Kick Against The Pricks is out now.
Violent. Visceral. Virulent. Impertinent. Scornful. Impudent. I could go on. Such is the modus operandi of Limerick’s Post Punk Podge. Crafting driving and intellectual punk that takes aim at the heart of all that is ridiculous in Ireland and further afield, Post Punk Podge is another in that finest tradition of musical storytellers who make it their life’s work to point out the absolutely facile that sits in plain sight masquerading as something of sense and intelligence. It’s the musical version of The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Direct and biting, the music calls on the fiercely political music that was the norm in the punk world in the 70’s. On top of this, his lyrics explore Catholicism, Irishness, and the banks being wankers.
We’ll let the man explain it himself. He does a better job than we ever could.
1. Mass Deception
Deception and corruption have become commonplace in every facet of Irish society. I read the article ‘The Culture of Mass Deception’ by the philosophers Adorno and Horheimer the title of the song comes directly from that article. The article speaks about how everything is manufactured for consumption especially music and film. It speaks about how we are being deceived in order for us to consume.
I wanted to apply what I learned from the article to my own life and living in Ireland at the moment. I focus primarily on the Anglo-Irish bank scandal and naming some of the bankers involved in absconding with people’s money.
In the song I say “Smoke and mirrors hide the truth of men in suits, corruption looms”. I am referring to the way in which we are being deceived by the media, politicians, bankers and big businesses on a daily basis. They are profiting from this deception. There is nothing I could say in a song that is worse then the actions of the people involved in all these scandals. The song also speaks about addiction to social media and how I feel that music is viewed as a throwaway commodity in this digital age.
Chris Quigley from the band Cruiser recorded the EP and he helped me add electronic drums and modular synth to the song to beef up the sampled motorik beat and outro. Chris also sings backing vocals in the chorus.
Musically it is inspired by bands like At the Drive-In, Joy Division, Death from Above 1979 and Techno. The violin solo sums up the tone of the EP as being man vs machine.
2. Kick Against the Pricks
Musically this song was inspired by trying to make a song which mixed the Stooges raw punk with Underground Resistance’s dark techno synths. I wanted the song to be electronic sounding and went about putting the synths and strings through different pedals to make it obnoxious sounding.
It was the first song that I wrote for the EP. I started recording it with Naive Ted whilst we were working on the Stark Raving EP. Some bits needed to be redone and so Chris helped me finish it.
Chris added the shuffling electronic beats in the chorus which are a nod to the techno DJ/producer Surgeon. The outro is influenced by Sonic Youth and Lightning Bolt.
Lyrically, the song talks about how artists and musicians are frowned upon by rich people or those in power. People with a lot of material wealth are often emotionally very poor. We are led to believe by social media that to be deemed successful in life you need to have material wealth and it’s a lie.
Artistic talent is priceless and we should all strive to use the talents we are given and this will help make us more emotionally rich and happy. Take all the negativity people throw at you and make something positive out of it be it a song, painting, poem, film, whatever. Those in power just want control and divisions are put in place to keep us in line but they do not really exist.
The spoken word sample at the start is from an interview with the band the Jesus and Mary Chain from 1985. I felt this summed up the tone of defiance of the song as the interviewer tries to belittle Jim Reid but Jim stands up to him astutely and we get great wit.
The same interview refers to Oscar Wilde’s gutter/stars quote and this inspired the lyrics “For she who is wise and he who is wild they need no Oscar, need no prize”.
This was the last song we recorded for the EP and probably the one I am most proud of. I started writing the song on an acoustic guitar which may surprise people as it is so electronic sounding.
I wanted to make a song that was like a mixture of ‘Hallgallo’ by NEU! and ‘Star Guitar’ by The Chemical Brothers in terms of their sounds and euphoria. I recorded picked electric guitar to the motorik drumbeat I sampled and we used this as a demo to go away and build everything else upon.
Chris and I both went away and came up with synth parts and other parts separately without hearing what each other had come up with and then we went back into the studio to record everything else.
The song was originally supposed to be an instrumental but a vocal melody and the line “NEU!WAVE! future days are here” came into my head one day fully formed and it felt like it needed to be used in the song. Chris came up with a synth part that was exactly the same as the first half of my vocal part without ever having heard me sing it. This was a spooky moment for both of us.
We finished recording all the other instruments in one day which was great going considering all the parts I came up with. The spoken word sample at the start is from an interview with the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly whose music I enjoy playing on the violin. Kodaly says “Music is a spiritual food for everybody”. I felt this quote summed up the euphoric feel of the track.
I wanted to put a song on the EP that could sum up musically and lyrically that hope and peace are still alive in the world amongst all the turmoil that is going on. Neu! means new in German and is the name of a German krautrock band that I love and ‘Future Days’ is the name of a Can album who are also a German band I love. The more hippie side of the music comes to the fore in this song I feel.
4. Embrace Your Madness
This song proved to be the trickiest to get right in terms of recording and arranging. Chris and I recorded so much music for the song that his laptop nearly crashed.
It has an early nineties Happy Mondays kind of vibe to it. I wanted to try and mix that with heavy guitars, synths and a classical string arrangement. The album ‘Demon Days’ by Gorillaz was a big influence and so was Nine Inch Nails.
Lyrically the song was influenced by listening to the English rapper Lee Scott’s album ‘Nice Swan’. I wanted to write a song that was both serious and humorous at the same time so the mood changes from line to line. The lyrics were written as a trail of thought exercise and edited afterwards.
The chord progressions were written early one morning. I just picked up the guitar and it came almost fully formed. I wrote the bridge part that evening and just tried out the lyrics over it and then made them fit.
The song focuses on growing up in Catholic Ireland and how it affected me. I am talking about everyday disillusionment, Catholic guilt and alienation in the first verse. I speak about how time flies and how drink and drugs speed up that process.
The second verse looks at Catholicism and how the various scandals involving the church affected Irish people. The church were in power for decades in Ireland and behind closed doors they were abusing children and then trying to cover it up.
The Tuam babies scandal, abuse by Christian Brothers and the Bishop Eamon Casey scandal are all referred to in the song.
The lyrics in the chorus are supposed to be ironic and makes reference to people self-medicating with Xanax to drown out their sadness. I am not saying this is a good or bad thing but people are going to do it anyway it would seem.
The line “Loosen the straight jacket” refers to the old viewpoint that all the mad people are locked away in straight jackets. The ones who were insane really were the church who were busy abusing their power.
The overall message of the song is embrace who you are and embrace your oddness as long as you are doing no harm to anyone shur what about it.
The song ends with a string arrangement I wanted this to act as a sorrowful lament to what I had just spoken about in the verses of the song.
Anger turned in on one’s self is a form of oppression on the mind, body and soul and this is why I wrote these songs to express my anger and frustration. All the proceeds from the digital sales of the ep from now until January 1st will be donated to St. Vincent De Paul in Limerick. The money from the sale of CDs will go towards funding the recording of our next EP which we begin recording in January.
Peace be with you all.
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