Hot Press NI Special

24 06 2009

I’ve been writing for Hot Press for a year and a half now, and while the Hole anorak in me loves the fact that I contribute to the same magazine that Courtney Love once did (well, she claims she did anyway) I’m proud to pimp out as many NI bands as I can. This issue there’s a Northern Ireland 8page special with lots of bands either interviewed/mentioned/recommended etc etc including In Case of Fire and Smalltown America interviews, short pieces on Glasgowbury, Dirty Stevie, Black Bear Saloon, the Beat Poets, Not Squares and tons more. There’s also an 18track cover mounted CD and it’s only 2quid so pick it up now.

Delirium Tremens

24 06 2009

Here’s a reprint of a recent interview I did with Delirium Tremens. Great band with Chris Goss-esque vocals.  Enjoy.

Delirium Tremens

Loved by tattoo toting types and lauded by the likes of Radio One’s Huw Stephens, Delirium Tremens are slated to play the third Big Gig this June. A few weeks ago the Big List managed to drag singer/bassist Peter Gilmore away from his Rocky-esque training regime in preparation for the show to talk horror films, scene spirit and inter band love affairs (in a purely platonic way of course) so sit back, relax and enjoy.


 First things first, Peter. Tell us how Delirium Tremens first started.

Basically we all went to school together in Rathmore and one day in mid august ‘07 I was in the Parlour drinking strawberry daiquiris and I bumped into Damien [Delirium Tremens’ guitarist] and we got talking because I hadn’t seen him in a while. His housemate Brian, who’s our other guitarist, was also there and we ended up going back to their house. They were in a band at time and already had a singer (they kinda sounded like Bon Jovi) but he ended up leaving and I took the helm as the vocalist. A friend of ours knew Glenn [our drummer] and she said to him we were looking for one (he’s been in lots of bands like Patio Sounds) and he was up for it. We got together in a community youth outreach centre in east Belfast to play about a month after I met Damien and Brian and we spent a lot of time in a dusty garage just going over some of my song ideas. I’ve been in bands since I was 15 and I’ve never been in a group where the personality and the music mesh so well. Usually if the personalities don’t get on very well the music’s really vital and really interesting, but once you finish playing you don’t want anything to do with them, but Delirium Tremens is different because we enjoy hanging out together as well as playing great music. We’re real homos about stuff like that [laughs].  We’ve a good working and friendly vibe. Nothing’s labored and it all fits into place really well.


Did you find it hard getting gigs in the early days?

I knew a few people who were willing to take chances on bands they’d never seen before and places like the Pavilion, Auntie Annie’s and Lavery’s were very good to us. The good thing about playing all those shows is that you get to meet a lot of different bands and it’s all about who you know and stuff like that, so we tried to get our own clique going with like-minded people. Our first gig was on December 13 ‘07 and then the next day we recorded ‘Barabas’ and ‘Butterknife.’ We’ve got a bit of attention for ‘Barabas’ and it’s been played on Huw Stephen’s show as well as Rory McConnell’s. We did a session for Rory too in February and it was cool to be in the BBC studios because we’re not really used to doing things like that.


We hear the band’s music was going to feature in a horror film last year too.

Yeah, in the summer of ‘08 we went to the Blueroom to record more stuff with Peter [Pratt, producer] and one of those songs (which we don’t play anymore) ‘Remora’ got us attention from the makers of this low budget British horror movie. It was the guy who worked on Hollyoaks and he heard our tune and got in touch asking to use it. So we sent it off and he took it to the money men but it didn’t work out. We got a lot of publicity out of that though.


How important do you think it is for bands to play outside of Belfast?

I think it’s really important. Personally speaking, we’ve played so many gigs in Belfast that we decided we had to get out of the city and play somewhere else. So many Belfast bands are like dogs chasing their tails. Look at groups from Portrush however-they tour everywhere and play places like Cork, Galway and Dublin just as much as here and that’s what we intend to do too.


What was it like playing the Dublin Tattoo Convention last year?

It was such a great show. We went down on the Friday and basically started drinking straight away. The thing is, I’ve no tattoos whatsoever and neither the majority of the band so we were walking around like freaks [laughs]. Our drummer has got one on his arm so we kept trying to convince him to roll his sleeves up so we didn’t look quite so out of place. We ended up quite drunk beforehand (which is something we rarely ever do when we’re playing a gig) and played a great show. Maybe there’s something about playing in an environment where people are getting tattoos, but it seemed to spur us on. Every time we would stop between songs we’d see people bleeding from getting them done and we just really liked the idea of sound-tracking this kinda stuff. We went ape shit and the energy we had was unreal. The coolest thing about the convention was that we were playing to people from all over the world and we had Americans and Italians coming up to us to tell us they enjoyed our music.


Are you excited about playing the Big Gig?

We can’t wait to play it. I think it’s great for the local scene and we’re happy to be a part of it. It should be a really fun night.


Finally Peter, what are your aspirations for the band?

We want to get to a stage where we can record everything ourselves, play gigs in as many different places as possible and pretty much be self sufficient. We know we’re still a new band and we’re happy to keep progressing. It’s a good time to be in Delirium Tremens right now.

 Delirium Tremens play the Big Gig in the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast alongside A Plastic Rose and Ablespacer on June 27. Admission is £4 and doors are at 9pm.

The Maccabees

24 06 2009

Last month I went to see Indie hopefuls the Maccabees for Hot Press. Here’s the review from a few weeks ago


The Maccabees at the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast.

Perennial indie underdogs the Maccabees are an exasperating bunch. Shuffling onstage at the punctual time of 10.15pm, the Brighton-based five-piece mumble a few words into the microphone, flop their fringes over their eyes and keep their heads down, chugging out renditions of songs from their last two albums (‘07’s Colour It In and ‘09’s Wall Of Arms for those keeping score). Don’t get us wrong, songs like ‘X Ray’ and ‘Kiss And Resolve’ are note perfect anthems that are well received by the crowd, but there’s no real connection that convinces us they’re ready for the premier league.

But then, five songs in they hit us with the lilting ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ and we finally start to see a crackle of electricity between the performers and their audience. The noisy, spray-on jeans clad clan of Maccabees devotees sing every word and even whistle the “switz-swoo” bit in the middle, much to frontman Orlando Weeks’ amusement. Bless. Despite his inability to say anything audible tonight, he does have a pleasing set of lungs though. On ‘Precious Time’ he sounds every inch the love-struck artisan, lamenting all of life’s wrongs and on the pulsing ‘Lego’ the band throb with some Joy Division inspired goodness.

Rounding off their set with recent single ‘Love You Better,’ the Maccabees appear quite touched by their reception. The song itself sounds huge and hopefully points the way to much bigger things for the band in the future. At 45minutes with no encore, tonight’s gig was a short and sweet experience but then, we wouldn’t want our first date with the Maccabees to be anything less.

 Edwin McFee