Post-grungers Tantric had already been in the studio for two lengthy recording sessions for their new album, After We Go, when their label insisted they return and try again. In a huff the band went in and worked on three more tracks.
Not only did the new session produce current single “Hey Now,” it also birthed the title track and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”
“Unfortunately, pain makes you interesting,” frontman Hugo Ferreira said of the ordeal. “This record was a long and painful process to make. We were under a lot of pressure from our label to spit something out.”
“Hey Now” sounds like it was churned out under duress. Like the songs from the band’s self-titled 2001 album, the music is filled with vocal harmonies reminiscent of Alice in Chains, and folksy acoustic guitar strumming balanced by distorted rock riffs. However, the track is colored with aggressive crunch and the lyrics are more injured and bitter: “Hear me but you don’t listen/ Or you don’t want to/ You’re just saving yourself.”
“It’s kind of a ’You did me wrong, so f— you’ song,” Ferreira explained, implying that the lyrics are about someone in the band’s inner circle. “It’s like, ’Hey, you promised me something. You said you were my friend. You said you would be there. You said you wouldn’t lie. And then you’re all full of sh–.’ So it’s about finding reasons to be involved with that person or to even want to work with them again or make them a part of your life, but sometimes you don’t really have a choice.”
Ferreira wrote “Hey Now” with ex-Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. The two grew up in the same small town of Hudson, Massachusetts, and their moms were friends, so Ferreira would go to Nuno’s house to hang with his nephews, and Nuno would let Hugo play his guitars.
“When I was in high school, and Extreme were coming out, he was pretty much the city’s idol,” Ferreira recalled. “So, fast forward 12 years. It had been a long time since I had seen him, and I was hanging out with him in L.A. And I was like, ’Hey, man, let’s just jam and write some sh– for fun.’ So, we wrote the demo for ’Hey Now’ and I brought it back to the guys.”
“Hey now” is pretty representative of the rest of After We Go, which comes out February 10. Throughout, the band lays a foundation of acoustic rock, then dirties it up with surging wah-wah, fuzzy showers of distortion and full-fisted beats.
“I think the record is more mature and it’s definitely heavier,” Ferreira said. “We’re all older and we’re a product of our environment. And there was crazy sh– going on around us every day, whether it was another U.S. soldier getting shot or another disease that’s killing people. Whenever you turn on the news, there’s never anything good on there. People are pissed, everyone’s broke, and we’re invading other countries. There’s no way you can be unaffected by it, and that struggle definitely helps give this record its own soul.”