Articles: Interviews

04
Angel Pier
With an upcoming headline slot at Andrew's Lane Theatre, supported by A Lazarus Soul and Lines Drawing Circles, Irish indie newbies Angel Pier are causing a bit of a stir. How did Angel Pier come about? I had been writing & demoing on my own with mixed results & put the word out through a few friends that I was looking to put a band together. A chance meeting in Whelans one night between one of these friends & Mark, a drummer who was currently bandless set the wheels in motion. We met, exchanged music & talked about what our aims would be with this new band & began rehearsing. Around that same time I noticed a message on Garageband.com, a site I forgot I had ever signed up to, from a Canadian guitarist who was coming to Ireland & looking to play while he was here. Since it was 5 months since he sent the original message I figured chances were slim that he’d still be looking. He replied saying he was arriving the next week & he’d like t... [Read on]
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23
Choice Music Prize nominees Halfset
Halfset are without doubt one of the least known of the Choice Music Prize nominees: a brief mention here, a support slot there... But with Another Way of Being There, the band's second album, and their pretty exciting blend of electronics and an unabashed dedication to experimentation, they began their dogged ascent from background to foreground in earnest. They answered a few Choice questions for Cluas... Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? We always take our time with music. Another Way of Being There was released three years after our first album Dramanalog came out and we did work on it pretty consistently over that three-year period. Over forty ideas were brought to the table. These were worked down to seventeen and from these ten were chosen for the album. The benefit of taking that time to make it is that it’s just as we want it to b... [Read on]
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23
With Sea Saw, Lisa Hannigan has finally broken her last ties with Damien Rice and established herself as an artist worth watching. Her nomination for the Choice Music Prize is unneeded proof of her acceptance by critics as well as the listening public. She took a few minutes off from her US tour to answer some questions for Cluas... Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? I was working on it for about a year before recording, writing and arranging the songs and then rehearsing them with the band. We recorded it in two weeks in march in the cauldron. There were no snags really, it just took a bit of time to find the right people to work with.  Award nominations aside, were you happy with the response the album received? Absolutely, although I tried not to read too many reviews the response at the gigs was brilliant. Hearing a song on the rad... [Read on]
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22
Choice Music Prize nominee Rarely Seen Above Ground
Going from drummer to solo artist is an unusual career change, but as Organic Sampler proves, Jeremy Hickey has found his niche. A fresh focus on the groove rather than the details, without ever letting those slide, has led to Rarely Seen Above Ground nominated for this year’s Choice Music Prize. He answered a few questions for Cluas. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? The double album in all took about 3 years. I recorded it back to back. The bonus disc first and then Organic Sampler. The only snag I hit along the way was when it came to recording drums. I recorded a lot of the drums in my home studio. The space was very small and it seemed to take a bit of time. Then I recorded all the drums again in a studio in Dublin in one day. I then had to choose which ones were the best takes not for sound quality but for suitability for the mood o... [Read on]
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22
Messiah J and the Expert's place in Irish music is almost unique. A rapper/producer duo that has found equal adoration among die-hard rockers and indie kids alike. 2008 seems to have been their year, and their album From the Word Go has been nominated for the Choice Music Prize. They answered a few questions for Cluas. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? The Expert: First up, I wouldn't change a thing with this record as it's the best piece of work we've ever done. We definitely hit a few snags -  as I'm sure all bands do - but no major ones, just things we thought were going to work but didn't, so we had to adapt; like strings not working on a song etc. We worked on it for the bulk of 2 years and was definitely the most difficult album we've made so far. We spent an awful lot of time writing and writing, scrappping bi... [Read on]
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22
Choice Music Prize nominee Jape
Richard Egan, a.k.a. Jape, has been a staple on this ol' "scene" of ours for quite a while now, producing record after record of quality, often disparate, material. This year sees the nomination of last year's Ritual album for the Choice Music Prize. He answered a few questions (with characteristically few words) on the album and nomination for Cluas. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? The album is called Ritual. It took me three years to make. I can't really remember what snags I hit but they were nothing too hardcore, apart from the old crippling self doubt. I tried my best at the time, looking back...I try not to look back. Award nominations aside, were you happy with the response the album received? Yeah, I mean it's not something I would tend to dwell on too much, but the fact some people liked it means I can kee... [Read on]
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22
Oppenheimer are possibly one of the best natured and refreshingly enthusiastic bands in Ireland at the moment. The Belfast-based electro-pop duo's second album Take the Whole Mid-Range and Boost It, an infinitely fun piece of work, has brought them not only a Choice Music Prize nomination but deserved recognition in this Dublin-oriented music scene. They answered a few questions for Cluas. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? We recorded the album over the course of about four months, mostly in the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast. We moved into the shell of the studio in June and spent two and half months pushing drums around this huge building and turning everything up really loud. The Oh Yeah project was just getting off it's feet so we basically had the run of the building, we could record anywhere, in bathrooms, elevators, stairwells. We r... [Read on]
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24
White Denim
White Denim are a three-piece band hailing from Austin, Texas. Formed in early 2006, they specialize in tornado-belt rock & roll with a manic cut & paste energy. They released their first LP Workout Holiday last summer on this side of the Atlantic. Lead singer/guitarist James Petralli talks with Cluas.... You recently released 'Exposion' in the US, but you made the unusual step of releasing an LP ('Workout Holiday') in Europe a few months before. Was this to test the waters before a proper release or was it to tailor each album for a particular audience? At the time of the workout holiday release in Europe we really did not have that much going on in the States. We had toured the country for about four months but still had not generated any significant label interest. We just continued working on songs in Josh Block's studio when we were off from touring, and decided to add some newer material to the U.S. record. We thought it would be kind of fun to ... [Read on]
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22
Conor O'Brien of Villagers
Depending on where and when you came in to the Irish music scene, Conor O'Brien will be known to you either as part of the much-lamented The Immediate, the guitarist in Cathy Davey's touring band, or the lead man in his new project, the folky but smoky Villagers. Simon Doherty fired a few questions across cyberspace at him ahead of the Villagers upcoming EP. How are you sir? I'm ok, visiting my folks this evening, typing the answers to this interview on my mother's kitchen table. Headphones on. Slightly disconnected. The new tunes sound great, what are the plans for releasing an EP or album? Thank you. We're releasing an EP in February, 500 copies only, mainly to sell at shows, but we might put them in some shops if we don't get too lazy. There's more than enough material for an album, so I'm sure it'll slip out at some stage this year! Any murmurings from labels? Is signing for a major even in the masterplan or are you gonna go do... [Read on]
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15
Pony Club
Despite the fact that nearly every Irish music lover knows their name, and probably has a copy of a Pony Club record lying around somewhere, this band have remained sadly in the background of the Irish music scene. Yet with a brand new album just released, Pony Club are ready to inch that little bit further toward fame. CLUAS writer Alan Morrissey caught up with Mark Cullen from the band. Are you happy with how Post Romantic turned out? I think so, I'm terrible in the studio, I'm always trying to change things up to the very last minute, it usually drives the producer and engineer mad, and I always record more songs than I need just in case I don't like how something turns out. I only ever listen to the final mix and then I never play the record again, probably because small things grate on me, things that nobody else can hear. So yeah I'm thrilled with it, I think . You started the album back in 2006 but a number of things, including your wife being ill, m... [Read on]
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