“Every song had its own psyche and own psychological demands…” - hmv.com talks to The Murder Capital
They’ve only been a going concern for just over a year, but Dublin fivesome The Murder Capital have already fashioned a reputation as one of the most raucous and exhilarating live bands.
The band meld raw post-punk, with rattling drums and angular guitars, with a meandering vocal style, all of which builds into fearsomely powerful choruses.
They’re about to capitalise on that with the release of their debut album When I Have Fears, which arrives in stores today.
We spoke to frontman James McGovern about the band’s rapid rise and why this LP left them spent...
You’ve only been a band for just over a year, when did you all these songs get written?
“The only song written more than a year ago is ‘More Is Less’, the others were all written between September and February. We work pretty quickly.”
Did you write a lot during that time? Did you have a lot to choose from for the album?
“We wrote a lot and threw a lot away. Then when Gabriel (Paschal Blake, bassist) and Diarmuid (Brennan, drummer) joined the band in July, that’s when we really got going. We culled a lot. After that, pretty much every song we wrote was in consideration for the record, we only went in with just about enough songs to do it.”
You did the album with Flood, who has worked with Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, U2 and so many other big names, why did you decide on him?
“Our manager knew him and thought he’d be the right fit. And, as soon as he heard our demos, he was really enthusiastic about them, and it was that drew us in more than anything. Obviously, his back catalogue is incredible, but his enthusiasm and his sincerity won the day. We did the single and that went really well, so we knew he was the right fit for the album.”
He’s known for making things big and expansive, which is not something you’d associate with your sound. But he has also worked with Nick Cave and PJ Harvey who like things to be raw...
“We like a lot of his records for different reasons. Those Nick Cave records are great and we love them, they’re full of so many great textures. I really like the album he did with Warpaint and the Sigur Ros record. It was his character and his sensibilities that drew us in though, the fact his back catalogue has got so much is just a bonus.”
How did the experience of recording an album compare to the way you’d imagined it?
“It was wild. We were there for six weeks and it was all-encompassing. We spent so much time getting to know the songs again and Flood gave us a whole new understanding of them. Every song had its own psyche and own psychological demands. The whole experience was the most fulfilling thing we’d ever done. It left us drained and completely exhausted.”
You’ve built a reputation as a fearsome live band, did you want to try and capture that energy for the album?
“The live show is hugely important to us and getting across what we do in the live arena was always on our minds. But it’s a different beast, there are a lot more layers to a record. We recorded everything live and then put in a few overdubs, just to add emphasis and specifics. We weren’t afraid to do that, the live takes aren’t sacred, but it has to feel like its living and breathing.”
What kind of record is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
“I wrote it in quite a short space of time, so it’s cohesive in the sense that it’s my thoughts and feelings over quite a condensed period. But you can also look at it as nine or 10 separate pieces of work, or as a whole body of work as well. I think it’s a record people can project onto, rather than being told what to think.”
When did you settle on the title?
“Early on. For this record, it demanded a title and we were two tracks in when we settled on it. We needed a point of reference. It’s taken from a John Keats poem, which I’d read a lot during the making of the record. It made sense to hold the record together with that phrase.”
You’re in the middle of a busy summer of festivals, have you seen your crowds grow?
“Definitely. It’s been a great summer. We’re getting crowds of thousands now and it’s amazing to watch. We’re meeting so many new people.”
You’re booked pretty solidly for the rest of the year too, will you be touring for the year or so?
“I’m sure we will. Next year is already filling up. I think we’ll be out pretty constantly.”
Do you have irons in the fire for the next record? Or will you want to get home and decompress?
“We want to get back into the studio as soon as we’re ready and we’re going to keep writing. We’re not a massive rush, but we want to keep what we’ve got going alive on the road. We’re going to be writing in the van and in soundchecks, working towards the evolution of the band.”
The Murder Capital’s debut album When I Have Fears is out now in hmv stores.