Halves – We Don’t Have To Be A Handsome Band

Ian Maleney chats with Brian Cash of Halves about their gig in the Unitarian Church on Friday, new album plans and postponing those sun holidays.

Ian Maleney chats with Brian Cash of Halves about their gig in the Unitarian Church on Friday, new album plans and postponing those sun holidays.

Halves are a little different to your average band. Somewhat ironically, they go all out. They spent the latter half of the last decade working on a sound that is at once bolder, bigger and more intimate than most of their peers. They craft little universes of sound, heavy with atmosphere and subtle movements hinting at a wider space that remains concealed. This year saw the first true culmination of their efforts in the release of their debut album, It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever). To celebrate the end of a recording and release cycle that spans over two years, the band are playing a very special show in Dublin’s Unitarian Church. Brian Cash explains a little as to what people can expect on Friday night.

“We’ve got loads of plans!” he says of the gig. “Between the church and the promoter, they’ve encouraged us to do something different. The visuals team we use, Slipdraft, are doing new visuals for this gig and they’re going to map the visuals onto certain parts of a stained glass window behind us and we’re planning a limited edition silk screen prints numbered by the artist so we’re doing a run of thirty just for that one show. Because there’s no booze being sold, there’s going to be a twenty-minute interval with mulled wine and mince pies. There’s an after-party in Whelans which every ticket holder gets into for free. So I think it’s pretty good for a tenner.”

Does the return to more intimate space suit the band? “You know, you can play to so many hundreds of people or you can play to seventy-five people seated and you’re more relaxed and it’s fun. Given the time of year, and it’s in a church… They have padded pews so you don’t get a numb arse.”

Halves are a three-piece at their core, with the heart of Cash plus the brothers Tim and Elis Czerniak, drafting in a host of guest musicians to fill out the space when it comes to the live environment. This approach implies a freedom to experiment that isn’t exactly open to most bands but that’s exactly how Halves like it. “It’s nice,” says Cash. “There’s no manager, there’s no nothing, so we never felt like we should do something that didn’t feel like the right idea. I think, over the years, we’re happier when we’re doing our own version of things. I think we nerdishly rather enjoy the fact we’re doing whatever we want to do. I think I’m afraid of that changing. We have no sales expectations, we have no marketing expectations, we don’t have to be a handsome band. We can just do the music and then if people like it then that’s deadly.”

Cash generally takes care of the business side of things for the band and it’s a role that has its ups and downs. “I have an amazing sense of satisfaction when you savour every gig and enjoy every review, assuming it’s good,” he says. “Every little success is a great source of pride because you know that you got there yourself. At the same time it can drive you mad. But then, the day we got the album back from the pressing plant, we were all so proud. To this day, when I pick up our album on vinyl, knowing it exists… X amount of people have bought it or heard it and it’s worth the three years of all your money and all your time. It sounds like I’m moaning but I’m not. It’s a slug to get there but the pay-off is so worth it. I guess we never lost that initial baby band excitement. You appreciate the little things.”

Cash realises how ever that there’s not a whole lot on the plate when it comes to the great big major label gig in the sky. “We’re really happy with the whole independent thing and we love being able to do whatever we want to do, but at the moment that is our only option. We’ve all been in bands before where you wait and wait for a record label to come to your room and all that. It’s all kind of changed now. You can play big shows by yourself and feel great but on Monday you’ll be back at your desk going, ‘Shit, I’ve got two days left of my annual leave’. I think it was the morning after the Choice prize, sitting down back at work thinking, last night I felt cool and today I’m just another guy in an office. It’s all the tiny violins and stuff.”

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