Neck Deep's Ben Barlow: "I Don’t Need To Be The Mouthpiece For This Political Generation"

Catching up with Ben Barlow about the status of a new Neck Deep album – and if it'll have any mention of politics in there…

Neck Deep's Ben Barlow: "I Don’t Need To Be The Mouthpiece For This Political Generation"
Emily Carter
Tom Barnes

This summer will mark two years since the release of Neck Deep's brilliant third album The Peace And The Panic, and the Wrexham pop-punks are slowly turning thoughts towards its highly-anticipated follow-up.

Visit the official Kerrang! Ticket Store

While album number three was packed with emotion and existentialism, it also contained a toe-dip into politics with the likes of the explosive Don't Wait (featuring Architects' Sam Carter) and single Happy Judgement Day. But it doesn't look like there'll be any focus on such subjects in their new music this time around, frontman Ben Barlow tells Kerrang!.

“I’m thinking now that I’m not really going to do that,” he says. “If the right song comes along then cool, but we’ve talked about what the message of the record is, and it isn’t political. There might be some societal tongue-in-cheek remarks, but I don’t think there’s going to be anything massively political – just because it’s not really what’s lining up with the message of the music at this point. I think it’s going to be more existential, rather than, ‘Fuck this!’ I don’t need to be the mouthpiece for this political generation. The world is more political than it’s been in a long, long time, and me just throwing my voice into that fucking endless void of political shit isn’t going to contribute anything. We should let the people who know what they’re talking about talk about it – the ones with the podcasts and the radio shows and the actual jobs in government. Let them talk about this shit, because a snotty dumb-ass from North Wales won’t add too much to that!”

Ben adds that, at first, he began to feel enormous pressure going into this next cycle – but those worries have since faded.

“Oh, I’m much more confident now!” the vocalist enthuses. “We’ve actually written a lot. While we were doing the main bulk of the touring for The Peace And The Panic, we didn’t want to be in ‘album mode’ before that was all done. You’re not always ready for that, and you have to put yourself in a creative space or get yourself in the right mindset. We had such an experience recording The Peace And The Panic – it was born in a pressure cooker, pretty much – that we were just like, ‘Let’s not think about the album – let’s think about it when everyone has ideas to put forward.’ That time came and everyone was writing really good shit (laughs). We started compiling everything we had two or three months ago, and we’re making very good progress. It’s still gonna be a while off, because we want to make sure that it’s the absolute best it can be, but there’s plenty of good shit floating around!”

As for where they're going musically? Things are probably going to be a bit different – a move inspired by both outside music that Neck Deep have been listening to, and also their general ambitions to grow even more as a band.

“Everyone’s on the same page: that it needs to be a little different, and it’s a culmination of where we feel like we can progress as a band, as well as taking inspiration from music that we listen to,” Ben nods. “I think you’d be surprised by some of the influences and the things that we’ve been writing! But it’s still gonna be a Neck Deep record; we’re not going to be doing anything mind-blowingly crazy, because that’s just not us. I’d love to make a fucking crazy prog-rock record or some shit like that, but that’s not Neck Deep, you know? As long as that core thing that makes it us is there, that’s the most important thing. On this one it’s definitely there – we’re not going to stray super far away, but it’s a good step forward.”

Cannot. Wait.

Catch Neck Deep supporting their pop-punk heroes blink-182 at the following dates this year…


27 Columbus, OH, Nationwide Arena
29 Hartford, CT, XFINITY Theatre
30 Atlantic City, NJ, Vans Warped Tour*


1 Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
3 Indianapolis, IN, Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
5 Hershey, PA, Hersheypark Stadium
6 Burgettstown, PA, KeyBank Pavilion
7 Toronto, ON, Budweiser Stage*
9 Holmdel, NJ, P.N.C. Bank Arts Center*
10 Mansfield, MA, Xfinity Center
11 Bristow, VA, Jiffy Lube Live
13 Bangor, ME, Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion
16 Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Blossom Music Center
17 Darien Center, NY, Darien Lake Amphitheatre
20 Virginia Beach, VA, Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
21 Columbia, MD, Merriweather Post Pavilion
23 Charlotte, NC, PNC Music Pavilion
25 West Palm Beach, FL, Coral Sky Amphitheatre
26 Tampa, FL, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
27 Atlanta, GA, Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
29 Jacksonville, FL, Daily’s Place
31 Houston, TX, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion


1 Austin, TX, Austin360 Amphitheater
2 Dallas, TX, The Dos Equis Pavilion
4 El Paso, TX, Don Haskins Center*
5 Phoenix, AZ, Ak-Chin Pavilion
7 San Diego, CA, North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
8 Los Angeles, CA, The Forum
27 Irvine, CA, FivePoint Amphitheatre
30 Portland, OR, Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
31 Seattle, WA, White River Amphitheatre


2 Salt Lake City, UT, USANA Amphitheatre
4 Denver, CO, Pepsi Center
6 Wichita, KS, Hartman Arena*
7 Council Bluffs, IA, Stir Cove*
8 Kansas City, MO, Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
10 Detroit, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre
13 Chicago, IL, Riot Fest*
14 St. Louis, MO, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
16 Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center

Check out more:

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?