Acres – ”Burning Throne’ brings bigger and better Acres’

Words: Miljan Milekić

Back in August 2019, everything looked so good for the South Coast, UK band Acres. Their debut album ‘Lonely World’ had just been released, and the band was gaining traction all across the world, playing a handful of great shows in Europe. And then, it all stopped. Not for them, but for the whole world. Three years later, the band is returning with a brand new album, ‘Burning Thrones,’ bringing even bigger and greater sound, not only picking up where they left off but taking it even further. We caught up with singer Ben Lumber to discuss everything that lies before the band.

Welcome back! It’s good to hear some new Acres music after three years. How does it feel to share new songs with the world?
Ben: Hey! It feels amazing to be back and sharing new music with everyone! The world stopped and it’s nice to be back doing what we love! 
So far, you released two new songs, ‘Burning Throne,’ and ‘Hold On,’ both in a typical Acres fashion, but yet, more mature and, dare I say, more deep and personal than ever before. Can you tell me more about the songs?
Ben: Alex [Freeman] has a heavier music taste than myself so it was really interesting to see where he pictured the direction these songs would go in. He wrote a lot of the early music like ‘Solace’ and ‘The Tallest Of Mountains’ so the really cool thing about this record is there are glimpses of that. I feel like it’s a bigger and better Acres and I’m truly excited for everyone to finally hear it!

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My first impression of the songs is that they are a bit different from one another and convey a different type of energy. However, after a while, I got a feeling that they are coming from the same place but with an approach from different angles. How hard was it to keep this connection between songs that are different in both sound and the topics they tackle?
Ben: There are some new aspects of the sound that were pretty challenging and writing heavier music was also something totally new. It was really fun, tho, I love trying to push the boundaries and challenge myself and I love experimenting with music. We always said we didn’t want to write the same album twice and I feel like we’ve produced something different and exciting!

Both songs came in with videos that, once again, perfectly sum up the atmosphere of your songs and follow the aesthetic you created with your previous work and made your own. Was it a conscious decision, and how challenging was it to make that continuity after two or three years?
Ben: We’ve always absolutely just tried to be ourselves, write the music WE love and we’ve never tried to be anything we are not. We never had any grand conversations about how we needed to look or how we need to present ourselves. It’s always been a love us or hate us attitude and staying true to ourselves is very important so the visual ideas came pretty naturally.

I remember you releasing your debut album ‘Lonely World’ back in August of 2019 and doing some shows just before everything went to hell, before the pandemic hit, and before the lockdowns and travel restrictions. I believe that ‘Burning Throne’ was in part about that as well, but how did it feel to be robbed of what was supposed to be the best time of your career, the shows, festivals, and getting out there?
Ben: It really, really, sucked. We felt like we were really making an impact in music. We are all so proud of ‘Lonely World,’ and we just wanted to tour and play shows. ‘Burning Throne’ is totally a reflection of the last few years and how we felt it got snatched away from us. We saw so many bands releasing music over lockdown, and we stuck to our guns and really took our time writing these new songs, and didn’t want to rush or just release songs we felt weren’t our best.

How does a band that has only begun its road in the music world even cope with something like that?
Ben: It was gutting and none of us expected it to last as long as it did, I thought in a few months we’d be back on the road playing shows but truthfully we weren’t prepared for it to be this long. It definitely had a huge effect on my mental health as it did many many others around the world.

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With two new songs already out, and the record on the way, what can we expect from it?
Ben: ‘Burning Throne’ is for sure my favourite record we’ve ever done and that’s a very typical thing to say but I really feel like there’s something for everyone on this album. I feel like old Acres fans will appreciate it and new fans will see a good progression from ‘Lonely World.’ We’ve evolved as a band but you can hear it’s still Acres and I love that! 

Despite everything that happened right after the release of ‘Lonely World’ I still have an impression that it was very well received. Did you at any point feel any pressure because of it, going into the writing process of the new record?
Ben: We were all so happy with how ‘Lonely World’ was received, there was totally some pressure to not drop the ball on album two, but at the same time I was personally confident we could produce something on par or if not better! I felt like when we had finished writing ‘Lonely World’ we had only dipped our feet into this new sound.

You always seemed like the band that wants to push boundaries, and let their sound evolve. How challenging was it to strike the balance between trying new things, and keeping the sound you created on the debut?
Ben: Yeah, we’ve definitely always aimed to grow as a band and change up the dynamics, the writing process for ‘Burning Throne’ was similar to ‘Lonely World’ but instead of me and Theo [Sandberg] writing the record, it was me and Alex this time round. It was pretty daunting going into this process and trying new things but once we figured out the formula it was like we picked up where we left off. 
So, how does it feel to be only the second most well-known musician in the house now?
Ben: Haha! I’ve loved every second of it. It’s been a really nice experience for me to teach Harper about music, show her bands that I love, and watch her discover heavy music, and just having this in common with her is cool. She is really, really talented and I can’t wait to see where she is in years to come!

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*Interview edited for length and clarity

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