After Scars On 45’s EP Give Me Something came out in early 2011, the rock group found themselves on a journey they hadn’t intentionally started. The foursome, who hail from Bradford, England, had created the album with no real plan of being an actual band, just four friends making music together for a few years prior. Signing with Chop Shop/Atlantic, which scored a song placement on Grey’s Anatomy, solidified that fact that Scars On 45 would be a band and would tour and would make more music.
The band unveiled their self-titled debut album in the spring of 2012 and embarked on what felt like an endless tour. The album, which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, earned critical acclaim, and VH1 named the band a “You Oughta Know Artist” leading to their national TV debut on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
“We used to get together and just be friends and play music,” Danny says. “Once we got signed, we were basically sent to America and we were shoved in a van and told to tour. That’s how we learned really to be a band. Before that, we really didn’t play live at all. It was a big learning curve for us those three years, and we felt like we got swallowed up in the whole industry thing. It was the most enjoyable time of any of our lives, but we also got a bit lost in it.”
When the touring ceased, the band found themselves back home in Bradford, tasked with writing the follow-up album, and over the course of six months churned out nearly 50 songs. But as the nature of the industry goes, the band and their label parted ways during the process. Nevertheless, the musicians remained optimistic and determined to continue on. “It was a little jarring,” Danny says. “We were back in England in the same little rehearsal room in the same little place where we recorded our first album. But we wanted to move forward no matter what.”
Scars On 45 spent time flying between Minneapolis, where they recorded with a friend named Eric Olsen, and Leeds, where they recorded with Will Jackson. Much of the music was made in a DIY fashion, in hotel bathrooms and in Aimee’s house in England. The album, titled Safety In Numbers, was co-produced by the band and finished laying it down near the end of 2013. By the holidays, the musicians realized they were out of money and needed help completing the record. The band launched a Pledge Music campaign to fund the mixing and mastering of Safety In Numbers and head out on a tour in early 2014. The response from fans was enormous.
“We booked this tour, a little acoustic tour where we’d do these house shows that people had pledged for as well as some small intimate venues and radio stations,” Danny says. “We had nothing else for the best part of two years. It was mind-blowing. It really gave us what we needed. To see that people still cared about us and still wanted to come and see us and were still passionate about the band was amazing. It helped us realize that all our hard work, all the slogging we did on tour for the first album, had really paid off. It’s crazy how much things can turn around.”
The album itself, a collection of 11 impassioned rock songs, reflects all those years of hard work. As they wrote, the musicians looked back over the three years they’d spent on the road and what those experiences had meant for them as humans. “Golden,” the album’s anthemic opening number, and “This Is Not Your Love Song,” a surging, hook-laden rocker represent the band’s entry points into the collection, both setting the tone for what Safety In Numbers eventually became. “Crazy For You,” the disc’s first single, is cathartic and lovely, its propulsive chorus offering a plaintive sense of longing. The album glides through various emotions, revealing the sheer joy of experiencing your dream to the discontent that comes with leaving home and relationships for so many years. “It’s about being the happiest you’ve ever been and then, at points, the most miserable you’ve ever been,” Danny notes. “But for me, a lot of the songs on the album are about either really joyful experiences or the self-awareness of actually being happy. This album is a lot about realizing who you are. The songs, really, explain the last four years of our lives.”
After finishing the album, Scars On 45 found both a new record label, Nettwerk, and renewed sense of passion for their music. Safety In Numbers represents pure honesty and hard work, and the culmination of a strange journey the musicians never realized they’d be going on. In the end, though, the band is grateful for strife and tumultuous process involved in arriving at this point because it has allowed them to become who they are.
“We needed to slog our guts out for four years and not really achieve our potential,” Danny says. “But then after all that we needed something to inspire us to get back in the van and do it again. Making this album and signing with Nettwerk did that. We might not be the biggest band in the world yet and we’ve got so much more to achieve, but we know now that people care about our band. We owe it those people to give this everything we’ve got.”