One of the best parts of being a kid is the ability dream without bounds. The world is just waiting for you to accomplish anything and everything. Doubts don’t cloud your vision. Incredible thoughts seem close and obtainable, and no one has the nerve to tell you otherwise.
And while Childhood is London-based band made up of four full-grown adults, Leo Dobsen, Ben Romans Hopcraft, Daniel Salamons, and Jonny Williams haven’t lost that optimistic feeling that following your dreams can yield huge results.
Two and a half years after meeting at the University of Nottingham, the now-graduates can finally forget about degrees and textbooks, and focus all their attention on their music. What started as “hanging out with each other, getting drunk with each other, sharing music with each other” has become a full-fledged passion and obsession. Now, it’s all music, all of the time.
“That’s all we do. It’s the only thing we’re passionate about. It’s the only thing that we do now, so everything’s moving a lot faster now that we’re done with the old education,” says Dobsen.
The band’s aspirations go way beyond London. Childhood is recording material for its first album, slated to come out early next year, and plans to soon venture out of Europe to play its first shows stateside.
“We don’t write having the intention of our songs being played in arenas, but we love huge qualities. We love huge melodies. I guess one day we could be playing arenas, but that’s a long way away. It’s kind of hard to think about that now. But we want a big pop song.”
Considering this is their first band, this foursome’s instincts are overwhelmingly and fortuitously on the money. The handful of songs they’ve released so far ring clear and true. They center around Dobsen’s melodic guitar lines, each soaring and expanding wider than the next.
“Blue Velvet” is the second song that Dobsen ever wrote, which is mind-blowing, considering some people spend years trying write a song this gorgeous. A towering riff wraps around sentimental lyrics, one of many Childhood songs that revolves around women.
Dobsen explains, “We want to evoke feelings of pining, of longing, a kind of romantic nostalgia. When we hear songs that we really like, that’s the kind of feelings that we feel, and we want people to feel those emotions from our music.”
Romans Hopcraft paints his love stories with lines like, “Does it reach your heart when I touch you that way?” It’s the kind of sentiment that tiptoes between mushy poetry and sincere yearning. These are lyrics that you can belt at the top of your lungs at live shows, feeling like they were written just for you.
Dobsen speaks positively when discussing the future. He tosses out phrases like “life-affirming” and “that’s a dream.” But when it comes down to it, his goal is simple.
“I just want to make the kind of music that I’ve always wanted to hear.”
I wrote this for the upcoming issue of Under the Radar. Find it in a real, live print magazine next month. Yes, it's one of the last great music magazines.