Dublin five-piece The Murder Capital have just landed in London to begin work on their debut album, a record that’s set to further their already rapid rise. Right now though, there are more rudimentary things playing on their mind, namely how to turn the oven on at the Airbnb they’ve rented for their five-week stay in the UK. “It should just turn on, but no!” drummer Diarmuid Brennan moans, exasperated.
The album, produced by Flood, follows a series of incendiary live performances and a session video for early track ‘More Is Less’, which saw the band’s name travel overseas without a note of studio-recorded music out in the world. When a debut single did arrive in the form of ‘Feeling Fades’ at the start of the year, the hype was immediately solidified. A barrage of wiry guitars and hurricane-like vocals, it was a forceful opening statement. Singing of “tearing streets” and “curling toes”, vocalist James McGovern also proved himself a frontman with a razor-sharp tongue.
“I feel like everything that’s happening to us isn’t normal,” the frontman reflects today, with a slew of headline shows and festivals stretching out in front of them. “I don’t really follow people’s career paths or whatever, but it’s just the way it’s landed. We released the ‘More Is Less’ video and suddenly got loads of attention. There wasn’t any big plan hatched to crack the industry or some shit.”
"That's what the scene is: it's watching and pushing each other, with a fire under our arse at all times."
— James McGovern
"I remember the discussion when we decided which song to release for the session video," adds guitarist Damien Tuit, "and we said, 'Well, it doesn’t really matter anyway as it'll only get about 800 views, so whatever'."
Despite their fast trajectory, longevity is undoubtedly at the heart of The Murder Capital's plan. "We knew ['More Is Less'] was our opening statement, so we did think about what we wanted to say first," James adds, "but if you're doing it for any other reason than because you love it, and you're trying to say something [forced] and connect with people in a certain kind of way, you'll only get so far."
Sharing a practice space with Fontaines DC and also taking encouragement from neighbours Girl Band, it'd be easy to lump The Murder Capital into a Dublin 'scene'. But rather than producing a factory line of carbon copies, the city is instead fostering an inclusive, supportive network that's spawning fantastic new bands from every corner of the guitar music spectrum. "I remember when Fontaines signed to Partisan," states James. "I remember feeling a sense of pride for them, and then also it made [the idea of success] so close to home, and a realistic prospect. That's what the scene is: it's watching and pushing each other, with a fire under our arse at all times."
"It just feels like there are loads of fuckin’ hotels going up over Dublin, where there could be new housing."
— James McGovern
His final point is the most pertinent one: whatever differences and alternate angles of attack these bands might have, they're all fighting tooth-and-nail to make their voices heard, and none more so than The Murder Capital themselves. Questioning the current social and political climate in their homeland, they're viscerally animated, demanding better at every turn.
"It just feels like there are loads of fuckin' hotels going up over Dublin, where there could be new housing," James hammers home. "There are cranes all over the city. There's one on George's Street right now, and they're gutting this beautiful Georgian house, and I stopped and asked the builder what it was gonna be, and it's turning into a fuckin' Premier Inn.
"The hotels are only a sidenote to the homelessness, the suicide, the mental health issues. The lack of services available to people who aren't from even middle class backgrounds," he continues. "We just wanna talk about it as much as possible, and make sure that the government knows that we're not happy with the standard of where it's at. People have real issues in their lives, and they need somewhere to go and talk about these things beyond their friends and families. It feels like there's no excuses. I know bad things that have happened to people that were avoidable."
"It's trying to reach that fucked-up 15 year-old kid at home, alone, and change their perspective on something."
— Damien Tuit
There's an understandably murky line on the lengths to which music and artistic conversation can affect real change in these areas - "you can think, 'What am I contributing to society by doing this, in relation to, like, a nurse?'" the frontman reflects - "but I think we all think we're contributing at least something to someone. We've all had those moments with albums where they've changed our lives, or [helped us] see a completely different perspective on things. It's all a process of communication and understanding."
"It's trying to reach that fucked-up 15 year-old kid at home, alone, and change their perspective on something," Damien sums up. Bolstered by grit, determination and passion, The Murder Capital's reach to affect such change is growing by the minute.
As featured in the April 2019 issue of DIY, out now.