I Hate Cahir With All My Heart
Hey guys. You have just released your new single "Calculate The Risk". What is the track about?
Jamie: To me the song is about getting to a point in your life and realising that lots of people take on some kind of role, like I'm a father, I'm a go-getter, i’m a business women and it’s kind of like a rejection of this idea that we have to choose a mask and wear it forever.
Andrew: Also, the idea that we all can contribute to a greater good - no matter how small that contribution. We're saying it's easy to hide, but it's also easy to change the smallest thing. If eveyone did this the world might be a very different place.
Only 1000 copies of the single were made. Why was this?
Jamie: We never press that many singles, it makes them more personal, oh and I didn’t want 500 copies under my bed, but now MTV and Radio 1 have started playing it we should be alright.
You have been hard at work recording the new album for quite some time. What can fans expect from it?
Jamie: The album is finished. We are all really pleased with it, it is a great record of where the bands is right now and where we have been working to get to for the last year. We worked hard on quality control, as we did on our first album, which means that we have some very good b-sides too.
Andrew: It's a big step forward for us.
How does it differ from 'Zero For Conduct'
Jamie: It is louder, more guitars, but the principles we worked to with 'Zero For Conduct' are pretty much the same, just try to get together 11 songs that we loved, fuck trends, recorded them where we feel comfortable and put it out.
Andrew: I think lyrically this record is deals with less day to day stuff and more year on year things.
The new album is called 'Once Like A Spark'. Where did the title come from?
Jamie: It comes from the first line of a poem by American poet E.E. Cummings. To us the poem and the term itself seemed to fit the way that good music is made - people meet, throw in their ideas and if it clicks then you get the spark.
Andrew: We meet so many people every day of our lives - every new face and person holds an opportunity to learn or to laugh or fall in love, or hate them - whatever. To me, it's about reminding yourself about that daily.
Which track on the album was the hardest to write lyrics for?
Jamie: I would say that the last track on the record called ‘There Is No Real Courage Unless There Is Real Danger’ was an interesting struggle, we were trying to write about big issues and ideas but to make them personal, to make them hit you on a very personal level, like Zack De La Rocha would sometimes do for Rage, he’d make these big statements that hit you in a very personal way. These are some of the hardest songs to pull off without sounding like Bono on a good day.
Andrew: I'd agree, we worked on that track the longest out of all of them, it's new territory for the band and we wanted to get it right. A lot ended up on the cutting room floor.
How has the new material gone down with fans?
Jamie: We haven’t played all the songs to audiences yet but we will be on our next tour. The stuff that we were playing was going down well so it sent us off to the studio feeling positive about the start of the album.
Andrew: This is the first tour we've done armed with 7 or 8 brand new tracks. Hopefully, the shows will be a good balance of Hits vs Newness (!)
You have just announced details of a massive 60 date tour. Which towns/venues are you most looking forward to playing?
Jamie: All of them equally, especially your town. No really, I do honestly look forward to touring as a whole. Some nights on the tour we know that the crowds are going to be bigger, the venues plusher and the rider more fruitful but when it comes to it you never know where a show that you are going to love is going to come up. Sometimes, its against all odds. I love the idea that every night with us you get a different show, it’s very much in a old style tradition that the show moves from town to town, no acting, no bullshit, sometimes it sparks, sometimes not, but its real.
Do you ever get homesick while on tour?
Jamie: Oh god yes, once I did what the rest of the band called ‘a Richie Manic’ and disappeared on the beach in Aberdeen, mind you at the time we where travelling in a camper van called ‘Excalibur’, living and sleeping in the van, things could get a bit tense. I just had to go for a walk and get some fresh air. When I came back the others took the piss out of me for the next two weeks of the tour. You just kind of want to go home sometimes, to watch pop idol and never listen to another one of Cahir’s (our lead guitarist) Minidiscs again.
Andrew: Incredibly sometimes, but you daren't let it show.
Doesn't touring get a little bit boring after a while?
Jamie: See above. Yes it does, but not the gigs just the van.
Andrew: We try and spend as much of our time looking round town and on the internet etc. just to stay in touch with people and well... appreciate it.
Do you spend time looking around the places you visit on tour or do you just stay at the venues you are playing at?
Jamie: Being in the band has meant that I have really travelled all over the UK, gone to places such as the Shetland Islands that I doubt I would ever go to, so I love to get out and have a look around. You see some really great places, some boring shopping centres and the odd Wetherspoon pub or two but it’s all worth it.
Andrew: We're experts on the UK - I feel like that old man with the flat cap that gets hot for bridges on BBC2. I'd like to be an expert on Japan and America too. Who knows?
Is it disheartening on the nights few people turn up to see you?
Jamie: Not really, if it’s the first time we have ever been to a place and there are people there then I'm always really shocked and pleased. Some places take a bit of cracking but as long as they will have us back, like a cyber-borg-terminator band, we will return.
Andrew: We never go away, its quite funny really - eventually people crack.
Do you ever get nervous before going onstage?
Jamie: Sometimes when they crowds get a bit big you do feel different, but it’s not like nervous to me now, it feels like a challenge, I have to admit I really like it when it comes along. You get a real rush if it goes well in front of 1000 people, it makes you feel really together as a band, like you are travelling around the country as a gang fucking people up where ever you go.
Andrew: More so as we go along, I think as the band gains popularity you have a lot more to lose in terms of audience participation and satisfaction.
What is your opinion on people downloading your music?
Jamie: Everyone in the band has their own opinion on this. My opinion personally is that is fine, to a certian point. if a band volunteers, like we do, that's fine. But i think it's wrong to download a band who doesn't. I think it is wrong to download music without paying for it because for a lot of bands selling their records is the only way. And even if it's a really cool album, then that band are always going to be in the same postion, stuck
there. If a band volunteers their music, that's cool - download away!
How do you structure your setlist?
Jamie: Andrew writes it out, we suggest a few changes then we go on. On the next tour we will be able to play for a bit longer so we will be playing lots of the new album, but good news for frustrated ‘summer ends’ fans we will be playing some more stuff off the first album too. I promise.
Andrew: Sometimes I forget to write it out - that's good crack.
What is the first thing you do after walking offstage at the end of a gig?
Jamie: Usually, I stand at the side of the stage and greet the others like a football manager as they come off, then climb back on to the stage and wrap up all my leads and start to pack up. Very un-rock’n’roll.
Andrew: I go to the merch stall and sell our tshirts and records and talk to people, I get the best post-gig job, I'm very lucky in that respect.
Which track do you enjoy most playing live and why?
Jamie: I think a new song called "Conventional Thought" because it has loads of gaps when I don’t play and I go nuts dancing like a cunt.
Andrew: I always like playing 'Revolution Rock' - because it still sums up who we are as a band. It's nice to have a song like that - we're lucky to have stumbled across it.
Do you ever play any covers?
Jamie: We have done, but not anymore, we use to play ‘Wail’ by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and we have been know to play a version of 'Merchandise' by Fugazi (Fugazi fans all go ‘’You should never cover Fugazi’’ but we had two hours to play in a lodge in Cork so fuck up!) In fact the first time Cahir ever played with us was when he joined us on stage for an for all-ages gig in Derry. He jumped up on stage and I hit a bum note on the chorus, you should have seen the face on him, I cracked up. What a pro! He was the man for us.
Andrew: I hate Cahir with all my heart.
What do you think of The Darkness?
Jamie: When they first came out I thought, great, I do genuinely like Thin Lizzy and AC/DC, in a totally non ironic way, but the more I see of them I just think they are a joke, I watched them on the Kerrang! awards in catsuits and flares and I just thought Thin Lizzy only looked the way they did because it was the fashion in 1976, it wasn’t a outfit, just the clothes of the time. The Darkness should have chosen to be a rock band like Lizzy or AC/DC not a joke playing up to the media all the time. But that my friends is up to them and maybe they know they just can’t cut it as a real band.
Andrew: I would have rather that they got out after Glastonbury and said we're going to really work at this and become really good, they were just amateur on The Mercury Awards and they could be so good. It's a shame really. The fucking 'Sun'.
What was the last album you bought?
Jamie: The Mars Volta one.
Andrew: 'Wood/Water' by The Promise Ring second-hand.
Do you have any albums you are embarrassed about owning?
Jamie: Loads, I used to have a second hand record shop near my house. I would go down there after school and you could by albums for a pound each. So I ended up just buying stuff that I hadn’t heard but I had read that other people thought was good, or sometimes ones that just have class covers. I suppose I should name one, ‘Rock On’ by Humble Pie, its utter shit but it has a great cover photo of a big pyramid of stunt motorcycle riders with the letters ‘r.o.c.k o. o.n.’ painted on their crash helmets. Great idea or what?!
Andrew: I used to be embarrassed by having every Ride record ever released but then I wised up and accepted it.
What first made you want to pick up a guitar and join/form a band?
Jamie: My mates older brother stuck on the video of ‘Live And Dangerous' by Thin Lizzy, all afros, flares and harmony guitars, I new they looked shit but I didn’t care, I thought they could really play. So that was it - practise must commence.
Andrew: 'Rock Music' by The Pixies - I nearly vomited it was so good.
If you found out you only had one day to live, how would you spend it?
Jamie: When would I find out? First thing in the morning? The day before? As soon as I opened my eyes on my last day? Around lunch time? My answer changes with all these equations. Anyway, if you told me I had one day to live I just wouldn’t believe you and I would be convinced that you where just a morbid bastard.
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