Articles: Interviews

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Easy Star All Stars
When Easy Star records set out to release a reggae adaptation of Dark side of the moon in 2003, they were faced with the perilous task of staying true to the original while taking the music in a whole new direction. With musical director Michael Goldwasser at the helm, the label went in search of a supporting cast strong enough to undertake such an ambitious project. Drafting some of the finest musicians the New York scene had to offer, they created a dream team of modern reggae; the Easy Star All Stars. The album has remained on the Billboard reggae charts ever since. In the eight years that followed, the band have released seminal versions of Radiohead’s Ok Computer and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; garnering praise from fans and critics alike. And now with the release of First Light, their first full-length original album, the band are ready to show the world that there’s more to the Easy Star All Stars than trips down n... [Read on]
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18
Kristin Hersh, An Unquiet Mind
Kristin Hersh is reminiscing about her early tours with the Throwing Muses, the influential art-rock band she formed as a teenager in the early eighties with her stepsister Tanya Donnelly. The Pixies were their opening act. ‘Yeah, they were always our support act when we went out on tour’ she tells me, down the line from her home in Laguna Beach, California. ‘We brought them with us because we didn’t want to be alone. We brought them to 4AD too because we didn’t want to alone on the label there either with all those English bands that were so pretty, gauzy and ethereal and we knew we were nothing like that!’ she remembers, laughing ‘The Pixies just kept us from being lonely’. Throwing Muses, along with Sonic Youth and the aforementioned Pixies, were key figures in the alternative rock scene in the US in the eighties and nineties, and paved the way for Nirvana and the alt-rock explosion that followed. Yet, Hersh is not one for lo... [Read on]
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09
Skully
A talented innovator who forged a very successful international musical career, the acclaimed Cork-born musician and producer known simply as Skully has been exceptionally busy of late. With two of his songs included on the soundtrack for the new Hollywood film Soul Surfer (2011) and the release of his new solo album earlier this month, Skully (left) is now preparing to reprise his role as part of the successful Cork-based musical duo Métisse and work on their as yet untitled third album. Discussing his new solo album entitled Scent Of A Moment (2011), Skully admits that the inspiration for his second record was triggered by unusual stimuli. “Each song on Scent Of A Moment is about a moment in my life. There are songs on it about lost love, the economic climate in Ireland today, friends, relationships and history. Every song comes down to one moment that I remember because of a particular smell that I associate with that moment.” Based in the County Cork ... [Read on]
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01
Sister Cities
Hailing from Tempe, Arizona, Sister Cities have just released their excellent debut single ‘White Dress’ on this side of the Atlantic with UK label 100% Music. Consisting of Brett (guitar and vocals), Courtney (drums and vocals), Spike (bass and vocals) and Ana (keys, guitar and vocals), they took some time out recently to tell Ken Fallon about how it all came together… Tell us a little about how you got together as a band? Were you friends beforehand? We all went to high school together and always had music as a common interest, we played as a two piece (drums/guitar/vocals) before adding bass and keys. We met Ana while on vacation in Mexico and somehow convinced her to move to Arizona and join the band!    How has your music evolved since you first got together as a band? The evolution of our sound has been sort of a natural progression. We started out in Courtney's garage just trying to play anything that ... [Read on]
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27
CODES
With blood pouring from her face, a girl stumbles into the surging crowd at a Christmas light’s fundraiser in a dingy pub in Ireland. Yes, that’s right. A fundraiser for Christmas lights. Surrounded by hundreds in fancy dress, neither the band on stage or the sweaty crowd took a second glance at the screaming girl. But she wasn’t reenacting the final scene from Carrie like the band thought, she had slipped, glassed herself and blended in with the rest of Freddy Krueger’s victims. “Nobody knew if she was for real or fake”, laughs singer Daragh. Fast forward two years, and CODES have graduated from playing to the meager and slightly bloody crowds of the dilapidated pubs of Meath, to the 11,000 strong crowds of The O2 in the capital. The four-piece, who formed in 2007 have had a pretty quick rise in popularity. Within the space of a few months, the indie-electronic group had two singles in The Irish Top 40, played a set at Oxegen and were asked to su... [Read on]
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27
The Ambience Affair
Give us a bit of background to The Ambience Affair to this point. We met two years ago in a music shop in Dublin. I had been playing solo for about a year previous to that.I felt there was a need for something extra as the songs weren't progressing in a way that I wanted. I invited Marc to one of my solo gigs and we soon decided to form the band. Have there been any particularly memorably highs and lows thus far? High points would probably be some of the gigs we've been lucky to play. Our last EP launch tour was one filled with great moments. I think we've been very fortunate to not have had many lows at all so far. Sure, we've played the odd awful gig or two but in general, I can't think of much that made me question being in the band. Your stripped-down set of live self-sampling and looping have drawn many comparisons to pioneers like Owen Pallet. Do you think you draw a lot of influence from him and similar artists? I think that although ... [Read on]
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27
We Are Scientists
Keith Murray and Chris Cain of US indie-rockers We Are Scientists often don’t take interviews all that seriously. It may have something to do with their way-out sense of humour (check out their website www.wearescientists.com – it’s insane) or it could simply be a way of entertaining themselves as they respond to questions they have heard countless times before. So it is with some trepidation that I phone Chris (above right), the band’s bassist and prankster-in-chief, at his home in New York for an interview about the new album and their upcoming plans for the year. As it turns out, he is relatively serious for once and is friendly and unfailingly polite throughout as we chat about his band’s excellent, return – to - form new album Barbara, how his ending up in a successful rock band is somewhat accidental and why Cardiff’s nightlife terrifies him…   So, are you happy with the new album Barbara? Does it differ in any way to the... [Read on]
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06
Power of Dreams
Twenty years ago an alarmingly young band from Dublin released a debut album full of near-flawless indie-pop tunes. It had a confidence and ambition that was at odds with their youth and it is still talked about to this day as one of the great Irish debuts of all time. The album was called ‘Immigrants, Emigrants And Me’ and the band were Power of Dreams. Formed by songwriter Craig Walker (above, right) in 1989 while he was still at school, along with his brother Keith on drums and their friend Mick Lennox on bass, the success of the album brought a certain level of fame and critical plaudits on the youngsters, both here and abroad. Flash forward two decades and I am sitting at Craig Walker’s kitchen-table listening to his recollections of the highs and lows of the last twenty years. Walker, now a youthful 38, looks back with pride on that debut album and the subsequent success his band enjoyed in the early Nineties. I tell him that his band was the first Irish band I ... [Read on]
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22
Valerie Francis
CLUAS fires some questions at Valerie Francis, creator of Choice Music Prize nominated album Slow Dynamo. Tell us about the album - its conception, creation, response... Is there anything you'd go back and change about it now? I wouldn't change a thing. I don't think it's good to think like that. We did exactly what we wanted to do at the time and we did it the best we could. I couldn't ask for anything more. I feel that making a record is capturing those songs right then and there. It's a moment and that is how they were meant to be in that moment. A musical Polaroid. I always wanted to make an album and it took a while to make it a reality. I had a few failed attempts at getting started. I think frustration turns into drive after a while. Jimmy [Eadie, the album's producer] is a good friend and I pretty much begged him to record my album. At that stage I just knew I needed to do it and I needed to get people involved who would see it through to the e... [Read on]
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22
Sounds of System Breakdown
Sounds of System Breakdown, the electronic, pop, dance rock brain child of Rob Costello released their debut album in January. Cluas caught up with Rob Costello from the band for a few words just prior to the release to find out their plans. The Album was launched on the 27th Jan. Is it a culmination of songs built up over the last three years or new stuff? Is most of the work a product of the group or are there solo tunes from Rob that were worked on after you became a three-piece? The album is a mix of old and new, some of it dating back to 2005. The songs were mostly written by me but the arrangements on the album were very much influenced by our work on the live show as a three piece. Bands tend to get grouped and packaged nowadays it seems, every group has to have a trendy genre tag attached. Industry and media folks call you guys electro-punk, is that fair do you think? Do you see yourselves as electro? Or as a band who play and write lots of songs that don't consti... [Read on]
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