FEATURE: How Between You & Me Defied The Odds In 'Armageddon' To Create Their Best Work Yet!


Photo supplied by Habit Music

After many twists, turns, and a tumultuous recording process, ‘Armageddon’ is finally upon us. In their second record, Between You & Me have worked on their craft and perfected their artistry, creating an album that is seamless, but most importantly, the truest sounding work to date. In an equal feat of important lyrics and mesmerizing instrumentals, BYAM finds the balance between the serious and the fun, shedding the light that can emerge within all things ‘Armageddon’.

Plunging us into the album with the energetic ‘Pleased To Meet You’, BYAM lays the foundations for the album ahead- one that is full of energy, passion, and grand proportions. Anthemic and all-encompassing thanks to its layered vocals and fast drum beats, it is impossible to escape the grasp this opening track places upon you, holding on tight enough to throw you into the tracks to follow. Many of the tracks to follow may already be known to you as the band developed their most outstanding catalog of singles within his album release period. ‘Supervillain’ was our first taste of the album, and spun many fans out of control, presenting a new sound, style, and of course, a BYAM identity that sounded truly authentic. Entracing and intriguing, the track begins with heavy and submerging bass- something that feels so positively dirty and leaves you wanting more. Infused with a refined and passionate vocal performance, JT adds an intense dynamic to the track, exploding away exponentially from their previous work. The next single was ‘Deadbeat’, in their fluctuating soundscape, ‘Deadbeat’ adds to the collection of the band’s mastery, their ability to adapt, and to rework styles to suit their story. So too, the track sees the band go to places they’ve never been before, throwing the listener an intense and inspiring breakdown! Powerful and explosive, ‘Deadbeat’ demanded attention, but better yet, proved that no one truly knew what was coming for the rest of the album. In between these was ‘Butterflies’, a track that continues to enthrall with each listen. With seamless transitions between verse and chorus, this track never fails in its presentation of energy and attitude. Outpouring with charisma,


‘Butterflies’ was one of the key tracks to emphasize the true BYAM touch this album would hold upon it. Next released was ‘Change’- an anthem aiming to tackle the topic of climate change on both a local and global scale. Blurring the lines between impending doom and inescapable joy, ‘Change’ molds its form into that of a catchy, vibrant and exciting earworm, creating a beautiful juxtaposition between its at-times, dire lyricism. True to the band’s many capabilities, Between You & Me have once again created an intertwinement of worlds, culminating in a representation of the feelings we could have if we committed to change. With another stellar vocal performance from JT aided by the band’s well-thought-out and layered instrumental performance, ‘Change’ proved to showcase Between You & Me’s truly evolved sound, and newfound comfort (and confidence) in the identity they are presenting with this album. Our last taste came with one of the most anticipated tracks of the album, ‘Go To Hell’ featuring Yours Truly- two incredible Aussie artists rolled into one punchy track. Submerging into a deeper tone and darker presentation, ‘Go To Hell’ shifts the foundations of the album. This isn't the first time we've seen the powerful dynamic between these two powerhouse vocalists- but it is the first time since both of their creative journeys have reached their peak, making for a track that is purely mind-blowing. In a battle for power that is embedded with passion and raw emotion, ‘Go To Hell’ is not merely an impeccable collab, but offers an outstanding twist for ‘Armageddon’.


Despite the delectable single game from BYAM this time around, they certainly were not overcompensating for the rest of the album. Truly, ‘Armageddon’ is a skillful case of no filler, all killer, packed to the brim with tracks that capture, excite, and entice- even many listens in. The newfound passion, the development of sound and the tangible sense of confidence we can see within the tracks has given BYAM a new flavour- one which they've sprinkled within every track. One of the most notable standouts from these newer tracks is ‘Goldfish’. Presented with a heavy dose of attitude and self-assertion, the track is a self-reliant and aware anthem, calling for what the band really deserves. With an infectious chorus, layered instrumentals, and a heated voicemail-sounding incorporation, ‘Goldfish’ will fuel your journey for something better. Implementing the groove toward the later parts of the album, ‘Real World’ is an absolute belter that sees a completely new sound in the album, but slots in with ease and comfort. So too, ‘Better Days’ amplifies a new type of fragility, with JT’s vocals reaching their highest and most delicate point- demonstrating that this album has truly stretched to show each facet of his vocal capabilities.


Finishing the album is the title track, ‘Armageddon’. Perfectly encapsulating the album that has been, and creating a beautiful transition into what the album will be (when you inevitably press repeat), this track leaves an insatiable taste for the album in your mind. Heartfelt and ballad-like, BYAM pours their emotional sensibilities and skillful dynamic as a band to lather each instrument with feeling and being. Closing the album off impressively, ‘Armageddon’ proves not to drop the ball on any occasion.


Through ten exciting songs, Between You & Me have put their best foot forward, demonstrating the heights self-belief and growth can take you to. Solidifying their own sound and identity, ‘Armageddon’ is not merely some of the band’s best work, but is inarguably one of the finest releases of the year.



We had a chat with JT just before the release to explore ‘Armageddon’!


Livewire: Prior to our latest taste of ‘Go To Hell’, ‘Change’ was the single dominating our earphones! It covers some pretty heavy topics like climate change, but we have also seen both ‘Deadbeat’ and ‘Supervillian’ covering topics like toxic relationships. So far we’ve seen a lot of heavy themes- is this something that we’re channeling in ‘Armageddon’- this greater commentary through music?


JT: I guess, subconsciously! We didn't try to intentionally channel dark themes. ‘Deadbeat’ was written in the studio just because of how I was feeling on that particular day when I was writing lyrics. So there was no intention- but stuff like that seemed to just kind of happen the whole way along. However, ‘Change’ was a topic we did intend to touch on! I think that’s why we called the record ‘Armageddon’- some tracks definitely did stem from this album title, especially the title track ‘Armageddon’ which was the first one written. Originally, the record was going to be more related toward that theme, but then songs didn't get picked, there were new songs getting written, and by that point, I was drained by all topics ‘Armageddon’!


I can only imagine! There’s only so much ‘Armageddon’ we can take, and we’ve had more than we need!


Literally!


I guess on a lighter note, the reception to these songs so far has been pretty good- a lot of fan interaction and rotations of channels like Triple J and Unearthed; how does this affect you leading up to the album? Is it just another box ticked or does it take some weight off your shoulders?


It’s cool that people came around to the new sound! To me, I don't really care if old fans like it or not. I just want to write music that I think is good, that I want to listen to, and that I want to write. The fact that people have jumped on that and are actually liking it is somewhat of a relief, but like, I don’t think I would have cried myself to sleep if people didn't like it! It’s nice to see the Triple J love because we were not usually their regulars or a band that has been on there much really before this, so it feels like it’s all leading up to something! Whether that will actually happen or not… who knows! It seems to be a good step in the direction we want to go I guess!


One hundred percent! That kind of segues into the next thing I’m going to ask, because it’s so frustrating looking on, and I can imagine how much more frustrating it is for you- but you're really coming into your own, a true BYAM sound for this album- and a lot of Aussie bands right now, you, Thornhill… you're releasing some of your best work to date, yet you're still met with the comments that are like “you're selling out”, “this isn't what we wanted”. You have always been very vocal about it, but in your personal response, as brutal as you want, how do you respond to that and how do you persevere when it keeps coming?


When people say it to me, I basically tell them to get fucked really. If someone says that we’re selling out, then they've got no idea because if I could sell out and make money, I would do it in a heartbeat- but that would probably just mean making more pop-punk / MGK stuff- because you know, apparently that’s coming back in! But, I don't know, if people knew the band’s finances and the position that they were in I don't think they would be able to say that we’re selling out. If that is an option, give it to me and I’ll take it!!


I'll keep my eye out for the contract! I guess one of the things a lot of people were happy about is the feature on this album with Yours Truly who are not only long-time collaborators but long-time friends! What’s it like to be able to grow and create alongside one another for so long?


It’s so sick! When I first met everyone in YT, which was years ago, I think BYAM was on tour with As It Is in 2017 on their Aus tour, they were fans of the band and I met them at separate shows, and the music we were both writing at that time is so different to the stuff we’re both creating now. It really is super cool to see how far both of our bands have come. They are fucking killing it right now- they're going to be the next biggest band, besides BYAM! Hahaha! But yeah, it’s awesome to watch your friends succeed and do well, especially considering the beginnings we all had. I'm stoked to have Mikaila on the record!


What’s it like undertaking the whole recording process together? I feel like it would alleviate some tension when you're friends but is it hard to stay professional when you're singing or coming up with ideas together?


So we didn't sing together for this one, although I was in there for ‘Delusional Paradise’, which we kind of wrote in there! We never really take ourselves too seriously, it’s just a bit of fun- I don’t like to have a serious vibe in the studio- the more fun the better. For this one, I had written the part and I was like, “Hey Mikaila, do you want to sing on it”? And she was like “yeah”... well she had it done the next day! I woke up and listened to it and I was just like “sick”. It was such a huge weight off my shoulders because it was getting tight, the time was approaching for us to submit the album and we were just like waiting on this gap in the song and it finally got filled by one of our best friends!


What an angel!


The song fucking rocks so I cannot wait to put it out!


I was just listening to it in preparation and I was just like “oh my god”. I don't think people are ready for what they're going to get!


I don't think people are ready either!


On that same note, the Yours Truly, BYAM note- You guys did the Crowbar Forever show just on a whim but you ended up performing a really cool cover! What was that like after that little in-between break of not having many shows?


That was fucking awful! That was atrocious! Me and Mik were absolutely SAUCED when we got up there! I remember throwing cake into the crowd because there was cake on stage. But honestly, I was really nervous. When was that? Like mid-year? I hadn't played a show since March last year and hadn't been on stage since then, so to get up and do a song that was not in a key that I could sing and I didn't know the words… I was just like “oh fuck”! Mikaila signed me up for it, she was like “oh by the way you and me are doing a song” and I just got that instant stomach drop feeling! But we got up there and it was fun, like we were both just sauced out of our minds and I realized she was out of key and I was singing out of time and I just thought, “what a comeback to the stage”. Haha!


Honestly, I think that was the least of everyone's worries. At least for myself in the front row, I was more worried about whether Bonnie was going to vomit on me or not because of her stomach bug, haha! I guess back on track to the album, it’s the first major body of work since ‘Everything Is Temporary’. What’s the biggest thing you learned and how did it affect ‘Armageddon’?


Like you said, it had been so long between albums, almost 3/2 years which is just fucking ridiculous. I think in that time, we have all become much better songwriters and I think by the time it came ready to record this next one, without being arrogant, we knew we were way better and were much more equipped to do this this time around. Whereas last record we wrote eleven songs and ten of them were on the record, this time we had like heaps and heaps and we could actually choose the best ones! We felt super comfortable writing on the spot and collaborating, so we really felt we were able to write something that was uniquely BYAM, or fresh, or however you want to categorize it as. I hate recording and I love it at the same time. It’s super stressful, but at the end, I can look back and know what we did was right.


It’s definitely showing through the new songs how comfortable you guys are because, despite all the setbacks, everything sounds so perfect. But going back to that, you guys have a ride, to say the least, when releasing this album. How has that experience built your character leading up to the release?


To say that BYAM gets bent over the most is an absolute understatement! We have had so many roadblocks, which still pop up to this bloody day, but I guess what can you do! I mean, I think that if we were able to record the record in Canada in March when we intended to, it wouldn't be the same record at all because half the songs hadn't been written. So that was obviously for the better. I guess with everything that continues to come our way, all the bumps and blocks, we just have to keep that in mind- we were bummed not to do the record at that time but we ended with a far better result in the end. It thickens your skin a bit!


Of course! I don't know how you guys… well, I'm not going to say anything I’ll end up regretting saying like “I don't know how you're still around”, because after your tweets today, I’m scared to say anything like that!


Hahahaha!


I guess on that line, another roadblock- the ‘Supervillain’ single shows were amalgamated into the new album tour shows. Is that a blessing in disguise getting to celebrate the whole body of work with it being out for a while and people can have a better chance to connect with it and then come to a show?


Yeah, it’s cool! We would have done the single shows and then the album tour anyway, so it’s just kind of melted into one. There are pros and cons. Obviously, I would've loved to play this year because we're going to be so rusty, it's going to be almost two years since our band has played a show when the tour rolls around! But yeah it's going to be sick! I can’t wait to play all these new songs because we've been playing these old ones for ages and I think we just can't wait to bring that fun energy back with way better songs! I just miss partying on stage to be honest, and everyone having a good time-


Diving on people!


-yeah it’s going to be a WILD tour! Regardless of who shows up I’m just going to be off my rocker the whole time!


Does the new album make the tour process a little bit harder now that you have to cull songs and work out what to play on the setlist and cater for people?


Nah it makes it way better. Because it’s like “what good song do we play”? Before it was like “oh well we can't play this one because it’s slow, we can't play this one because it's one minute long, can't play this one because it's too long or it's whatever”. This time, we can actually mix up the set, make it way more fun for us and the people who are listening instead of playing the same songs we have been playing for three or four years. I’m very, VERY excited to have new songs to play!


Building the vibe, you put out a bit of a callout to who people want to see open! Do you have anyone in mind, what’s the vibe you're looking for?


We did have something that fell through which is devastating. We just found out today, so that’s why we've been a bit peeved off at the music industry on our socials (as you've seen). Maybe I should've been a carpenter, but that's for another day! I would love to have Loser on our tour. They've got that fucking awesome song… “I’m older today, don't care”. I fucking love them- I sweat that band so hard! I hope they want to come tour with us. Whoever comes out on tour with us, it’s going to be fun regardless-


Any BYAM show is a party just by itself!


Yes! Yes!


This whole interview I've been treading lightly around the nerve that's been lingering today and that question, I just stepped on it, so sorry about that!


That’s fine!


Conveniently, your album is releasing on the same day as Aus Music T-Shirt day! Who will you be wearing… if not BYAM?


Well, you said it right there, I definitely would have worn my own shirt. I haven't bought a shirt from an Aus band in so long because there have been no shows! It’s only like ten days away… maybe I should order a shirt! If it’s not BYAM, I'll be wearing Yours Truly! I've got plenty of Yours Truly shirts, and I hope that everyone, when our album comes out, wears a BYAM shirt. Our album was going to come out on the same day as Taylor Swift’s one and then she changed it, she didn't want the smoke.


She was too scared that you'd be fighting her on the charts!


Oh, she was TREMBLING! Wise move by her for pulling out of that one.


This is an ample opportunity to plug new merch! Do you have any new vinyl, new merch?


Yes! So we are in the process of setting up our stores in Aus, USA and the UK at the moment and are finalizing designs so they should be out pretty soon, I want to say. We got our website running which is kinda a funnel link, we have everyone funneling through there to get tickets, keep up to date, everything BYAM. But- byamaus.com is the place you need to go to keep up to date! Hopefully, we're dropping it soon, we've been working on it for fucking ages. Everything takes so LONG!


All the pictures that have surfaced, even just the album cover and the vinyl variants, everything is so pretty- the colours, the designs.


Yes, thank you! We wanted to get it nice and sleek for this release. No more us wearing bloody singlets on stage! Dressing suave from now on only.


Exactly! And I mean, one of the music videos featured that dance number. Can we expect you guys to learn that or pair up together to give us a performance?


Gibbo wanted me to learn that and I was like “there is no chance I am going to have the coordination to do that” but, maybe. I mean, if we end up in the same town as the choreographer, maybe I’ll have to get them to teach me. I'll be dreadful!


I'll be holding you to this.


Yeah, hold me to it. I need to do it! I've gotta adventure more.


Either on stage or we make a little circle in the pit, ballroom style, and you go in there!


Hahaha! If anything I would do it for TikTok, just to go viral for a dance that nobody knows!


Oh, all for the likes! I mean, the BYAM TikTok is something we didn't see coming. How’s it been running that alongside releasing everything?


Look, the BYAM TikTok page is ass, because there’s no content for us to post! When we're on tour, I imagine that's going to be a fun page to follow when we're back on the road again and can upload whatever we get up to in the day, but right now, it’s only reposting old content or vertical music videos. So nothing too hectic on that point… oh that reminds me, I have to go and do some TikTok promo for the new single after this call. Everyone get on TikTok!


I’ll send the Livewire troops over! On one final note, what’s something you want to create or want people to take away from this album release, or your final thoughts and feelings before the release- just let it all out!


Oof! Where do I start? I’m glad that once people listen to it, they'll realize we're the best band to come out of Australia! Hahaha! That's so stupid! Nah, I'm just really stoked at obviously how much we've progressed, and gotten better, and matured as a band- musically not mentally. I’m glad that everyone has stuck with us until this point, because it's been ages of us being the most inactive band on earth. I'm stoked for ourselves really. I'm so happy, I love the record. I've listened to it since it was finished maybe like over a thousand times- on the way to work, on the way back from work- I don't get sick of it. If this can go in people's top albums of all time, big ask, but I just hope people like the record. But if you don't, I don't care because I love it!


And that's all that matters! And imagine knowing BYAM before they are the best band in Australia!


Exactly guys, you gotta jump on the train now before we’re massive and we’re on, I don't know, Jimmy Kimmell or something!


Yeah, imagine being a poser and jumping after the release of ‘Armageddon’!


'Armageddon' is now available everywhere!


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