[Photo: Martyna Wisniewska]
Life-changing events are often the catalyst for artistic output. Whether it’s the breakup of a relationship, or a more devastating event such as the death of a loved one or a battle with illness, the trials of life inspire musicians to create art that is cathartic for them and relatable for their fans. Having that inspiration, however, comes at a cost, something Tom Weaver, frontman of U.K. hardcore heroes Casey, knows more than most.
Weaver has experienced several life-changing events that have, in one way or another, influenced his approach to music. He’s been diagnosed with colitis, brittle bones and manic depression, survived a serious car crash, suffered a heart attack and a stroke and had to support his family in caring for the needs of his disabled brother. It’s a hell of a lot for one person to bear, and the weight of these experiences can be heard on Casey’s devastatingly affecting upcoming album Where I Go When I Am Sleeping, releasing March 16 via Rise Records. The LP’s third single, “Bruise,” is premiering exclusively with AP today.
“'Bruise' is a retrospective look over the distance between [our previous album] Love Is Not Enough and this new record,” Weaver explains. “It’s also one of the more hopeful songs on Where I Go When I Am Sleeping––the first part of the track is written about how I felt at the end of the Love Is Not Enough cycle and the time leading up to the new record.”
The hope that is found on “Bruise” and across Where I Go When I Am Sleeping, while certainly present, is surrounded by feelings of guilt, shame and pain. Weaver has struggled in the past with balancing his need to convey the knowledge that his problems may seem insignificant compared to the suffering of those around him, something he confronts on this new record.
“One of the themes across the album is adult guilt––the idea of being unworthy or undeserving of your present position,” Weaver outlines. “It’s the antithesis to the idea that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Growing up in the household I did––I’ve got a severely handicapped brother––I learned what I believed to be my place quickly. I never wanted much as a child, because I always knew that my brother’s needs came before my own, and that translated into my early adulthood. I never used to come home drunk, because I always respected that my brother needed to sleep a lot, and I’d never bring girlfriends home, because I knew my parents had a lot to deal with. I was instilled with a sense of responsibility very early on in life.”
That responsibility has stayed with Weaver, and it’s probably why, despite all the pain he has experienced, and the specificity with which he confronts that pain in Casey’s music, Where I Go When I Am Sleeping doesn’t sound self-indulgent, or so personal to Weaver that it’s hard to relate to. Casey’s latest record is the sound of a man exploring the anguish that has blighted his life, but crafted in a way that opens up his story to the interpretation of the listener. Most of us will never go through what Weaver has, but hearing his words on Where I Go When I Am Sleeping, you’ll be reminded of the struggles of times past. More importantly, however, you’ll be reminded that you overcame whatever it was that was standing in your way.
“These days, I suffer predominantly with my physical health, but I’ve suffered with my mental health quite badly in the past,” Weaver says of the battles he’s faced. “Max [Nicolai, drums] and Adam [Smith, bass] both suffer with anxiety, and in general there’s always been something going on outside of the band that means we’ve had to be mindful of each other and demonstrate a degree of patience and understanding––if the five of us weren’t like that, we’d have broken up a long time ago.
“Whenever we’ve faced adversity, we’ve found a way to deal with it,” he continues. “When I was in hospital last year, the doctors were talking about surgery, and I was on the phone to the guys like, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’ll deal with it; even if it means we can only play five shows a year or I can’t scream anymore––whatever happens, we’ll overcome it.’ I know it’s really cliché to say, but we genuinely are like a family.”
Where I Go When I Am Sleeping is released March 16 via Rise Records (North America) and Hassle Records (UK, EU).