Interview: 5 minutes with We Cut Corners
It’s unusual that I interview a band and question my own eloquence. Interviewing Dublin’s We Cut Corners was one of those rare occasions. To be honest, I expected as much, having listened to their head-scratchingly brilliant music – all wit and wordplay over crunching drums and guitars. For our ‘5 Minutes with…’ feature, they were no different…
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
We are very fine. Today we are making lunch, while listening to the band La Luz from Seattle & later we’ll work on arrangements of new songs.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
There are two of us in the band, a drummer/singer and a guitarist/singer. Our songs run the gamut from loud, fast and physical jams to quieter, more atmospheric affairs. We try to ensure there’s an interesting rhythmic and dynamic element to our music brought out by the interplay between the drums and guitar. It results in a kind of ‘start-stop, rock-pop’.
What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?
Fionn Regan – 100 Acres of Sycamore.
Beautiful melodies, sublime string arrangements that reveal themselves with every listen and lyrically he doesn’t waste a word.
Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
Crammed full of musical and lyrical surprises.
Radiohead – Kid A.
The fact that Radiohead made a massive musical U-turn when they were several albums in and at the height of their commercial success, and managed to produce an album that pushed new ground, was full of great songs and still retained the essence of what the band were about was very inspiring!
Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker
Breaking hearts since 2000.
The Maccabees – Wall of Arms
Bought this album on a whim within the haze of a virulent collective hangover and it really helped take the edge off. Still listening to it today.
What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?
Out-of-body experience ost.
Still pinching ourselves to have seen AO up close at a recent Dublin show. Such an enduring pinch is undeniably painful but it’s worth the bruise. Completely commanded a couple of hundred people, seemingly without noticing they were watching her.
It’s really thrilling when the music you hear on daytime radio is original, knowing, fearless and intelligent, all of which is the case with Lorde’s debut.
The question is, what if there were no Arcade Fire?
Jarring, physical, hypnotic clatter.
What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?
Drums, guitars, voices, Hammond Organ, Roland Juno and Roland Space Echo.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
We played in a huge art space in Moscow as part of a week-long music festival. It was essentially a massive white box, but there were the most amazing visuals projected onto all four walls all around us. It was like playing our music in another realm. It was 10 degrees below outside. The crowd were incredibly warm, figuratively.
What’s the worst gig you have ever done and why?
Most shows have some silver-lining, no matter how faint. However, one exclusively cloudy occasion was a recent set in New York where our equipment started falling apart mid-show. There’s not a lot you can do when your instruments aren’t working so we just apologised and went for a drink.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
Hopefully we’d both be working in education.
What are your thoughts on the following music genres?
All the big names.
Son House – Grinning in Your Face …That’s it for me.
Marvin Gaye – What’s Goin’ On.
From the iconic cover through to the lush, elegiac arrangements, this is an enduringly haunting document of an aching psyche, chanelled through the quintessential soul voice.
Yeh – 808s.
We started off as a band, in university, writing songs in the vein of Simon & Garfunkel – their utter mastery of the genre made it really difficult to progress however. Paul’s lyrical flair and compositional nous, married to Art’s elfin larynx made for a perfect confluence of folk & popular music, and one that has yet to be eclipsed.
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
On our forthcoming record, we’re lucky to be working with some incredible Irish electronic artists such as Bantum, Toby Karr and Daithi on remixes.
We also collaborated on this album with John Buckley, a contemporary classical music composer. He arranged the strings on the album. John Buckley’s catalogue extends to almost 100 works, which have been performed and broadcast in more than fifty countries worldwide. His compositions have represented Ireland on five occasions at the International Rostrum of Composers and at five ISCM festivals. Amongst his awards are the Varming Prize (1977), the Macaulay Fellowship (1978), the Arts Council’s Composers’ Bursary (1982), and the Toonder Award (1991). In 1984 he was elected a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s state sponsored academy of creative artists. His music has been recorded on the Anew, Altarus, Black Box, Marco Polo, Lyric FM, Atoll and Celestial Harmonies labels.