Galants is out now via Jigsaw Records.
You may have heard us say this here on Overblown, but Irish alternative rock is in pretty rude health at this very moment in time. From Girl Band to Girls Names and beyond, there is a very real feeling that every single Irish alternative band that you catch will be better than the last. Dublin’s Galants are very much part of this movement. Combining the ethereal fuzz of shoegaze with the more hook conscious aspects of alternative rock, they’ve just released their self titled debut EP. A four song piece that is soaring, earnest, and visceral, the EP showcases a band with a knack for a wall of sound and a melody.
We spoke to Dave Kennedy (vocals/guitar) from the band about the story behind each of the tracks on the album. You should grab the album via Bandcamp.
So we begin; the very first collection of songs we have recorded together as a band. We tracked this EP over the summer live with Stephen Dunne in Lamplight Studios without too much thought or definite idea on what it should or shouldn’t sound like and with a view to capturing an honest reflection of us as a group. It seems to have given the tunes a certain collective personality that they perhaps wouldn’t have had if we’d adopted a more mechanical approach to the recording. The EP doesn’t have a title as in truth there wasn’t a title that called out to us and we didn’t see much point in just giving it a throwaway name for no reason and without substance or meaning. So it simply exists as it is; just us. Both in sound and physical form.
This song is the one that probably best encapsulates the overall Galants mission statement such as it is and is a decent point of compass for everything we do. It is essentially a tuneful indie pop song sprinkled over a reverberated fuzzed out guitar sound. This particular tune came out with an unexpected intensity; constantly moving forward without compromise as it races to the end. Lyrically it is sparse but aims to convey the message that it’s ok just to play music for the sake of it no matter who or how good you are and moreso as a tonic to combat feelings of anxiety when you just need to escape reality to another world for a little while.
This is probably the most personal song on the EP insofar as it arose in the context of my wife having suffered a succession of recent miscarriages. While I write this I am questioning myself whether I should even mention this explicitly which in a roundabout way is what this song is trying to address. The second time it felt like we were walking a tightrope that we would inevitably fall off at any minute and in the knowledge that the further we went, the higher and more painful the fall would be. In the aftermath I found that people didn’t know how to react or what to say when I told them about what happened to the extent it became increasingly difficult to talk about it without being shrouded in a tense veil of awkwardness. In a time when we are battling in Ireland to give women freedom over their reproductive rights and bodies it’s important not to underestimate the impact that miscarriages can also have. And it can be as simple as just talking about it. In the process of doing so, we can maybe remove some of the stigma that prevents people from speaking out in the first place and helping men in particular realise what women have to go through both physically and emotionally and just how hard that can be.
As for the dynamic of the track itself, it is one that was very much came from having a basic outline that was completely transformed by the band getting together and jamming it out in the practice room. To me it represents the first time that we genuinely collectively arranged a song as a band and is a sort of watershed moment for us in that sense.
This song was only written a few weeks before we entered the studio and is probably the most raw track on the EP as a result. By the time it came to recording, the song was still developing structurally which definitely added to a feeling of spontaneity on the day. For that reason it’s the track that best reflects the spirit of the record in that we were primarily focused on getting the spirit of the band across in the moment with as few takes as possible. A lot of credit has to go to Stephen here for helping us cut to the essence of the tune and pulling it together in a cohesive mix after the fact. As far as subject matter is concerned, it is really about feeling a greater sense of introspection as I veer towards the midpoint of life. Living in an age coloured by the overwhelming dominance of social media we are too often invited to curate online personalities and cherry pick portraits of ourselves and world events that put a fake gloss over reality. Constantly seeing things through a myriad of online filters of equal part aggrandisement and outrage can make the transition from youth towards adulthood all the more anxiety-ridden and sometimes it just feels easier to turn inwards away from the noise.
This is the oldest track on the EP by some distance in that it was written a good few years ago. It has gone through a couple of guises in its time but has always fundamentally remained the same and endured from the start of the whole Galants project. The character of the song is rooted in the fact it was written and played in an open guitar tuning. It’s not always the case but sometimes writing beyond the comfort zone of an instrument can force you to look at chord structures and voicings in a slightly different light and can provide another angle of inspiration in the writing process. That definitely happened here. We ultimately chose this song for the EP because it’s fun to play live and therefore fitted in with the ethos of the recording sessions as a whole. I actually wrote it on the morning I left for a holiday to Juan-les-Pins in France and then called the demo ‘Juan’ just a working title. I subsequently became too lazy to think of a more appropriate name thereafter and it just seemed to stick. The track covers a vague theme of being periodically overwhelmed by the expectations and pressures of your peers and never being certain you’re ever meeting them. And then sometimes you think why should you even care. That in itself probably reflects the dual personality of this track as it veers towards a hope-filled blissed-out middle section and back to the full blown chaos of the last chorus – a fitting last hurrah for this particular collection of songs!
Find Galants on Facebook.