Earlier this month we caught up with a quarter of the of Girl Band, ahead of their second album The Talkies which is out on Rough Trade now. Dara answered some questions for us and talked to us about the recording and writing process, as well as who he would love to take for a pint.
If you haven’t heard the band’s new album we highly recommend you do and catch them on their tour this Autumn. The Talkies experiments with sound in a way that is reminiscent of Jean-Michel Jarre, Brian Eno, Aphex Twin and other artists who were ahead of their time; Girl Band have established themselves as a band who aren’t afraid to deconstruct conceptions and push boundaries.
How did the band form?
“We started the band in 2011. Myself, Al and Daniel were in a band together when we were 17 or so. When that disbanded, I went from being the drummer to the singer. Just before Adam was recruited, I sheepishly asked the lads if I’m not a good singer and we find a better drummer, can I please still be in the band?”
Describe the writing process for the talkies – does each person write their individual part and then bring it to the group or is it more of a collaborative process?
“It is a collaborative effort. We all have a say on each part. The best idea in the room is always heard and nourished.”
The talkies experiments with sound, with more emphasis put on the sonic elements. Was this intentional from the onset of making the album or did it gradual happen?
“We love exploring different avenues of sound. There’s a track on the album called Aibohphobia. We wrote the song then we learned it backwards, recorded the backwards version and reversed that, so it gives this weird texture. We planned to do the same thing with the vocals but it was too complicated. The lyrics are all palindromes. Aibohphobia means fear of palindromes.”
With a four year gap between Holding Hands with Jamie and The Talkies, what made you come back from your hiatus?
“We gradually chipped away at the process. We write very slowly. We had fun doing it which is the main thing.”
Did you feel pressure coming back?
“Not really. Just really looking forward to playing gigs again and writing new music.”
What contemporary bands are you listening to and loving at the moment?
“Mik Artistik Ego Trip. They’re a band from Leeds. They’re great! Check out ‘Sweet Leaf of the North’, ‘Retired Corr’ and ‘Odd Jobs’.”
What were some of your musical inspirations when creating the talkies
“Leonard Cohen: ‘Death of a Ladies Man’ had a huge influence on me. My favourite scream ever is at the end of the track called Memories. John Cooper Clarke was also a big one. I overplayed ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Nice’ and ‘Spanish Harlem’.”
If you could have a pint with anyone alive or dead who would it be?
Which city are you most excited to play on your upcoming tour?
“All of them really. I’m looking forward to Chicago as it is our first one back. Every gig looks like a lot of fun. The Vicar Street gigs are also pretty special.”
What’s been your favourite musical experience or what musical experience has been most memorable (can be a gig you saw, or your favourite gig you’ve played)
“Leonard Cohen in IMMA in Dublin is hands down my favourite gig. Truly beautiful. I remember him saying: “Last time I was here, I was 60 – I was just a kid with a dream”. The gig was hilarious, moving and brilliantly executed.”