Get ready for some deep chats and a little bit of dark humour, because I caught up with Bromantic Besties Ralph Brown and Jake Kershaw to chat about Without Belief, their latest song Acceptance Pt.2 The Prolonged Goodbye and their upcoming new spiteful deathcore plans. Get ready to laugh and might I add I love how many times the word mood/y is mentioned, new drinking game maybe?
**SERIOUS WARNING** Dark humour is used as a coping mechanism to deal with death and grievance by Ralph and Jake, particularly Ralph- no judgement, everyone heals and deals with things in their own way. If you are sensitive, feel uncomfortable, or get upset while reading about death-related humour, please don’t read on, look after yourself, you can still support Without Belief by checking out their new track Acceptance Pt.2
Interview 4 June 2021
Your new single is Acceptance Pt.2 The Prolonged Goodbye that drops tomorrow, I wanted to know a little bit about Without Belief and this project that you guys have put together. How did this whole idea come about, I know that both of you went through family loses?
Jake: Yeah, Ralph’s Dad decided to kick it.
Ralph: He couldn’t handle cancer so he decided to check out.
Jake: was pretty rude.
Ralph: yeah, you know went out for a bottle of milk…
Jake: This is the thing okay, I’ve been around Ralph too much and he likes to make dead Dad jokes, and he’s kind of desensitized me to it, I’ve started making them myself.
Ralph: I can’t make live ones! It’s not possible unless you know where the Dragonballz are I’ve got nothing?! But yeah, get ready for some dark jokes, it’s a coping mechanism that I used straight off the bat, literally right after the first hour of his death. But it was also something to like, help break the ice for people that would be like, Oh I'm so sorry. It was like well, I don't know what to say. So, I'll be like, he's a joke for ya.
Jake: So yeah, as you said
we both experienced some family losses, and Ralph had already talked about a project away from his first band.
There were a few discussions there, so it just came about from there.
Ralph lost his Dad in March of 2019, yeah so he was just like, “I want to write an EP about grief” and I was like, “cool. I mean, let's do it”.
We wrote those five tracks. And if you don't know Ralph very well, he's kind of like an energizer bunny, like he’s got a new business venture every week. And he would just be like, “I want to do this, or do this, let's do this, that's cool hey”, and so he was kind of just like “this will be a studio project, just me and you yay”, and he was like “I wanna play shows”, “I wanna do 6 EP’s”, “I wanna do this, I wanna to that”, and I’m like “Okay, okay, simmer buddy”.
But yeah then obviously like the band with the two Dimmy’s and the Jimmy came on board about a year after it had started.
And Acceptance Pt.2 is just a one-off single right?
Ralph: Yeah, it's a standalone, closing a chapter single because it kind of seemed like a little weird and not fitting to put it onto like an EP or anything like that. It's a very strong song. So it's like, it has every reason to be a standalone and a chapter of what The Parting Gift EP started. Because the way that we had The Parting Gift instrumentally Jake, had written everything in a way that flowed into the next song, and then, was it Depression or Acceptance? I always get it wrong, that's like, there's a note that was left unfinished.
Jake: Ah, so yeah, Depression has like the motif through the whole song, and then the last time it happens, it doesn't finish.
Has everyone that’s been listening to it just like “ugh when is it going to end?!?!” like if it’s not finished properly
Jake : it’s sort of designed to have tension, so like, I don't know if you play an instrument at all. Try playing the scale, but finishing on the seventh note. It's like, I can't sing so I won't do it. But yeah, if you just like get a piano or something and use go on the white keys and you play seven in a row, you'll hear that it sounds wrong, and that's sort of like the way it was meant to sort of finish and be unfinished. In the same way with Acceptance, the way we wrote that was like at the end of it, there's parts from every song that's kind of like the last sort of act, I guess it's just sort of like a Frankenstein of the rest of the EP. If you listen closely, there's parts from every song, even in the end of it, and so we thought it would be fitting to open it up with the same thing from Acceptance Pt.1, I guess. Do we have to call it part one now, I don’t know?
Ralph: No, we don't we just call it Acceptance. If anyone starts saying part one I’m gonna start throwing hands [laughs].
The whole purpose of the song was like, it was like an intentional thing. After I think six months after the release of The Parting Gift, I spoke to Jake about how I wanted to get back into writing and all that, cause obviously, like at that point, I think it was like July. Last year, I was like, you know, it'd be pretty good to get back into a writing process again, and get everything ready for the next chapter.
Jake: Which was a pretty fun conversation to have mid pandemic, but.. [laughs]
Ralph: Yeah, well, I mean, it was a good distraction for a minute there. So I gave Jake a bunch of ideas and references to things cause I'm terrible at trying to explain what I want done. So I just sent a bunch of songs that I really liked, and was like “this is kind of what I want to go in the direction of, do you vibe in? Take it from there”, but obviously, I always ask for Jake to give it the ‘flair’ that you just can't find anywhere else. Unless you're looking for Earthbound [laughs].
But yeah, so like,
Acceptance Pt.2 was just essentially like, a reflection of what things had been like since The Parting Gift
and I never want to like pinpoint it as a pandemic song by any means, like, you know, reflection during dark global issues that we're facing, it’s just more of like a reflection of everything and just like wrapping up the the inevitable acceptance that I did come to, during it all.
Obviously during isolations, and everyone had been under lockdown, had to sort of face things that you didn't want to. So unfortunately, I was left to my own thoughts for a while there,
and eventually it just kind of hit me one day and the drinking got a lot worse. So poor Jake had to deal with a couple of drunk messages. It was kind of like you know, a good way to sum things up and end an era before we get into the new stuff that will be coming out later this year…
Jake: Bold claims ooooh
Ralph: I’m doing this mid-lockdown homie, I will do it! I’ve done it once! I’ll do it again! With a new EP!
Was Acceptance Pt.2 written at the same time as The Parting Gift?
Ralph: No, it was something that we got into the works about five- six months after The Parting Gift, if I remember correctly. I started writing lyrics for it probably the week after The Parting Gift had been released, but I don't think I approached Jake about the actual single itself until like July-August 2020.
Ralph came to me and was like, “Oh, hey, it's time for you to get back in the cage and write more music for me”.
Ralph: That’s literally how it is.
Jake: Yeah, it's just like “Alright, we're gonna put you in the hole for three months and if you don't come out with a record we're gonna keep you in there for six. So um, yeah…”
Ralph: Okay Earthbound do the same thing. They at least give him food though. I don't.
Jake: Um, it is good motivation. But yeah, so I think Ralph came to me and was like, “Hey, I'd like to do an Acceptance Pt.2”, And I was like “Okay I guess”, I also was a bit iffy on the idea at first, and then the song came together. I was like, “Okay this is pretty cool”. So now we're here.
Ralph: It was one of the few songs that we went through, like a little demo process, I guess, if you want to call it a demo process.
I feel like we do things a little differently from every other band.
Jake: So, I don't know a single thing on how to record. Like a lot of bands do, they have that one member that's pretty good with gear and knows what they're doing and like with recording and can do demos and stuff, but not me [laughs]. I write everything on Guitar pro and it's like a MIDI file until it's properly recorded. Because I don’t know, that’s just the way I work. I sort of just like noodle around and go “Oh, that's fun” on the computer, and then I just don’t think about it until it gets recorded.
Jake do you do all the instrumental side of things? And then Ralph put lyrics on?
Ralph: Yeah, so obviously now that we've got a full band and everything like that, and who are all very eager to put their own flair into the music...
Sorry, but did you steal half of Steadfast? [laughs]
Ralph: I didn't steal, alright...
Jake: They all came willingly after the beatings.
Ralph: Thank you. They had nowhere else to go, I had the cages…
Jake: They knew what they did.
Ralph: So, Dimmy, who’s recently announced they have a kid on the way, he hit me up literally when he heard the singles Denial and Depression and was like “I want in on this project. I want in. Have you got a full band yet? Is there a spot? I want to play guitar, I want in!” and I was like, “You got a lotta energy. I love it”. Anyways, he was like, really passionate about getting involved. And I was like, “I'll think about it, like, honestly, I think I've got a couple of people lined up, Jake's obviously on one of the guitars”. And then he was just kind of like, at me and at me and at me. I was like, “look, alright, fine, Jake send him the tabs and like, if he can learn them he can learn then, if he can’t obviously we’ll move on.
He messaged me about a week later was like “what the fuck did you do in Bargaining?”
It's just a mess...
Ralph: It’s a nightmare, but it sounds sick!
Jake: Yeah, I was like I don’t know, like Bargaining happened in a hotel room in Aubrey. We're playing a show, and I was just sort of like, you know, moody as per usual. I was like, “I'm gonna write a song, and I did”.
A song that no one else could play [laughs]
Jake: I mean, I can [laughs]
Ralph: You struggle at times though, I will throw that out there.
Jake: It is a hard song. I just had one of those moments where I was writing and was like “aw yeah, I can learn that!”, and then I went to learn it and was like “oh no, no I can’t learn that” [laughs].
There wasn't many moments like that on this record, but in Earthbound there's plenty of them but like in this record it was pretty much cut and dry.
Essentially with the writing the way we do things, Ralph will just be like, “I want this, this and this and he makes a bit of a music wishlist and I go away in the hole for three months and I come back”.
Ralph: Then he comes back as Santa and it's pretty sick. Daddy Christmas sorry, I forgot there was actually a correct title for this.
Jake: I am Daddy Christmas.
Ralph: Everyone needs to go check socials around Christmas time, Daddy Christmas will come out, and it's going to be good.
But yeah, like it's basically the way Jake said it. You know, there's a wish list of references that I'll say. Hopefully he vibes, if he doesn't obviously I said to him like just put the Jake flair into it so it's more comfortable for him but I always send him through an occasional challenge a bit of a curveball thrown just to see if he can write something that he's not used to writing.
Jake: He made the Prog kid right deathcore. Ruuude!
Ralph: Long Story short, Jason and Burgo went out of their way and was like, “Hey, Ralph, you won’t write a deathcore song? You're a little bitch”, and then I was like “Fuck you! I’m not falling for this, you can’t make me do anything even though you know this is what I want to do”, and then they’re like “BET. you won’t do it you little bitch”, then I was like “Fuck this!”, and then I was like “Jake we’re writing deathcore songs!”, and he was just like “what? I don’t like, no I don’t write, I don’t know. NO RALPH NO!”, and then I was like “No, here’s the list GO, I want to put these boys back in their place”.
You’re doing deathcore out of spite, what!?
Jake: I know there was so much spite, and Ralph’s just like “we need to write a deathcore song” and I’m like *panicking noises*
Ralph: The worst part is, it wasn't even just one. It's like three. I'm just like, shit! Now we gotta play them.
Jake: But yeah, essentially, Ralph will go for a mood, like I can really vividly remember the Denial process as we were sort of just hanging out, and he's just like, “I kind of want something sombre but like, hopeful, like bittersweet, but like this”, and I just played some stuff, and he was like “like that, do that. That's fun”, and essentially, that model really worked for us. We sort of interviewed, but just called a few of our friends, for song associations like, “how do you feel when you feel this emotion?”
Ralph: We had a writer's block for a little bit there on one of the songs and it was just suddenly struck something in Jake and he was able to get through it the next day. And I was like, “pfft, why didn’t we do that sooner?”
You know, it's like trying to capture the mood, especially with like, The Parting Gift and like this one as well. I just I tried to get that mood and that was for me the most important thing
was like, “ah well, I have to sort of convey, say like, ‘depression’ for example, I have to convey what it feels like, I have to convey the ‘sadness’ by the noise all through the music”.
The way we did that was we had a few little different ways to do certain things like, Acceptance sounds brighter because it's in a different key from the rest of the record, but like, Acceptance Pt.2 brings it back to the original key. And so you know, like, Anger is meant to be short and sweet because you’re not angry for long. It’s just like, all of these sorts of choices were to convey the emotion behind everything.
That was for me the biggest challenge because you know, Earthbound, we're just sort of like prog robots [laughs]. It’s just like “oh riffs” [laughs]. So yeah, this was a whole different beast, but it was good challenge. I enjoyed it. I'm still here. I'm doing this interview right now.
Is Without Belief very emotionally motivated?
Ralph: Oh, 100%. Like the whole project, as an entity? Yes. The answer is yes. Probably as individuals, it breaks down into each one being like, “how they run, is how they run”. But like one thing I always said to Jake was, when we're going through the writing process, if he's going to like, say, for example, the song is meant to be really dark or like angry or it's got this like, particular tone. I don't want him doing anything regarding that, unless he feels it, like he has to physically and mentally be in that moment to then go and do it. Otherwise, it's quite easily seen as forced, in my opinion. Jake's very much into he's instrumental listening, where I'm more of like into the words in the lyric.
Jake: He could literally be singing Simlish (gibberish) to me and I wouldn’t know half the time.
Ralph: Yeah, quite literally, like I would show him lyrics and I'd be like “thoughts?” and then he’ll be like “you do you boo!”
Just on the lyrics, I noticed that Ralph you actually quote your Dad in the lyrics of Acceptance Pt.2 saying that ‘Even when I’m gone / I’ll still be here inside your heart’, was that hard to put in?
Ralph: It was a bit of a kick in the teeth. There were a couple of other lyrics that got... I wouldn't say scrapped, but I just like left them under the radar when we went through The Parting Gift, because it just didn't feel like it was the right time to try and use those words or even if ever. So when we're writing Acceptance Pt.2, those were probably one of the first things that got resurfaced. Because the thing was like, my family was very supportive and caring and overwhelmed by what came out of the EP, they didn't really know anything about it until, like, they knew about it, but they didn't hear anything prior until release date.
Until release date [laughs] they had to wait like everybody else?
Ralph: Yeah, oh 100%. I even had to wait a couple of times, until Jake started sending me the instrumentals, and then I'm like Mmm..
Jake: Yeah, it was very funny. The first day of Anger, he wasn’t there and we recorded Anger in about three hours.
Ralph: and then they sent the file to me while I was out for the day, I think it was like off at the Art Museum or something like that. Then like all of a sudden it’s “aw we just sent you this and we’re moving onto the next song” and I’m like “oh I’ll play it in my car”, and the next thing I know is I'm punching the ceiling. And I'm like Oh no, my car.
Jake: There was a few more moments like that this time as well.
Ralph: But it's like it was definitely hard hitting, the whole thing with Acceptance Pt.2 and The Parting Gift itself, like as an arc or as a storyline, if you want to put it like that, I never really know how to put it, an era? It tells a story of a generalized but Acceptance Pt.2 kind of now comes back to more of a direct thing for me personally, there’s a closure of like this is where I'm at, this is where things have been and you know, some things that like I'm forever gonna miss. Like just the small things with my Dad just like with those lyrics, which were obviously quotes from him being like “even when I'm gone, I'll be right here inside your heart”.
Then there was other things that obviously, like hadn't been put in or anything, but like, small, cheeky things that he used to say or just like, personal things that I won't hear from any other person ever, and if I ever did, I'd be like, I'm gonna go drinking now, excuse me. Jake's obviously got something similar with his family as well, with his Aunty.
Jake: I think before her passing which yeah obviously she had a good innings for a lack of a better term, but like there's just little bits and pieces that’s like oh, well I think musically it’s hard to convey those little things obviously and like you know I try to convey that through the music as well like you know especially like but it's hard to sort of convey the nature of somebody through deathcore [laughs]
I was gonna say, with your family members, do they like deathcore?
Ralph: God no!
Look honestly the thing is with the new stuffs, if all goes well depending on lockdown and everything, it's probably a month or two away from release.
Jake: That’s another really bold claim!
Ralph: Hey! I said depending on how lockdown goes, I am confident! By the way those music videos- we've got to get work on them. I've got the artwork back. So Fuck you! I’m making it happen one way or another!
The thing is we’ve closed the chapter and the era with Acceptance Pt.2 and then we start moving on to things that are more like directed at mental health and
that's kind of a big thing for Without Belief is like the whole motto was ‘you know, you are not alone’.
So like the whole grieving cycle has come to an end, I don't want to be like beating a dead horse or dead dad at this point... [laughs].
So like, it's more towards mental health now. We're starting to talk about things that like really hit hard last year, but they were hitting hard prior to that. Things like suicide awareness or suicidal tendency thoughts, so like you know, those really dark things that you do have, even if it's a glimmer of forward or it's literally a medical situation. Things like depression itself, not just like the grieving process, but the actual, like mental health depression, things like anxiety, you know like how, it starts going down that rabbit hole of death for like the deathcore theme that we will be temporarily doing, thanks to WWDOTW (What We Did On The Weekend), who I’m gonna kill!
Nah, but it's great, I think it's when we do something like that it's putting an extra emphasis on it too, despite people being like ‘Ah it’s deathcore, I’m not going to be able to understand it’, it's still like the intensity of the topic that we're talking about. I think it kind of fits well with the style that we're writing as well. It's meant to be intense, it's meant to be in your face, it's meant to be full on, so I think it kind of worked out well in that respect. In terms of future things, we might go back to the The Parting Gift and Acceptance Pt. 2 sort of sound further back down the track.
Jake: Or we might be a ska band after this you never know...
Ralph: We might even start having a trumpet, we might even get a harmonica on board or even get a bongo.
Jake: If Without Belief becomes a ska band, I will die a happy man…
Ralph: He has requested it once or twice.
Jake: Yup, there’s something sexy about a sax man.
From what it seemed like, Acceptance Pt.2 sounded like Without Belief is wrapping up and finishing, but you guys are actually just going on to a new chapter with mental health.
Ralph: Yeah, exactly, so not a lot of people know about what's going on. Like if you're on the ‘in’, you know sort of thing. Some people have already messaged and been like, “oh my God is Without Belief ending? Is not only like a prolonged goodbye but like an actual ending of itself”, I've literally had multiple people….
Jake: [laughs] I never even considered that! [laughs]
Ralph: Yeah, I didn't either until I dropped it and then I'm like, “oh son of a bitch”, and it's not gonna help when the music video comes out because it's like, all old like videotape quality level of effects.
Yeah cause it’s all like nostalgic
Ralph: yeah, so it’s just gonna look like we’ve just full carked it, like my Dad, and then just like all of a sudden, we're going to be like in a month or two’s time be like, oh, by the way new music!
So, it's just closing a chapter, and then we're gonna move onto the next topic. And we're here to stay!
Okay, do you guys have any final words to say about the band, about the new single, or any messages you want to get out?
Jake: Listen to it. Please. Yeah, it's just a good time...
Ralph: I guess one thing is, that
it’s definitely like an ending of era of one thing, and it's meant to close a chapter and you know, bring a form of communication that we tried to get with The Parting Gift
in the first place, due to lockdown and everything, we couldn't exactly execute that as well as we wanted to, it still did great, but not as strong as we wanted it.
Acceptance Pt.2 is kind of just emphasizing on that ‘you're not alone’, in any factor of grief that you're going through or suffering, whether that's mental health, or you know, a loss of a loved one, whatever it is, like you know, you really have got a community, you've got support all around you: family, friends, bands, artists, songs, you've got so much around you that you can escape from reality, if you need to communicate.
Jake: Be good to eachother!
Ralph: 100% just be good, be a good motherfucker!
But like, obviously communications a very big thing.
Jake: Tell your friends you love them! Everyone just be nice, say hey, check on people and just be good and hangout, and listen to Without Belief because Ralph sings and it’s nice…
Ralph: and Jake does the strumming, and it’s cute as fuck!
Jake: *Bling* [laughs]
That was Ralph Brown and Jake Kershaw from Without Belief, the banter and bromance is 100% real! Check out Acceptance Pt.2 and Without Belief.
WITHOUT BELIEF socials
They also do TWITCH things
Links to mental health services if needed, it's okay to not be okay, speak to someone, remember you have a huge community of friends and family who love you.
Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/
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