When we first listened to their discography, yes we actually sit down and listen to the entire discographies of the bands we want to sit down for a chat. Albeit young career starters. Girl Band first appeared to give us a headache. How loud can their sound be was the first thought that rushed through our brains.
However, the more you dig in. The more you get their drift. It is Punk. Very punk, with an under-layer, inviting to always read between the lines.
The latest single they dropped, and managed to get the video treatment, ‘Pears For Lunch’, is a good first foray into their terribly addictive signature sound. The four-piece hail from Dublin, Ireland. And formed in high school, not too long ago. Band members Dara Kiel (lead) and Alan Duggan (guitar) dropped by in a swanky label loft-like open-space / office in the heart of Belleville to meet up with us, so we could chat and ask them a few questions. Turns out, the boys were in high spirits. Unlike on their forthcoming “Holding Hands with Jamie” out on Rough Trade at the end of September (25th). It is live thought that the force really hits you : full-frontal. Read the interview… See them evolve on stage, and pre-order the album now ![separator type=”space”]
[infobox maintitle=”GIRL BAND” subtitle=”Pre-order Holding Hands With Jamie via Rough Trade” bg=”black” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”50″ link=”http://store.roughtraderecords.com/left-menu-roughtrade/artists/girl-band.html/”]
Interview by Sophie. Additional introduction by Sodwee. Photographs by Michela Cuccagna.
Given your stage name people do not expect to see four guys on stage. I know it started with a joke but finally, would you have it any other way ?
Alan : It’s hard to tell because there’ll always be some aspects of your band that people ask over and over…
Dara : I like it ! I think it’s good that it provokes that kind of thing. If it’s just the name and the music didn’t match in some sort of way but I think it does, in a weird way. I like it, I wouldn’t change it ! (laughing)
You’ve been making music together for four years now. How did you meet each other ?
Dara : I met Daniel at school and we met Alan through a mutual friend when we were 13/14. Then we met Adam when we were 19.
Your first album will be released this month. I read somewhere that you experimented with unusual instruments.
Alan : Yes, it’s very much a textural thing. We had like hubcaps from cars, spoons, broken cymbals, just different kind of various metal objects that would give us a certain kind of tone. We all got sticks and started hit them against wood blocks. You get a bit lost walking around and just like hit the wall and say « does that sound ok ? » (laughing)
Dara : It was weird because we were going really mad on the first track with all the metallic stuff and then I looked across the room and Alan just threw his spoon across the room and it clapped ! (laughing) You can’t hear the clap but it’s there somewhere.
“would you say that impressed you much” ? – Dara, from Girl Band, on Shania Twain
Will you use them on stage ?
Alan : No, it’s different on stage because there’s so much volume and it’s so loud whereas when you record everything it musically sounds smaller. It was a way to widen it out and give it a kind of harsh tone. I don’t think I will be throwing spoons across the stage.
Dara : I might ! (laughing)
All materials on this album are new. Was it important for you to have a kind of a fresh start ?
Alan : Well, it wasn’t necessary a fresh start in the sense we had been writing songs for about two years or so. But in terms of all the stuff we put on EPs it would seem pretty lame to put them again on the album. We wanted to keep the album on a 35/40-minute mark and we had enough songs to do that. It was more a natural thing.
You often mention the influence of electronic music. What do you like in this genre ?
Alan : I personally like the fact that it’s very repetitive, super groovy but you can get really locked in it and hypnotized with it. From my own perspective, that was the fun thing to bring into the album, some electronic / techno elements because of the tones and subtle changes, in Minimal specially. It’s one of the influences among many.
Dara : …. Yep, me too ! (laughing)
You mentioned your first EP, France 98. How did you come up with that name ?
Dara : That was the first world cup that we all kind of witness properly. ‘Cause USA 94, I was 3 or 4 and I had other things to do ! (laughing) It seemed like a nostalgic thing. I loved that world cup so much.
Were you supporting France or Brazil ?
Dara : I was more of a France fan at that time, funny enough, but I loved Ronaldo. But I do say this in every different country « I was more of a …. » (laughing)
Have you forgiven Thierry Henry ?
Alan : oh… that ! I think that’s why we called our EP France 98, we were all into football. But pretty much at about that time when I was about 10 I lost all interest in football so when that world cup happened I just didn’t care.
Dara : Alan’s first single he baught in 1998 was Glory, Glory Man in Ireland and mine was Air – Sexy Boy ! (laughing)
You played La Route Du Rock in summer, how was it ?
Alan : Great, it’s such a cool festival ! They put us on so late, like 12 at night or something. It was amazing to play in a big open-air festival at night time. It was really fun and the line-up was really sweet. Some guy got on stage, covered in mud, he started hugging Dara and Dara thought it was me ! (laughing)
Did you have time to watch any bands there ?
Dara : We saw Thurston Moore playing cause our stages looked at each other. So we watched the set and we heard our own songs. We kinda of wreck a lot of people’s set (laughing)
Alan : It’s kinda of a shame because you just end up staying in the backroom, getting drunk. You end up missing everything !
Dara : « Primavera is amazing , What did you see ?» , « No, we just ended up in a corner, with wine and everything, they had a free bar ! » (laughing)
If you had to create the perfect girl band, who would you pick ?
Dara : How many members ?
Let’s say 3 or 4.
Dara : The Sugarbabes would be good and it would a shame to separate the Spice Girls, they worked so well together. The thing about girl bands it only works it they are all together. They tried to do this thing with New Kids On The Block or Backstreet Boys but it was not the same thing. That’s the whole point of a boy band or a girl band thing. It’s supposed to be this group of really cool mates, like similar but they have their own unique thing. I think that’s why the Spice Girls worked so well ! We all watched the Spice Girls Movie the other day, it was brilliant ! Richard E Grant plays the manager. They were like The Beatles of pop music !
I was more into All Saints !
Dara : Ooooh, you’re one of them ! Shaznay ?
Alan : fair enough !
Dara : All Saints characters were very looky in the same way and I agree with that.
Alan : Dara knows anything that’s to deal with 90s pop. If you could name a UK ..
Dara : It’s not only UK based !
Alan : Well, if you could name a 90’s boy band…
Dara : If you’re gonna put me down, put me down right !
Ok, let’s check, could you name the members of Take That ?
Dara : Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams – I mean the original members – Mark Owen, Jason Orange and Howard.
Alan : That was him ! (laughing)
Dara : Someone might have stolen it… we’ve given it to our mates called Princess. My sister is getting married next year and I listen to a lot of Shania Twain cause she said we could be her wedding band and then she said we can’t and picked a band called Seducers ! I’m trying to negotiate with my sister to please enjoy this moment. We’re gonna do like 3 Shania Twain tracks!
Alan : When I was a kid my brother also had a massive collection cut out of Shania Twain, it was kind of bizarre to see that pop back up again, it’s like jesus christ !
Dara : Was that the one ?
Alan: It’s the same outfit but she was like this… It was ridiculous, like a full life-size cut out, it was just in my attic for so long, it scared the shit out of me, you’d go upstairs : Jesus !
Dara : Would you say Al… would you say that thing, Shania Twain… “would you say that impressed you much” ?
Alan : There you are…. (laughing).
Finally, since the blog is called Sodwee for Sound of the Week, I wanted to know your Sound of the Week ?
Dara : The Flight of The Psychedelic Bumble Bee by The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.
Alan : it’s really good ! I will choose The Bully by Richard Swift.