Ireland’s Girl Band have played in sixteen countries and they don’t even have an album out. It’s just one of the many feats the relentless four piece have achieved over the last year, including becoming renowned for a live show that could quite possibly be the most exciting to conquer these shores.
Chaotic yet very much calculated, they’re thoroughly unpredictable: the dribble of new material released in 2014 have each been their own individual surprise, with everything from six-minute sprawlers to wildly interpreted Beat Happening covers. Speaking to guitarist Alan Duggan, the band never necessarily intended to tease us all so painfully slowly, but he admits that it’s ultimately been the best course for them. “We haven’t had to rush into anything, with every choice we’ve taken our time,” he says. “We’re just happy that [the band]’s getting attention now, as things are exactly as we want them to be portrayed.”
Identity and portrayal are incredibly important to these guys, and while their live shows seem unhinged and cataclysmic, underneath all the noise isn’t a band who have improvised anything - it’s all meticulously worked out. “We don’t actually improvise at all!” Alan laughs when the idea’s suggested. “It’s all really, really worked out. We’ve seen bands who can [improvise] and we love them but we just can’t jam. We spend so long working on the sound that if we improvised it would all sound too mushy.”
It makes sense. At shows while eccentric frontman Dara Kiely pummels audiences with his scratchy, Pavement-esque nonsense, the rest of the band are all wonderfully in sync; conjuring up a clatter that leaves everyone in awe. Although at times they come across as fearful and brooding, one of the best things about Girl Band is the dark humour that flows underneath. Lyrics cover everything from football teams, to looking crap with your top off, right up to Nutella, and it’s hard not to be left with a huge grin when the ferocious, 21-second ‘The Cha Cha Cha’ reaches its abrupt but painfully excellent end.
“We’ve always loved putting out short, punk-y songs, and that one just seemed kind of funny!” Alan explains of ‘The Cha Cha Cha’’s creation. “It always gets a laugh. We played a show in Rotterdam with all these punks, and we headlined but I don’t think a lot of people knew our songs - they were just checking us out for the first time. Anyway, we ended with ‘The Cha Cha Cha’ and a big mosh pit broke out… it was hilarious.”
Having toured extensively over the last year, surely the momentum has reached such a point where they’re ready to head into the studio for an album? Well, not exactly. “We haven’t had a lot of time to write because we’ve been touring so much,” says Alan. “We have a couple of ideas we want to work on, so we’re going to continue working on those until around May then just head in and record a bunch of tracks and pick whichever works best.” Like everything Girl Band do, it’s going to take a while to get to the end result but the payoff will inevitably be worth it. “We do want to keep it around the 40 minute mark, I know that much!” he chuckles.
They’re also definitely set on returning to the same studio in Ireland where they’ve recorded everything to date. It’s important for Ireland to remain the home base of the band, and even though it can be a pain in the arse travelling. Alan reveals that they feel most comfortable there and wouldn’t want to make the record anywhere else. “For us, it’d mean making a progression’s easier as it’s somewhere we’ve been before. This is much more of a natural thing and we don’t have to make such a big deal out of it.”
As featured in the December 2014 / January 2015 issue of DIY, out now.
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