 182 and The Offspring were really big. I thought those guys were cool and liked what they were doing and essentially, I thought I wanted to do something like that. The rest as they say is history!

Mark: Ever since I was little… I’m not going to go there, but I’ve always been fascinated in percussion and different rhythms that make you want to dance and have a good time.

YMX: What would be your dream collaboration? 

Liam: Dave Grohl, hands down. Not only has he been one of my biggest influences, but from what i’ve read and seen, he is always trying to think outside of the box. Think I could learn a lot from him and how he works.

Ben T: I’ve been listening to a lot of Anderson Paak recently so he’d be great to do something with. If he wasn’t available then I’d see if Dave Grohl was up for it.

Ben N: For me it would have to be Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. As mentioned earlier they were the gateway band that got me into music the way I am today. In fact, they are still my favorite band even now! Mike is a multi-talented songwriter, musician and producer (as well as artist) and his range of styles and ideas is incredible. It would be a dream to spend a day collaborating with him.

Mark: Got to say Freddie Mercury. Even if it was only for one hour in the studio, I would learn so much from him.

YMX: You recently released “Too Many Times” . Can you tell us how that project came about? 

Liam: ‘Too Many Times’ started as a riff idea that I had come up with and decided to play it in a rehearsal session. It became a very easy song to write and by the end of the session it was pretty much there. As few tweaks and the song is as you hear it now. I then took a personal situation I was going through at the time as the basis for what the song was going to be about.

YMX: What inspires your songwriting?

Liam: I’ve never really been that good at expressing myself. Songwriting has been a good way for me to get something off my chest or to deal with a situation. Not all of my songs are about situations that I have been through. I often use other peoples stories and try to put myself in their shoes. Sometimes finding out a bit more about a band I already like inspires me. I watch interviews with bands and find it sparks new ideas.

Ben T: When we’re all in the same room, I’d like to think we inspire each other. Personally, I try and soak up as much new music as possible. I can spend an entire afternoon flicking through Spotify with my headphones on. I like studying my favourite guitarists and how they play. My style of playing is heavily influenced by Graham Coxon, Russell Lissack, Mark Knopfler and Johnny Marr. I first discovered I loved songwriting in music class when I was 11. I had an amazing teacher who would give us a different genre for each lesson and tell us to create a song in that style. From then I was hooked and never stopped writing since!

Ben N: I think we are quite fortunate in that we are all able to write. Obviously, Liam is the main songwriter in the band but it’s really useful that we can all chip in with ideas and suggestions to build the songs out. Ben also writes more fully formed songs, and we follow much the same process with his ideas in terms of tweaking them until we end at a finished song. Occasionally some of my ideas can come through and really just start with a bit of a jam on the bass. From there Mark will usually add a beat and then the songs more or less build themselves out from there.

Mark: We all work off each other, it’s a very open and creative process. I do take a lot of inspiration from the music I listen too but also what I feel best fits the style of the song.

YMX: We are all missing live music at the moment. Once on the other side, which music venue would you choose for your first gig? 

Liam: I’m looking forward to getting back to a venue that has a good atmosphere. Like The Portland Arms (Cambridge). If I’m being honest, whatever the venue, I know it will be great. I can’t wait to show people our song’s and the fun we have playing them.

Ben T: I mean if anywhere was an option – Alexandra Palace! That would be amazing. But if I’m being realistic, I’d love to go back to The Monarch in Camden. Every gig I’ve played there has been awesome. A sweaty Camden pub gig is just what the doctor ordered right now, and the crowd are always well up for discovering some new bands, which isn’t always the case in London venues.

Ben N: Hands down, this would be between The Junction (Cambridge), or The Portland Arms (Cambridge). Cambridge really isn’t gifted in terms of live music venues but either one of these feel like home and playing shows here is always fun. The crowd is always up for it which gets us pumped up to put on a show.

Mark: I’d love to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. However, feet back on the ground; The Junction in Cambridge would be a fantastic place to kick things off again.

YMX: What’s your band strategy in terms of music promotion? Direct-2-fans or via the “big dogs”? 

Ben N: As I’m sure you can imagine it is incredibly difficult to plan anything at the current moment but overall, I do like to think we are incredibly organised and have an idea of what we’re trying to achieve. Ideally both approaches would be ideal but it is really important in the initial lifecycle of a band to build and maintain a strong following. In normal circumstances that would be inclusive of touring and playing shows alongside heavy promotion via social media. The situation at the moment means that our shift is pretty much fully on what we are doing on social media but we are always working on new ideas and music in some way in the background. As soon as we are allowed to get out and play in front of fans, we will definitely be doing so and hopefully we will have some normality restored in the mix of online and live promotion.

YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future? (releases, gigs etc.) 

Liam: To get back to regular gigs, continue writing new songs and hanging out with the guys again. I think our start up has gone really well considering the current situation and I hope things progress in the same way as I’m excited to see what doors will open.

Ben N: We have a few more singles stacked up to drop in the coming months (check out Come Knocking At My Bedroom Door – released 5th March 2021) and aim to get back into the studio as soon as possible to work on the next batch of songs. The other key thing is to get back out on the road and play as many shows as soon as we possibly can. It’s difficult to plan that properly now but the sooner, the better.

Stream “Too Many Times” here:

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