Casey: “Fulfilment is us communicating as a band again, and creating together”

Their split five years ago broke many hearts – including their own – but returning in 2024 with superb new LP How To Disappear, post-hardcore favourites Casey are ready to reclaim their crown. Here, the band open up to K! about the fear and friendship that brought about their triumphant return…

Casey: “Fulfilment is us communicating as a band again, and creating together”
Jake Richardson
Martyna Bannister

The split of post-hardcore heroes Casey in 2018 came as a shock to many in the UK rock scene. It was only earlier that year that the South Wales five-piece had released their excellent, critically acclaimed second album Where I Go When I Am Sleeping, while they’d also gone down a storm on the Kerrang! Tour 2017 just a few months prior. In the space of four years and two albums, the band – vocalist Tom Weaver, guitarists Liam Torrance and Toby Evans, bassist Adam Smith and drummer Max Nicolai – had become one of the most beloved names in post-hardcore on both sides of the Atlantic. And then, it was over.

A statement released in December 2018 announced their end, citing a desire to uphold their artistic integrity and, crucially, safeguard their mental health. The impression it left was one that suggested the members of Casey no longer felt invested enough – both creatively and emotionally – in their band for it to continue with credibility.

Acknowledging that they needed to press pause but that walking away took a great emotional toll, Liam and Toby today reflect on the sadness that accompanied the decision to part ways.

“I felt lost,” Liam says of his feelings at the time. “The fear of the unknown was a big thing for me. Casey had been a real crutch for my emotions and how I was able to create art. Upon reflection, we know it was a very rash decision.”

“I never got over it,” fellow guitarist Toby adds of the despair at Casey’s demise.

Thankfully, both for the members who mourned their time in the band and fans who missed hearing music from one of the UK’s finest purveyors of emo-inflected post-hardcore, in December of 2022 Casey announced their reformation, with third album – the excellent How To Disappear – now set to drop this Friday, January 12 via Hassle.

Explaining that, “creatively, Casey never ended” – the instrumentalists regularly meeting up to play and share ideas in the years following the split – Liam, Toby and their bandmates are thrilled to be back, but they’re returning with a newfound sense of wisdom and appreciation for the sheer impact their music has, particularly vocalist Tom, who was feeling burnt out when Casey first decided to call it a day.

“Casey means a lot to me, musically, but Tom is the driving force behind the lyrics,” Liam explains. “So, when we were discussing coming back, the biggest thing for us was whether Tom would be comfortable revisiting those points in his life every night when singing the older songs – emotionally, that’s a much harder task for him than it is us as instrument players. That was a sticky point, but Tom’s ethos on it, which we really value, is that the songs have grown to have a greater meaning and have helped so many other people, that it would be selfish for him just to keep the feeling of hearing those songs again to himself.

“He’s managed to separate himself in that sense, and maybe that is something we didn’t understand before we split. But it’s important we continue to play those songs for the people that love them, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

As well as broadening their appreciation of the inner workings of their band, Casey’s time away has allowed them to foster a true love of a scene they helped create. In their absence, outstanding young acts like Holding Absence and Sleep Token have taken up the mantle for heavy music in the UK, blending aspects of emo, post-hardcore and metal in a grander way than ever before. The influence of bands like Casey on the new breed is clear, and Liam recognises that “the UK scene has thrived” in their absence. But armed with a brand-new album and a determination that this second incarnation of Casey be a fresh creative venture rather than a mere nostalgia play, the quintet are set on making their mark once again.

Toby is steadfast in his belief that How To Disappear will do just that, proudly stating that the new record is “far superior to anything we’ve ever done before.”

A more melodic take on Casey, How To Disappear sees versatile vocalist Tom offer more clean singing than previously, and while the new album dials down the aggression a little, its impact is still profound.

“This is still Casey, it’s still got aggression, but we’ve spent a lot more time thinking about how we want to portray ourselves through melody,” Toby says. “The way I write… I’m really thinking about melody and chord changes and making the songs as full as possible. Classical music and lots of post-rock, stuff like Explosions In The Sky and This Will Destroy You were big influences for How To Disappear.

“Even with the drums, we wanted them to sound as big and as ‘rock’ as possible – Foo Fighters and Taylor Hawkins were a big influence on that aspect of the record’s sound.”

Returning with a renewed sense of vigour and purpose, Casey head into 2024 with their most accomplished album yet and a huge UK/European tour booked for March and April. But despite returning amidst a wave of expectation, the sense of fulfilment the band are getting from being back has little to do with outside successes. As Toby concludes, achievement for Casey 2.0 comes down to two things very much within their control: communication and creativity.

“Fulfilment for me is just us communicating as a band again, being back as Casey and creating together. Creativity is such a need for some people – I can’t live without it – and to have my best mates creating music with me and doing it in the way we have done with the new record, that’s true fulfilment for me. It’s great to be back.”

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