London based band Childhood formed in Nottingham 2012 and were part of British guitar groups at that time causing shivers of anticipation. According to frontman Ben Romans-Hopcraft, initially they had no songs and he had never even played a single note. Having met fellow founder & guitarist Leo Dobsen at Nottingham University, the band were quickly joined by Dan Salamons on bass and their first single ‘Blue Velvet’ erupted onto the scene, an impressive debut and an exciting sign of what was to come. With the addition of Jonny Williams on drums, the band followed up with their second single “Solemn Skies” and cemented themselves as a certified hot ticket.
Lush, sonically-infused, scarily melodic, boisterous and brimming with a dreamy wanderlust that set them apart from the rest of the new bands on the scene, it set the tone for what was to follow; their fantastic debut album, ‘Lacuna’, recorded with legendary South London producer Dan Carey.
Since the first album Bens evolved into something of an auteur, with numerous collaborations under his belt as both a producer, recurrently alongside new regular comrade Sean Lennon, as well as numerous teamings with Fat White Family’s Saul Aamczeski as part of both Warmduscher and Insecure Men.
Now Childhood, have gone from a four-piece to a solo pursuit. Ben Romans-Hopcraft is now at the helm of the project and are releasing their highly anticipated sophomore album ‘Universal High’ through Marathon Artists. Recorded at Maze Studios, Atlanta across the summer of 2016 where the band decamped for a month, it was produced by the legendary Ben H Allen III (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective, Deerhunter) who struck up quite the creative partnership with ringleader Ben. And comeback track ‘California Light’ feels like a very personal expression of his roots. It’s out with exploratory psych, in with sharp-edged soul. You could be forgiven for branding Universal High a rebirth. In places almost unrecognisable from the dub-charged psychedelic indie of their debut, the new sound swells from the southern streets in which it came to life, caked in the Seventies soul of The Isley Brothers, Curtis Mayfield and Shuggie Otis.
Ben Romans-Hopcraft says, “Universal High represents many things to us as a band. It signifies change, both musically and mentally whilst also revisiting influences that confounded our interest in music in the first place. What I think is noticeable is the direct nature of the songs and its influences. Being surrounded by soul music, classic pop songs and music with any form of groove all my life, these influences began to speak for themselves within these new songs we were writing”.