Gunship’s Alex Westaway spoke about the band’s future
Gunship has big plans for the future. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to their fans because in the eight years they’ve been active, they’ve accomplished a lot. Their second album Dark All Day reached number one on the UK dance charts; they were featured on Steven Spielberg’s film Ready Player One; they have collaborated with many synthwave artists and appeared in a documentary about the “synthwave” genre – just to name a few.
The band’s lead singer, Alex Westaway, recently expanded that excitement by dropping some vocals on Carpenter Brut’s latest single – The Widow Maker – taken straight from his new album Leather Terror.
But, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.ukAlex explained how he was a bit apprehensive about the collaboration at first.
Alex recalled on Zoom that Carpenter Brut asked him to be on his new album before asking for a demo of his vocals. “I don’t like to share average stuff that I’m not happy with,” he said, before adding that he considers himself an introvert. He continued: “It was 80% fleshed out and – luckily – he liked it. But I was super worried he didn’t like it. But it turned out okay.” He added: “[Carpenter Brut] was like, ‘Yeah that’s cool, that sounds like it could be one of the first singles on the record.’ So, I was super happy with that! I was a little nervous because I’m a huge fan of his, and even though we’ve worked together in the past, he’s an incredibly talented producer, so the pressure was on. But he’s a super nice guy.”
Alex’s headline feature on The Widow Maker will be the first Gunship fans will hear from the band in a long time.
Gunship’s aforementioned 2018 record, Dark All Day, was a smash hit – but since then, all has been quiet. Fans have even resorted to asking them publicly on social media what they’ve been up to behind the scenes.
Finally, Alex has an answer for them.
“[After] Dark All Day, we did a few tracks here and there,” he confessed. “But we’ve been working mainly on this next album for almost four years.”
Alex and the other members of the band – Dan Haigh and Alex Gingell – didn’t just “work” on their next album: they worked hard. After four years of (almost) nothing, Alex revealed that Gunship fans are getting two albums in a short window.
He said: “We actually have, sort of, 24 tracks pretty much done,” before quick to add: “But it’s not all going to be on one album! So yes, at the moment we literally have one more. verse to write and, essentially, that [first] the album is locked. And then we have this other record that will hopefully come out fairly soon after.”
When I pointed out to him how unexpected it was, Alex laughed, “It was kind of stupid to do it like that, but that’s just how it was done!”
Gunship’s Dark all day
Luckily, Alex thinks the two records are distinct enough for fans to appreciate them differently.
He said, “Whether [the second record] is another album or if it’s a long EP…we’ve cut the main album down which is a bit more instantaneous. And then everything that’s a bit longer and, maybe, obscure kind of shifted to this next album.”
With a smile, he added, “So the next record is going to be hopefully full of firecrackers. And then the second one is a bit more abstract but just as exciting.”
Gunship has made itself some big shoes to fill. Their 2015 self-titled album was a triumph for fans of the genre and delivered instant classics. Not only did it deliver such incredible hits as Tech Noir, Fly For Your Life, and The Mountain, but it was kind of beaten by the second album. Dark All Day was a titanic next step in the Gunship mythos. The music was thicker, the compositions more elaborate, and the choruses (sort of) even more catchy.
Will the band continue this upward trajectory with their third (and fourth) albums?
“I think so,” said Alex. “On this new record, we try to be as heavy as Carpenter Brut on some tracks, but we also have a pop sensibility and emotional aspirations.”
That said, the singer also explained how the band are “very aware of being pigeonholed into the synthwave scene”. He said: “I think on this new record we’re conscious of drawing a bit more inspiration from other genres. A bit of EDM, a bit of metal, rock and pop – trying to branch out from this way and trying to evolve our place in the scene.”
Gunship’s Alex Westaway in Fightstar
So when can Gunship fans expect the first of these two albums? “I mean, we look like the end of this year,” he promised reluctantly. “Perhaps!”
Vinyl production issues are a big concern for the band, he added. Considering that’s – presumably – how the band makes a lot of money, they’ll surely want to line up the album release with the vinyl hitting their store shelves at the same time. Beyond the two albums, however, Alex has confirmed that Gunship is considering performing live for the first time. Alex and Dan are no strangers to sold-out shows. They played in the band Fightstar for years before breaking up to do their own thing. And with their additional experience, they focus on the best possible experience for Gunship fans.
“We want to put on a show that would fit our aesthetic,” he said. “And you have to reach a certain level to be able to afford the extra production – and that’s what we want. To actually have theater involved in that.”
Alex revealed that figuring out how to translate Gunship’s power on stage is the band’s next priority – while working with their families and touring in “targeted pockets” rather than hitting the road for several months at a time.
He said: “We’re thinking about it now, and we just want to wrap up this record, get the videos out in production for this album campaign, and then seriously put our heads down and sort out what the live situation is going to be; because that we’re super excited about that too.”
“We don’t want to be half-armed,” he stressed. “We want it to be cool. So yeah, we’ll see. Watch this space. We’re just thinking about it for now, we haven’t set any dates yet. [but] we’re glad to be stuck in this.”
Carpenter Brut’s new album, Leather Terror – featuring The Widow Maker (feat. Alex Westaway) – is out now.
Listen to Gunship here.