It’s been just over a year since Tonight Alive let us into the world of ‘Limitless’, all positive force and celebrated acceptance, but that hasn’t stopped the revolution continuing. They’re back with wide eyes, a clearer view of the world and a shiny new song.
They were “just ready” to start the next chapter, explains Jenna. After a conversation with their manager came with the realisation that they didn’t have to stick to the standard two-year cycle. They could let excitement lead, and the group figured, “if we’re going to be a band that’s on the road nine months out of the year, it felt exciting for us to keep refreshing and stay in a creative flow.”
“In June that conversation scared me because I wasn’t ready,” Jenna reflects. “It took until January to be ready to write a record or even think about new music because ‘Limitless’ had only been out for a few months.”
Change inspires change, though, and things have shifted with Tonight Alive. “We’ve changed record labels. We’ve signed to Hopeless Records worldwide and UNFD in Australia and New Zealand. Having our contracts finish with Sony and Fearless inspired us. We felt excited to be around fresh teams with new eyes and new ears.
“Those teams, they really connect with our mission and our message and our vision. That’s something I’ve had to fight for in the past, just getting people to understand it. I do feel it’s something that had to be compromised in the past because the teams we were working with were not completely onboard. We felt inspired by the change and this song, ‘World Away’ reflects that in how it sounds and what it says.”
“It just felt really natural when we were writing it,” Jenna continues. “We were home for three months, from January through March after we toured Australia with A Day To Remember, and Whak [Taahi, guitar] and I were set up in a studio in my house. We wrote every day. It was cool because we saw the seasons change, it went from blistering hot with absolutely no air to just raining for three weeks solid.
“‘World Away’ is one of the last songs we wrote from that batch. The sound of it is a representation of the flow we were in during that writing period. We took the lid off a little bit more with our songwriting. It’s probably exactly what we said we were doing with ‘Limitless’ as well, just how there are no rules but I think this is going in the other direction.”
Exploring the idea of “no rules”, they spent time “asking what that means and staying fearless in our creative expression. The chorus talks about the fact that the life you want isn’t so far away, it’s not so impossible. It already exists, it’s just a matter of touching it and making it a physical thing.
“I’m reading a book about The Quantum Field, and I’ve never used that language before, but The Quantum Field is a place where all possibility exists. They say that an atom doesn’t exist until you pay attention to it, then it becomes a physical, visible thing. Talking about your life in that way, ‘World Away’ is reflecting on the fact that that place exists within you. It doesn’t have to be something that’s external or a year away; it’s about reaching your ideal and ultimate experience and self within you. It’s about tapping into that and using your struggles, your fear, pain and suffering as fuel for that change, as a catalyst for growth.
“I have a big fear of speaking negatively in music. I know from personal experience that just one lyric in a song can resonate on such a deep level with you, that you can believe what that person says to you. I’ve been very conscience of not writing lyrics that could leave that taste in someone’s mouth like, ‘This is it for me, this is the end of my hope’, but the verses go to that place for a moment. They talk about those inner insecurities and complexes, but I love the silver lining in life. I always look for it, and that’s reflected in our songs but not without a true depth and substance. It’s not without meaning.
“I don’t like the word ‘hope’ because it’s not emotive at all for me. Hope feels shallow to me. This is a song about taking action. I’d describe it as developing a relationship with your darkness and not turning away from that just because it’s easier not to feel something on such a deep level. It’s about leaning into that pain and fear and seeing what’s on the other side of it. To me, hope sounds as if you’re waiting for something to happen, whereas ‘World Away is about taking action. All possibilities are totally real; you just need to grasp them and cultivate them by changing your mindset.”
Matching the unveiling of ‘World Away’ to the band kicking off their first live shows of the year, “it just seemed fitting to bring something new to the new year.” The song represents the next step of their journey. Constantly facing forward, time away to reflect hasn’t quelled their self-belief or splintered their vision. “My life is what I make it.”
“I think people can be overly humble sometimes and they would never say ‘I want my band to be big’ or ‘I want success’ and it’s not something I say all the time, but I do. It’s something I do want for Tonight Alive, to play the biggest shows possible because I just love the rush of unity with a mass of people singing or moving or feeling the same thing at the same time. That excites me.
“I just want to play music, jump around on stage and talk about things I care about. It felt like hibernating a little bit being back in Sydney; it was a really good time of not wearing makeup, not socialising and just being creative and turning in. It was so nice and such a rare opportunity, but now I get to explode again in front of heaps of people,” Jenna laughs. “I love doing that.”
Tonight Alive’s single ‘World Away’ is out now.