It’s 8pm on the Saturday of Electric Picnic and you’re looking for something loud and something brilliant. You stumble across a poster of stage times and appearing in some tent, somewhere across the fields, you see Bitch Falcon – the name itself captures your attention without even hearing the music, but you know it’s exactly what you’re looking for.
On the circuit since 2014, Bitch Falcon have been steadily releasing music to their fans gained along the way. A band that truly represents what the music industry should be like – gigging to build a fan base to buy your music, rather than releasing music to build a fan base to come to your gigs. *Throws shade at Spotify*
Lizzie Fitzpatrick formed the band six years ago with Barry O’Sullivan and Nigel Kelly in a small kitchen somewhere in Dublin. Even how the band started represents the soul of music.
Their debut album Staring at Clocks was released on Friday the 6th of November. Given their live performances are what have gained them so much notoriety in the past, Fitzpatrick hopes this album marks a new appreciation of their music.
“We always said we could always convince people live. People might be a bit awh I don’t know about them but then when they see us live, we usually convince people, you know? It’d be nice to do it the other way around, to convince people on record as well.
“I want to be judged by a band by this, I’m ready to be judged as a band by this album rather than the older stuff.”
The older stuff too represents the soul of music in the most endearing way. Recorded in bedrooms and rehearsal rooms, mic’ing up amps and guitars where possible.
Never too interested in opting for the big flashy studios (baring in mind the bloody price of them), Fitzpatrick, O’Sullivan and Kelly opted for the Meadow Studio in Delgany, Co. Wicklow with producers, Rian Trench and Robert Scan Watson. It was the subtleness of the place that appealed to them.
“Everything probably has a story attached to it. It feels less clinical – that’s where they are, that’s where they reside and they just make this noise all the time and then you just come and visit them in their little caves.”
That sound Bitch Falcon produce in a live performance is something Fitzpatrick and her bandmates clearly feel is part of their identity, wanting to recreate it in Staring at Clocks.
“We didn’t record to a click. I think before, we always recorded to a click and it kind of took a bit of energy out of it so that was one of the points we said to Rian and Scan, when we recording we were like nah we’ll do it live.”
The album floats somewhere between post-punk and something a bit heavier than shoegaze with Fitzpatrick’s vocals to the fore, constantly weaving a melody line that could be reproduced in a number of other genres. We joked about the word ethereal and whether or not it was an accurate description.
“I guess it’s kind of hazy and dreamy a bit, even though it’s heavy. Maybe the vocals aren’t so, you know, in-your-face-rock. I was listening to a lot of Kate Bush and Cocteau Twins when I was writing it so maybe they rubbed off on me a bit.”
But was that the sound Fitzpatrick and co. always envisioned?
“I think that’s what we always wanted to achieve, I think we always described that as the music we wanted to write. Before I think we held ourselves back a bit trying to write cool riffs, you know.
“But after we kind of realised that really what we wanted to write is maybe a little bit slower, maybe a bit faster in parts but just really intensely high-pressure heaviness but with a melody as well.”
The album is beautifully balanced. Intense drumming and glaring feedback from the guitars juxtaposed with Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s Kate Bush-esque vocals. In 42 minutes of beautifully composed rock, there is never a dull moment, yet never any overbearing intensity.
Bitch Falcon’s discography thus far might represent the trajectory of the band’s music in their six-year existence, from early bedroom recordings to the debut album.
“The other stuff we were still really happy with, but it was a learning process, I felt like I was an imposter, you know? I didn’t feel good enough to write an album or be, you know, regarded as a musician.
“I was kind of just learning the ins and outs of a studio, so it was all very new to me. So, after the years progressed, I started to realise what kind of music I really wanted to write.”
While Fitzpatrick speaks about learning the trade of the songwriter, there has never been any doubt about the quality of Bitch Falcon’s work. All the same, her comfort in putting out this album is something everyone learning the trade someday hopes to achieve.
Bitch Falcon – Staring at Clocks is available now to purchase via the band’s Bandcamp and on vinyl in any half decent record shop.
Tadhg Williams, Music Correspondent