Therese Walsh catches up with Girl Band to talk touring, Irish festivals and recent gigs in Dutch squats….
Girl Band are your quintessential 4 piece, Dublin based band compromising of four all male members Dara Kiely (Vocals), Alan Duggan (Guitar), Daniel Fox (Bass) and Adam Faulkner (Drums). The one thing that is not typically quintessential about them however is their sound. It’s difficult even to begin to describe it – stark, relentless and original come to mind. Rather than label them, the media has been correlating them to other bands – Girl Band is a “Jangley Strokes type indie music crossed with the abrasive punk lyrics / vocals of the Fall” states the online edition of Freedom spark. “This boyish quartet from Dublin deliver visceral, invigorating music with nods to Daft Punk and Nick Cave” cries the Guardian. A “gnarly alternative to moon eyed psychadelia, channeling the sick lurch of Nirvana and Mudhoney through Pissed Jeans’ cleverly gormless humour” declares NME .
Needless to say Girl Band’s distinct new sound is turning heads in the media. Fresh from touring they are gaining a momentum with their rock heavy, synthy sound paired with Dara Kiely’s vocals which can range from a soft purr to a roar. Having just toured the UK, Holland and of course Ireland, the band is racking up 5 star reviews and recommendations and it’s only a matter of time before they take off big time. Their new EP Lawman has generated thousands of views on YouTube in just a couple of weeks. It is unusual for a band which is constantly subdivided into numerous genres and sound, and with a sound so different it is nearly indescribable, to break into the mainstream so fluidly. However, I like to think of their music as, not indescribable, but original. The bands first single, In My Head, caught attention with their grunge sound and tracks filled with a vocal roar reminiscent of norwegian Braveheart metalhead which somehow remains both sincere and intense. It seems that the originality of their sound is what is snowballing their success.
I caught up with lead guitarist Alan Duggen to chat about touring, Irish festivals and recent gigs in Dutch squats. The first thing that strikes me about Alan is his nonchalant attitude to the music. It’s not a bad thing – their new single Lawman was released on Bandcamp – a site where you can simply download the single for free. In a world where music can be acquired in just a few lazy clicks this was an astute move on Girl Band’s part. Alan reckons that ”you can buy the single if you want like – but right now we just want people to hear it.” The quartet have just returned to Ireland. Their recent tour has taken them the length and breadth of England, Ireland and Holland (with a final gig in Galway’s famed Roisin Dubh). When asked about their connection with their audience and how their twisted, noisy sounds transcends to generation Y, Alan describes the kind of audience they want – “We did one gig in London and another in Rotterdam, the London one was filled with loads of industry people, like it was completely packed out which was cool but it was just full of people standing there judging us. It wasn’t really that comfortable, then another gig we played in this squat in Rotterdam filled with punks and they just really got into it- that’s just way more fun”. For acts like Girl Band, who are entering an ever changing industry, a connection with the audience is the key to developing a following and generating hype.
As it stands, the band was formed from a bunch of school friends. Girl Band’s name is interesting but renders them difficult to find on youtube – with ‘Girl Band Dublin’ giving better results. In other interviews (which draw heavily on the fact they are all boys and are called girl band ) they’ve replied with the ever cool attitude of “we weren’t really thinking of Google at the time.” Apparently the name came from one of the band member’s nickname. Band names however don’t have to be particularly well thought out to be successful – I mean look at Foo Fighters. Now that their tour is drawing to a close Girl Band are looking to produce another album and are setting up festival gigs around the country, “we played Knocken Stocken last year. That was a weird one, I’ve never been to a festival where people don’t go for music as much as the acid.” This year they reckon Body & Soul is the place to be and Alan says the band is in the process of confirming other festivals. “The next step is a new album but that won’t be until September.” Right now it’s time for Girl Band to bask in their well deserved attention. It’s not hard to find a four piece rock band in Dublin. It is however difficult to find a sound so new it’s actually exciting. You’re going to want to give this one a listen.