Bearings vocalist Doug Cousins says The Best Part About Being Human is his favorite release yet, and the 10 track album drops today. The Canadian pop-punk band will debut their third album live at Riot Fest, kicking off The Alive and Loud Tour.
Alongside Cousins on vocals, Bearings consists of guitarist Ryan Culligan, bassist Collin Hanes and drummer Connor Kington. After their first hit album, Blue in the Dark, in 2018, the group followed up with the 2020 release Hello, It’s You.
This past month, Bearings released four singles ahead of The Best Part About Being Human. Cousins describes a country chorus on the sad, yet uplifting, song “Slip.” The recent tracks also include “Scenery,” “Live Forever Never Die,” and lead single “Gone So Gone.”
As the band plays Riot Fest for the second time this year, Cousins spoke to us about the exciting new album, playing it live, honing Bearings’ sound and more.
The Best Part About Being Human
- Don’t Wanna Forget About It
- Gone So Gone
- Go Long
- Ocean Dream
- Howie, You’re A Freak
- Live Forever Never Die
- I Want To Heal
Bearings @ Riot Fest 2023
Foo Fighters, Turnstile & More
Friday, September 15th
Ahead of the album, you dropped four singles. When it comes to the songwriting process, can you talk about what your thoughts were behind writing those?
Yeah, so it’s kind of weird. Like, I feel like, I mean, they were all written pretty differently. Some of them were just like FL Studio demos where the lyrics, more or less, were just stuff I thought sounded cool. I don’t know if there’s some grand meaning behind them. Maybe subconsciously, there isn’t. I’ll figure it out over time. But yeah, the writing process for all of them was just a little bit different each time and I don’t know if they’re really trying to say anything incredibly grand or anything like that. It was more so just like, whatever came first to my mind, and things that I thought were interesting, you know, the second versus slit, you know, just trying to paint pictures with some of the lyrics was just the the important thing just trying to draw out a bit of a an emotion with it.
For “Slip,” what is the emotion you want people to feel when they’re listening to it?
I’m not too sure. I’ve never wanted to dictate that because, and I think with so much of our music, oftentimes there’s a sad undertone to it. But, there’s often a positivity thrown in there, and I think people receive it in different ways. With “Slip,” the first verse is a little more, I guess you’d call it sad. Whatever you’re trying to say is being received with someone else. And then, the second verse is a little bit more of a broader look on life and relationships and romance and such. I’ve always kind of left that up to the listener. I don’t know how I want people to necessarily feel other than just that they connect to it in one way or another.
In that sense, do you feel like the songwriting process is cathartic for you because it comes out of a sad place towards a more positive emotion?
I think so. When I read, I try not to think too hard about stuff. I try not to think, “Does this make total sense?” I just try to find something that makes me feel something whether that’s good or bad. It usually comes around to a general emotion, like “Slip” kind of feels like a sad song. But, I think it’s also kind of fun in its own way as well.
Also, the record itself, The Best Part About Being Human, is coming out August 18. What can we expect from it and talk about your vision behind it?
It’s definitely a record where we went in wanting to play every single song live the way it felt on the record. I think our favorite record from beginning to end that we just feel like, is rock solid. We’re incredibly proud of it and incredibly proud of how it sounds and how it was written. The process was very relaxed, honestly. We weren’t trying too hard at any point. It just came out sort of perfectly the way we wanted it.
Would you say it’s your favorite album that you all have released?
Yeah, it’s tough because every record, when it’s coming out, is your favorite. At least I hope it always feels that way for us. So far, it’s always felt that way, where the next record we’re putting out is the one we feel is the strongest record. But, I genuinely do feel that this time just feels like we’ve made a big jump as a band in terms of writing and stuff like that, just feels like the strongest record we’ve really worked on.
Comparing it to some of your previous albums, do you feel like it’s an evolution? Would that describe it, or do you feel like it goes in a different direction?
I think it’s an evolution. It’s sort of a combination. Of the two previous records we worked on, because Blue In The Dark was very much an indie record, and Hello, It’s You was very much pop-based, but both were absolutely chaotic. The writing we’ve always done has just been like, “What do we like about this song? Okay, cool, what’s going on the record?” I feel like we honed in on what we do best for this one and actually put it all together in a way that makes sense.
What has the songwriting process been like for you? Do you pull from your personal life or where do you find inspiration?
I pull a lot from my personal life, but like I said, it’s kind of weird because I never want to put too much pressure on it. So often, it’ll just be an idea that just happens in like five minutes. I write it down, or I Voice Memo it, and I might not even come back to it until we go to do the record. Once that happens, sometimes I won’t even remember why I would write that or why I picked those words. It’ll be like six months from the time I wrote it because I was feeling a certain way. By the time we actually go to work on it, I don’t know, but it sounds really good. Clearly, I was on to something in that exact moment.
So, I definitely pull from my personal life. Because I’m always writing, sometimes I’m like, “This sounds great, but I don’t necessarily always remember exactly what I was writing about.” So then I have to re-approach it, and when it doesn’t have a second verse be like, “What do I think I was feeling?” And try to almost channel it a little more from like a third party, as if I’m writing about a character, but I am the character. I just don’t know; I don’t remember what I started writing about.
Does this album or your writing in general take influence also from other bands or other music that you listen to?
100%. Every record has kind of been like that. This one was a little different. Because we do have two records out, and we do know what we want to sound like. Whereas on the first couple records, we hadn’t put out records yet. The first record, we were listening to tons of Transit, and tons of Tokyo Police Club, but also a ton of The Story So Far. A bit of everything took a bit of shape off of our influences for the first record. Then, the second record was more like, we’re listening to a ton of The Main, just different bands like that. But, with this one, it was a little different because we knew what we sound like. We don’t think anyone really sounds like this batch of songs we have. We don’t really think anyone else is doing that. So, we were able to base it off of what we’ve done and what we feel our sound is. We haven’t really been able to do that in the past.
Are there any other ways that you feel like, when you compare releasing your first album to now, that you feel different about it?
The first record was definitely exciting because we’d never done that. We’d never gone into a studio and worked on a record for a month. In some ways, the process felt really hard and very difficult. How do you put together 10 good songs (not that it was hard to do, but just that we’ve never done it before)? Now, there’s a little more of a process to it. We’re chilling. We knew what we wanted to do. We also didn’t do this one in a studio. We did it in the living room of an Airbnb. We knew how we wanted to do the record, and we did it our way.
In that way, it was a little easier, a little less stressful, and more time to just be creative and do what we want to do. I think it was good. For the release of it, it’s really exciting because we genuinely do feel like the songs are so good, and I just can’t wait for people to hear them. I also can’t wait to actually play them live because it’s been like three years. Right? It’s been a while because we released our last record during COVID. By the time we even toured on it, it had been out a while. It’s just so nice to get to play new songs. I love all our songs, but I’m ready to play some new ones at this point.
Is Riot Fest going to be your first live show since dropping the album?
Yeah, it’s going to be the first show of the tour, which is kind of funny because we’re just so looking forward to it. It’s kind of funny to start the tour off with that thing we’re all looking really forward to. Of course, we’re excited for the rest of the tour as well. We’ve played Riot Fest before, and it was kind of in the middle of a tour. We’re always just like, “Dudes, we’re gonna play Riot Fest. It’s gonna be so chill.” One thing I can honestly say is Riot Fest just is a vibe. The catering and the artists’ spaces are very comfy. It’s a festival that takes care of the artists that play it, so it’s always a nice, relaxing day. We’re always looking forward to it. It’s the first day though, so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully we don’t screw up the set too bad.
Are there any other bands from Riot Fest this year that you’re excited to see?
The Foo Fighters are obviously a big one. We’re only there the one day. I think Turnstile is on the same day as us, crazy. All right, Fred. Oh, we got Tegan and Sara. That slaps. Silverstein, fellow Canadians. The Wrecks, my dude Aaron is in that band. There’s so many cool ones. Probably, I’m excited to see Tegan and Sara, Say Anything will be sick, might have to pop by the Code Orange set just to see what the crowd is like because that can get pretty crazy. Lots of good ones. Foo Fighters and Turnstile, obviously though. Seeing the Foo Fighters is going to be sort of wild because that’s a band I’ve never seen before, and seeing Turnstile play can be cool too. Every time I see them now they’re doing something cool, but different, which is exciting because I’ve been a fan of that band forever at this point. The last time I saw them, they were opening up for Blink and now they’re one of the headliners on Riot Fest, which is bonkers.
Riot Fest 2023 Tickets + Lineup
Don’t miss Bearings live at Riot Fest 2023 on Friday, September 15th, along with some other bands you may know like Turnstile, Tegan and Sara, Say Anything, Foo Fighters and many more.
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