Thursday, 19 July 2018

Interview: The Stasi

The Stasi - Interview - Dublin Quays Festival

Info: In our final interview here on REMY before the Dublin Quays Festival kicks off (in an hour!), we speak to Dublin duo The Stasi, who will be taking to the main stage at The Grand Social tomorrow night, 20th of July at 10:15pm.

REMY: First off, and it’s a question I usually avoid asking, but as a history lover I’m intrigued! Your band name conjures up images of grey concrete sprawl, flashbacks to scenes from 2006's Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) and general Orwellian terror (which I’m sure is not the intention), how did you settle on The Stasi as your moniker?

The Stasi: We would love to be able to say it wasn’t just because of a trenchcoat. Although as children of the 80's we do have a certain nostalgia for Soviet chic. Ironically we have had a couple of people cry offence on social media, which Stewart Lee once described as "a Stasi run by gullible volunteers." We offered to take them for dinner in Mao's to apologise.

REMY: I believe you were both heavily involved in music in some shape or form for quite some time before you formed The Stasi in 2016, was the current band set up of deep down and dirty rock something both of you had always wanted to dip your toes into at some stage or did it just happen?

The Stasi: I think we always knew we wanted to make music with a bit of swagger. If you’re gonna do that then you probably need a few pretty guitars. The idea was to marry that with a smokey, sardonic female vocal - thus adding to the overall sense of swag.

The Stasi - 'Struggle Up' (Live)

REMY: Listening to your latest EP Screaming at the Void which you released in May, it instantly struck me that your music is pushed straight up against the glass across all three tracks. Drums and guitar in particular are right up the front and sounding sharp, no flighty build-ups or winding arches here, just bang! Is that the kind of impact punters can expect from one of your live shows? 

The Stasi: We definitely wanted the first three tracks to feel like a bunch of mule kicks. But we do have a softer side. One of our mellower offerings tells the true story of Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor taking a road trip out of New York on the morning of 9/11. Another is an acoustic re-imagining of the Stagger Lee trope in the voice of one of his girls.  We also end the show with a stately Sinatra-esque Orbinsonathon.

REMY: Your lyrics, themes and even release titles, such as forthcoming album Love in the Age of Narcissism suggest a strong interest in literature, would that be a fair assumption? And if so, what works would you say have most formed your thoughts when you are engaged in song-writing, either directly or indirectly?

The Stasi: The lyrics came about fairly organically, though there are direct nods to Rupert Sheldrake, Adam Curtis, Colonel Gaddafi and Noah Yuval Hari. What we really wanted was to write songs with a bit of intrigue - ideas and allegories that bear a second listen. To that extent they probably owe more to Dylan and Cohen than any books we could name.

REMY: Tell us a little bit about the new LP, what plans do you have regarding the release and have you chosen a rough date yet?

The Stasi: Much like Danny Ocean we have found the magic number to be eleven, and are now tasked with curating their various personalities. First and foremost we wrote these songs to be a live show so whatever recording we do will have the real feel of a room. As for any release date, we are endeavouring to hit the stocking filler deadline.

REMY: As a relatively new band (albeit experienced in your craft), can it be a bit daunting stepping out into the current Irish music scene and carving a path through the large volume of bands and acts that are all competing for space, or are you just concerned with doing your own thing and nothing else?

The Stasi: You only ever have your own career. There’s no point comparing yourselves to other people.

REMY: Finally, aside from the new album, and your upcoming show at Dublin Quays Festival in The Grand Social on Friday, what other plans might you have afoot for the future?!

The Stasi: Nothing’s set in stone, but we hope to have had a couple more festival appearances and our first TV performance by the end of the year and then drive it like we stole it in 2019.

The Stasi play at The Grand Social on Friday, 20th July as part of Dublin Quays Festival. ALL events are FREE entry. 

Check for full lineup.

Dublin Quays Festival 2018 Line Up

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