Before Breakfast - I Could Be Asleep If It Weren't For You
1. Inner Wisdom
3. Brush My Hair (And Tell Me That You Love Me)
8. Sticky Sweet
9. I'm A Good Friend
10. Ii (Feat. The Howl & The Hum)
BEFORE BREAKFAST are thrilled to announce that their debut album ‘I Could Be Asleep If It Weren’t For You’ will be released on 14th January 2022. The Sheffield duo have always explored feminist issues through the telling of personal stories – fusing their classical knowledge and rich arrangements with raw expression. Their debut album is no exception to this, exploring themes that will resonate with many women in their 30s who are experiencing the shift in perspectives that this decade can bring.
On new single ‘Wreck’ singer Gina Walters mourns the abrupt end of a relationship and a vanishing future that she once counted on. “I thought that relationship was it: we were going to have babies, and when that ended it wasn’t really about losing my partner. It was about losing this whole future I thought lay ahead of me, this whole family I would lose, my house, my cat… it was an absolute bombshell, and it still gets me over a year later.”
On ‘Stand’, the most direct and plain-speaking track on the album, Gina sings, “A house or a heavy womb,” agonising over the idea of having to choose either financial security or motherhood.
Speaking with her trademark brutal honesty, Gina says, “As a teenager, I genuinely thought that I would be married with two kids by now. We’ve been conditioned to think that’s what we should be achieving by a certain number. I turned thirty-two a few weeks ago, and I’m dating furiously because I want a baby and I only have a certain amount of years left before it starts to get really really hard.”
Before Breakfast released their debut EP ‘Open Ears’ in 2019. It is a spell-binding collection of songs knitting together Lucy Revis’ intricate cello with Gina’s expressively haunting vocals. “Our music has always been very beautiful with this discomfort,” Gina says, “which I view as very feminine.” Stand-alone single ‘Buddleia’ would become Before Breakfast’s signature, and best known song to date – opening the door to where they would go next. “When Gina played it to me I remember being in love with it immediately,” Lucy recalls. The band soon caught the ears of BBC Introducing, as well as C Duncan. That year, they supported the Mercury-nominated Scottish composer and musician on tour, which, Lucy says, was, “an absolute dream”.
Lucy wrote the lyrics and made her lyrical debut on former single ‘Brush My Hair’ after that very tour while coming down from a giddy three-week crush on a bassist. “It was like I was sixteen years old again,” she remembers. “We had this weird little friendship and the song is just about him: it’s lovely and special and I hold him in the highest regard.”
For Gina, the themes that inform the debut as a whole also tie into trying to break out as a new band while holding weighty questions of security and stability versus pursuing your dreams. It’s pretty shocking, yet sadly not at all surprising, that in 2021 she feels the need to say, “I really get caught up in the idea that the industry doesn’t want women in their thirties coming through.” Lucy agrees, adding, “There have been so many barriers for us to even do this by our age. I have exclusively played for men since I was 15 years old. I can count the number of female artists I’ve worked for on one hand.”
Outside of the band, Gina is a singing teacher, and Lucy runs a music school. Over the last eighteen months, the group have been juggling their day-jobs with gradually recording their debut album: a reality they feel it’s important to speak out about. “We couldn’t just go away to a studio for three weeks,” says Gina, “we don’t have the money or time. It was here, there and everywhere.” Whenever they got a chance, the band would lay down parts with their producer Chris Wilkinson – who began his career working in Nashville with Vance Powell (Jack White, Arctic Monkeys) before relocating to his hometown – at Sheffield’s Fox Den studios. “We’d say: Chris, can we come in for a few hours this afternoon to do the vocals? It was a bit haphazard, and a long process.”
Before Breakfast are telling their story on their own terms, and backed by two new live band members as gig venues gradually open up again, the Sheffield band are going for it, with a debut that speaks to the stagnation, malaise, and static of the last “wasted” year. And as the world opens up again, ‘I Could Be Asleep If It Weren't For You’ is a fitting soundtrack. “We’ve got the momentum” says Gina, “and we just want to do it.”
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