Portuguese-Canadian band Ditch Days debut dancey single “When It’s Over”

Ditch Days on relationships, recording, and what brand of cider to drink while listening to new single “When It’s Over,” premiering now on HighClouds.

Portuguese indie darlings Ditch Days are back, and they want you to get on your feet to groove. Recently returned from a successful European tour promoting sophomore record Blossom, the group (perhaps best known for viral track “Seth Rogen”) have come out with rollicking, synth-pop fantasia, “When It’s Over.”

Though “When It’s Over” details the failure of a relationship, it doesn’t sound like anyone is taking the heartbreak too hard. The lyrics set the scene, explaining, “I remember how we fell in love so fast / It was special / But it wasn’t mean to last.” As the chorus closes in, Ditch Days comes to a triumphant conclusion, “When it’s over / I’m never looking back at you.” While some break up songs may linger in despair, Ditch Days does the opposite—They’re celebrating the end, a welcome reprieve from the gloom and doom of other break up tracks. John Mayer can eat his heart out; Ditch Days are moving on, on the dance floor.

It may be surprising that Ditch Days— once known for their drippy, indie rock, dare-I-say shoegaze releases—would put out a synth-pop track. “When It’s Over” is the continuation of a new direction for the group, who have made a concerted effort to put out music that will get their fans to move. This airy, bright shift is a welcome change. We already know Ditch Days can churn out conked out indie rock tracks. The latest foray into dance music shows the versatility of a group spreading its wings while hitting their stride, which promises exciting things to come as the band teases even more new music in the coming months.

HighClouds was lucky enough to connect with José Crespo and Luís Medeiros of the band over email to ask a few questions about “When It’s Over.” The group opened about the inspiration and recording process for their recent releases, how writing about love and relationships can feel like group therapy, and what’s coming up next for the band. You can read our interview below. Just a heads up: It has been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness.

HIGHCLOUDS: Though “When It’s Over” is about a breakup, the overall vibe of the track is so fun, upbeat, and dancey. Could you talk a little bit about your inspiration for the song? What was the songwriting process like?

DITCH DAYS: I guess the obvious choice would be to write a sad song about a breakup, but sometimes relationships can grow to become more of a cage rather than a happy place. In those cases, having the courage and determination to put an end to it can only give you freedom; it feels right. You see a whole world of new chances in front of you. And that’s what we tried to focus on. The happiness that can come from an unfortunate situation. The song was [originally] written on the guitar, but we always had a more electronic-influenced arrangement in mind.

HC: It feels obvious to say, but recent single “Test of Love” and now “When It’s Over” both have a heavy focus on relationship dynamics. How did you decide to explore this theme? What are the challenges that come with writing about love?

DD: Part of it came from the need to create music that listeners could relate to. We’ve been quite abstract sometimes in the past, and our lyrics might have been harder to follow. With [our] recent songs, we’re taking the path of transparency, of being clear about what we want to convey. This naturally leads us to talk about relationships, a subject that means something to everyone. It’s hard work. We’re still learning how we want to talk about it and what are the bits we want to reveal from our own relationships. Sometimes, we find ourselves commenting on each other’s past relationships through the lyrics; it can become a bit of group therapy.

HC: Could you talk a bit more about your recording process for this recent batch of singles? Did anything surprising come up while recording “When It’s Over”?

DD: The biggest surprise to us was realizing that we could actually do it ourselves. We’ve always felt confident writing and arranging indie rock songs, but this time we set out to do something different, produce electronic beats, really explore synthesizers, and record most of it by ourselves. With a little help from some friends, like Zé Simples, (who opened up a world of weird samples) and Miguel Vilhena (our long-time producer who still makes sure the mixes and final outputs are as tight as possible), we are becoming much more confident within an aesthetic that was kinda foreign to us in the past. We’re excited about the opportunities that this opens up.

Ditch Days When It's Over premiere interview artwork

HC: You’ve used beautiful and evocative artwork for all of your singles. How did you decide on the art for “When It’s Over”?

DD: It’s easy when you have talented friends, like Ricardo Santos, who also happens to be an amazing graphic designer. When we played the songs to him, he was quick to envision an aesthetic for this collection of singles. It evokes feelings that can be complex, but much like our songs, he was able to still convey an aura of positiveness and vibrancy with each illustration. We love it, and you’ll definitely see more with upcoming singles.

HC: I see that you just completed a European tour supporting your sophomore record, Blossom. How did your touring experience shape your more recent releases? Additionally, how does being a band of Canadian-Portuguese members inform your music?

DD: Seeing how people react to your music in a live show gives insight into the energy and vibe of the songs, which can be hard to understand by yourself in the studio. That inspired us to write this batch of new, dance-floor friendly songs, which have electronic elements and are more “poppish” sounding. Additionally, in the last three or four years, we started listening to a lot of French-Canadian indie and dance music, and that has informed Blossom as well as the new songs we’re releasing right now. (We actually made a playlist that you can check out!)

HC: Your debut EP came out in 2016, which was some time ago. How has your music changed since then? If you could travel back in time and show Ditch Days from 2016 “When It’s Over,” what do you think would be most surprising about your 2023 sound?

DD: Crespo: When we started out, we only wanted to make music that fit into the “dreampop” genre. As we got older, we started branching out and experimenting more. We’re also trying to create a bigger connection with listeners via our lyrics by being honest and purposeful with the kind of stories and messages we tell (which is easier said than done). Probably the most surprising thing for our past selves would be finding out that we would write a song in french!

HC: If you could collaborate with any artist (alive or dead), who would it be?

DD: There are a lot of smaller artists doing really cool things right now with whom we’d love to collaborate, so I’ll give them a shoutout in no particular order: Malena Zavala, Ariane Roy, Kate NV, Marci, Molly Burch, Ruth Radelet, Moon Panda, MUNYA and Night Tapes. Let’s work together!

HC: If you had to create a specialty meal to eat while listening to the latest single “When It’s Over,” what would the dish be?

DD: “When It’s Over” would probably go well with a nice craft cider, like a Bordatto Basandere.

HC: What’s coming up for Ditch Days?

DD: For now, we’re focused on writing and releasing music on a regular basis so our listeners can count on new songs every two months or so. Besides that, we have some shows in Portugal planned for the end of the year (afraid we can’t say anymore about that!).

Claire Greising