In towns and cities across Ireland, finding a home for music and art is becoming increasingly difficult. Rehearsal spaces are shutting down, buildings are being seized by the state rather than being converted into artistic spaces and bands rehearsing in their homes, are never too long from their neighbours filing noise complaints.
Limerick alt-rock band We Come In Pieces have found the current financial climate very difficult to navigate. Kieran Sims (vox/bass), has had a large part to play in the bands latest DIY release, having shot and edited the video for the lead single from their third album 'Stop The Riot' on an iPhone 6.
Sims sat down with GoldenPlec to discuss the band's conception, rehearsal difficulties, bedroom recordings and the convenience of having your guitarist double as a producer.
Q: How did We Come In Pieces come about?
We first got together after our respective bands bit the dust, as a means of fulfilling some tour dates that had been booked in Scotland in January 2010. Originally, Hayes (Vox/drums) and Myself were just going to go over for a party weekend but thought we may as well try and assemble a make-shift band and perform songs from our old bands' back catalogues.
We gave Shane a call, and he took very little convincing to get on board. 24 hours, and one practice later we had ourselves a handful of originals. We booked ourselves a warm-up gig in Baker Place, with current guitarist Ciaran Culhane on sound no less, and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the flights to Scotland were cancelled because of "The Big Freeze" of 2010 so we just kept going, playing shows at home and recorded our debut album a few weeks later... again with Culhane.
Q: Who’s in the band? Where are you all from?
We're all Limerick boys. Some city, Some county. We're all Kieran/Ciaran and it gets stupidly confusing whenever someone tries to talk to one of us specifically. Surnames will be used from here on out to try make it a little easier.
Hayes and I met in Dolan's in Limerick in 2001. There was an all ages show on, but for some unknown reason, both he and I had gotten the time wrong so we were both early. So we just sat in the main bar drinking water, talking about music and we've been trying to get rid of each other ever since, to no avail.
When we were 17 we formed our first band (Pen15), and have been playing music with each other in various projects for nigh on 14 years. We met 'The Culhane' through his work in Bakers, being both a sound man and a sound man. Once we started working together recording the WCIP debut album, we all clicked. When we found ourselves guitarist-less in 2012, there was no other person Hayes and I wanted in the band.
Q: Who are your inspirations?
Any DIY band that makes an honest name for themselves. We've played with some amazing, hard-working bands over the years that made us want to push harder and simply be better. After that it's probably John McClane and Gordon Bombay.
In the Venn Diagram of "What WCIP Listen To" there's probably very little in the three-way intersection. Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Rush and the Rocky IV soundtrack are all in there for sure. Individually though, our tastes are broad enough that it should keep our music entertaining at the very least.
Q: What is recording like as the band? Who have you worked with?
The recording process has always been relatively self-contained. Throughout the years we've recorded albums and EPs wherever Culhane was living; having him cemented as our guitarist this time around was perfect. It kind of freed things up as well because once the bass and drums were done, we weren't battling schedules.
When he could record guitar, he did. Simple. I make it seem like it was all nice and breezy, but in reality, Culhane put an insane amount of work into recording, performing on and mixing 'Stop The Rot'. With our earlier albums, we were all jobless and on the dole so it was easy to just record for 5 days in a row from morning to night. This time around, with jobs, lives and generally not being in our early twenties, it was handy that our engineer and guitarist didn't need to coordinate days off to try and get parts recorded.
Q: What was the songwriting process behind your latest album 'Stop The Rot'
The writing for 'Stop The Rot' was fraught with tragedy as we lost a few practice spaces in quick enough succession. At one point we ended up not playing with each other for over a year. We drank a lot of tea, but not an ounce of playing was done. At another point, we were playing with an electronic drum kit and our guitars running through a mixing desk with each of us hearing what was going on through headphones trying not to disturb the neighbours, but once we were able to get in a room together without it being sold or knocked down the songs came together relatively easy.
Q: Has there ever been a dispute about the direction of a song?
There might be times where an idea might seem fantastic on Monday, but when you go through it again on Friday you're amazed that your former-self was so happy with it. But that's just the creative process. Occasionally things might change during recording, but more often than not we're all on the same page early on in the songs life.
Q: Three albums in, is it becoming more difficult to get inspired compared to when you were crafting your first album?
Not really. After years of inactivity, getting this album out has really lit a fire under our arses. The riffs have been flying in thick and fast lately, and we've a good few songs in the skeletal stage for whatever we choose to release next.
As long as there's a riff, there'll be a song. The writing of our first album is a bit of a blur. It seemed like it was written in no time, and we were in the studio/bedroom with Culhane before I really knew what was happening. That's why if you listen to it, you'll notice we have songs about Die Hard and the shark from Jaws. Yet, both the stuff we're writing now and that first batch of songs come from the exact same place. That same excitement. The simple act of getting in a room with your friends and making some noise.
Q: What is the most important element to making an album rather than an EP, in your opinion?
I think EPs are great if you're looking to bridge a gap. The day after we released our first album in 2010 we recorded our first EP. The three songs from it were written after the album was recorded, and opposed to waiting to get the rest of album number 2 written/recorded/released, it seemed easiest to just put them out separately and just get to work on Album two from scratch.
We've always been fans of albums more than EPs. We had originally toyed with the idea of bringing out some of the first songs we'd written for 'Stop The Rot' as an EP, but with the gap between the second album was already quite large, so we felt that there was no point rushing something out just because we had it written.
I'm glad we took our time because the album is a complete piece. We tend to keep a theme running through the songs on our albums, so hearing 'Stop The Rot' as a complete work as is, is so much better than if Song X or Song Y had been on an EP released for the sake of it.
Q: What are your plans for 2018 and beyond?
All we ever want from this band is to gig, write, release and gig. The only real goal is to regain some of the ground we lost in the last few years. And 2018's already been more active than 2014, so we're off to a good start.
The Latest album from We Come In Pieces, 'Stop The Rot' is out now on all major streaming services