Toronto Band Locket Debuts Two New Songs, Explains Ditching Prior 'Safe to Say' Moniker: 'This Time Nothing Feels Forced'

LOCKET
Michelle Baumval

LOCKET

Things don’t stay the same forever. People change, priorities shift, and you have to keep up with it as best you can. There’s no better example of this than Locket (formerly Safe to Say). After stepping away for two years, the Toronto band has returned with a new name and an updated mindset. 

These ideas of necessary growth & change are explored in “Sleepwalker” and “Other People”, premiering today (June 14), exclusively on Billboard. Unrecognizable from their pop-punk roots, Locket has gotten exponentially more personal on these new releases. “I wrote those songs not trying to make something of them that they weren't already,” says vocalist/guitarist Brad Garcia.

The added vulnerability has paid off. “Sleepwalker” is a hard-hitting alt-rock anthem, destined to evoke an intense crowd response. Meanwhile, “Other People” swirls through the ups and downs of a relationship reaching its finale, sonically taking us through the stages of grief as the song progresses. These tracks follow debut single “Out Of Sight”, whose creation was deconstructed by guitarist/producer Cory Bergeron on his YouTube channel. It’s incredible seeing how much care goes into crafting a single moment, which leaves listeners anticipating all the moments to follow on the upcoming album.

Locket heads into a tour with Belmont and Bearings this week, starting Thursday night (Jun. 13) in Ottawa. Billboard chatted with Garcia about the band leaving their old catalogue behind, the family dynamic of the Ontario music scene, and the major shift in their approach to “this whole band thing”. Read the discussion below.

It's almost two years to the day since you played your final show as Safe to Say. What was behind the decision to close that chapter and rebrand as Locket?

That was the last piece of the puzzle before coming back to release new music. I think we decided on it maybe a month or two before we released "Out Of Sight". We all talked to our team and our support -- our partners and friends and stuff -- and it felt like it was a new thing, but we didn't want to let go of some older songs and things that really didn't get to see the light of day in the way that we hoped they would. So yeah, it just felt like a natural step in a new direction.

And then right out of the gate, everybody from before the hiatus seemed to jump right back into action once "Out Of Sight" appeared on Spotify.

Yeah, that was nice. We were expecting there would at least be a handful of people saying "oh... this new name sucks, so I'm not going to back it anymore." But I didn't see any of that, so that was a nice surprise.

During the hiatus, everyone picked up new projects. How does that balance shift now that the main project is back up and running?

When I told Luke & Greg from Like Pacific that I would be more than happy to join their band, I said that at some point in the future when we'd be releasing music again, that would be the sole priority. And they were totally on board with that. Those guys are always very supportive of everything that I do, and I know that the Heavy Hearts guys are the exact same with JJ [Sorensen, drummer]. So I think from day one, us doing those other things... all the members in those bands understood that this was our priority. So far, this is going to be the first tour so there's no overlapping issue yet.

It's cool how the Ontario scene is so collaborative, everybody seems to get along and work together so often.

Exactly. I actually -- I think I got a message from Patrick & Adam from Seaway, both separately asking if I could do different dates of their upcoming tour for certain shows just because they also have things going on. It's kind of neat that we can all rely on one another should something fall through with our own bandmates. Everyone's so supportive.

I didn't even realize they were working on so many other things too.

Yeah. I think it's that we're all getting a little bit older. We're not in our early 20s anymore, so as much as the band thing is a priority, there are other things that are just as important to us now. Because everyone is around the same age, we all kind of get it. There's some times when the band isn't the number one thing, which I think is something not everyone wants to admit. But I know for us, that is totally the case. Being in a scene where everyone gets that, it gives you a little bit more freedom to really focus on when it is important. I think that's also why we decided to take those two years off, to figure the rest of that stuff out.

I feel like it's easier to keep it sustainable when you actually accept that there's other priorities in life too. You do have to balance everything.

Yeah, totally. I think it makes it more enjoyable too. If it's the only thing you have going on, I kind of say to the guys -- I've seen people where they make that the only thing that they have, which is cool if it's working. But when you have the lulls in between tours, it starts to just become this escape plan more than a labour of love.

You can feel through the shift in your music that growing up, things change and you start to understand things better. "Out Of Sight" was such a perfect step between albums, but "Sleepwalker" and "Other People" build on that and dive into a deeper story. "Other People" specifically twisted the knife -- that one hurts -- but it was cathartic listening to them. What do you hope people take away from the new songs?

I think that they're -- and I know it's so cliche to say -- the most personal to me, because they're written in such a spur-of-the-moment kind of way. I was in a relationship with someone for seven years and that ended pretty much a day after we parted ways with our old bass player Josh, who was my best friend at the time. It was like a bombshell had gone off. I went right to Ottawa and Cory & I started working on those songs, "Other People" specifically. I took a really long time to write the lyrics to that one, but I always kind of knew what the pieces revolving around it would be. You know, everyone goes through something like that at some point, in some way or another. I wrote those songs not trying to make something of them that they weren't already.

Locket is like a new beginning. It's not a huge line-up change this time around, but you get to start over with a clean slate. What are you looking to do this time around that maybe you didn't do before?

It all comes back to spending that time away from doing this whole band thing, because I think we can all come back to this as something we are doing for the love of it, as corny as that sounds. I think not taking ourselves so seriously as "guys in a band" is super important. When we did Down in the Dark, I was that typical 23/24 year old who was like... I felt like I had something to prove. And when I look back at it, despite what really nice supporters or friends have said, I see something totally different. I can see through some of the B.S. that I was maybe trying too hard.

So I think this time it feels natural, nothing feels forced, and I would really like to try to avoid any of that moving forward. I think for at least the foreseeable future -- probably until this new album comes out -- we're only playing "Tangerine" off of that record. To us, that feels like us. And it's funny when I hear people say "I hope you play this song or that song." I feel like other people out there, supporters of what we made... those songs belong to them more than they do to us.

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