Codes | Interview
After taking the Irish music scene by storm with their debut album ‘Trees Dream In Algebra’, Dublin band Codes packed up and moved to London early last year to begin the writing process for their eagerly awaited follow up. Currently working hard recording, we caught up with guitarist Raymond after a long day in the studio to talk about the move, the new album and their upcoming live show.
You’ve relocated to London, what were the main reasons behind the move?
Expanding our palette a bit I think, because when you are stuck in Ireland for quite a long time, you start comparing yourself to other Irish bands. I like Irish bands that stick to their own guns but I think you get more bang for your buck if you take yourself out of your safety zone. If we had stayed in Ireland we could have had a fairly decent career, but we’ve seen too many Irish bands stay in Ireland for too long and things just get very kind of…. they don’t really go anywhere, and I think I’d rather go somewhere else and not succeed, than stay where I am and not go anywhere. If that makes sense?
Do you miss anything about being away from here?
Oh yeah. Coffee shops.
Surely there are coffee shops there?
Ooooh they’re so bad….
Do you think the new album has been influenced a lot by living in London now and the change of scenery, and like you said, getting away from the Irish music scene bubble?
Maybe, there’s no angular guitars anymore that’s for sure. There’s some vibes from it [living in London], some urban vibes as well. Which is interesting.
Like Craig David?
Sexier than Craig David.
Oh? Is that possible?
Probably; we got our own kestrel so it better be possible.
Have you got any names yet?
And for the album?
I dunno, we’re toying with some ideas. I think a great album name would be, ‘We Are The Universe And We Are Screaming’, but I think Daragh disagrees. It’s a lyric in a song and I think it is a fantastic lyric, but he disagrees.
You launched a crowd funding campaign recently for the new album. Were you worried about it, given the backlash some other artists have received recently for them?
Not really, I think with our one, we wanted to go out with the idea of raising a fairly realistic amount of money. I think if you go out there looking for too much you can come across as a little arrogant. If we raise it, we raise it, if we don’t we don’t. We’re definitely not thinking that we’re the type of band who could go out and ask people for X amount of money and expect that we’re going to raise it. Hence the reason why we went with IndieGoGo. Even if we don’t raise it, we still get pretty much most of the funds we raised to that point. With all the other ones, if you don’t hit your target, you just don’t get the funds. So I don’t think we’re really that pushed on having exactly ten thousand or exactly twenty thousand. Anything that we get is going to help us out massively and we can get everyone their rewards, hopefully.
So if you don’t get the seven thousand there is still going to be an album?
Yeah, well it’s going to sound a little rougher but obviously if we hit the seven thousand it is going to sound exactly like we want it to sound or if we don’t hit it, it might come out a little bit later. It might just require us to throw in more of our own money but hopefully we can get people behind us. Basically the only idea we’re trying to get across is if you like the first album, have the faith to purchase the second album without hearing it yet, and hopefully by the time it comes out you will enjoy what you put your dollars down on.
Are you definitely going to avoid going with a major label this time? If one came along would you say no immediately?
We try to avoid having a major label involved in the recording side of things. If a major label comes along after we finish the recording then who knows.
You’re back to play Ten Days In Dublin, and you haven’t played here in a year so what made you get involved in it?
Exactly that. Not being in Ireland for quite a while. When we played there before, we had very rough versions of certain tracks that we were still demoing and trying to record. We’re coming back with quite a new set. There’s probably only three songs from the first album being played, so it’s going to be quite an interesting set.
Do you know what those three songs are?
I do but let’s just say there is going to be a good classic, a good finisher and then another one that’s up for interpretation.
You’re known for your elaborate sets and lights; have you got anything special planned for the show?
I think with this one we’re going to try and just keep it more about the music. With this type of gig we didn’t want to go all out just yet, we’re still trying to road test some of the songs and want to see how they translate. It’s a bit like in the early days when we started playing, we didn’t have lights or anything, when we played a set it was just about the music.
So it’s just back to basics?
Yeah pretty much, I mean when people came up to us, that’s how we gauged really good songs. So someone would come up and go, “Oh the last song you finished with was amazing” and that’s how we started ending our sets with Four Winters. With other songs, people would come up and say it was a really catchy song and we were like, “Well that needs to be the first single.” We just want to see what songs certain people will come up to us afterwards and say, “Oh that song was the best song of the night,” and we’ll go “Really? You think that? OK cool.”
The last two gigs that you have done would have been in Dublin. You haven’t done anything around the country in a while, any chance of an Irish tour?
Definitely. Absolutely. We’re kind of looking at, “exclusive info”, potentially releasing a single soon – a new song which I don’t think anyone has ever heard before, I hope. We may have played it live once but I don’t think anyone has ever recorded it or bootlegged it or anything like that.
Any chance of a name?
No, not yet! It’s really cool, it’s quiet a rocky, rocky tune. I like it.
What about festivals?
Probably not until next year, I mean if a festival asked last minute for us to play then we would jump at the chance, but at this point we’re not actively searching for slots. We’re just working on getting the album finished, then hopefully a single before the end of the year, two singles maybe…next year the album comes out and then we’ll see how it goes from there. We’re obviously going to be touring, hopefully September, October, and November. We’ll take a week or two in December to kind of recoup, get some ideas for a few maybe newer songs that won’t be on the album. We’ll see.