Interview: We Cut Corners (JD Roots)Tweet
Probably one of the revelations of 2011, We Cut Corners strike a fine balance between the murky world of rock ‘n roll and the nurturing aspect of being teachers. It’s not a combination that many have made successful but we find them to be almost completely comfortable in this role.
We (Aidan and James) got to talk to them along with The Minutes and the Delorentos ahead of the show in The Button Factory for JD Roots and put some questions to them. JD Roots is tonight in The Button Factory. tickets are already allocated but there will be tickets on the door for a lucky few. Turn up early!
You guys are full-time Teachers, how do you balance being effectively rock stars alongside being educators of the future of Ireland, it’s a bit of a bizarre combination?
We don’t think too much about it, we met in teacher training college. While we’ve been teachers we’ve always been playing music so it has been a natural progression.
You had a lovely moment down in Dingle when you were playing in a pub and a six year old walks up and stands right in front and Conall seemed to be bricking it, a child in front of me, I’m trying to play music and there’s a kid!
Yeah the two worlds came together and I wasn’t comfortable at all.
You won the JD set unsigned back in 2009, what kind of boost did that give you as a band?
A massive boost as it was the first time we had played really. The JD set was kind of our first gig because we had never played with drums and an electric guitar before. Prior to that we had played with two acoustics and both sang, so it was our first gig and it was very defining. If it hadn’t gone well we might not have continued in that vein so it was huge.
You went on to be Choice nominated so when you look back, it worked out very well. Has there much kickback from being nominated for Choice?
Huge! It just gave us so many opportunities with people wanting to talk to us, interviews, gigs and stuff that wouldn’t have come up before. we also seem to get a bit more radio play than usual.
Did you think yourselves, “we have a strong album, this could be nominated” or were you completely taken aback at the nomination.
We had been fans of the prize and always taken a keen interest. If we were to say it wasn’t on our mind, that would be untrue but the nature of it, there was 300 albums released last year, so in that respect we didn’t expect being in the shake up, it was a total honour.
When you realised you could go home backward did you drive, jog, walk? Was it difficult?
I think it was more of a metaphysical thing.
It wasn’t a backwards man type situation with a suit on backwards no?
(laughs) No not at all unfortunately.
You are now a part of JD roots which is all about hometown influences. What influences has Dublin had on you?
Well huge in terms of it’s where we live and where we met, and you don’t kind of realise how much it influences you until you sit down and think about it. That’s what this project made us do. It has just been huge, we go to so many gigs here and have been for twelve year’s here in the city and seeing some amazing bands who each made us want to write music and made us want to play gigs, from that point.
Any bands in particular? Lets say Dublin bands initially if anything stands out
I suppose we were talking about The Frames earlier on when we first met. When we started, we went away on Erasmus for 3 months and we had a cassette of Fitzcarraldo so we listened to that an awful lot. So that would have been an early influence. It would be nice to go back to that, we’ve been thinking about bands for this and gone back to the bands we wouldn’t have listened to in ten years.
And internationally perhaps?
Ryan Adams, he is the artists we are most obsessed about. When we started hanging out together, Conall introduced his stuff to me and we followed his career and it’s various up’s and downs since then and he would always be the person that we are most excited about.
Did you catch him in the Olympia recently.
No we were gutted we had something on that night, but he is back in like three weeks so we are going to that and definitely check him out again. We’ve seen him in The Olympia a few times, that one was the first time we had missed him since we started listening to him.
Your videos have become a really defining thing, they are all very different and imaginative. Is there a particular effort to go out and get something a bit wackier?
Wacky isn’t the buzzword we were going for when discussing it, but yes it’s hugely important that you put a bit of thought into the songs and you want it to be represented in a way that is going to interest people and ignite a spark. We’ve sought out people who have a pedigree in making interesting pieces and we’ve been really lucky with what we’ve got back.
Well the more memorable you can make a video the more impact it can have, especially online.
Absolutely, it’s such a huge tool. It’s something that Jimmy the guy who made the album with us flagged very early on. He was like “You guys need a video for every song on the album”, so John kind of went hell for leather looking for video makers on Vimeo etc, and we got in contact directly and we were lucky they all got back to us. Each of the singles have videos and were not going to put out any formal singles, but we’re going to push a few more of the tunes and they all have videos as well. We’ve got around three more videos to put out there so we’re pretty excited about that.
Is there any plans laid out to go and work on this difficult second album?
The plans are very much afoot, they are not laid in stone as in we haven’t sorted out where we’re going to record it but we’ve demoed all year on and off trying to get songs together, but hopefully it’ll happen sooner rather than later.
Perhaps get it out by the end of the year, try for back to back nominations for Choice maybe?
(laughs) that might be a bit ambitious, it would be great to get it out this year but we don’t want to rush it, so we will have to see.
Festival season is coming up, have you much planned?
There is a couple of festivals we’ve been confirmed for but we don’t know if they are common knowledge or announced yet but a few yes and we’re hoping for a few more purely because festivals are just so much fun.
Fill that big three month summer?
We’ll it’s only two months now!
Cutbacks!, proper recession now! Can you see a point where you would give up teaching for the band if it went that well?
Well I think we’re quite happy with just the way it is now. We can afford to do everything properly, we have enough time to dedicate to music. It’s a hobby we really enjoy.
You never get to the point where on your left you have a pile of tests and on your right, you’ve to demo a song?
Thankfully no, if one started impacting on the other adversely, we would have to sit down and think about it,. For now it’s working out quite well for us.
For the online aspects, how important do you find it is to be active and interacting with fans online, especially when you move to places like the UK and you don’t have an existing fan base. Do you change your tact or approach?
We’re really not very social networky people anyway.
I dunno you seem like nice guys
Well when people get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook, it’s great and we would chat away to them. We just kind of say thanks for commenting or announce the gig details. I suppose we’ve seen other bands like say Le Galaxie, every tweet they write is hilariously funny but also informative, and never smacks of self promotion.
but it still is self promotion at the same time!
Oh yeah it ticks that box, but they are funny guys and it comes across really well, but if we tried to do that it would just suck. So we don’t tend to.
You tend to spread your gigs out on tour, Is that something you have to consciously think about? work, gig, work, gig?
Yeah we sort of schedule them for the weekend, it’s not a massive problem spacing them out because an Irish tour doesn’t encompass that many venues. When we originally thought about it, we felt that we had to do it all in one run of a week. When we thought about it properly we figured logically we can’t do that, so why not do it over a month, month and a half.
You’ll probably get a better audience at weekends and any reviews would be staggered perhaps whetting appetite for upcoming shows. In a way it’s accidentally genius.
Hehe yeah well I guess it is, it’s very true all these factors could be massively beneficial to us, with any luck anyway.
We Cut Corners play The JD Roots session tonight in The Button Factory. Few tickets will be available on the door so turn up early if you don’t have yours already.
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