The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Sounds of System BreakdownSounds 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 constitute just electro or punk?
I think bands have to package themselves these days. Every profile you set up on a website and every competition you enter requires you to select from a menu of genre tags, and with the inordinate amount of bands out there at the moment, punters and press need shortcuts and filters to navigate through. Having said that, the album we have made is quite eclectic and I don't think it fits neatly into those categories.

Where was the album recorded? Was it self produced? Was there a lot of input from you as to the different tweaks etc to make it sound the way you wanted?
The album was recorded and mixed largely in our own studio, with a day here and there in commercial studios like Qube and Silverline. We borrowed whatever mics and equipment we could get our hands on, and with a lot of help from my brother, Ed Costello, learned how to put it together ourselves.

What is the aim of the album? What would success be for you? Are you looking to sign with a label? Would it be an economic decision if the opportunity arose?
Success would be to be able to play music full-time. I don't necessarily think you need a label to do that nowadays but if the right one came along, we'd probably go for it. The nice thing about self-producing the album is that we own all the copyrights and aren't stuck in restrictive contracts. We're very much free to go wherever we want from here.

Are you writing all the time, at this stage is there a solid number of tunes outside of the album you have in reserve? Or was the writing process centred around getting an album together?
There are hundreds of little ideas and maybe four or five songs that are close to completion that we now have time to have a look at properly. Now that we have time, we're going to do a lot more jamming as a band. We’re looking forward to that.

In this climate, it would be fair to say it's easier to get music out, technologically, however touring and the cost of getting your name around live is still huge. Would your biggest constraint as a group be the cost and lack of resources associated with touring?
I suppose so. Up till now we've stuck mostly to Dublin gigs and the small festival circuit, but hopefully as word spreads about the album there will be opportunities to fill up two cars and head off. We're currently booking a small Irish tour which we'll release details about soon.

What’s next in the immediate future? What are the plans for 2010?
Now that most of the boring admin work associated with releasing an album is finished, we're looking forward to a lot of jamming, gigging and writing. We're also putting together a couple of videos and getting some friends to do remixes. Watch this space.

Kevin Coleman

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Nuggets from our archive

2002 - Interview with Rodrigo y Gabriela, by Cormac Looney. As with Damien Rice's profile, this interview was published before Rodrigo y Gabriela's career took off overseas. It too continues to attract considerable visits every month to the article from Wikipedia.