The Cast of Cheers embark on an Irish tour later in September – Stephen caught up with them to talk Australia, Spinal Tap moments and playing the Reading Festival
150,000 downloads is an astounding figure for your debut album
Chariots. What was key to its success (compared to many of your Irish
The power of the internet! With Chariot it was the support we received from the Irish music scene that sparked it. Bands like Adebisi Shank, Super Extra Bonus Party and blogs like Nialler9 and Harmless Noise put us out there and told people to check us out, they created a buzz and it kinda snowballed. Right place, right time? Luck? Cosmic space dust maybe?
Many Irish bands have tried and failed when it comes to breaking out of
Ireland. What do you think bands like Two Door Cinema Club and The Cast of
Cheers have done differently?
I don’t know what we’ve done differently. We’re very fortunate to have an awesome set of people behind us. Our manager and label have been the drive in us getting out of Ireland. Ireland’s music scene has really come into its own in the last 5 years but it can only take you so far. The next logical step for us was to move to London and tackle the UK. It just made sense.
A lot of the British press have compared you to British math rockers Foals.
Does the comparison bother you?
Being in a band, you’re always going to be compared with other bands, it happens, it doesn’t bother us, we do it ourselves even. But I think we’re two totally different bands and sometimes the comparison comes up and it feels like we’re being swept under the rug as “another Foals” when that’s not the case. We’re not out to prove anything but come see us live.
Your new album Family was produced by Luke Smith (Foals). Was that something you requested? And how was Luke to work with?
There were a few names being tossed around and when Luke’s came up we got pretty excited as we’re fans of Clor and Total Life. So we met for coffee, chatted about the album and what we wanted to do. After meeting him we knew he was the right guy. He brought a lot to the recording, made us think and look at our songs differently. It was the most enjoyable and the toughest recording I’ve ever been a part of. I know we all had heavy days in the studio. He really pushed us. You’d leave on a Friday exhausted, on the verge of a breakdown after hours and hours hammering away on one song and you’d come back Monday and he’d show you what you’d done and it was worth it. Great experience overall and a big one for the band as a whole.
As well as making waves both here and in the UK you recently hit Australia?
How has the support been out there? How does touring abroad compare to touring at home?
Australia was unreal! The support we’ve had from TripleJ Radio has been amazing. They’ve really got behind Family and it showed in the gigs we were playing. It felt like we couldn’t be further from home and we have people singing our songs back to us. It was quite surreal. Everyone, from the people that came to the shows to the people we were working with, were so welcoming. Really looking forward to going back.
There’s a comforting familiarity in playing at home, a safety net almost, that people will be there and they’ll know our stuff, whereas abroad that isn’t the case. It’s an unknown venture playing in places we’ve never been. It’s exciting and even more so when there’s a good crowd and response.
Can you give us the ultimate Spinal Tap moment in The Cast of Cheers
I’ll bullet point this one. Barcelona. Razamatazz Club. 3am show. Too many beers. Light surgery. 14 stitches later. Vacant, bandaged band member returns 20 minutes before stage time. Gig goes better than expected and the Spanish rejoiced! If anything, no matter what… we’re going to play!
You describe your sound as “Robot Rock”. What is “Robot Rock”?
Broken robots making sexy. That’s about all I can say on that.
The NME recently awarded your new album Family 8/10 stating, “this is
drive time indie, tailor-made to assuredly build its way to the top of a
festival slot“. How did that feel?
When anybody says anything nice about us it feels good so to get an 8/10 rating from NME was amazing, not to mention it was our first time in NME, we were pretty blown away by it!
Just the other week, you played the world-renowned Reading Festival. If you were to name the most enjoyable thing about playing at Reading what would it be?
Without a doubt, the crowd. Playing a ridiculously early set and getting the response we did was awesome. They were amazing and well up for it, big bunch of hardcore superheroes!
Upcoming shows will see you tour with Two Door Cinema Club in Europe and a
main slot on the NME Next Generation tour. What else is in store for the
rest of 2012?
Providing we all survive the apocalypse, A Cast of Cheers Christmas Special. What else?!
Not disregarding your amazing success to date, what would be the ultimate achievement for The Cast of Cheers?
To complete Ghouls N’ Ghosts on hard difficulty. That and world domination, no?
As part of the Irish tour The Cast of Cheers will hit Cork on September
23rd, what can the Cork fans expect?
The fury of a thousand dying suns and four very sweaty men. Bring towels.
The Cast of Cheers play The Pavilion, Cork, Sept 23rd, with Kowalski
ADM €10 (€12 non-members)