Ian Maleney interviews Dublin post rockers Overhead, The Albatross.
So, tell me about the EP.
Joe: I suppose we started recording it this time last year, didn’t we? Or at least, we started writing it this time last year. We should have gotten it done in two months or three months but we just didn’t have the time to do it.
Luke: We were scattered all over the place. I was living in Galway and people were just busy with different things.
Joe: We were kind of making excuses for not being there the whole time. We kind of gigged loads, gigged the songs we we’d written, realised they weren’t very good, re-wrote them as we were gigging them and kind of got to know them that way. So when we got to record it, I suppose they were chopped and changed quite a bit form what they actually were.
Vinny: Basically, the EP is like the first four months we were a band and the recording process took far too long because we were never booked actually into a studio. We were always just catching evenings, catching weekends, catching time here or there. And then we had massive problems with tuning and intonation and things, so we basically just started again. But in the end, right before we actually released it, I realised I did actually really like it. Up to that point, for about two or three months before that, it was like, God, this is not what I want at all.
Joe: The original intention was to put it out as a demo kind of thing but it got a much warmer reception than any of us expected. And now we’re kind of stuck because we have to gig and we haven’t got a pianist because he’s in New York. So, rather than writing new songs and going gigging again, we have to learn the old songs but with some other way of doing it and write new songs because we don’t want to play the same four songs for the next year.
There’s a lot of cello and violin on the EP, did you bring people in to do that?
Vinny: Yeah, we brought them in. But all we needed was one violin player and one cello player and then we just layered the parts.
Joe: Luke and Stevie wrote all the string parts out on the score and all gave them to the players.
Luke: Yeah, it was amazing hearing the cello that day!
Joe: One of the guys had never played on a recording before but he was really good, we’re hoping to get him back to do live stuff.
So, you’re going to carry on playing live?
Vinny: The plan is to get an actual set that isn’t that EP together as well. We don’t want to be working off the back of that thing. We like what it is, we like what it was basically, but we want a new set, a new thing. Until we’re at that point we’re not going to pre-gig stuff I think.
Joe: We’d be kind of letting ourselves down if we went out and gigged those songs again. We have a very different idea of how we want to sound now as well, there is much more space in the songs now.
Vinny: The songs that are being writtern are definitely in the same vein but I definitely think they’re a lot better. They’re a lot more like stuff I want to write and actually listen to
Joe: They sound more like Pg. Lost than popsongs! I’d want to get there by April, I want to have another EP started recording by May and I want to gig the whole Summer on the back of two Eps. I’m kind of saying this to the lads the same as I’m saying it to you, we’re still discussing it. It’s not set in stone but I think we’re all on the same page, we all want to get our heads down and work really hard on it. As much as we can anyway with lads in college and one of the lads is touring Austria with his other band.
So what are the aims for gigging over the next while?
Luke: Festivals really.
Joe: Yeah, in the short term we’d like to get on the festival circuit and just gig extensively for a while again, like at least once or twice a week.
Vinny: Also we had a convesation where we were saying we’d like it to be a big show as well. There are inevitably going to be shows you play that are going to be a tenner in or whatever and we’d love for people to walk in and we’d have a full visual light show and the whole thing is fully planned and mapped out so people would walk out going, fuck, that was actually worth a tenner.
Joe: In terms of what we want to do, post this summer, I’d like to be able to play a place like Whelans and have a good crowd there on our own backs without having to support people. I wouldn’t be aiming to sell out the button factory or anything! Not yet anyway. Give me o2 next week!
Don’t lose the major keys so! You put out the EP for free. Do you think that had an impact in how it was perceived?
Joe: Definitely. I was reading an interview with The Cast of Cheers in the Irish Times about releasing the album for free. They got it nail on the head, there’s no point in charging people for these things when you don’t know how it’s going to go. We did the thing for pretty much no charge and I think even if we spent a grand or two grand on the next EP, we’d still release it for free.
Luke: Definitely, yeah.
Vinny: It’s all about just getting people to listen to your music. It’s not about making money at this stage definitely.
Joe: The joy of it is doing it, getting it done. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care what people thought of our music, I wouldn’t do if in some way I didn’t, but I’m just happy that we have something out there that we did. People will buy, hopefully, our t-shirts and pay into our gigs and stuff. We won’t have to charge people in to an EP launch, like charging them fifteen quid, we can just tell them it’s online, take it. And we have people listening to it in the most far-flung places, I’d never thought have ever listened to our stuff. I suppose it’s instrumental so there’s no language barrier, so we’ve been lucky thet way. I’d say it’s gotten twice as good a reaction as it would have had we charged for it.
Vinny: Also, its on like 500 hard drives around the world which is a far bigger buzz for me than getting two hundred quid for it.
How do you feel about physical products then? Do they have a place in your plans?
Luke: Yeah, I think with the next one it’d be nice to do some on vinyl, just a limited edition.
Joe: We are going to do a split 7″ with Friend? Soon, hopefully. They’re going on tour now in a while so I’m not sure how they’ll be with money or whatever. I’d like to do a limited run of vinyl for a few songs or maybe a digipack mini-album or something. I wouldn’t want to do an album yet.
Vinny: It would be nice to have something physical, I think we’d like and I think people who like the band would like it, even if it’s only for two tracks or something and even if you never listen to the actual vinyl.
Joe: I think physical copies will always have their place and I think that’s great. I’ve started buying CDs again, I’ve started replacing my iTunes library because I miss the quality you know? And you can’t get FLAC for everything. But yeah, I think we will, once we have some money. And some songs to record.
Luke: It’s more about the songs really!
Vinny: We need to start jamming again!
Overhead, The Albatross‘ Lads With Sticks EP is available as a free download from BandCamp http://overheadthealbatross.bandcamp.com/