Since first listening to Chris Pearce’s solo project last year I have been waiting for more to be released. What Keeps Me Here is what Reins have blessed us with. I reviewed it recently and that just left me with more questions than answers, so I asked Chris if he was keen to have a chat about the EP

So this is a little bit different to Saviour!

Yeah it is, big time. I’ve always done stuff like this, but I’ve always loved metal as well. It wasn’t a big change for me. If anything I was probably way less metal by the time I joined Saviour. Joining Saviour made me get back into metal again.

I’ve been following Reins for a while and I have a feeling that it was Nick Deveril that put me onto you.

He’s the most supportive dude.

Yeah we met through our common love for Saviour.

What Keeps Me Here is so good, I couldn’t believe that nobody had done a write up about it.

I didn’t really send it around. I probably should have. I had one review in the works but never followed up on it.

I had it on loop for about 3 or 4 hours when I wrote the review. There are so many messages in the songs

It’s an awesome review. Thanks for that.

The more I listened to it the more I got out of it. Then I realised that it loops from Losing Your Mind back around to Storm Clouds. Just like the pattern of depression can repeat itself. Did you know you had done that?

Nope not at all. I just wrote all the tracks and chucked them together on the EP the best I could kind of thing. Its even interesting hearing people see it as like this release around the one thing. When I was writing the songs they were all so separate. Every track was separate, and I pieced them together. I guess it’s worked out because they all flow well into each other.

I actually thought you were telling a story because when you listen to it from start to finish you start with that depressive state, you hit rock bottom and then you start to come good only to fall into that state again.

Some songs are obviously specifically dark and angry like Storm Clouds. I get weird sleep paralysis and start doing weird stuff in my sleep which my girlfriend has to put up with. So Losing My Mind is about that.

See I took a totally different meaning

I always try and write lyrics that are not super obvious, they are more that you can take it on however you want.

Which is what I did because that’s not how I interpreted it. I took it as when you are in that depressive state it paralyses you.

I write a lot of songs that are specific and others that aren’t. Temporary Fix is about when you have a problem with something, or you are unhappy, and you turn to alcohol or anything to try and numb the pain and forget about it. It doesn’t work, it always comes back in full force. It’s just that temporary fix.

I took Temporary Fix as being in that dark spot and self-medicating.  

It’s all along those lines

When I published the review I was like OMG I hope I got this right!!!

I really found it an interesting read. It was almost more in depth than what I’d kind of processed my own songs. I just write them I don’t really think about them.

Grey and Old to me was someone at that suicidal point of depression looking forward into the future at what they might miss if they were to take their life. I’ve got this whole story from this EP!

That’s cool. Way more in depth than I went. Grey and Old for me is just every lyric is a specific memory that I have, something that has happened. It’s all good memories, yeah it’s more just memories to take when I am old really.

I’m still over here following this story that I have got happening.

I like that though, that’s cool. I like that your getting that vibe from it. I think it’s very upbeat and happy music wise, but a lot of people reckon there is still a darker tinge to it which is surprising. Because I listen to heavier music and emo music I see that song as a super happy boppy song, but other people are like no its still not that boppy.

The first few weeks I played it I was bopping around, and I was singing but not actually listening to what I was singing. It wasn’t till I sat down to review it and I’d already written this big blurb about what a happy boppy EP it was, I had to scrub it and start again haha.

Some of the songs have that emo vibe, like Storm Clouds. It probably makes the rest seem like they are emo, and they are probably not. Brightness is a happy song, that’s about family. But also acknowledging that you should put more effort into seeing your loved ones.

And I took a different take on that one as well

Whatever you wrote was almost that kind of vibe but more in depth. I think it was more feeling bad that you’re not being present for your loved ones.

I think my favourite is What Keeps Me Here but choosing one is hard. And I took that as, going back into that cycle again, and there’s that one person that is holding you here.

I don’t really know what I meant with that song, but it makes sense at the same time. It’s like a sad love song but its not at the same time. It’s for the people that put up with you through the bad times. They’re what keep you around when you could obviously be anywhere else. They are the reasons that you are where you are.

I think I wrote that it’s not the physical space of home it’s the people that you surround yourself with.

For sure.

Do you have more songs piled up?

I’ve got so many honestly. It’s hard to get through them there is such a big pile of songs to finish. I’ve got another EP, hopefully I finish it this year and release it early next year. It’s a follow up to ‘What Keeps Me Here’, like a part two.

Do you do a lot of the writing for Saviour?
No not a lot. I think I did three songs on A Lunar Rose.  We all throw in our little 2 cents worth, but Bryant does most of it. He’ll send stuff over and get me to have a listen. I’m not as good a metal guitarist these days.

You do alright playing stripped back guitar. Like I said WKMH is an EP that you can throw on Sunday mornings and get that chill vibe.

Yeah it’s definitely that kind of vibe. Mellow, chilling kind of vibe. The next one is going to have a bit more of a full sound I think. I’m going to write it as if it’s a band rather than a solo act. I’ve got a band that can play my songs, I’ve got some mates that can jump on board.

You’ve got some older stuff up on Spotify as well that I love.

Yeah the older stuff still sounds like a full band. I’m going to stick with a similar sound to what I’ve done previously but I just want to make it more fine and crisp I think.

This one is definitely different to your older stuff.

Some of the songs on this EP I wrote back when I did that older stuff. It was just finally getting around to them.

Do you do the recording yourself?

Yeah I do all the recording here and then send it off to a guy who does all the mixing and mastering for me. He recorded the drums on the EP as well for my drummer who is really good.

Did you have a band at the EP launch?

Yeah they all played at the launch. They are pretty much band members, but they don’t have to deal with all the other stuff. It was a good night, even though there are restrictions it sold out.

That’s great that it sold out. So they just turn up and play?

Yeah pretty much.

I guess that means that you can probably tour eventually???

Hopefully. Obviously touring is a bit out the window at the moment. Lots of people are touring WA at the moment though. I actually didn’t even record any music during lockdown. I’ve just been gardening, cleaning out the shed. Stuff I normally neglect!

It’s been a productive time. For the normal everyday stuff that you neglect, but also for bands to regroup and write new stuff.

Yeah. The number of albums that are dropping now, that are quarantine albums, is actually crazy.

Anything else you want to tell us about the EP

Not that I can think of. You went pretty far into it (laughs) better than I did. I think I just write these songs and chick them out and don’t think too deeply as to what they are about.  Storm Clouds is such an emo song, I wrote that in one session. Wrote and recorded it before I even had a chance to think about what it was about! That happens frequently. I wasn’t even going to put it on the EP but once I wrote it I really liked it and I released it straight away. I got it out there as quickly as I could. That song did way better for me than anything else I have done so far. I was really surprised at how quickly it came together.

Sometimes they are the best ones!

For sure. Other songs like Grey and Old, I wrote the first half of it 4 years ago. I’d kind of forgotten about the track. My partner kept telling me it was a really good song and I needed to finish it. I was like yeah one day! Eventually I decided that I should try and finish it so the last half of the song I wrote 6 months ago. It’s kind of like a different track the bridge onwards but it works. I’m really happy with that song.

When you posted about which one was our favourite I couldn’t even really pick one because they are all good in their own way.

There doesn’t seem to be a clear favourite that I have seen. I thought Temporary Fix would be the least liked, but a few people have said that was their favourite. Heaps of people are liking the title track too. All my favourite songs I haven’t even released yet, that’s the funny thing.

That’s good then! Are they coming on the next EP?

Yeah. I have to get a move on I guess and get it finished. It always takes longer than you expect though.  

Hopefully it doesn’t take too long! What Keeps Me Here is one of my favourite EP releases this year and one you should definitely throw on Sunday morning while you’re having your morning coffee.

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