Get To Know... Cardinals

Neu Get To Know… Cardinals

They may be a buzzy new name on tastemakers’ lips, but this Cork six-piece’s debut EP speaks to the start of something timeless.

Hello and welcome back to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… which aims to get you a little bit closer to the buzziest acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.

Cardinals are, by all accounts, firmly on course to become Ireland’s next great success story. Having been co-signed by the nation’s premiere alt-rock flag-bearer Grian Chatten, the months since their arresting debut single ‘Roseland’ have seen them flourish in earnest; evoking melancholic nostalgia and tentative hope in equal measure, their ambitious sound - set to be crystallised in this summer’s self-titled debut project - draws as much from The Cure and trad folk sensibilities as it does from contemporary shoegaze textures.

A distinct product of their Cork stomping ground, Cardinals are markedly skilled at creating both widescreen drama and understated, poignant emotion - both of which, unsurprisingly, hit hardest when experienced live. To mark the recent announcement of their six-track EP (and its accompanying UK and Ireland tour), we caught up with the band to learn more about the Cork scene, their musical light-bulb moments, and a particularly, er, interesting dinner proposition.

Describe your music in the form of a Tinder profile.

What were the first song(s) you developed an obsession for?
Euan [Manning, guitar and vocals]:
‘Ring Of Fire’ by Johnny Cash; Mum and Dad would put it on in the car. ‘Love is a burning thing’ - what a line.

Aaron [Hurley, bass]:
‘2.45am’, by Elliot Smith. When I discovered that album in the summer of 2021 I was in complete awe. I used to listen to it front to back and back again when I was working in a canteen, it was constantly down my ears. I woke up really early one morning, got the first bus to Cork City and bought my first acoustic guitar. I tried learning ‘2.45am’ with no prior experience and now whenever I hear that opening progression it brings me back to 18 year old me butchering it in my old bedroom.

Finn [Manning, accordion]:
The poignancy of the walk-down bass line from Leonard Cohen's guitar in ‘The Partisan’ is always something that has grabbed me, even from the first time I heard the song. The trill of the higher end notes on the guitar are gallant, and support the sad, yet heroic lyrics regarding the story of a French rebel in Vichy France. What I love about Cohen is his timelessness; stories of resistance to oppression are as important today as ever.

Darragh [Manning, drums]:
‘Archangel’, by Burial. I remember being in a coffee shop with my mam when I was 10 or 11. It’s a coffee shop that we visited frequently that had a vinyl shop over it - they always played good music. I can’t remember what I loved about the track back then since it was over ten years ago, I probably just thought it was catchy. But today I can appreciate how crunchy the drums sound and how gloomy the overall track is. I remember immediately downloading it to my iPod at the time.

Oskar [Gudinovic, guitar]:
‘This Is The Day’, by The The. It provided a feeling of comfort for me during a time of great change. I found it, listened to it excessively, and never got sick of it. It still follows and haunts me, even after my obsession has passed. I generally believe the best pop songs pull equally from euphoria and sorrow, and this song was the first time I realised that.

You hail from Cork - can you tell us a bit more about the music scene there at the moment? Where do Cardinals fit in with the area’s other emerging artists?

Cork’s ethos when it comes to music is very DIY, people put on shows wherever they can. It’s very exciting, some of our favourite artists are here in Cork. We take what we can from the city and are constantly looking for people that are doing new and exciting things. Cork’s small but it has lots of character, and that’s definitely reflected in the scene and its people. I like to think everyone’s hitting off each other and taking inspiration - the idea that people are making great music makes you want to get up and do something yourself: write a song, put on a gig, join a band.

‘Cardinals’, your debut EP, is set to arrive in June. In what ways does it capture or reflect you as a band? And what aspect of the project are you most proud of?
I think the EP captures our feeling as individuals living in Cork city; of course our artistic and musical influences permeate through the record, but it very much comes from our own experiences. It’s a confession really, like getting something off our chests. We’re proud of doing something that’s inherently us - I reckon that’s all you can be proud of when it comes to the songs.

Your sound incorporates ‘80s indie-pop, elements of trad folk, shoegaze and more. As a five-piece, how do you go about negotiating these different influences and creative perspectives?

It comes very naturally now - we spend so much time together that sharing ideas and thoughts is easy and free. We don’t deliberately try to incorporate different influences when writing, we just go for what feels right, constantly pushing each other to try new ideas and go further. The process is invigorating and reaffirming; it helps that we’re so close.

You’ve just announced your debut tour of the UK and Ireland. What’s on your rider, and what three things can people expect from a Cardinals show?

Bottle of Paddy on the rider. I reckon people can expect to dance, to have fun, and to maybe meet the person they love as well (hopefully).

Finally, DIY are coming round for dinner - what are you making?

Come round to mine at dusk; at first you hear a slight snarl coming from the pot that’s simmering on the stove. Later, you’ll start to hear the coddle monster bellow and roar. You peer hesitantly into the pot and the coddle monster stares back. Draped in soft, phallic shaped sausages and boiling hot vegetable stock, he screams at you, imploring you to eat him live. “I want to live in your gut” he roars, sending you instantly into a fit of anxious trembling. It comes out of the pot and onto the plate. The coddle is all talk, it has notions, it starts calling you all sorts! I scream at you, “Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!”; it’s the only way to stop it. You finally finish it and I serve you creme brulee to finish. [FYI readers, coddle is an Irish stew - and I think it's safe to say we all want to try it now - Ed].

'Cardinals' is out on 7th June via So Young Records.

Tags: Cardinals, Listen, Neu, Get to Know

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