Ben Barlow – ‘Neck Deep in New Material Ahead of Australian Tour’

Neck Deep 2023 new album blink 182 pop punk

If you’re a pop punk kid at heart, chances are you’ve already secured your tickets to one of the most anticipated returns down under in YEARS… and no, this time it isn’t about blink-182!

Neck Deep made the announcement they’ll be heading to Australia in September, their first trip since 2018’s EPIC run in celebration of The Peace and The Panic. Fast forward five years – throwing in a pandemic, some lineup changes, their 2020 album All Distortions Are Intentional, and a stack of new singles; the boys are well overdue and luckily for us, they’ll be bringing plenty of gifts in the form of new material to make up for lost time.

A Cheshire-cat grinning Ben Barlow greeted Wall of Sound via Zoom for a chat about the upcoming comeback tour, the new album they’re sitting on, blink-182‘s triumphant return of the GOAT lineup, and their incredible appearance at Download Festival‘s 20th Anniversary… but sadly, the call wasn’t recording – which in turn meant I personally got to spend 20mins discussing the above with the Neck Deep frontman, which I’ll treasure forever – however, I had to make up for the lost conversation with key points that Aussie (and international) fans NEED to know about…

Ben, thanks for playing catch up. Neck Deep is sitting on new music as you mentioned, what can you tell us about the first single we will hear soon?

It’s about aliens!!! Think ‘Aliens Exist 2.0’. It’s a straight-up pop punk song, as is a lot of this record. We’re stoked on being a proper pop punk band, and doing what comes easily and naturally to us. We don’t feel too much expectation is on us this time, because we’re just being true to ourselves and having fun. And I think that comes across in the songs.

You performed at Download’s 20th Anniversary, and it was epic. What’s a core memory from that show you’ll take with you forever?

I think the fact that it was sold out the whole weekend, and walking out to that crowd will always be special. We’re forever grateful for the opportunities we get, so just to play to a crowd that hyped and that big, and to feel we did the slot justice was a huge achievement for us. Circle pits for ‘STFU’ was a good mental snapshot – to see people go off for new songs as much as the old is definitely a nice feeling.

During the lost conversation, we spoke about the return of Tom DeLonge to blink-182 and how it feels like all is right with the world again. Ben, like many of us, watched the historical return to the stage at Coachella online back in April, and noted that despite the time between, it felt more genuine and that the guys looked so happy to be playing again. We touched on Neck Deep touring with blink in 2017, and even working with Mark Hoppus himself, who in his maturity has taken on the ‘Dad’ role of the band, pulling Tom back in line when needed, but still displaying the comradery of mateship that we know and love them for.

Ben, we spoke about blink, and the influence they have on Neck Deep and this new material you’re sitting on. I questioned whether the album was like Neighborhoods, but you said it’s more like TOYPAJ with a song from Neighborhoods – can you please elaborate on this again a little bit?

I think it’s similar to TOYPAJ because it’s an elevated pop punk sound. Blink had so much fun with that record, they managed to maintain their classic Blink sound but still push forward. So I think that’s where we’re coming from.

The Neighborhoods vibe comes from listening to bands like The Clash and The Buzzcocks. It’s punk but with a more rock/pop structure and feel to it. A little bit more mid-tempo than classic punk but still full of attitude and feeling.

It’s been a few years since you last came down, what’s changed at a Neck Deep show since we last saw you in Australia?

Not much! That’s one part of the formula we’ve not needed to tweak so much. The energy is always there. As long as the crowd is down, then so are we. It’s a two way street where the fans and band play off each other. There won’t be much production or anything like that (we’re not rich) so the energy on our part has to be on point.

One key difference is Ben’s brother Seb Barlow (bass/backing vox) has NEVER been to Australia, and since joining the band in 2020, this will be his first venture such a long way away from home, an experience Ben said he’s looking forward to sharing with his bro.

From all accounts you have one day off between shows – how do you predict you’ll spend that day and what is your brother looking forward to doing on his first trip down under?

Yeah! I’d love more days off because Aus truly is one of my favourite places to be. But I imagine we’ll hit the beach or a swimming hole, maybe meet up with some friends. We’re pretty chill generally, we might all just need a good rest at that point.

I think Seb is pretty keen on getting tattooed while in Australia. There’s an abundance of incredible tattooers down under and so taking advantage of that is a must for him. Other than that, just the beauty of the country and the food!

As you can see, there’s plenty on offer from the wonderful world of Neck Deep – and we’ll start to see action over the next few weeks leading up to the tour – the band were filming a music video as Ben sent back his replies to our catch up, so stay tuned for what is going to be a MASSIVE year for the resurgence of the lads and the pop punk genre itself.

Interview by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul

Neck Deep tour Australia in September with Yours Truly
Tickets via Live Nation

Neck Deep – Live in Australia 2023
with Yours Truly

September 5th @ The Forum, Melb SOLD OUT

Sept 7th @ Roundhouse, Syd

September 8th @ The Tivoli, Bris

Sept 9th @ Hindley St Music Hall, Adel

Sept 11th @ Metropolis, Freo

Tickets Here

About Paul 'Browny' Brown (3765 Articles)
Dad, Wall of Sound Boss Man/Editorial Manager, Moshpit Enthusiast & Professional Beard Grower!