Here’s a reprint of a Q and A I did with one of my favourite bands around Empty Lungs that originally ran in the Big List.
Check them out.Their music is the tasty juice.
Continuing our catch-up with some of the music scene’s latest and greatest bands, this month we meet Kev Jones, vocalist/guitarist for rising alt punks Empty Lungs. Enjoy.
Hi Kev and welcome to the Big List. In a few months time Empty Lungs will be one year old. Can you tell us a little bit about how the band started?
Kev: “We started after my old band the Lobotomies basically called it a day. I had wanted to play more melodic kinda stuff for a long time, but I kept getting caught up in other projects and never had the time. After the Lobotomies split I got in touch with Holmesy [bass/vocals] straight away because I knew he was the perfect man for the job and wasn’t playing with anyone at the time. We roped in Matty [drums/vocals] and after the first jam it was obvious there was some kind of chemistry there (sounds so romantic!) so we haven’t looked back since!”
Last September Empty Lungs released their debut single ‘Identity Lost.’ Was it important for you guys to release recorded material as soon as possible?
“I suppose it was excitement more than anything. When you start a new band you can’t wait to get material out there to people! Looking back on it we probably rushed those songs in every way. I mean we’d only been playing shows for 3/4 months when we released that single but fuck it, people seem to like it!”
We love the video (shot by Redcap Productions youtube.com/watch?v=iZLXUGBvOh0). Was it fun to make?
“Sean at Redcap is a pleasure to work with and he’s really into our music so that was really cool. Music videos aren’t really something we have a lot of experience with so it was a bit of a learning curve shooting this one, but it was fun nonetheless!”
Do you have any more singles/EPs coming up in the pipeline?
“Yes! We’ve been writing and demo-ing an EP for the past few months and we’re going into the studio to record it late March/early April. We’re really excited about this EP, I think we’ve taken our time and crafted the songs a bit better and there’s a big progression from our last release. We’re over the moon to be working with [producer] Rocky O’Reilly again and we’re actually doing an analogue recording and tracking the music mostly live, so that’s gonna be interesting! Hopefully we’ll have it out by the end of the summer but we’re not going to rush into anything with the release.”
You’re also a member of Bomb City 7, a guitar tech for And So I Watch You From Afar and an occasional solo performer too. Do you find it easy to balance all those commitments?
“It can be a bit of a juggling act at times, but I love it. I was away with ASIWYFA for two months on tour before Christmas and that obviously meant I couldn’t perform with my bands during that time, but there was still a lot of writing and behind the scenes planning going on. The inspiration and experience I get from working with those guys is priceless.”
Do you prefer to keep your life busy and varied?
“I love being busy and I love being involved with music 24/7-whether its performing in my own projects, working for another band or promoting gigs. The reason why I always seem to be in more than one band is simply because I fell in love with more than one variety of music!”
You’re a volunteer/booker for the non-profit Warzone Gig Collective (warzonecollective.com). How important do you think the re-opening of the Warzone Centre in Belfast is for NI music fans?
“I think it’s vital! At the minute we’re one of only two autonomous social centres in Ireland(the other being Seomra Spraoi in Dublin). Spaces like the Warzone Centre provide a place where music fans, artists, activists or anyone at all can come and enjoy the arts in a unique and relaxed atmosphere. There’s no hidden agenda to make profit like a private business , there’s no aggressive door staff breathing down your neck and the whole place is run on DIY principals by a collective of volunteers who are truly passionate about the project. The old Giro’s was a legendary venue that had a massive impact on a lot of people’s lives, including mine (everyone from Pocket Billiards to Refused played there). So if we can do half as well with the new place we’ll be over the moon!”
Empty Lungs have roots in American punk rock, but also have a very clear, Northern Irish identity. Is the NI side of the band something that you actively ensure you hold on to?
“I don’t think we have a choice [laughs]. Growing up in NI our, shall we say, unique culture becomes embedded into your character and ultimately your music. As long as we’re still living here and taking influence from all around us I think it’ll remain a part of the band. The world’s a bigger place than aul’ Norn Iron but clichéd as it sounds, it’s important to remember where you come from.”
Finally Kev, what’s the plans for 2012? Are you guys going to make it over the Europe for gigs?
“We’re going to play as many shows as humanly possible. This is easier said than done when I’m still doing all the booking myself though. We’re gonna get this EP recorded in March, play around Ireland a lot, hit the UK in late May and hopefully Europe in June with one of the best bands in the country at the minute. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to release the EP by the end of the summer/start of autumn and do some more touring after that.”
For more information on Empty Lungs check out emptylungs.bandcamp.com.