Published Sep 22, 2017Hamilton hardcore band Counterparts have gone through a lot of change since 2015's Tragedy Will Find Us — primarily the departure of founding member and songwriter Jesse Doreen — and that change fully informs their new album, You're Not You Anymore. Fans looking to comb the album for clues will find exactly what their looking for, no matter what that is.
"We like to be ambiguous enough that anybody can relate it to anything," vocalist Brandon Murphy, the sole original member left, tells Exclaim! "We want people to take their own meaning from it. That's why I like it so much. Whether it's about me personally, or about Counterparts as a band, in a positive or negative way — they're all right.
"There's nothing that I'm afraid to talk about, no topic I need to hide," he continues. "If I'm feeling a certain way and want to talk about it, I will. With Tragedy, it was coming from a place of pure darkness — there's nothing good about it. You're Not You still has some darkness in there — the things I'm still going through and overcoming as a 26-year-old — but there are more positives in my life. I don't feel like it's necessary for Counterparts to be this negative, miserable band. If I write a song with upbeat lyrics, and people don't like it, then fuck you. I'm not going to pretend to be miserable when I'm not that upset. If one song happens to be dark and one song happens to be lighthearted, so be it. If people don't like it, well, that's my real life. I don't know what to tell you."
Doreen's departure isn't the only lineup change; in the last two years, the band welcomed Kyle Brownlee (drums), Tyler Williams (bass) and Blake Hardman (guitar) into the lineup.
"Counterparts are Counterparts no matter who's in it," Murphy says. "I would be offended on behalf of the other people in the band if somebody ever said 'Counterparts is all Brendan, he's the most important part.' The end goal is already present; it is just a matter of perfectly executing it."
Guitarist Blake Hardman, who's played guitar for Gideon and Hundredth, called Murphy and asked if he could join; in fact, remaining members had already brought up his name as a potential replacement. Hardman flew from Nashville, TN to Hamilton to begin practicing with Counterparts and writing songs for You're Not You Anymore. After performing a weekend run of shows with the band in Ontario and upstate New York, his position was solidified.
"With good reason, we were all in a bit of a panic, but afterwards it felt so simple," Murphy says. "It went from 'Fuck, what do we do?' to 'Nah, we are fine and good.' We even had a night out and saw the 1975 headline Echo Beach in Toronto. It was a fucking sick week."
You're Not You Anymore is out now on New Damage Records.