Brian Cullen’s Love Bullets explain to Aoife Barry the critical importance of not singing in an American accent.
"It’s the least exciting ‘how did you start a band’ story in the world…!" Stephen Cadwell (or Cadwell to his mates), bassist with Dublin band Brian Cullen’s Love Bullets, laughs as he and his bandmates Rachel (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Paul (drums, not allowed to sing for fear of injuring delicate eardrums) talk about how they first formed. Sure, it might not be the most rock and roll story – Paul: "Me and Cadwell went to school together, and then me and Rachel went to college together, and then we started a band!" – but it’s a tale that goes some way towards demonstrating the close relationships between the band members, and how that has led to them becoming the tight-knit and focused unit they are.
After they initially formed, things didn’t exactly go smoothly for the band, however. First, Cadwell was scheduled to go to France literally the day after Paul asked him to join the band, and then when the band did eventually get together, they had to contend with injuries, band members leaving, and boxes of ruined 12" EPs as well as contending with the day to day trials and tribulations of being in a band. But remarkably, all these things seem to have only brought the band closer – something which becomes hugely apparent as we chat about all things Love Bullets in a noisy Dublin pub on an April evening.
The idea of a ‘clean and simple’ approach – as Cadwell puts it early on in the conversation – seems to be key to the band’s approach to their music – something which they seem to feel adds a sense of authenticity to their work. They’re not pretending to be anyone else – they’re just themselves. Cadwell describes it as being: "Just as kind of straight forward as possible – not to worry about fitting into anything, being anything other than yourself and kind of being clean and clear." Paul nods, adding "not singing in an American accent…". "Not singing in an American accent is crucial. One of our bugbears," sighs Cadwell. Rachel takes up the explanation. "We see ourselves as three people in a band – we don’t see ourselves as artists or as anything special," she explains. "So I guess the idea was we would be ourselves, we wouldn’t try to be anything we’re not; we wouldn’t be ‘oh we’re in a band, we’re so fantastic’ or whatever. Just be ourselves and to play the type of music we want to play – and as it turned out, it was the kind of music that people wanted to hear. So it worked out quite well."
One other element to the band that is important to them is that they all see each other as equals. "We never felt like we had to show off to each other," says Paul. "Like Rachel never had to do a guitar solo somewhere in a song just to say, ‘I can play the guitar’."