Q+A: 5 minutes with The Burma
Readying themselves and listeners for their sophomore album, Irish Indie Rock band The Burma present their latest fuzzy single, ‘23’, a cloudy haze of inverted vocal reverberations, pillow-soft notes, and underwater instrumentations. Dunked in goopy fuzz, the track fizzles like an ice-cold soda on a hot summer’s day.
Stream / Download: The Burma – ‘23’
What inspired this new sound? Was it perhaps their collective experience touring for their 2022 album Sucker for Stars that suffused the minds and hearts of these three gentlemen? Or simply the unadulterated desire to play around? We caught up with the Cork-based triplet to find out what gets their creative juices flowing (read our previous interview with the rockers).
Buy tickets for The Burma’s debut show in London on the 19th of August.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
The thought of the alternative is excruciating.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
It’s different for every song. Sometimes an instrumental demo will come first. Sometimes a lyric written down on my phone might spark a song.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
What’s on your current playlist?
Nick Cave – ‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig!’, U2’s Songs Of Surrender, Donna Lewis, Ocean Colour Scene…
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
We’ve been playing to bigger crowds than we’ve ever played to this past year. It was great to see people singing the words back to us on our album tour last year. There’s always a crew that gets right up the front and go for it, and there are some who chill out, stand back, and take it in a bit more. Both are cool, we appreciate them a lot.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
Peter is great for trying unconventional ways to get a cool guitar tone. He’ll run through gear that was never meant to be used for a guitar. Sometimes, the sounds he gets are almost totally unrecognisable as a guitar.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
A lot of chit-chat in the morning as we all start to wake up. We get on really well with our producer Christian, so it’s a really chilled-out atmosphere. After we’ve talked about what we watched on TV the night before, Christian usually lights some incense, which sets the mood, and we start to look at songs. Cian and Peter will track the drums and bass in the first week as a foundation to work on. Over the next few weeks, we’ll record guitars, vocals, synths, percussion, etc. We were more creative in the studio this time than usual, we weren’t afraid to try things out and push the boat out a little on some songs.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Ya, it was seeing the video for ‘Teddy Picker’ by Arctic Monkeys on the TV one morning. I knew straight away that I absolutely loved whatever it was, and that I was going to be hooked. I became fanatical. I would have been around 13 at the time and from then on it’s all I ever wanted to do.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Some sweet Burma t-shirts for a competitive but fair price.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
The Davies Brothers, Rua Rí, Billy Mansfield AKA SoyBoy.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Reading, films, listening to other music, Exercising – find the best time to do some writing is when the endorphins are flowing.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Christian, the studio engineer bought a Roland Jazz Chorus amp during the recording that we used quite a bit. We also used a Fender Princeton Reverb, a Fender Vibroverb, and a JT4 Valve amp. Peter bought a 12-string Yamaha acoustic towards the end of the session, and it snuck into a few songs.
Any side projects you’re working on?
Cian’s working on a short film about an ancient mermaid civilisation at the Cliffs Of Moher.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Ya, we’re always finding new ways to better our live shows, whether it be through sound design or new arrangements. Naturally, our songwriting is constantly developing too.
Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
A new album in October along with a tour. The first single, ‘23’, released in May with another couple to follow throughout the year. We’ll be putting out some music videos, playing festivals around Ireland in the summer and we’ll have our first UK show in London in August.
Famous last words?
The Burma Tour Date(s):
3 June – Wild Roots, Sligo
4 June – You Bloom, Co. Dublin
19 Aug – Canal Bar @ Dingwalls, Camden, London
14 Oct – Live At St. Lukes, Cork
Listen to ‘23’ here:
Follow The Burma:
Image credit: Ciara O Toole