Never Bowen has just released their latest single, Lifeline, the titular track from their debut EP. Characterized by their ethereal sound, and vulnerable lyrics, we had a chat with the artist to talk about the inspiration for their work and the impact of years in lockdown on the songwriting process.
Check out Neve Bowen on Spotify now.
You have quite an ethereal rock sound, can you tell us a bit about some of your inspirations? How did they make it into the EP?
Ever since I can remember Kate Bush’s music has been around me. She’s always been a big inspiration because she’s a woman who cuts her own path musically and has an incredibly atmospheric vocal. When I started recording the EP in 2022, which I did in studio down time over a period of 6 months, I was listening to artists like Phoebe Bridgers who always makes her songs so intimate. And Florence & The Machine who has an incredible voice and brings the drama to her sound. I guess its that combination of intimacy and drama that inspired me on Lifeline. However, I have a wide range of influences – I love Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Wolf Alice, Blondie – the list is endless …
You worked on over 50 songs during your time over the pandemic. That’s quite impressive! And a good use of your time. Can you tell us why you’ve chosen to release the ones you have? What was the writing process like for the others?
I was 15 when lockdown first came, I only really just started writing my own songs. Given the amount of time everyone had on their hands, it was essential that I used it positively and so started to learn GarageBand, then logic to demo my own tracks. I wrote a lot during that time, but honestly 90% of it will never see the light of day as I was just learning. I moved from Bristol to London and then spent another 6 months in Lockdown, pretty much on my own and it was during this period in early 21 that my writing started to click. After a year in early 2022 I had a chance meeting with producer Matt Brettle at a Don Broco live gig. I sent him a few tunes which he was into , so we started to record them properly together.
You’ve written about losing your teenage years to the pandemic, can you tell us how it feels to be on the other side of this now?
I entered Lockdown at 15 and came out of it just before my 18th birthday. I think like a lot of people my age, I do feel that I was robbed of crucial years, spending an unhealthy amount of time at home and not going out socially. Despite using the time musically, I did get down at times like anyone would. Lockdown was lonely for so many people.
That is the message that I really want to give to everyone who has faced mental health challenges – do not give up, do not cave in and keep finding the strength to get through to where things can get better.
You’ve just released your latest single, Lifeline, can you tell us a bit about how this song started? How did you first get inspired to write it?
I wrote the chorus first. Sometimes things just arrive fully formed like that in a moment. Other times writing can take ages and nothing great happens. I always hope for that spark. My mindset was not in a great place at that time. I found it difficult to be able to express how I felt to anyone, so I used the song to explain where I was at.
The lyrics go, “maybe I’m afraid to die young,” are you? Can you tell us a bit about why you chose to phrase it this way?
Yes I was very afraid, very afraid. I was going through through a lot of personal issues and had a lot of people around me concerned for my well being. I tried to exorcise the demon that was living in my head through my writing.
Lifeline is the title track off your new EP. Can you tell us why you chose this one to represent the EP?
I think Lifeline was such a personal track for me, that it kick-started a wave of writing that was at a whole new level for me. Therefore I think it represent a pivotal moment and likely always will. When it came to production, the song started as a simple acoustic track and indeed I have played live like that many times at the solo gigs I’ve done in London. I wanted to create a really atmosphere with the track and build it to a crescendo before taking all the way back down to nothing. My friend Emily, added violin which enhanced the mood and Brettle used a lot of backwards vocal loops which I think represent the narrative I had going on in my head at the time.
Would you mind talking about some of the other tracks on the album, like song for Anna — who is Anna?
Anna is the demon, the girl living in my head trying to take my life away from me. Writing that song was probably harder than Lifeline, in fact I even included the line ‘I didn’t want to write this song’ in the lyrics. However I finished it with me overcoming the issue. That is the message that I really want to give to everyone who has faced mental health challenges – do not give up, do not cave in and keep finding the strength to get through to where things can get better. If you do that then they will.
I enjoy how the song opens up late, with the drums coming in on the second chorus. Did anything in particular inspire this move?
Deep Blue Ocean – I always loved Dreams by Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks is such an incredible artist. So I kind of had that in mind, however when we started in the studio , it kind of morphed using various synths on top of guitarist give the track a cool indie girl vibe.
Haunting Sound Of Love – I actually recorded that live in the studio. At the same time as working on full band production I recorded a bunch of acoustic tracks which I later overdubbed vocals onto. This was one of them. As was the acoustic version of Lifeline. I felt it represented what I had been doing live and so had a place on my first EP alongside the more produced tracks.
Thanks again for talking with us! One last question, what’s one detail in one of your songs that no one else has picked up on yet that you’d like to share with the world?
I guess that would be there fact that when the EP comes out on October 10th, I will play my first gig with a full band. We’ve been rehearsing all year and have created a whole set of songs, many new. The band is a far more indie rock affair. I love guitar solos and when I released Anna, I was contacted by a girl called Thea who was keen to be in a band and she plays great. Scott plays drums and Emily, who played Violin on Lifeline, plays bass. So watch this space as we recording the next EP in November and will be releasing that next year. Its a far more guitar driven affair and I can’t wait for you to hear it.