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IMRO Interview Fighting With Wire

"It's reassuring to know that Fighting With Wire are flying the flag for hook-laden, head-spinning riffola."

Fight With Wire
by Edwin McFee - 10.06.2009

All conquering post punk pugilists Fighting With Wire wax lyrical about finally getting some recognition at home, South by South West, their breakout year and writing novelty songs about Dracula.

"The last year has been madness,” begins Fighting With Wire mainman Cahir O’Doherty, who’s taking a well earned break in his native Derry. “We’ve just got back from SXSW, we released "Sugar" from 'Man Vs Monster' and that album campaign is now over and done with and we’re moving onto the next record. We’re deep in writing at the moment for the next album and we plan to record in June so we’re really excited about getting some new material up and rockin’.”

Cahir has every reason to enjoy his time off. You see, about a yearand-a-half ago the band signed the deal of their lives with Atlantic Records and since then it’s been nationwide radio play, non-stop tours, huge festival slots and generally living the rock star lifestyle. Not bad going for a band who were going to call it quits in Christmas ’07.

“The mood in the band is amazing right now,” smiles Cahir. “South by South West was just phenomenal. We’ve never played it before, so we did ten shows in three days which was intense. I lost my voice for the very last show (laughs) but we just wanted to make up for all the years we didn’t get to go, so we tried to play as many gigs as we could. It was amazing, it was really hard work and we were completely wrecked afterwards. We only got one day to enjoy Austin on the Sunday, so it meant flying home with the most horrendous hangover of my life. But on all the other days we were very professional, so it was worth it.”

Ever since FWW first arrived on the scene in 2003, the three-piece have been on an all-consuming omission to decapitate their audience en masse with their guitars. Contrary to the opinions of some misinformed journos, no-one can ever say they’re an over-night success, as Cahir (who also plays in the mighty Jetplane Landing) and co. have been almost constantly on the road for years before Atlantic came a-calling.

“Some of the touring was a nightmare and some of it was absolutely life changing,” he enthuses. “In the last two years we got to play in Europe, America and all across the world. The big thing for us last year was to play more in the south of Ireland though. I really wanted to play there as much as possible to let people know we exist, because we’re an Irish band and it’s important to me that we keep going back and back and push it as much as possible. It seems to have worked as Oxegen (‘08) was a real highlight for me. That tent was fuckin’ rammed. I couldn’t believe it and I was so happy to see it all coming together because this is our home and we should be better known here. So yeah, that was the best part of touring for me last year – making an impact in the south of Ireland.”

It’s a particular point of pride for Cahir to get recognition in his home country, as beforehand the post punks had to resort to crossing the Irish Sea to get some gigs. “When we first started out we used to play in places like Cork and get no-one showing up so we focused on England instead and it really kicked off. It had kind of annoyed me because I wanted us to make a name for ourselves at home first. People used to say, ‘I’m sure you guys are massive back home’ and we’d be like, ‘Well, in Northern Ireland we pull a few heads, but in the south noone wants to know.’”

Thankfully that’s all starting to change and with the help of the rock behemoth that is their debut album 'Man Vs Monster', FWW are finally getting some richly deserved recognition, which comes in handy as they’re just about to start work on their second record. “It’s all going great. We’ve 26 ideas already. We want to write as much as possible because we don’t want to be in danger of making a shit second album. We’re going to try and avoid that ‘difficult second album’ cliché and want it to be as good, if not better, than Man Vs Monster. We’ve always prided ourselves on making strong songs with no filler.”

Followers of their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/fightingwithwire) have already been treated to some of the new stuff in the form of the online video for "Dracula’s Castle", which features Cahir and Craig (McKean, drums) wearing Hallowe’en masks and generally acting the eejit. Don’t worry though, they’re not really planning on going goth for the second album. “’Dracula’s Castle’ was just us taking the piss,” laughs Cahir. “It may indeed make a guest appearance on the new record as a secret track or something though. Don’t you worry, there’s plenty more where
that came from.”

In an era of insipid singer-songwriters, smack addled pop stars and sexist rappers, it’s reassuring to know that Fighting With Wire are flying the flag for hook-laden, head-spinning riffola. What’s even better is that the band are willing to put all of their experience back into the scene and are eager to help everyone else succeed. Not only does Cahir volunteer in Derry’s Nerve Centre, he’s also taken instrumental punk upstarts And So I Watch You From Afar under his wing too. Indeed, he’s keen to give some advice to any new Irish band out there in need of some help.

“The best piece of advice I can give anyone is be the biggest thing in your hometown,” concludes the singer/guitarist. “Rather than trying to ‘get it,’ ‘it’ will come to you. Loads of bands think they have to move to London or Dublin or whatever but that’s bullshit. If you’re the biggest band in Galway or Sligo or wherever, then everyone will come looking for you. Write good songs, be tight as hell, blow everyone else away and just enjoy it. There are so many acts out there who are doing it but aren’t enjoying it. They just sit there with big fuckin’ faces on them and it’s like, c’mon, rock ‘n’ roll is supposed to be fun! So that’s my advice: enjoy yourself.”

IMRO is a national organisation that administers the performing right in copyright music in Ireland on behalf of its members - songwriters, composers and music publishers - and on behalf of the members of the international overseas societies that are affiliated to it. IMRO’s function is to collect and distribute royalties arising from the public performance of copyright works.