Cruiser Interview: “It’s a bunch of nonsense but I’m glad you enjoy it”

cruiser

Self-titled new album out now.

The DIY rock scene is in rude health in Ireland at the minute. This is perhaps no more evident than in Limerick where DIY LK, a grassroots music collective, are based. Central to that movement are local lo-fi alt-rock outfit Cruiser.

Characterised by lots of heart and a rather off the cuff approach, the group sit somewhere between Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine in terms of their sound. However, they present themselves in a much more rough and ready lo-fi manner than either of those legends. Their self-titled debut record is a fucking beauty and they bring it to Cork this weekend. I cannot wait.

We spoke to Ger Devine (vocals/guitar) about the national DIY movement, their self-titled record, and Christmas cover songs.

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Cruiser’s self-titled debut album cover.

Overblown: You’ve just released your self-titled debut album. I love the album cover. What’s the story behind that?

Cruiser: Back in mid-2014 Steve and I moved into that house above The Gate Bar and since then it has been HQ for the band and central to our friend group. My bedroom was the band’s practice space for a long time and we’ve had (and continue to have) so many great nights in that house. The pub downstairs has always been incredibly patient and have allowed us to make loud music at any time of night undisturbed. We’ve even played down there before. We felt like with this being our first album, showing the place that had loomed large through the early stages of the band made a lot of sense.

I still can’t believe how well the photo turned out and that the banner didn’t get twisted by the wind.

Overblown: Opening track ‘Parma’ is wonderfully grand and powerful. I feel I hear a bit of Billy Corgan in there. What inspired the song?

Cruiser: This is one of those tracks that just arrived fully formed in my brain with little-to-no effort or planning. It’s rare that songwriting is that painless but it’s great when it is. I remember I was experimenting with writing in DADABE tuning for a change and came up with all these different sections really quickly. Then it was just a matter of marrying them together.

The lyrics mostly deal with the frustrating half-awake/half-asleep state I find myself in a lot of the time due to bouts of insomnia. There’s a lot of surreal imagery and the song kind of shifts from scene to scene with each section.

Overblown: There are some excellent grassroots musical movements going on in Ireland at the minute. Why do you think this is happening?

Cruiser: It’s hard to say exactly why but it’s definitely great to see and long may it continue.

Overblown: Can you tell us a bit about the DIY LK project?

Cruiser: When we first got Cruiser off the ground it seemed like there were no other young alternative bands in Limerick and nowhere we could set up our own small punk shows. We eventually got to know the guys in Casavettes, Annas Anchor and Eraser TV and realised that collectively we had the same desire to build a proper band scene in Limerick. Starting back in Spring of this year, we’ve been putting on amazing gigs featuring local acts as well as some of the best acts from around the country and elsewhere. The attendance at the shows has been remarkable and there have been some truly classic nights.

We’ve suddenly got around a dozen exciting local acts gathering momentum and a solid home in Pharmacia who are letting us have free reign to put on the kind of shows we want.

Overblown: I know it’s a few years old now, but I love your cover of ‘Last Christmas’. Why did you cover the song? Can we expect to hear it at your gig in Cork this weekend?

Cruiser: Back in 2014 Cruiser was just a small bedroom project. After doing one single we had to put things on hold for a year because Chris was going away to Japan. While he was gone we decided to keep a bit of momentum going by giving a Christmas classic the Cruiser treatment with Chris overdubbing his guitar parts from overseas. It’s a bunch of nonsense but I’m glad you enjoy it anyway.

We’ll be playing at least one Christmas song this weekend anyway that’s for sure. I’ll say no more!

Overblown: ‘Gram’, the epic 9-minute track from your record, is an absolute jam. How was that written? What’s the song about?

Cruiser: I wrote this around the same time as Parma while experimenting with DADABE tuning. Again it came together really quickly though I was stuck for an extremely long time on how to end it.

The song is a tribute to country singer Gram Parsons, who is one of my favourite musicians of all time. The lyrics play off the classic “perils of music and fame” trope using some imagery from Gram’s songs as well as the arc of his life itself. The spoken word section is a complete departure from the lyrical theme of the rest of the song being more of a free verse paean to my girlfriend written at a time when she was living in London for a few months.

It made sense to me to finish the track with this regardless because to me Gram Parsons greatest legacy is his romantic lyricism so it seemed fitting.

Overblown: What Irish bands are you guys really into at the minute?

Cruiser: The Altered Hours, Percolator, Junk Drawer, Silverbacks, FIXITY, Thumper, Ilenkus.

Overblown: Is rock dead?

Cruiser: Every time 100+ people gather in a room in Limerick to go crazy at a DIY LK show I know the answer is no.

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