For much of 2020 and 2021, Sea Girls should have been enjoying the trappings of life on the road as an ascendant indie-rock band. They were scheduled to be touring a debut album, Open Up Your Head, that made the UK Top 5 in August 2020. But with the London four-piece grounded by the pandemic, singer/guitarist Henry Camamile instead retreated to his childhood home in Lincolnshire and began searching for who he was outside of music. “The songs [I was writing] were a lot about identity, what I think about life, who am I?” he tells Apple Music. “When I got into a band, I wanted to get away from home, to create my identity. But then, you’re sort of forced to remember what it’s like to be a child.” The songs that emerged explore love, belonging, imperfection, and past behaviors with robust self-awareness. While Camamile reached unshrinkingly into himself, the band added a complementary directness to their sound. “We didn’t want to embellish any of the songs too much,” he says. “The first album, we had a lot of fun in the studio. ‘Let’s put that on it. Let’s put this.’ And this was about being brutal. A lot of these songs, thematically, lyrically, cut a little bit harder. I’m not really singing about, I don’t know, rainbows and dragons. There was a total honesty to writing these songs and a lot of them came quite easily. ” Here, he talks through the album, track by track. “Hometown” “Having ‘Hometown’ as the first song is very fitting because that really is the DNA of the album. I was thinking that being homesick means you belong somewhere. I don’t really get homesick, but it’s just that idea. It means there is something and somewhere that is you—that true identity. I thought about being in the Midlands and the villages and towns around here, and it brought out a whole new album from that. I was thinking about who I am a little bit more deeply.” “Sick” “It’s just me saying it as it is. I can be a bit harsh on myself, but I also know I’m human. The whole point of doing music is just wanting to be human and wanting to be honest about being human. I don’t think I’m a bad person, but I’ve been careless, or I haven’t respected myself that much sometimes. Songs like ‘Sick’ are very self-critical. I’m asking for forgiveness from people around me and my parents. I was just young—that’s what I’m saying in that song. It felt good to say it. It was quite emotional recording it in the studio.” “Lonely” “The first verse was written with just me singing with the guitar. I wrote the second verse walking up the street in Brixton. Again, I knew what I wanted to say, and I knew what I felt. I was thinking back to sitting outside the local shop in my car in the summertime, playing The Prodigy and thinking about what could have been with someone from school.” “Someone’s Daughter Someone’s Son” “It’s about how after a relationship’s over, we start again. We just become someone’s daughter or someone’s son. It made me think about that basic boy that I had been in the past and what I am now that I’m not with my ex anymore. This song led through to songs like ‘Hometown.’ It embodies why I wanted to write this album—just to be honest and not be scared to write. As long as I’ve got a good heart, I can write a song that means something to me and write about things that really matter.” “Sleeping With You” “I was seeing this girl and I didn’t want to write a song to be mean—and it’s not mean—but I was still in love with someone else and it’s about the realities of that. It’s terrible, like, ‘Amazing as you are, I just can’t do this.’ Again, it wasn’t a hard song to write because I just said how I felt. I didn’t worry about too many lyrical acrobatics. You can pretend to be someone else in music, but you can also be incredibly truthful. And that’s always been what I’ve clung to. I think it’s way easier to be truthful.” “Paracetamol Blues” “Almost all the love songs in this album are about the breakdown of one relationship, which I thought I was homesick for. It’s about belonging somewhere. It’s belonging in a relationship, belonging in a place, and belonging to a culture or an identity. ‘Paracetamol Blues’ really ties into that. I’m imagining I’m going out with someone who was like me a few years ago, I’m in love with someone who behaves like me. I overheard someone quite close to me saying, ‘Whatever, he’s a wreckhead.’ Or ‘He’s a wasteman.’ It was a joke, but I was like, ‘I’m not a wasteman. I know I’m more than that.’ One of my ex-girlfriends friends from years ago said, ‘Let’s go for a drink,’ and I brought that scenario into it too. I just thought it was exciting.” “Again Again” “This song is about thinking that I just have to just get drunk and be wild or whatever. With the sound, we tried to push it, to elevate it, and have the whole thing bigger. It’s definitely inspired by [Smashing Pumpkins’] ‘Tonight, Tonight,’ with those strings on it. It’s got a really tight beat under it, which Jacknife [Lee, coproducer] elevated, because it was sounding a bit grand, and it doesn’t need to be grand. Jacknife kept that beat there so it feels like it’s got indie-band roots.” “Lucky” “My mum found some letters from my great-grandfather from when he was in the Second World War. There’s one from when he was in the Suez Canal and there’s one written just before he went over on D-Day, and it just hit me so much. He was talking about how he wanted to be at home. I just remember a line and it ended, ‘The guns sound terrible now. Kiss Cynthia and Ben for me.’ It hit me quite a lot and it still hits me now. I just thought, ‘Fuck, that’s not my life at all.’ I just thought I should write a song about how lucky I am and be grateful because I’m not grateful a lot in my music. I feel grateful for being in this band and I’m not going to be sad anymore. It’s optimistic.” “Higher” “Jacknife is famous for being brutal and making a song cut through. The first couple of songs we sent to him, he called me up and he said, ‘You just sent me a song called “Higher.” What’s it about?’ And I said, ‘If I find out my girlfriend’s cheated on me, I’ll just get high.’ And he was like, ‘Well, I couldn’t tell that from that chorus, so maybe you should say that. When [your lyrics] work is when you just say what you think. Be more direct.’ That informed the rest of the album. I think there was a lot of Cars influence on that song musically, which Jacknife brought to the table and made the whole thing bounce. And hopefully, that chorus makes a bit more sense now!” “Cute Guys” “I was definitely thinking, ‘Let’s put something in this album that people aren’t necessarily going to think is something Sea Girls would have on their album.’ Oddly, the guitar riff that goes throughout the verses and chorus is something I’d been playing around with for years. I never thought to write a melody over it. It’s pretty raw the way we recorded that song and the vocal. I was seeing a girl in LA and it’s about the breakdown of that relationship. In my head, it was an identity I was homesick for. There’s an American thread throughout the album because I have my head in that world with that girl, and it was fitting that Jacknife was working in Topanga Canyon, not far away.” “Friends” “It’s a song that Oli [Khan, drummer] wrote, pretty much. It’s about how if there’s anything that is your identity, it’s your friends, it’s the people you hang out with. I think, in a way, we’ve all been homesick for that [during the pandemic]—your crowd that can’t get together anymore. It’s feeling that one day we’re going to get together and make the most of it when we do. That was definitely a result of lockdown and everyone being apart and thinking about what’s important.” “Watch Your Step” “‘Watch Your Step’ was very popular with the other guys in the band and with a lot of people. ‘Again Again,’ I think, did a better job of what I’m trying to put across here. It works better with what I wanted to do lyrically for the main album. But there’s just something great in it and we thought it’s a good part of the story for a deluxe edition because it informed ‘Again Again.’” “I Got You” “I wanted to just write a love song. There’s no edge. There’s no story to it really, other than how I feel about when I really liked someone. It’s about the same girl that I wrote most of the album about. We’re on good terms actually, it’s quite nice. I know she appreciates the fact she’s got a lot written about her. But ‘I Got You’ is just about being in love. It was one of the phrases that we used between each other.”

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