Music is nothing without a story, and Tony Cassidy, frontman of the Dublin-based rock band P1g, has a fascinating origin story for the band’s latest album. A mature student studying Music and Philosophy in UCD, Cassidy returned to education to rediscover his musical flair and finally release P1g’s third album. But how did the band get here in the first place?
Cassidy met long-time friend and bandmate Marc Aubele in London back in 1993 at university. After years of gigging, the band set themselves the task of recording a studio album. Having moved back to Dublin at the turn of the millennium, the duo assembled a team to record the album with. A couple years pass and in 2004, P1g’s first studio album ‘Hellcat’ was released, followed by ‘Do You Like Smack Rock’ in 2007.
These first two studio albums have a kind of alternative grungy feel, paired with the narrative of Dublin’s darker corners. The experimental edge of the group was expanded upon in their 2007 release, with their latest album pushing the boundaries of a relatively unexplored electro-grunge, Dublin rock genre.
Recorded back in 2010, the band pumped out their third studio release ‘Unfinished Business.’ Although ready to go, the album was shelved. It’s only now in 2020 that P1g have decided to begin releasing the tracks, building up to a September release date.
Cassidy, the main lyricist and singer in P1g, says he has a “fascination with the underbelly of Dublin” and its criminal underworld. Back during the 2000’s, Cassidy had a strong desire to escape the banality and stresses of a boring middle-class life. He began a journey through addiction, of which he admits was an influence for much of his music at the time. Listening to the strong taboos and dark poems in songs like ‘Sex Worker’ and ‘I Can See Evil’, drags the listener down to Cassidy’s exploration of the chaos and grim reality of Dublin’s underworld.
Following years of addiction, Cassidy spent a long time on a remote farm in the Lake District in Cumbria dealing with addiction issues. Now clean for a long time, the P1g frontman has returned to give music another shot. He says coming to UCD “expanded my whole confidence as a person,” going on to say that life post-addiction “is no longer subjective” and he now wants to write about philosophical and political topics. Cassidy concludes, “Addiction is sad and boring. It robs you of any real experience and stops you from competing.”
Unfinished Business serves as the much-awaited conclusion to the first trilogy of P1g albums. ‘A Drink with Jesus’ experiments with autotune, an effect that sounds surprisingly current due to the effect’s resurgence in music almost a decade on. As well as dipping their toes in new areas, P1g also revert back to their loud, grunge roots with tracks such as ‘Black Hole Baby.’
The band are also working at developing an opera, based on a novella written by Cassidy himself. Currently called is ‘Late nights with Nikki’, it chronicles the experiences of a middle-class man in Cavan town.
A large pool of musicians contributed to the most recent album Unfinished Business. Rory Doyle from Hozier played drums on the title track. Podge from Republic of Loose played bass. The regular bass player is Dublin chick, Keeley Moss and the drummer is vintage funfair owner, Trevor Cullen. Marc Aubele engineered and played guitar and keyboards. All vocals are sung by lyricist Tony Cassidy.
Highlights in the band’s career were a New York appearance at the Lit Lounge in Manhattan, the Black Box in Belfast and Willesden Working Men’s Club. P1g have also appeared regularly at the Sugar Club and Anseo on Camden Street, Dublin.
Find the band’s Spotify link here.
Conor Capplis – Editor