Contemporary group NEEDTOBREATHE are no strangers to hardship and have dealt with their fair share of scuffs over their career. Armed with this same knowledge and band wisdom they say goodbye to fellow member Bo Rinehart, while entering a new phase as a trio, something they are finding inspiration in while overcoming the tough times of the present.
To usher in the new era of NEEDTOBREATHE is the completion of their seventh studio record Out of Body due for a 2020 tentative release date, introduced by the new singles “Hang On” and “Seasons” available today.
Both singles illuminate two contrasting sides to the band’s songwriting and demonstrate their solid capabilities in both ballads and upbeat anthem-style songs. “Hang On” could easily be the next summertime sing-along as everyone emerges from quarantine and is guided by endurance and an outward look at time, highlighted with positive energy.
“’Hang On’ is a song that was tough for me to write,” frontman Bear Rinehart told American Songwriter. “I’m a pretty serious person and the song is very nostalgic. I feel like I live my life looking forward but the song is a bit more about looking back at some of the beautiful things that happened in life or first experiences. But it’s more than just nostalgia, it’s trying to remember the energy you had- the innocence and vulnerability that made those moments possible. I think it’s a real great reminder to us during these days of the world.”
“Hang On” finds its counterpart in the intimate ballad “Seasons” which has its bearings in a real-life sad story, one Bear felt a connection to and turned inside out, while revealing a silver lining to all life’s troubles.
“Seasons is a song I wrote about a conversation I had with a friend of mine,” said Bear. “The short of it was that he had been going through some crazy things with his wife. And he just really felt crushed by it and came home one day from work and told his wife ‘I’m not going back until we figure out how to live our life without crashing every time we get bad news’. And that really struck me, so that’s what ‘Seasons’ is about- going through these tough times with people you love and knowing you’ll be able to get through it without acting so strongly.”
The underlying tone to the narrative in “Seasons” is one that carries over into the band’s dynamic and real ‘conquer anything’ kind of attitude. Which was tested with the retreat of member Bo Rinehart, announced last week.
“I think it’s weird in a lot of ways,” Bear said of Bo’s departure. “And unfortunately, we’ve been through it before but it’s just never going to be the same. I think having the experience with us four gave us some comfort about going into this one. I feel like you kind of have to start over this way and figure out who you are as a unit and we were really fortunate. We went into the first half of this record not really sure if we could do it like this and I think at the end of that we really all had new excitement and inspiration about what this could look like. I think we all feel really proud of what we got to.”
“It’s been a really inspiring season for all of us,” bandmate Josh Lovelace added. “I think we’re all really different but the cool thing is the three of us have been working together for a long time and a lot of it has been fine tuning all the things we feel we do well and also being vulnerable with our weaknesses, because when there’s less people we have to work harder in some ways. I think we’re all kind of stepping into roles just because we really care and we want to be doing this thing in 20 years. So, for all of us falling in love with what we do in a different way and after doing six records, I think we all have a similar target in mind of where we feel this thing is going…”
With the same goal in mind, the group is comfortable with their roles and has credited much of the songs from the new record to Bear’s phenomenal and dedicated songwriting. It was a lengthy process for the trio as they already had a ton of material churned out, while Bear shot over the better part of 50 additional songs for the record. Sifting through their stockpile of songs was a journey they described as ‘may the best song win.’
“This record has really been marked by Bear stepping out in a big way and entering the most prolific time of his writing career,” band member Seth Bolt said. “He’s been sending us songs every day that are fully put together with beautiful lyrics. We were fortunate we already had a lot of songs for the record and in the last six months Bear has written 50 more. So, it’s hard to narrow it down because they’re such quality because of everything that he and we have all been going through.”
“I try to change it up almost every day when I write a song,” Bear said of the writing on Out of Body. “The only consistency I’ve had during this pandemic thing, which is really nice for my routine, is that I write early in the morning. I come in at 7:30-8 in the morning and sometimes it’s a riff or a beat or an idea lyrically and I just try to get lost in the music more. I see how my little kids get lost in the moment and lose all insecurities around things and that’s basically what I try to do.”
Out of Body will be released by Elektra Records/Centricity Music later this year and until then NEEDTOBREATHE has some fun plans in store for their fans including livestreams and said they will be releasing more music sooner than later, while wrapping up the writing phase for yet another record.