New York natives Animal Years have announced their epic three-part album with an equally epic new single, “What I’m Fighting For”. Hailed by Billboard and Rolling Stone for their warm, feel-good melodies, Animal Years have spent the greater part of the last few years touring and performing new material. Their new album is set to release in its entirety on June 18, 2021; two EP’s will be released before then, and will be combined with unreleased songs to create the full length LP. The group felt that because the album was written sporadically on the road, the tracks were all too different to be one cohesive body of work. Hence, the separate EP’s, with tracks grouped by similar themes and sounds.
The single is so interesting and so fresh, yet it retains a bit of familiarity, maybe reminiscent of some of the greatest folk artists from this time. The vocals begin almost immediately, which I personally prefer in a song. The vocal seems to ride on the melody created by the guitar, and it almost seems effortless, as if the vocalist is improvising every word. The verse rolls right into the chorus, loud and taking up space; exactly what an anthem should be. There is just such an overwhelming sense of being uplifted by this song, and I find it comparable to being in a crowded pit of your favourite artist’s show, which means more now than ever. So, for this song to recreate that feeling in mere minutes, that is pretty impressive.
“What I’m Fighting For” was inspired by the group being dropped by their record label once they had written and recorded some of their best work. The track was inspired by their own battle with the unknown future of Animal Years, but lead singer Mike McFadden says that he can only hope that listeners of this song will use it to their advantage to get through their own battles.
We got a chance to speak with Mike about the album, the new single, and how their 2020 went. Check out the interview below!
Hi guys! Welcome to Soft Sound Press! How are you?
Hey there! Thank you for chatting with us about our new music!
So, you just announced your album, congratulations! It is an album broken into 3 parts based on theme, correct?
There are two EP’s and then a full album will be released with both EP’s and two additional tracks. We based them, not so much on theme but more on cohesiveness.
Was that your intention from the beginning?
We were touring so much during our last album cycle, we never actually sat down and wrote a new album all at once. Instead, we took random songs from the past and some new ones from recent months and years and tried to put together something special. We’re trying to make it very clear that these songs span years of writing and genre influences. We tried to split it up into smaller groups of songs that made sense sonically.
Did you attempt to make a cohesive album at all?
We had just finished up our busiest touring year ever in 2018 and were immediately talking with producers and planning for the next record. I was pretty burned out from the promo for our last EP [Far From Home], and we never really had the time to get together and just exclusively write for a new album.
Do you have a favorite section of the album? If so, why?
The first part of the album is so important for so many reasons. It’s the first thing we’ve released since 2017 so the significance in that alone is important. It also contains some songs that I love to play live including my favorite, “Haines St. Station.”
Your latest single was inspired by a situation related to the band, but ended up being a seemingly universal anthem, especially relating to 2020. Was writing that song just something cathartic for you, or was the intention to truly reach out to listeners?
Certainly. In the beginning, I was writing a song, or more like an affirmation, that I wasn’t going to ever give up playing music and never give up on this band. But with most things I write, I usually feel like I’m going to reach others because the theme can be interpreted in so many ways and applied to so many situations. When I was recording the demo for this song I got really fired up about others listening to it and being inspired to overcome their own hurdles in life.
Has COVID affected your creative/writing process at all? If so, how?
2020 gave us a lot of time to pursue other things we may not have had time to do otherwise. I think in a lot of ways my creative process slowed down while l took in a lot of new sights and new experiences. I hope some of those things will inspire some new creativity in the future.
Who are you most inspired by right now, musically or not?
Doctors, nurses, caregivers, essential employees, etc… Anyone who is risking their health to sustain and help this country while we fight this pandemic.
Is there anything else we can expect alongside the album?
We are trying to create as much content as we can while we’re unable to safely tour. Expect music videos, live-streams, and some other fun things in the near future!