Interview: Therapy? (Sunday Life)

26 11 2012

Here’s a reprint of an interview I did with Therapy? for the Sunday Life that ran ahead of their Gifted Live show.

As Sunday Life is a newspaper, you have to write in a different style but I enjoy the change of pace and indeed discipline.It keeps things interesting. Anywho, I’ve also added the video for the boys’ new single ‘Before You, With You, After You’ that was filmed on the night.I’m sure if you hit pause at the right time you can probably see my mush in there too,so there’s a bonus treat for you…

If you happen to live in the UK, Therapy? are out on tour right now, so if you bump into them, buy them a pint of Black Milk and tell them your pal Edwin says hello.

Return of the Kings

This Thursday night sees local legends Therapy? return to these shores to play a headline show at the Empire Music Hall in Belfast. Part of the monthly Gifted Live showcase gigs, which is are broadcast live online at http://www.giftedlive.com, the evening features the cream of Ulster talent (such as Fighting with Wire and Silhouette) and the Larne/Ballyclare born band are eager to make the event a home-coming to remember, as bassist Michael McKeegan explained when Sunday Life caught up with him.

“It’s always good to be back in Northern Ireland playing and we’re all chuffed to be doing the Gifted Live show as apparently it goes out live online, so we’ll have fans watching from all over the world at the same time as the show is happening, so that’s a new one for us. Also, there’s a ton of other killer NI acts playing as well, so it should be quite a night.”

Currently enjoying life as the God-Fathers of the NI music scene, the iconic act have become one of our most popular and well-regarded exports over the last two decades. At the moment the trio, who are completed by singer/guitarist Andy Cairns and drummer Neil Cooper, are touring the length and breadth of Europe in support of their critically acclaimed 13th album ‘A Brief Crack Of Light’ and Michael reveals that it’s not just the boys’ musical chops which are winning rave reviews these days, it’s their football skills as well.

“Probably one of the highlights of the summer festival season was non-music related,” recalled Michael. “We supported Linkin Park at an old airfield just outside Moscow and as Euro 2012 was in full flow, the national TV channel asked us (jokingly, I think) if we wanted to play in their onsite five-a-side football tournament. We’d just performed an hour long set in the blazing sun, but fancied a go at it anyway, so we joined in. Even though it was a bit hectic, we managed to win the thing, beating Russia’s equivalent of the Red Arrows (no joke) in the final. You should’ve seen their faces getting beaten by us lot.”

“The rest of the festivals were all universally great this year,” he continued. “We’re lucky in that we can appear on quite ‘heavy’ festival bills and then also on more diverse ones with pop and electronic artists. Two Austrian shows with Billy Idol were particularly good and he had a super cool band and crew and we also did a show with Tricky in Luxembourg which was great as I’d never seen him live before.”

This year also saw Therapy? headline the Glasgowbury festival in Eagle’s Rock, Co. Derry and for Michael (whose band helped scores of Ulster acts break into the mainstream throughout the nineties and beyond) topping the bill at an all-local event was a particularly proud moment.

“Glasgowbury was a lot of fun,” he said. “We’d been looking forward to that show for ages and the crowd and atmosphere didn’t disappoint. It was definitely one of the best, most memorable festivals we’ve done over the years and fair play to the organisers for inviting us up. Also, special mention must go to Alan Lynn from LaFaro who was filling in for our drummer Neil, who was on ‘paternity leave’ at the time. Alan did an amazing show with LaFaro, then walked over to our stage and went straight into a 60 minute set with us, pausing only to change his shirt. I don’t think he could walk for a week afterwards.”

With their ever increasing back catalogue quite rightly establishing Therapy? as bona fide national treasures, the band’s genre-straddling, almost un-pigeonhole-able sound has won them followers from numerous sub-cultures, but even Michael confesses he was surprised when it was revealed that British soul singer Any Winehouse was a fan of the band during the recent BBC4 Arena documentary The Day She Came To Dingle.

“I always knew Amy was into a broad range of music but yeah, that was indeed a bit of a shock to hear she’d listened to us as a teenager,” he said. “Likewise, Therapy? were all fans of hers too. She was an amazingly talented artist and her passing was a massive loss for decent music.”

 

Therapy? headline Gifted Live at the Empire Belfast on Thursday, October 4. Tickets cost £10 from Ticketmaster and the gig will be broadcast on www.giftedlive.com

 

Edwin McFee

 

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