Interview: The Cast of Cheers
It’s Sunday March 4th and I’m on my third day of exploring Manchester, I’ve enjoyed the city as a whole, a truly student town with more cultural aspects to it than you can shake a stick at. Personally, I was over visiting a friend but chance and fate coincided and my good friends from school happened to be in town playing a gig with ‘Theme Park’ on the night. What luck.
They were to play The Deaf Institute that night, and let me tell you, that is a tidy little small venue, if anyone is thinking of starting a small venue, take a peek at this lovely venue as a yardstick. Since I heading along to the show, it seemed remiss not to sit down with The Cast Of Cheers and discuss the past, the present and the future with them. After some banter about a manekin with no legs, arms or clothes for that matter, we stopped our messing and discussed life as they currently know it.
Lets just recap for anyone reading / listening. Written over 2 weeks, recorded in the space of 6 weeks. Then it was released online and a couple of hundred thousand downloads later you’re playing all over Ireland with showcases, festivals, TV slots like Under Ether, radio sessions and a Choice Music Prize nomination. Not to mention RTE’s outstanding contribution to music in 2010 at the Digital Socket Awards. Average year or so for you lads?
Neil – Yeah, I guess….
John - It was alright I suppose.
Conor – Yeah it was fantastic yeah.
Has it been a flurried haze or are you settling into the idea of being a big touring band?
John – I don’t think we’re settling into it….
Neil – That’s the thing in Ireland, we kind of got notoriety out of it but you come over to the UK and your kind of starting again. Were at that stage now where, ya know, we’re forced to be humble.
Conor – It’s starting again so you know.
Neil – This is our first UK tour that we’re on now so emmm… That’s it.
Great comment there Neil…
Right so Chariot was the beast that kickstarted all of this. It’s not available online anymore, is that to do with the bandcamp rule changes or are you disowning it as an album or what’s the tale here?
Conor – Oh no no we’re not disowning it, definitely not, and yeah the bandcamp rules definitely had something to do with it, because you could only do so many free ones, so it kind of messed up the whole system of giving it away for free. So we ended up paying credits to continue giving it away for free. So we were paying to give it away free, which is kinda mental. So that had a lot to do with it. Then we signed to a new label in the summer, so, they might have other plans for it.
Neil – Yeah they basically bought the rights to it so it’s kind of up to them what happens with it. Hopefully it might get rereleased in the future but we have another album now coming out pretty soon which we just finished recording so it’s all big plans here.
The album still exists online on the likes of Mediafire and torrents.
Group – Oh yeah you can definitely still get it alright.
Are you guys ok with that? The fact it was released free and it’s still there online.
Kev – Yeah of course, just be careful though, you never know what you might find …. *smirks*
Neil – I don’t understand, I don’t know what that means.
Kev – You might pick something up.
John – Well there was people torrenting it even when it was on our Bandcamp, which is mental.
Conor – Well the fact it was a free album, torrent away. (Caveat Emptor)
It’s nice there are still people out there sharing it, spreading the word!
Neil – Exactly, I actually downloaded the album from a torrent site recently because I didn’t have it.
** Laughs **
You didn’t have your own album?
John – There never was any physical copies so it does get lost.
Conor (to Neil) – yeah because you’ve a new laptop now so that’s why it wasn’t on it, I’ve an ipod now and don’t have it either.
Terrible lads, you don’t have a physical copy of your own album!
Conor – Well we play it so we don’t really need it.
Kev – The only physical copy (that we’ve condoned) is in the Roisin Dubh.
Neil – Gugai just got a CD-R out and just burnt it.
Right so you relocated to London in the summer of 2011 and then had your gear stolen shortly after.
John – That was lovely.
Certainly a bit of a bummer, but you were quoted afterwards saying it was a kind of blessing in disguise due to the response from the Irish and London music communities. Were the offenders ever brought to justice?
John – Yes the support was amazing and no, nothing was ever recovered.
OK and was anything lost that was absolutely irreplacable?
Neil – My computer was taken which had photos from the last 4 or 5 years.
Kev (to Neil) – Plus you had an album of solo stuff, all the stems were on it, nowhere else.
So the world was denied a solo album by Neil Adams?
Neil – Well… the world wasn’t going to hear it anyway.
You weren’t going to go the Cast of Cheers route and release it free?
Neil – No, I was just going to play it to the girlfriend in the bedroom.
Oh, sexy music yeah?
Kev – I played it to my girlfriend a couple of times, she seemed to like it.
Neil – I don’t want to know any of those details
Kev – That album, oh yeah….. it’s good.
Neil – Aww no Kev, with my voice over the top of it, that’s creepy
Kev – You sing like an angel!
OK so you covered Dangerzone for the Silver Lining album, and a lovely rendition of Ghostbusters at the Phantom Halloween gig. Is there any other covers in your arsenal or any songs out there you’d like to Cast of Cheersify?
Neil – We do a really mean version of The Ramones – Hey Ho, Lets Go and Wanna Be Sedated, it’s kind of a medley
Conor – We do it jamming just for a laugh when we’re bored, and it turned out we really like playing it.
Neil – It’s really fun to play that kind of music.
Do you play it live?
Group – No, Jesus no
John – Probably never will, maybe we will, who knows.
Conor – It’s more of a thing for a bit of fun when practicing to change it up.
Would you say you’re kids of the 80s with Ghostbusters and Dangerzone
Neil – Definitely yeah.
John – Tom Cruise… Tom Is Amazing!
Neil – We did a cover one time of Super freak by Rick James.
Kev – We brought in the New Year with Rian from Solar Bears on Sax playing Superfreak.
Neil – It was a New Years Eve party, The Enemies lads all got up, it was great. That was 2010 in the Roisin Dubh.
So you are out on your first UK Tour with Theme Park, how is it going for you? and how are you finding the reception here considering how well you were known in Ireland and then starting over with the same project?
Kev – It’s great, an amazing response!
John – It’s kind of like we’re putting in the ground work because we’re not known here. It’s more getting our name out there, and also for us as a band to go on the road for 11 days straight is great.
It’s like starting as a band all over again?
Conor – Yeah exactly, but you know it’s cool because even if there is five people that walked away from a gig and they liked it or half liked it, they might tell friends and you see the response on Facebook and Twitter, just one or two people, then there is someone else who has heard of you because of them.
Do you feel that’s kind of how you started in Ireland, in the same vein of free album, playing gigs and people telling people
Neil – We kind of jump started it in Ireland, because when the album was released Adebisi Shank posted it from their Twitter or Facebook or something and that got us loads of interest straight away and let us jump the initial 6 months of gigging to empty rooms.
John – Yeah the whole Irish blogs network from Harmless Noise to Nialler9 to Goldenplec.
Neil – Every blog that wrote about us is the reason we got to jump start on those gigs, so thank you!!!!
It’s kind of intriguing playing your first gig and you’ve already released a full album, Andrews Lane Theatre with Rubberbandits and Super Extra Bonus Party?
Neil – That was crazy because there was five bands and we were on first so we hit the stage around half 7.
Conor – It was a great though, it was weird because it was packed.
Neil – In Dublin, nobody goes to a gig at half 7, at least I don’t think anyway, but there was actually loads of people there to see us because the album was out before the gig. So that was really cool.
Along with your first tour you’ve also had your first “official” single release with Family which got an insane response on radio, Zane Lowe playing it back to back, Fearne Cotton and a few more, are you surprised by the high profile radio support and just how much they are loving the song?
Neil – Yeah definitely surprised, I remember the first time Zane Lowe played it, we were sitting around in our kitchen, prepping for a Christmas Party and the label rang us to say put on Radio 1, Zane is going to spin your track in 10 minutes or so, we put it on and instantly played it again, and we were literally falling around the kitchen.
John – We were drinking mulled wine. Because we were going to a Christmas party but we were in bits laughing.
Neil – We were shocked.
Conor – Yeah it was very, very cool.
It speaks volumes for the song as you know he’s not doing that regularly. We assume the kickback here, specifically Family, is having a bigger response due to the coverage, perhaps people singing along at the gigs?
John – Yeah there’s been a few gigs where I’ve seen singing.
Neil – No….
John – Well I’ve noticed that people in the crowd, particularly when we hit into Family the response is great. We’re playing a lot of new songs in the set now so a lot of it is unknown.
Neil – Yeah Goose aswell, Between Family and Goose there is a bit of recognition. The other tracks are from the upcoming album, so you people wouldn’t know them.
There has been a couple of remixes of Family aswell, by Royal Scams, Linton Brown, Jape, Kel Skies too. Any Favourites?
Neil – Trophy Boyfriend did one aswell which is really cool.
Conor – He emailed me today, he was going to put it up today.
Neil – I love the Royal Scams and Jape’s one is amazing aswell.
John – Linton Browns one is one of my favourites.
You seem to be a hot topic at the moment with all the remixes
John – Yeah one of the remixes, the Royal Scams one.
Conor – Yeah the Royal Scams one is getting spun on some American stations but not our single. It’s mad.
So about March last year you had 15 songs recorded in Wicklow
Neil – 24 actually.
John – No it was 15 around that date.
Conor – Yeah and then we went back in 3 months later.
Were they binned or did you sit down and cuddle with them and make them the best possible tracks they could be?
Neil – One is a B side on the Family single.
Conor – Loose Talk at a Party. That was one of one’s from that section, Vinny (Adebisi Shank) remastered and mixed it. He put his touches on it and it got used as a B side, so that was one. Another one, Our next single Accolades, you’ll see though that it’s similar to Loose Talk at a Party so that’s why it didn’t make it.
Neil – I think though we’re hoping, and I might be talking crap here, but when Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness – Smashing Pumpkins came out, there was the Zero CD where they released the single Zero and there was 6 or 7 B sides and that was almost like a really cool little album unto itself, so I think we’re hoping that when we release the last single off the album we can slap 6 or 7 songs on it.
Conor – Because we do want to release all the stuff, that’s the thing, there is not one song in it that I wouldn’t want to get out there. Although Accolades is a bit weird.
Neil – It sounds like there’s a devil thing in it.
John – No no that’s gone they took that out.
Conor – Thank god, that was kinda weird vocal bit that went through a weird mixing phase but it’s gone now.
So this is all for the upcoming album, do we have a likely date that we might see that?
John – We’re hoping Summer.
Conor and Neil – Early summer with any luck.
After tonight you have four more UK dates then hit Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Belgium and Germany. Did you ever think your music would translate into gigs in mainland Europe, non English speaking countries (I said non speaking countries before quickly correcting myself)?
Neil – Non speaking countries **laughter**
Yeah you know they sit and just listen to music, nothing else
Conor – Loads of mutes, just checking the music out.
Neil – Did we ever think we’d be big in other countries, well we hoped to I suppose, at least I hoped.
Conor – Yeah world domination is always the goal isn’t it.
Neil – I want to have a big palace in Thailand somewhere and all that kind of stuff.
Did I not read somewhere that you wanted to go to Hawaii to convince your label that Hawaii would be an influence with the guitars
Group – Oh Yeah!
Neil – I would love to go to Hawaii.
Kev – That’s the setting for the next video right?
Neil – When they ask us for video idea’s now, we’re just going to pitch places that we want to go to. yeah you know that statue in Thailand.
Conor – Oh it’s integral to the song.
**sarcastically** we couldn’t possibly green screen that, no way, no how!
Conor – We don’t agree with green screen, CGI no chance, funnily enough we watched The Beatles anthology in the house and they did the same thing with Help the movie, where it’s a mental movie but the reason they are on location everywhere is because, say Ringo was like “Well I’ve never been skiing”, so they go skiing. Well I’ve never been to the Taj Majal, well lets go there. That’s why the film is crazy because they just wanted to go on holiday.
So there’s a Cast of Cheers movie coming up then?
Neil – Definitely, early 2013….
Conor – We’ve alreaady got Bruce Willis, Heather Locklear and Tom Cruise all signed up.
John – Still in talks with Tom about it though…
See it’s all about that running scene in the contract. It’s a tough bargaining point.
Neil – There’s a slow motion bit aswell. where he’s climbing a fridge, it’s high tech stuff.
You’ve then got a full UK tour with the Blood Red Shoes and a support slot at Belsonic with TDCC and Noah and the Whale. Are you excited about those gigs and bringing your music to new potential fans?
John – Always, I think the Blood Red Shoes is exciting because we know they are going to have sold out venues across the UK, so playing on the same stage as them is going to be awesome and I think we’ll share a lot in common with their fans hopefully, so that’s a huge bonus for us.
Neil – I thought you had an American accent there.
John – No that’s just my voice.
Neil – You know Blood Red Shoes are a loud band too and I think we’re pretty loud too, so it should be some loud gigs, and deaf patrons.
Is there a plan to hit Ireland in that busy summer schedule?
Kev – Loads of plans!
John – We’re in loads of talks at the minute about festivals and stuff so can’t say anything at the minute.
Neil – Appearing, it sounds magical.
Conor – Tadaaaa, Hello audience!…. Yeah there’s nothing confirmed just yet but as soon as we do I’m sure you’ll be the first to know.
Neil – Definitely, We’d love to do an Irish tour.
GP right well that’s the end of our serious questions, we asked fans what they wanted to ask so we have some odd ones for you
Danny – Why do you never play the “rather brilliant” Glitter live?
Neil – Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Conor – **stern voice** interesting story behind that one actually.
Neil – It’s because Conor hates it.
John – No no that’s not true, Conor and I listened to Chariot in the kitchen of our house, and we were actually taken aback by Glitter.
Conor – Yeah kinda a “why don’t we place this live” moment.
Neil – I think the singing on Glitter was one of the most powerful on the album.
Conor – I think at the time when we did the album it was the one that, the last song to be written for the album, but there was two. Glitter was seen as the hard rock song kind of, and there was another. I can’t even remember it but it was a math rocky weird tune. We did and eeny meeny miny mo on it and it landed on Glitter. Once it was done, in my head it didn’t seem to fit the live shows, then at the start I just went “Let’s avoid it”, then one time we jammed it to try, and it just didn’t seem to flow.
Neil - Everything else was plug and play.
John – Where do you put it like.
Somewhere in the Middle and then bring the pace back up again?
Conor – Well that’s not to say we won’t ever play it though. Weirdly enough we all kinda quite like it now. Except for Kev.
It’s a bit of a regrower. You don’t like it no Kev?
Kev – It’s too emotional…
Neil – Kev’s had one to many beer’s I think.
Conor – He’s made love to one too many of your records.
Kev – I should thank you for that actually.
Neil – Again super weird and gross.
Alan – Which one of you is Woody Harrelson given that you are the Cast of Cheers?
John – That would be…. Neil
Sharing the Hawaii love?
Neill – Does he love Hawaii???
He lives in Hawaii
Neil – I want to live there with him.
Conor – You’re definitely Woody Harrelson so.
Neil – We can swing on hammocks together.
Conor – I don’t want to know the details!
If you could be the ACTUAL cast of any current TV show, what would it be?
John – Ohh that one’s interesting.
Neil – Seinfeld, we’d totally be the cast of Seinfeld or perhaps that program we’ve been watching recently.
John – Workaholics!
Neil – Or the cast of Game Of Thrones because it’s the only program we actually all sit down and watch together.
Conor – I want to be Sean Bean before he gets his head chopped off.
Neil – SPOILER ALERT!
John – I want to be John Snow.
Conor – Aw damn I want to be John Snow.
Neil – I wanna be the little prince fella.
If Cast of Cheers could gig with one band of their choice, who would it be!
John & Neil – Ooooh , Oooooh
Conor – Queen if Freddie was still alive.
Neil - I remember when Death From Above 1979 came around to London a few months ago and we all went to see them, and I remember asking our label is there any chance of supporting. They had their own support sorted so we didn’t but at the time I was dying to support them.
They reformed first a Coachella wasn’t it and toured but didn’t hit Ireland?
Conor – No I don’t think they did, they hit Brixton which is the one we saw.
Neil – Battles aswell, I’d love to play with Battles.
Conor – Technically we kinda did at Forbidden Fruit but we were on a different stage.
Did you get to meet them backstage?
Group – Nooooo, no we didn’t
Neil – Beyonce as well, she’s awesome, that would be weird, her crowd would be like “What the hell is this” and we’d be like “We’re bootylicious too”.
John – Just give us a chance!
Thanks to The Cast of Cheers for taking what now seems like most of their afternoon out to talk to us. We are excited about their new album in early summer and their next single Accolades. BBC radio also had a track called Animals so it seems we’re all in for a Cast of Cheers intensive few months.