We featured the 2nd single off Party Fear’s stunning self titled debut album back in June and subsequently asked the guys for an interview which they kindly agreed to.A perfect time to publish it as they are in Dublin this week playing The Hut in Phibsborough on Wednesday 23rd August with Last Days of Elvis and Montauk. A chance to catch this excellent group on the rise.Meanwhile check out some words below from Party Fears.
Why did you decide to be in a band?
Maggie: I believe I always wanted to be in a band, but just didn’t think it was possible? At some point, I just realised that it wasn’t as mystical an endeavour as I’d always supposed it was; that you don’t have to be X type of person to stand in front of a microphone and bang out some tunes. Basically, I was chicken and then I was slightly less chicken.
Eilis: I played drums (very, very poorly) in my high school rock band. ‘My Sharona’ is still a stressful listen, haha. After school, I stopped playing. The first ‘adult’ band I played in was in South Korea in 2013. I was living in this strange satellite city and a guy moved into the building across the road who had a guitar. I told him I played the drums even though I really couldn’t. So I found myself practising drums in my lunch break. At the beginning, it was mostly a time filler, but like most (good) things in my life, I became totally obsessed.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
Maggie: I was obsessed with the West Side Story soundtrack with Natalie Wood and Russ Tamblyn. My dad had it on record. I don’t use ‘obsessed’ lightly. I would draw face parts on balloons, tape them to wooden spoons (why did we have so many wooden spoons in our house!?), and perform the musical in its entirety from behind the sofa using them as puppets. I’d like to say it was a phase, but it went on for some years.
Eilis: I played mostly classical music as a youngster, the first piece of music I was mad for was “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. The slap stick part kills me still.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?
Maggie: Argh! I’m not sure… I don’t think I have a favourite… And it differs between playing and recording… Maybe ‘Rep’? I think we struck our ‘sound’ with that song… But I’m not sure… Mostly I’m thinking about the next songs… I can list which songs I don’t like but Eilis might tell me off! Challenging question! So many ellipses!
Eilis: We have a new song that I absolutely love. We’re still working on it, so watch this space. I love it because the sound is so big and I get to play so many different beats in 4 minutes. It’s a dancey time, which is my favourite time.
How do you know when a song you’ve working on is complete?
Eilis: I’m not sure we’ve finished a song yet, haha. We often re-work parts and add/ subtract parts to keep it exciting. In the initial writing phase, I think as a drummer a song is complete once I can play it all the way through without dying.
Maggie: It depends on the song. The likes of ‘Rep’ and ‘Sun King’ I tend to change the lyrics and melody from show to show, so they never quite calcified. Others, there’s a moment where the song kind of settles and feels more like an old familiar than something we’re still wrestling with. It often happens subconsciously. Like a zit disappearing overnight.
What’s the music scene like in Berlin?
Eilis: It’s huge. There are so many bands. Everyday I hear of a new band. We made a list (because we’re geeks) of 120 Berlin bands with at least one female in them! So you can imagine how big the entire scene is. Bonkers.
Maggie: It’s good. And hard. Way harder than Seoul where there was a more obvious community, backlines in every space and booking was simpler. But also I think the ceiling is higher here, and it’s more connected. Living here made the Ireland and UK tour possible, for example. Berlin has loads of bands we can geek-out over too; Mondo Fumatore, Last Days of Elvis and Strand Child to name a few.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
Maggie: Hard! Off the top of my head, ‘Ashes to Ashes’ by Bowie. It has my favourite lyric: ‘I’ve never done good things. I’ve never done bad things. I’ve never done anything out of the blue.’ Or, alternatively, genuinely, ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’.
Eilis: Offft. Today i’ll choose ‘Carry Me’ by Bombay Bicycle Club. It’s so bass heavy, the vocals are so sweet, you can dance, and then there’s those amazing heavy rhythms across the whole song that do things to my insides. (Ask me tomorrow and it’d be something totally different.)
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
Eilis : Tune-yards – her voice is soooo bananas and her drum parts are wicked. She also talks about living in a van and learning her craft as an adult; something I can relate to. Love her.
Maggie: Bowie is my number one felleh. Working class background, flawed, human, magical. Kate Bush also for her reach and romanticism. Lots of 80s and 90s pop like The Bangles, good TV theme tunes (‘Run With Us’!) and video game music, Stevie Nicks, Leonard Bernstein, Irish and Scottish trad is all in the mix too.
Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?
Eilis : Spice Girls – ‘If You Wanna Be My Lover’. Friends first forever, and those backing vocals. Incredible.
Maggie: Belle and Sebastian’s ‘I Love My Car’. It’s so goofy and sweet. Play it with your windows open on a summer’s day.
What is the best new band that you’ve heard recently?
Eilis : Pillow Queens! We big time love ‘em.
Maggie: Pillow Queens for sure. I’ll also go for Silica Gel from Seoul. They are mind-blowingly good. They have a bit of the alien about them. And the keyboardist has the best dance moves, like, ever.
What do you think of music streaming sites like Spotify and Deezer?
Eilis : Spotify is great for finding new bands and making playlists for gigs! Deezer i’ve never heard of…. But I like the name.
Maggie: My hard drive died at Christmas, and I’d long ago given away all my CDs– so I lost essentially every piece of music I ever owned. It was a bad time! So Spotify was a bit of a miracle, though there’s plenty I disagree with too… Deezer I’ve not encountered before.
What’s your idea of success?
Eilis: People singing along to our tunes.
Maggie: As above, plus being able to live simply by making music. A nice wee simple life making the tunes we want to make and not grinding teeth over cash constantly. Having a song on Sesame Street is top shelf dreams though.
Added Toury Questionnnnnn 😀 😀 😀 😀 :D?????
Maggie: We’re hitting the road in a month with buddies, Last Days of Elvis and will play The Hut, Dublin on August 23rd with Montauk and McHugh’s, Belfast August 24th with Susie Blue.
Eilis: We weren’t planning on going to Ireland since we played there in May, but it was too much fun to pass it up this time!
and they did a super cool pic for our gallery 🙂 Thanks, folks!
Their superb debut album is out now and available on Bandcamp and Spotify. Will be one of SWIT’s albums of 2017.