Why I Quit Counties in 2015//Why I Came Back

I'm a pain in the arse. I'm difficult to be around for longer than small doses. But I'm even more difficult to work with in a creative sense.

In October 2015, just months after we released our debut EP Failure Is Not An Option and with bigger and bigger shows opening up for us, I quit Counties. The band that had formed from the ashes of We Were Lions' collapse, the band that gave me more memories than most of the relationships i'd been in, the band that had seen me find friends I consider to be brothers. It ranks as one of the most baffling decisions of my life.

I quit with a WhatsApp message. I'd had yet another stupid row with the boys about something relatively minor and yet I made that decision. It was strange. But the reasons behind it are something I haven't disclosed until now.

From September 2014 I was in a relationship with someone I thought was a soulmate - sounds familiar right? The trouble was that things took a darker turn - I was caught in a possessive web of forced arguments and waterworks that meant my relationship with Counties became frayed. I turned up to one in every few practices, often drained of all creativity, and the ones I did attend I usually left early because the constant phone calls and arguments just weren't worth it.

When I quit Counties that October, I had no intention of starting up any other musical projects. That was until i'd sat on song ideas for two months and decided I still had something to offer. Not coincidentally my relationship ended around the same time as I began Touchlines, a new pop punk band (through which I met one of the most amazing people in my life Mr Chaz Carter and got to hang out with Tom McGuire "For Hire" from Counties).

We only released this one track prior to calling it a day in August 2016, and contrary to the general gist of the lyrics, a lot of the song was written about my brothers in Counties:

"You were always the best part of this town, and now theres nothing here to keep me around"

"I wish there was something I could do, the emotion is like an ocean and its taking me from you"

"I start to question the choices I've made, songs that i've written and the trust i've placed"

I tried to reconcile with Counties around March 2016 but understandably, not everyone was thrilled to have heard from me. Rob was fine, and McGuire i'd worked with. I'd even spoken to Heward about his new band. That said, it was November 2016 when I finally spoke to James.

James had been there for me through every stage of my possessive relationship. He'd given advice, offered me a place to stay, offered to come round and tell her exactly how she was wearing me down and how my friends saw it every week. James and I hadn't spoken since me leaving the band.

We exchanged a couple of texts in December and floated the idea of a reunion just before Christmas. I'd cut this man out of my life for over a year and for the worst of reasons and he still wanted to let me know he was there and that things could still be fixed.

In March 2017 we returned to the stage for the first time in almost a year and a half. It felt like we'd never been away. I never want to take time away from this project ever again and I never want to put anything above my brothers ever again.

As for present day Counties? The EP is written and it's a big one. We should have more to share soon but in the meantime come check out an acoustic set at Edge Bar, Basildon on August 3rd 2017 and a very special set at Asylum in Chelmsford on 10th August 2017.

Thanks for reading!