An indie-pop band based in Croydon are set to release their first studio album this month.
Bears in Trees comprises of vocalist & drummer Iain Gillespie, guitarist Nick Peters, drummer & producer George Berry and vocalist, ukulele player & keyboardist Callum Litchfield, who all come from Croydon.
and everybody else smiled back releases 19 November through Counter Intuitive Records, and is a concept album that tells stories of the day after the best or worst day in a person’s life.
Peters, 24, said: “All of our previous releases up until last year were recorded in George’s bedroom, so it’s been a massive step up going into a studio in the past year, which is wonderful.
“To our fans, I just want to say thank you for making it happen because we were playing to around five people in a car park a couple of years ago and now we’re playing to 600 people in London.
“That wouldn’t have happened without them.”
The band started when Peters was 16, with schoolmates Gillespie and Litchfield.
Berry joined later, and their musical style changed from rock to indie pop, although they originally defined their music as hardcore ukulele-punk.
First called Royal Jellyfish, a number of successive name changes led the group to Bears in Trees, which was developed after a band name generator suggested Bears in Submarines.
When they were growing up the band regularly played at the now closed Scream Lounge in Croydon, and they once launched an EP at the CroyWall climbing centre.
Peters said: “I think what’s nice about the band is that when we meet up it doesn’t feel like work, it doesn’t feel like a hassle, because we were friends before we were a band.
“And we’ll always be friends regardless of whatever happens, so that’s kind of at the core of what we do.”
Peters and Gillespie write the band’s lyrics but Peters said it’s always a fully collaborative process.
He said: “George and Callum have a much better understanding of music theory than Iain and I do, so they’ll add synth parts and string parts and kind of bring it to life in a way that we couldn’t if we were just one person.
“It’s all very fluid and there hasn’t been a situation where everyone does everything because that wouldn’t be how we function.”
Three singles from and everybody else smiled back – Little Cellist, Great Heights and I’m Doing Push Ups – are available now.
The album title is a paraphrased quote from the novel The Secret History by Donna Tartt, in which a classics student takes MDMA at a college party and says of the experience, ‘I smiled at everyone and everyone smiled back’.
Each of the songs on the album tell stories pulled from Gillespie and Peters’ personal lives.
Of the album’s concept Peters said: “In films and TV series, the plotline ends on the best or worst day of someone’s life and we never really get to see the day after.
“I think it’s important because the day after is where healing and compassion happen.”
The band has a large social media following, with over 100,000 followers on Instagram and over 20,000 on Twitter.
They have just completed their first headline tour, which was postponed three times due to Covid-19, but the group found that during this time little changed.
Peters said: “Ultimately we’ve always been an online band, so when lockdown hit we were lucky because it wasn’t really new to us.
“The only thing that changed is maybe we had a more captive audience or more people were online because of that.”
Tickets for a 2022 tour, which includes a gig in February at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, are available now.