Ireland is a country long renowned for its musical legacy. People forget but Ireland is the home of the Dubliners, Planxty, Stiff Little Fingers, Thin Lizzy, The Undertones, The Cranberries, U2 (come on, they used to be good), My Bloody Valentine, Rory Gallagher, Van Morrison, The Divine Comedy, The Frames, And So I Watch You From Afar, Villagers, and, to be fair, we could keep going for ages. Turns out the country remains a hotbed of musical innovation as the recent rise of post-punks Girl Band and the fuzzed up September Girls proves.
This is where post-punk newcomers Slow Riot come in. Hailing from Limerick in the south of Ireland, the group can be raucous and spiky as evidenced by recent single, ‘City of Culture’, but also brooding and aloof in a kind of Joy Division meets The National kind of way. We’re pretty sure their upcoming EP Cathedral, due for release on September 11th, is going to make a sizable splash so we’re pretty chuffed that the trio took the time to chat to Overblown about marriage equality, recording at the Manic Street Preachers’ FASTER studio, and stealing the name of a band from Australia.
O: Thanks for taking the time to talk to Overblown! First things first. How did the band get together?
Aaron: Myself and Niall were friends before Slow Riot. We were both in bands that had broken up and we both wanted to get going again so we said we’d get together and give it a go. We had never played together before. We initially got a friend to play drums at the beginning but he moved to NYC, Paul then joined in Dec 2014.
O: Do you know there is another band called Slow Riot from Australia?
Paul: We actually spoke to these guys earlier in the year. They are called Slow Riots, meaning they cause multiple riots. We are Slow Riot so we keep our riots singular.
Niall: I’m pretty sure they contacted us and we completely forgot to respond…
O: Your debut single is called ‘City of Culture’ which is named for the honour bestowed upon your home town of Limerick. Do you find a certain irony in Limerick (I’m from Cork btw) being named a ‘city of culture’?
Niall: No, I don’t find a certain irony in Limerick being named a ‘city of culture’ (my joke seems to have fallen flat! – ed). While Limerick has a lot to offer culturally, our song is specifically about our experience of the Limerick music scene and music is one aspect of the culture in Limerick.
O: You recorded your upcoming Cathedral EP in Manic Street Preachers FASTER studio. What was that experience like?
Paul: Daunting at first but as soon we met the team there we relaxed. An amazing set up, amazing gear and a wealth of knowledge from their in house engineers. We are so grateful to James and the rest of the Manics for treating us so well. Our producer Kevin Vanbergen was also a guiding light for us and pushed us in directions we hadn’t explored.
Aaron: We did four songs in three days. It went by so quickly, but I’ll never forget leaving the studio on the last day with bruised and bloody fingers.
O: A song on the EP will be re-recording of a demo of yours called ‘Cooper’s Dream’. Who is Cooper?
Niall: F.B.I Special Agent Dale Cooper (the protagonist of off-beat TV series Twin Peaks).
O: Ireland recently became the first country to legalise same sex marriage by popular vote. Do you see this as an indication that Ireland has become a more freethinking country?
Aaron: There is this jaded stereotypical and completely fabricated view that Ireland is a backwards country when it comes to social issues. For the rest of the world I think people seeing such an overwhelming turnout and support for the Yes campaign on same sex marriage sent shock-waves around the world and made many re-evaluate what Ireland as a country actually is. It’s not a distorted or clichéd image but the people themselves. With a country synonymous with emigration the Marriage Equality vote made an entire generation of Irish people take a deep breath and ask what Ireland do I want to live in and we answered, “Yes!”
O: Do you guys have any upcoming tour plans?
Aaron: We have a few things up our sleeve but you’ll have to keep an eye out for the future!
O: What other Irish bands are worth checking out at the moment?
Paul: We are all big fans of Girl Band. It’s nice to see something completely different, compelling and new coming out of Ireland which is what we feel they are doing.
Niall: We share our rehearsal space with a fantastic band named Fonda. Keep an ear out for their debut release.
Follow Slow Riot on Facebook.