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The Big List Talk To FWW's Cahir

"Playing for Jetplane Landing, I realised there hadn't been a big band from Northern Ireland since Ash and that really annoyed me. When we came back from England, I wanted Northern Ireland to have a scene like the old Seattle scene." - Cahir

After recently being scooped up by Atlantic Records, Fighting With Wire are the first heavy rock band from Northern Ireland to be signed to a major record label since, well...Ash. But despite friends like Zane Lowe and Biffy Clyro behind them, the band are ensuring the ladders they used to clamber through NI's musical glass ceiling stay firmly rooted at home. I talked to their rather chirpy lead singer Cahir about the bands recent leaps and bounds.

Q: In your latest album, especially the single "Everyone Needs A Nemesis", you seem very 'into' the songs, how did you approach the studio to inject that passion?

Cahir: Well, for that song, I really messed the vocal up first time! The actual vocal sounded great, but in the studio they usually do a load of takes and chop together the best parts. When we were first listening to it in the car we found that I must have recorded the line "all I've got is these little ideas" in one of the takes, which is the one they first used. It sounded great but was grammatically incorrect, so I had to go in and do it all again.

But apart from that, there was just a lot of warming up the voice, just sitting in the studio and singing. We also first recorded a lot of the instruments live, but we wanted it to sound very tight and very big.

Q: How does the experience differ from being in a signed band to an unsigned band?

Cahir: Well we've just signed to Atlantic Records, although we are staying under Smalltown America for the minute. Every band wants to be signed to a major label of course, but we're happy to build for the minute under Smalltown America.

To be honest, nothing has really changed that much since getting that deal. The support from Zane Lowe has more so made a difference, as well as interest from the likes of Kerrang!

Q: What was the reception in America like?

Cahir: We had two gigs on the same day, but we had packed out a gig in New York, which was obviously great for the record company to see, but we were absolutely wrecked.

Q: You're supporting Biffy Clyro at the end of a great year for FWW, what do you have planned for 2009?

Cahir: We're writing at the minute, which is brilliant because it's all fresh stuff. Because we're playing a lot in America it means we'll have to go out there and play all the old stuff again, but that's alright. We've just got loads of ideas of things we've wanted to include in the set. We've got better at playing live and we want to take a few more risks. Not that we're going to pull a Kid A or bring out a keyboard or anything. It works for some bands, but you can make a progression without totally changing. I can't believe what's happened to Queens of the Stone Age recently, such a great band but what's happened to their last two albums? As for Biffy Clyro, we kept running into them and got to know them really well. They're a bunch of lovely guys and we're really looking forward to these shows.

Q: I've often heard you onstage telling the crowd to "go join a band", what has the experience of being in Fighting With Wire meant to you so far?

Cahir: I've always been an advocate of Northern Irish bands, and I've seen so many great bands that broke up never getting their dues. Playing for Jetplane Landing, I realised there hadn't been a big band from Northern Ireland since Ash and that really annoyed me. When we came back from England, I wanted Northern Ireland to have a scene like the old Seattle scene. I don't mean like Fastfude where everyone goes on and bitches about all the other Northern Irish bands. In Fighting With Wire, every band we'd  played with in Northern Ireland were excellent or at least had some merit. There are so many great bands here like ASIWYFA, Cashier No.9, Panama Kings and General Fiasco, but there's just too many bitter people who need to turn that attitude into something productive, stop slagging people off and get out there and do it for themselves. I think there's a lot more to come from Northern Ireland.

- Damien Whinnery, The Big List