26 09 2013

Here’s a q and a with Jetplane Landing that ran in last month’s Big List.

Jetplane Landing Q and A

This month we meet much-loved Derry four-piece Jetplane Landing to talk about their recent resurrection, their brand new record and more.

Hi Jamie. Welcome back. When the band took a breather and went on hiatus in 2007, did you know you’d return with a new record one day?

Jamie Burchell [Bass,vocals]: “No, we hoped we might, but we weren’t sure. Everybody’s lives went in so many different directions. I moved to France, Cahir’s other band Fighting With Wire signed to Atlantic Records and he was whisked off into that madness, Raife started playing with lots of other bands and didn’t want to play with Jetplane anymore, and Andrew moved back to Ireland with his family where he really threw himself into establishing STA records. Many times during this period we spoke about the possibility of making a new Jetplane record, but sometimes you had to wonder if we were just gabbing on to cheer ourselves up.”

Did you have any reservations about resurrecting Jetplane Landing? Off the top of my head I can think of one band (Hot Water Music) who returned after a lengthy break stronger than before, but most have failed. Was that a concern when you first re-grouped?

Jamie: “Yes, there were many reservations. I mean you had to worry if we could get the old machine fired up and working again after so long. I guess it was when we started to really put the songs together for the record that we knew it was going to work. If these songs had been coming out substandard I am certain we would have binned the whole project. Because we have always made our own records, we have an unbelievably cruel editing process. The ten songs that you hear on the album are the result of hundreds of riffs, a book of ideas for words and hours of cutting and filtering.”

‘Don’t Try’ is an apt title for the new album. Were the writing and recording sessions as seamless and headache-free as they sound? It’s like you haven’t missed a beat.

Jamie: “The writing sessions were very strange. All the music started with Cahir’s riffs. Andrew and Cahir would then knock the best bits into some kind of demo form. Meanwhile I was merrily writing pages of words in the south of France, with no idea what any of this music sounded like. Eventually I heard some of the music and had suggestions and ideas, some of which were fed into the process. Andrew took the words I gave him (for all the songs except ‘Magnetic Sea,’ which are Andrew’s) and placed them with the music he thought they would fit with the best, cut them about, edited them to fit the songs. Cahir and Andrew formed tunes with these words over the demos and there it was: a whole album written by three people who were never in the one room together at the same time.

The recording was all done in Derry, in STA’s own studio. I wasn’t there for much of it myself; I just flew in and played my bass. I believe it was a relatively painless recording process, as much as these things ever are. Cahir oversaw most of the sessions and edits along with Chris Cassidy, while Andrew oversaw the whole theme and style of the album. It was the first album we have had the chance to record in such a good studio without the clock ticking and the money flying out.”

It’s such a positive, powerful record and a perfect encapsulation of what Jetplane do best. How do you feel it ranks compared to the band’s back catalogue? For me, I think it may end up being the best thing you’ve done yet.

Jamie: “Thanks for the kind words. I think it’s our best record too. It’s the most pure Jetplane record. That is to say, on all of our other records at least at some point you can hear us ripping someone else off, but on this one we only sound like we’re ripping ourselves off. (That sounds like a missing Spinal Tap quote).”

You’ve got your first hometown show in eight years taking place at the Stables on Sep 13 .How are you feeling about that one?

Jamie: “I’m looking forward to all the shows on the tour. Derry has always been a weird gig for us if I am honest. When we were playing to good crowds in the rest of the UK we would come back to Derry and play in front of Andrew’s Mum and Dad and one or two others. It was always a tough show for us. I think that in the intervening years more people in Derry heard our music. Some Derry bands even say we’ve influenced them in the way they go about things, which is very flattering. I guess we’ve kind of seeped into Derry very slowly. That’s great. We’re good seepers. Hopefully a few more people show up this time around. I recommend that people come out and see us on this tour because I’m not sure when we’ll be out again.”

Finally, are Jetplane Landing back for good? Can we expect a fifth (and sixth) album?

Jamie: “I think the will is there within the band to make another record. We’ve had a pretty good run. We’ve made four albums and, in my opinion, they all stand up on their own, but you don’t want to push your luck too far, it might snap.”

‘Dont Try’ is out now on Smalltown America Records. Jetplance Landing play the Stable, Derry on Sep 13 and the Limelight 2, Belfast on Sep 14.

Q And A: Triggerman (The Big List)

24 11 2012

Here’s a reprint of a Q and A I did with Triggerman that ran in the Big List last month.Well I think it was last month anyway.I’m getting terribly forgetful now I’m in my early 30s…

Triggerman Q and A

Continuing our catch-up with some of the music scene’s latest and greatest acts, this month we meet Derry’s very own monsters of rock Triggerman.


Hi folks and welcome to the Big List. First off, your new record ‘Hail To The River Gods’ is out now. Can you tell our readers a little bit about it?

Bap (vocals/guitar): “We are really happy with how the album came out and how it’s being received; it’s very humbling to have so many people say nice things said about it. We recorded it in Einstein Studios with the lovely Frankie McClay who has been so good to us we can’t thank him enough. He managed to get the sound that was in our heads onto disc, although I frustrated him at times using technical terms such as ‘wanting it to sound earthy and woody,’ [laughs]. But we got there eventually. The songs all feel very organic and that’s portrayed in the lyrics. In fact, some are directly influenced by some old folk songs and sea shanties-as in the title track, which is about hardy men heading to sea and leaving their loved ones behind.”


For me, ‘Rise Of The Woodsmen’ is a definite album highlight and one of the best tracks you’ve ever done. What’s your own personal favourite on the new record and why?

Bap: “Well, at the minute I think it’s a toss-up between ‘Thon Strange Brew’ and ‘The Flower of Life.’ We all love the way ‘Thon Strange Brew’ grooves along that wee bit differently from the rest of our songs and we love doing it at sound check too. Also, ‘Flower of Life’ is another sound check favourite and we love the weight of the track and the fact it’s got more riffs in it than we usually put in and is a lot of fun to play.”


To these ears, ‘Hail To The River Gods’ sounds more groove-based this time around, would you agree?

Bap: “Well I think there a lot more cohesion on this album as there have been a few lineup changes over the years, but we have settled into a really good groove with each other and that seems to be coming out through the songs. And we do love getting into a big groove and rocking out.”


For the unenlightened, can you fill our readers in a little on the Triggerman origin story?

Dixie (bass): “Triggerman are a four-piece band formed in Derry by Bap and our guitar player, Niall in the early 2000’s. Over the years there have been a couple of line-up changes. Our drummer Rory joined six years ago and I joined the lads in 2010.From day one, the band has written songs based around big riffs, big grooves and big choruses. The important thing to us is the song. It’s easy to make a load of noise, but there has to be a song in there for people to remember.”


Do you feel like veterans of the NI rock and metal scene or do you feel you’re only getting started?

Bap: “Well the band has been in existence for 10 years but with lineup changes over the years it has been a stop start affair. We seem to have well settled into it now with this line up so it does feel like we are only getting started. It’s all a learning process anyway and as the saying goes-every day’s a school day.”


It was a hell of a summer for you that finished with Triggerman supporting Sepultura at the Limelight in August-that must have been a highlight for you?

Bap: “That was amazing, we were so happy to have been asked to do that gig-it was like Christmas come early. Sepultura were such a big influence way back from ‘Beneath the Remains’ on up. I learned a lot about riffs from trying to play some of their songs. They were absolutely immense in the Limelight. Derrick Greene is such a powerful frontman and a nice guy to boot. I was a bit nervous, but we really enjoyed the experience and were really happy with how we played and the reception we got was really nice. So thanks to everyone who cheered us on.”


You also played some of the more mainstream festivals such as Glasgowbury. Do you feel it’s important for metal and rock acts to appear on less genre-specific bills?

Bap: “It’s great that we get asked back to play Glasgowbury regularly as it’s a good festival to play and we love it up the mountain and we always seem to go down well. I would love to see a few more heavy bands on the bill but then I am biased towards the heavier end of the spectrum. I do think it’s good to really mix up a festival with loads of different musical genres represented as it increases the flavour. The one thing about the Glasgowbury setup is they aren’t afraid to try new things and they are constantly trying to keep things fresh and current which is great. We also played the Stendhal Festival in Liamavady which had a real eclectic mix of music and had a really great vibe. I definitely think that festival has a very bright future and hopefully they will ask us back again too.”


How do you feel about the general perception of louder bands in NI? Do you think acts like Triggerman get a fair crack of the whip?

Bap: “I think the louder bands are starting to get noticed a bit more as people are looking for something a bit different. I think we do get quite a fair crack, but we would all love to be playing a few more bigger shows as we would really like more people to hear what we have to say, but in saying that, the small, in your face intense shows are always great to do. Those are the ones where the energy is really flowing.”


For more information on Triggerman visit ‘Hail To The River Gods’ is out now. 

Isobel Anderson Q and A

13 12 2011

Here’s a reprint of a Q and A I did with Belfast-based songstress Isobel Anderson that ran in the Buig List a few months ago. As they used to say in the 90s-PEEP THIS!

Isobel Anderson Q and A

Continuing our year-long catch-up with some of NI’s latest and greatest acts, this month we meet rising singer/songwriter Isobel Anderson. Enjoy.


Hi Isobel and welcome to the Big List. First up-your second album ‘Dark Path’ is out on Sep 14. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

“Hi Edwin, thank you for having me. The album was recorded at the Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast and was mixed and mastered by Chris Corrigan, who is the studio manager there and is sort of the godfather of sound in these parts. There’s a real live feel as it was recorded with us playing together as if in a gig, but in the studio. ‘Dark Path’ is more instrumentally dynamic than my first album ‘Cold Water Songs,’ so it was important to keep the energy of our live shows, which can be hard in a studio environment, especially when recording percussion.”


In your opinion, how does it differ from your debut album ‘Cold Water Songs?’

“Before moving to Belfast I had been playing solo for a long time in London, but when I moved there to study, suddenly I had the luxury of having a student’s timetable and lots of musicians in a small city. This meant I started to expand my sound and within about six months of ‘Cold Water Songs’ being released I was regularly playing with Paddy McQueen on cajon and Gascia Ouzounian on violin, so ‘Dark Path’ represents that expansion.

‘Cold Water Songs’ was very much an album that expressed a particular time in my life. Each song is from the 12 months prior and after moving from London to Belfast, so there are very definite themes running throughout. ‘Dark Path’ has more of a variety of styles and sentiments.”


It’s only been a year since you released your debut. How important was (and is) it for you to keep releasing new material?

“I think it’s really important to keep releasing new work. I really loved making ‘Cold Water Songs.’ It was a record I really poured myself into: performing, recording, producing and mixing it myself. Once I was playing with Paddy and Gascia regularly, I started to want to have a record that represented our live sound. So, even though it’s only been a year since releasing ‘Cold Water Songs,’ it feels like ‘Dark Path’ existed long before now and I’m already thinking about the next one. I think once you make one, you get the album bug.”


Influence-wise, what inspired ‘Dark Path?’

“I guess songs like ‘My Love’ and ‘Your Love Is Cruel’ would be very influenced by traditional English Folk, or singers like Sandy Denny or Joan Baez. ‘Let Me Go’ has much more of a country feel to it, whereas ‘The Proposal’ has a real tongue and cheek Jazz influence. Then ‘Resolution’ and ‘Never Enough’ have really syncopated rhythms between the cajon and guitar, giving them almost a sort of flamenco feel. ‘Dark Path’, the title track, is almost like a sort of 40’s crooner ballad in its vocal line, so it’s a real mix of influences really and similarly in terms of the actual ideas and emotions behind the songs. ‘My Love’ is a story of love dying, but resting in limbo, whereas ‘The Proposal’ is a sort of smutty ode to Belfast. It’s pretty diverse!”


What’s your favourite song on the record?

“I think it would have to be ‘Dark Path’. It’s the song I named the album after as it’s probably the one I feel the most affinity with. The chorus line was in my head for years. I kept singing it to myself. One night I sat down in the studio and wrote it and it’s one of those songs where I cried while I was writing it because it felt so raw at the time. A sort of “stop smudging the ink on the page with your tears”, kind of moment. That’s a nice depressing image for all your readers..!”


This year you performed at Glastonbury? How was that?

“Glastonbury was amazing! I was so surprised to get the chance to play. I completely was not expecting it, but it was such a good experience. There was such a great energy in the crowd and the whole festival had a good atmosphere.”


Have you always wanted to play there?

“Yes-I would say most musicians do, so I feel very lucky to have had that experience.”



Finally, what are your plans for the next six months or so?

“Well, I’ll hopefully be booking up some gigs around Ireland and the UK to promote the album. I’ll be playing at Proud in Camden on the 28th of September, which is a really cool venue, so that’ll be a chance to play in London again. I’m also doing a PhD at the moment so I have lots of work to get done for that, and will be making a trip to the States to present some of that work as well as do a couple of gigs hopefully.”


Isobel Anderson performs at the Black Box, Belfast on Sep 14. For more information on her check out

The Beat Poets Q and A

6 04 2011

At the start of the 2011 I decided to do a monthly, year long Q and A with some of NI’s most promising bands for the Big List. Here’s one with the Beat Poets that ran a month or so ago. Expect more of these to be posted up in the weeks ahead!

The Beat Poets

This month we continue our year-long Q and A section with some of NI’s brightest hopes by catching up with one of the hardest working acts on the scene today-the Beat Poets. Enjoy.


First off, it’s just been announced you’re playing at this year’s Lark in the Park. The initial line-up already looks fantastic, how do you feel about being booked to perform on the bill?
John Dinsmore (vocals/guitar):
“It’s fantastic. Last year the bill was made up of local acts, so it’s a massive step this year booking headliners such as Athlete, Razorlight and Divine Comedy over three days. However, I think with local artists such as Cashier No.9 and Foy Vance on the bill the festival also promotes the best of what N.I has to offer too. It’s being held in a great location, so let’s hope the sun comes out that weekend and we kick off the festival season in style.”

You guys played the festival last year too, right?
“Yeah with General Fiasco headlining. It was a fantastic event and we really enjoyed the gig, atmosphere, location…so I really hope the big jump this year in size just adds to this.”

Do you have any other festival slots coming up in the pipe-line?
“We have the Temple House Music Festival coming up in October, which we played also last year with Damien Dempsey, The Stunning, Reef etc. It just won best new European Festival at the European Festival Awards and again is another fantastic new rising festival based in Sligo. We have a few more in Ireland provisionally sorted, but will be announcing them next month as our main aim this year is to get the band abroad for touring so we’re just seeing if we can be available to do them.”

John, you’re off to SXSW in Texas soon. How important is it for a band from NI to make the trip over?
“It depends on the act, sound and what you want from it. We feel our sound is well suited to the US and that’s why we keep pushing in this direction, but it’s a tough area to crack. Over the last few years our trips to SXSW have landed us placements on US shows such as the Hills and the Hard Times of RJ Berger, as well as endorsements with Sonicbids, Tascam and Mobile Roadie and now several other possible adventures are on the horizon too. We use it to push forward possibilities internationally (especially in US and Canada) and have been lucky enough to always come away with positive results. But months of preparation go into it (and years of effort) to really get the contacts in place to make things happen across the Atlantic. I’m hoping this year we can take it one more step further.”

We’ve read you’re planning on releasing a new EP down south. Can you tell us a little about that?
“In 2010 the releases did really well up North, but we felt that in the South we hadn’t the chance to properly push the same campaigns, so we are going to release an E.P with the tracks from 2010 (including ‘One By One’) to give the same songs a better push in the Republic. The musical landscape is extremely weird here for such a small island, with bands who are massive in the South virtually unknown in the North and visa versa. We found this something we too have to overcome being a Northern band pushing in the South and hope that releasing an EP targeted specifically for the South will help us breakdown this strange Irish music barrier.”

In terms of radio-play the last two singles have had a great reaction. How important do you think it is for your band to get the music out there on mainstream shows?
“I think all bands-no matter their sound-want as much exposure as possible. For us, day time radio is key and the massive exposure we had on Cool Fm, City Beat, U105 etc up North was fantastic and did so much to expand our fan base. This, added with the exposure on mainstream TV shows internationally, has been a major bonus to raising our profile as well as open doors to new possibilities. These days, with so many bands out there working so hard to get mainstream placements, our success has made us feel that we’re at least doing something right. With no major label pushing us we constantly find the odds for show placement, good gigs, international showcases are stacked heavily against us, but the old working class fight inside means we never give up and when we do get the breaks it means so much more to us.”

We loved the video for ‘Gravity.’ Can you tell us a little bit about the filming?
“Yeah we were delighted with it too! It was directed and written by Marty Stalker of Scattered Images with Rick Trainor from Red Sky Photography adding his director of photography touches. I think it captured the essence of the tune brilliantly and the footage of the band playing on the roof looked fantastic. We shot it just before the release and it was bloody freezing the day we recorded the roof scenes, but it wouldn’t be art if you didn’t suffer for it!”

Finally, how’s the album coming along and what’s the plans for the year ahead? Can you give us any exclusives?
“The album or the holy grail?! It’s definitely been a long road for us in getting together the album. I feel like Brian Wilson somedays when talking about it! It’s been tough because we have went through several sound changes in the space of a few years and are only now happy with what we feel is the sound we want. We also want to make sure we have a good selection of tracks to choose from with this style of sound, so we will be recording again over the next few months and we’re about half way through finishing the whole thing. At the minute we have provisional plans to release and tour in South East Asia, Australia and Canada. We feel that we really need to hit new territories that would fit in with our sound. It’s all coming together nicely but as you can imagine being an independent act on our own self-release label, an incredible amount of planning  as well as long hours are currently being spent shaping this, so hopefully we’ll confirm some positive news in early March before SXSW.”

The Beat Poets play the Lark in the Park festival in Moria on May 1. For more information on the event visit and for more info on the band check out

Guilty Pleasures-the Lobotomies

25 09 2009

Next week (Friday October 2, homes) the Lobotomies, Residual Effect and Gacys Threads play the Big Gig 6(66) in the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast. Now I know you’ll all be at it, but here’s a Guilty Pleasures piece I did with one of my favourite punk bands the Lobotomies to plug the show that I thought you might like to read.  


Everyone’s got at least one skeleton in their closet and musicians are no different. Each month at the Big List we aim to find out just what they are and expose them to the nation. This month we’ve the Lobotomies singer/guitarist Kev Bones confesses to having a crush on chav loving popstrel Lily Allen. Enjoy.

“Guilty pleasures you say? This is a difficult one indeed. I play in a hardcore punk band and punk audiences unfortunately are among the most (dare I say it) narrow minded in the world when it comes to genre acceptance. Therefore a large amount of what I listen to could be considered a guilty pleasure in the eyes of those who live by the rules of punk rock 101.

Thankfully I’ve never been one to care much about other people’s opinions on my music tastes, but I can admit to feeling a little bit guilty about listening to a few bits and pieces…

Right so, it’s confession time. I’m going to come straight out and say I absolutely adore Lilly Allen. Ok, maybe she first caught my attention for reasons other than her musical talent but then after a proper listen I realized I genuinely liked her tunes too. Her first single ‘The Fear’ from her second album is a complete gem. It drew me in and I decided to check out the rest of the record and much to my surprise (and horror) I loved it! These days when I discover new music it’s mostly obscure ear-drum bashing American hardcore or thought provoking political folk singers, not English pop stars. My inner crusty punk is telling me “Don’t listen to this corporate drivel, it’s meaningless, mass produced and probably completely manufactured,” but I do listen to it anyway and I bloody love it.

Oh dear, a few punk rock scene points lost. I suppose the only thing I didn’t feel guilty about was downloading both her albums for free. I mean I’ve admitted to thinking she’s genius but I still don’t think she needs my money!”

 The Lobotomies play the Big Gig 6(66) on Oct 2 alongside Residual Effect and Gacys Threads at the Spring and Airbrake. They also launch their album ‘Big Bang Hangover’ with a gig at the Pavilion on Oct 23.

Friday Night

28 04 2009

Dear ‘Dead Horse’ readers,

You’ll all be thriled to learn that last night’s gig went off really fuckin’ well, if I do say so myself. I’m even feeling a faint tinge of pride about it all to be truthful. The Spring and Airbrake was packed, the bands were well looked after and everyone seemed to have fun, which isn’t bad going considering it’s only been a few months since we discussed putting on a gig in the first place.

For those that don’t know, about eight months ago I was approached by the Big List to come on board and contribute a few bits and pieces every month. So far I’m very happy with how it’s all panning out and in January I attended an editorial meeting  down at their offices (a rare thing for me as I never go to these things for anyone else) where we came up with the idea of putting together a monthly local band showcase called the Big Gig.  After some to-ing and fro-ing, we found a venue (the Spring and Airbrake in Belfast) and we now have bands booked up until June. Most of the leg-work is done by the Big List’s Damien and Jon, with me helping out on the booking side of things-essentially giving a hand getting bands who will work well together on a bill and then promoting the fuck out of it. I’ve always been tempted to put gigs on in the past (in fact myself and the Irish Thorriors were talking about bringing Valient Thorr to Belfast a while back) and it’s definitely something I enjoy, so expect more in the future.

I must also add, the Big Gig is a non-profit making exercise (coz we’re punk as fuck). The money on the door is split equally between all three bands and we’re only doing this for kicks. Truthfully, for the last year or two I’ve been spending six days a week/52 weeks a year writing and I see this as a great way to blow off some steam. Hopefully future gigs will go as well as this one and some readers can make it down every month.

Some pics from the show can be seen here-