Singer Jack O’Flatharta of Cooban is quick off the bat explaining the meaning behind his band’s name.
“It comes from a ritual we had where we tried to hype up our guitar player Eoin Coogan,” he says, “We’d say words that would rhyme with his last name. We have a long stream of things like ‘van’, ‘cooban’, ‘strawberry jam’, leg of lamb’ … We’d scream in his face, he’d walk out on stage like an animal, and play like he does.”
O’Flatharta’s girlfriend Cliodhna later explains that this is fact one of several versions of the story he tells people when asked about the band’s name.
He did get one thing right though – Coogan does in fact play like an animal, and the lighthearted analogy probably sums up the band’s personality better than any interviewer ever could.
Cooban’s beginnings were humble – initally O’Flatharta and Coogan played an acoustic gig as The Tracks. They met drummer Mike Stapleton at the end of 2012. After a couple of changes in personnel, Cooban was formed.
With the words ‘odd rock’ emblazoned on every social media platform of Cooban, it comes as no surprise to hear the band’s varying list of influences.
“I grew up listening to James Brown,” O’Flatharta says. “When I was younger, The Hot House Flowers were also a huge influence on me – that whole genre of ‘blue-eyed soul’. But then the other two lads love their Arctic Monkeys and their Black Keys vibes.”
“For us, it’s about getting the best out of both, and not producing bog standard, clean-cut rock,” he says.
As a relatively new band, Cooban have looked to their idols as a source of inspiration, but not quite in the way you’d expect.
“The thing I love about the Arctic Monkeys is that they were probably the first band ever to harness the internet as a promotional tool. They slogged it out for years and now they’re the biggest band in the world.”
“Similarly, we just want to keep getting better, gig on gig on gig,” he says.
Flatharta cites getting airplay for their tracks as the most difficult aspect of being a new band.
“It’s not even about getting heard really – it’s about getting heard by the people you want to hear you. This pay for play shite that’s going on in town as well – asking bands to pay to play venues – is ridiculous. I think Dublin has such an incredible music scene, and venues should be embracing that.”.
“This is our life. We deserve to get paid.”
Despite this, Flatharta is quick to praise the likes of the Chandelier Sessions in Swords, as well as the Apollo Sessions in Dublin city centre for their incredible set-ups and their promotion of new live music.
“Gigs like that need to get bigger. They’re supporting bands in Dublin so well.”
Cooban have been in and out of the studio over the last two months recording their next EP with Joe Cleere, a process which Flatharta does not relish.
“I would pick performing over recording every time,” he says, “We’re definitely a band you have to see live. We’re even recording one of our tracks as a live track for the EP, which has been cool.”
Despite this, however, Cooban have another long few weeks recording before they take to the stage once again.
“I can’t remember the last time we were so quiet on the gig front. I’m not sure how we’ll manage. Hopefully we’ll have an EP to show for it after the separation anxiety wears off,” he smiles.