Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bold Things, Colours To The Wall E.P. & Interview

Bold Things, 'The Eternal Artist'

Info: Many regulars to the blog will know that Dundalk band Bold Things have been a firm favourite of Remy's Music & Film Blog for quite a while now. I was delighted to hear that they finally released their debut E.P., Colours To The Wall, this week which features two previously released tracks and two brand new ones, 'Cadet' and 'The Eternal Artist' (above), both of which are excellent and in keeping with the bands consistently strong output of tracks. The E.P. also includes my own personal favourite song, 'Swallows End', and the very first track / video ever reviewed on the blog, 'Love The Bomb'. The band have always put a phenomenal amount of thought and passion into their music, and I think that's best expressed in the below interview. A big thanks to Ronan, Ian, Gavin and Jim for putting in the effort with the interview as well, it's not often you get such thoughtful responses, and they've introduced some great new music linked below too.

Bold Things @ Toales, Dundalk

Remy: It’s hard to believe it’s nearly a year since I reviewed 'Love The Bomb' and now here it is, laid down on your debut E.P., Colours To The Wall, as well as my favourite Bold Things track, 'Swallows End' and two brand new songs, how are you guys feeling right now, pretty chuffed I’d imagine?

Jim: Very chuffed Remy! The way we work, unwaveringly sticks to a democratic 4 man job. So our approach means taking time to make sure everything works and fits. These 4 songs truly represent the 4 boys involved; and I think that's a trump card in many ways. For us it is worth the wait. We are delighted to have it ready. Like you've said, it's been a year and a little bit less since we presented video versions of 'Love the Bomb' and 'Swallows End'. At the time we thought it would be cool to show live alternates to songs that were destined for the full EP treatment. We love when we see different versions of tracks; and for us it was a good way to document our progress. I'm sure they deliver on Colours to the Wall.

Ronan: Yeah we're very chuffed Remy. It's a relief to have it out. To be honest at times it has been a long arduous process but with our schedules it does feel like a great achievement just to say that it’s finished. For as long as we've been in a band we've never known things to be easy, certainly when releasing anything. This band is a democracy with each of us being strongly opinionated people this leads to a wonderfully interactive and open process. During the course of the recording of the EP we've released some acoustic and room versions of the songs which freshened things up and also gave us new outlooks on the tracks. So these did help with the development of 'Love the Bomb' and 'Swallows End'. These tracks have been knocking around for a while so releasing this to the public is a wonderful feeling for us. We're really delighted with it.

Remy: One of the things that I’ve always found appealing about Bold Things' music is the deliberate difference in timing between drums and vocals, (such as the intro for 'Cadet') and also the solemn mood of vocals vs. increasing tempo in the music on 'Swallows End' & 'The Eternal Artist', was there any other
artist or album that influenced these stylistic approaches or are they purely the natural outcome of the four of you playing together?

Gavin: Hhhmmm, I think it’s probably a combination of both us playing and what we were influenced by at the time. A desire to create gaps, space and
an interesting rhythmic landscape was something that was running through all our heads when making 'Cadet'. We felt it needed that treatment. That seductive quality of having seemingly disparate things working together. The
intro I guess sets this experimental buzz in motion. Personally, at the time I was listening to really interesting rhythmic stuff like 'Bloom' by Radiohead and 'Blush Mosaic' by Patten which definitely played into it for me. I think the combination of solemn vocals and increasing tempos you’ve pointed out again is an extension of this merging of contrasting elements but for more tonal ends. Offsetting weighty or pensive moments with overt physicality or increasing tempos kinda lifts things tonally. It creates greater intensity, greater possibilities. PJ Harvey does this masterfully on Let England Shake. She adds a sense of community and uplifts the heaviest subject matter you could imagine. So yeah I guess these stylistic approaches are a combination of convictions or ideas that we have influences and us playing together. 

Remy: The four of you are all good mates from Dundalk, for people who are unfamiliar with your background, how long have you been playing together and how did it all start?

Jim: Myself and Gav started making music together when we were 12. I had a bass and he had a drumkit. We did the formative stuff together; we reckoned we'd be good footballers when we were 11. But stuff clicked when we started buying those CD things. Years later Gav brought Patsy, and I invited Ro along to a practice, and then it started there. The band was another shade in the formative experience lads have growing up. We did demos and singles and weaved the band into our upbringing. The Spirit Store in Dundalk was our cornerstone. Fast forward and we decided to do the London thing. And here we are.

Remy: You did quite a bit of initial recording when you were all living together in London and in the last couple of months some of you had to leave the city for new adventures, how has that affected the band in terms of writing and recording, and more importantly, do you miss each other!?

Ian 'Patsy': Ah yeah, we definitely do miss each other but Manchester is just up the road so it doesn’t feel very far!! Still, it’s quite a strange thing to think about in some respects having lived out of each other’s pockets for quite some time and then not any more, but we did it before all of us moved to London as well. The great thing about being in a band with your mates is you can just pick up where you left off and know exactly who you are within that space. Distance is part of how these songs were formed and whether that’s reflected by lyrics or sounds, I feel it to be a constant theme. For example, the first demo of 'The Eternal Artist' was given to me a few days before Gav moved to London on his own in 2010 and has been worked on in stages since. For me there has always been a sense of transience in the work especially when we take such a considered approach to our music. There is always something else in the wings.

Bold Things, 'Love The Bomb'

Remy: You had a pretty busy first half of 2014 with the release of a couple of singles, plenty of local gigs in London such as Hackney Irish Social Club and the Yardlife Festival in Islington, and of course your homecoming during the summer, which gig was a stand out for you?

Jim:The gigs of 2014 have been very generous to us. Playing places like The Water Rats with its long history didn't go unnoticed to us. The Paddy’s day gig in Dalston was wonderful because it was built from the ground up, involving the Hackney Irish Social Club and ex-pats alike. People came together; a truly great day, and Ireland won the 6 nations! We were lucky to have great experiences in Whelans, and in Dalston, London. The best gig though was playing Toales in Dundalk. We hadn't played at home since 2010. We could finally showcase Bold Things music at home, and be able to go home afterwards!!! Between Ireland and the UK, 2014 has allowed us to meet our friends. 

Remy: Stepping back from Bold Things for a minute, it’s clear all four of you are very much into current music crossing a variety of genres, care to share some of your favourite albums that you’ve really enjoyed in 2014 (these can also be ones from previous years that were new discoveries)?

Ronan: My favourite album this year is St. Vincent: St. Vincent. What impressed me most with this album was that it bursts with amazing confidence and swagger. I recall first hearing it with my music on shuffle on a bus dosing off at some unearthly hour of the morning and 'Birth in Reverse' wastes absolutely no time in slapping you in the face, demanding your attention. "Take out the garbage, masturbate". Absolutely. I was struck with the brashness of it, especially her angular guitar playing. She has such a variety; her style clearly bears influence from jazz to prog rock to classic rock/heavy metal. This kind of makes it quite spontaneous and in effect liberating, which in previous albums was her heaviest criticism that each move seem to have been too pre-plotted, but I don't think this can be said about this album. The air of unpredictability is evident, she bursts on the scene with confidence but as you discover she counteracts this with extreme honest moments of lyrical self-deprecating vulnerability. Although she remains quite faithful to her earlier albums she brings so many new explosive elements to this. It's simply brilliant, for me this by far and away the best album of the year. A very brief mention for my second favourite release this year is Damon Albarn's Everyday Robots. This was my favourite album after St. Vincent's as he delves into his early life, discovering London in the early years of Blur. He always tells a story, but I haven't seen anything as biographical as this from him. It's Damon at his usual brilliant best. Deadly stuff. Other mentions this year for FKA Twigs, single 'Two Weeks' and Jessie Ware's Devotion.'

Ian 'Patsy': I’ve been listening to a lot of Mount Kimbie, Chelsea Wolfe and Julio Bashmore this year, but in terms of I reckon my favourite album this year is Todd Terje's It's Album Time or FKA Twiggs LP1…or Tim Hecker Virgins. I got lost in a pit of Sabbath, Stones and Zeppelin in May so I may have missed a bit! Haha!

Bold Things, 'Swallows End' *note, not the E.P. version

Remy: Irish people are hoors for slating their own musicians (I’ve been guilty of it myself), but I don’t think Bold Things are haters, are there any Irish acts from the last couple of years that really float your boat? 

Ian 'Patsy': I’m just a music hoor...haha. I’ve not been around much in terms of Irish music for a while now but every now and then I stumble across something I like. I’m a big Rejjie Snow fan, it’s great to see Ireland produce some genuinely good Hip Hop. He’s working with people like King Krule as well and creating some really interesting stuff, His Rejovich EP has been a mainstay on my iPod since last July. Personnel are an Irish electronic act that I like a lot, they’re on SoundCloud, really great tune! I’ve also been listening to Bleeding Heart Pigeons, the do really interesting ambient jazzy dancey loveliness. I believe they are from Limerick. Check out their performance on Other Voices on YouTube its really amazing stuff. Other than that I love And So I Watch You From Afar. They’re quality.

Ronan: Certainly are hoors for slating Remy! To be honest, same as Patsy, I haven't seen too many Irish acts in the last 2 years since making the move over the water, just been keeping track online. But there's one Irish act which stood out to me this year more than any other, I Am the Cosmos with their album Monochrome. Now anything with funk infused baselines and vibrant synth will probably do it for me but there's something wholesome about this album. It's full of sultry beats overlaid with melancholic synth as the vocals lay washed underneath some tracks drenched in reverb. The further you go into the album the more the vocals become prominent and give it another ambient layer. There’s an element of Animal Collective, CHVRCHES and little bit of Future Islands here but the album has a low-fi 80s synth production. As a whole the album kind of flows through rapidly with an exciting drive, it's a pretty comprehensive body of work. Doesn't feel like a collection of songs accumulated uncomfortably together, each one brilliantly compliments the next. I'm excited to see these folks live. Soon I hope.

Remy: Now that you’ve finished recording Colours To The Wall are you already thinking of more material for a second E.P. with a view to eventually making an album, or what’s the next step for the band?

Gavin: To be honest, we’re not thinking about albums or second EP’s at all at the moment. Colours to the Wall was a massive project for us, it demanded so much focus and we are just delighted to have it out 100% the way we wanted it. It feels like we've all done our leaving cert again kinda thing and we need to go sweat it out in Lanzorote, Ha Ha! The band is like a meeting point for our individual creativities. We’ve got a new geographical situation to navigate around now. We’ll see what those creativities amount to and what they point towards when we meet up for some sessions in early 2015 with our band hats on and sun kissed faces. 

Jim presses the 'Delete All Band' button at Whelans, June, 2014

Remy: Jim and Gavin, you both share the vocal responsibilities on a lot of tracks, have the two of you ever fallen out over a head to head on Singstar or in a karaoke club?

Jim: Ha. I don't think we've ever indulged in any Singstar activity. It's funny, we kind of started off singing at the same time and learned as we went. Gav was the first person I let rip vocally in front of. We've heard each other try a lot of different things. We inadvertently emulated the people we were listening to across the years. His deeper range and my higher range have grown together; we always work it out. The best ideas win out. Vocal intent and lyrical content mean a hell of a lot to the 2 of us, and I can safely say that we work.

Gav: Ha Ha, no not yet but there’s always time for that. The only thing we argue about is fluffy nonsense like what particular shade of blue we should paint my bass drum skin before a gig. But sure we’ll have that! We’ve been best friends since we were 8 and been making music together since we were 12. I can safely say that we know each other’s vocal strengths and weaknesses well by this stage. The sharing of vocal duties sorts itself out, it’s always very clear to us what voice suits what line.

Remy: Ronan, you seem to be far more refined than some of the other band members when it comes to social media, which of the others would you send to seek counselling for online addiction?

Ronan: I'm probably the most refined when it comes to Facebook anyway. My feed is usually taken up by suggestions more so than actual updates from my friends. Just things Facebook think I might like or a video that someone I haven't spoken to in about 6 years has liked from the LAD Bible. So I don't pay as much attention to it as I used to. I use the FB messenger mostly to keep in contact with friends. My posts are usually saved for good art, a Bold Things update, Dundalk winning the league or the occasionally hilarious cat video. 
I like Instagram but my photos usually aren't cool enough for it. I'm more a Twitter man, I feel I've marginally more control over my feed on this than others. I actually find it a brilliant source of news too. It's the future this tweeting thing.

Remy: Finally, Ian, as a fellow Liverpool fan that was some roller-coaster last season, what the hell is going on this year? How much longer would you give Big Brendan? 

Ian 'Patsy': Too many new players and not enough planning, Sturridge being out and Gerrard being past it...I think Rogers will survive, missing last season and losing Suarez has messed up their heads. And Mingolet is terrible. All I know is I’m not looking forward to next weekend...I work beside Old Trafford and they all know I’m a Pool fan!! 

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