Band Spotlight: We Cut Corners
Written by Lora Dimitrova
Dublin duo We Cut Corners are releasing their third album The Cadences of Others on November 4th. With their previous albums both nominated for the Choice Music Prize, expectations are high and are likely to be met, judging by the first two singles - On Avoiding Others and current release Oh. John Duignan [Guitar] and Conall O'Breachain [Drums & Vocals] kindly took the time to answer a few questions for Audio Dexterous.
Congrats on the new album! How was the writing and recording experience different compared to albums one and two?
Very different actually - we abandoned the safe, controlled climes of a conventional recording studio in search of a room with a singular sonic identity. The very generous people in St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra, allowed us to turn the beautiful chapel on their grounds into a studio for nine days. We then spent the better part of two years embellishing and finessing the songs into the finished record.
The Cadences of Others is self-produced; how did you find the producer’s job?
Producing our own record had been an ambition of ours since we started playing music and, after making our first two albums with brilliant producer-engineers, Jimmy Eadie and Tommy McGloughlin, we felt confident enough to stand up to the plate and oversee the record from start to finish.
Upsides and downsides to recording in a church?
Upsides = natural reverb, natural light and atmosphere.
Downsides = seagulls, sirens and more seagulls.
We Cut Corners lyrics are certainly thought-provoking. Where do you find your writing inspirations, both musically and lyrically?
Our lyrical inspirations are largely drawn from the everyday language we hear around us, shaped into vignettes and shoe-horned into verses that communicate something we feel is worth saying.
Musically, we love anything that sounds emotionally honest, from the aesthetic simplicity of artists such as Grouper to the cerebral complexity of Joanna Newsom.
The album features guest appearances from the Fratres String Quintet, members of Booka Brass and Villagers’ Conor O’Brien on bass. Weren’t you tempted to have Conor sing on the record as well?
To be honest, Conor's voice is so expressive and utterly unlike any other, it probably would have had quite a seismic effect on any song it graced. But yes, we were extremely tempted!
How important to you is the visual part of what you create?
The visual statement an album makes is almost as profound as the aural in many ways. I know I've bought albums solely on the basis of an eye-catching sleeve, listened to songs due to an arresting video and even sought out information on bands because of an outstanding press-photograph. For that reason, we treat the visual facets of the albums with the same paranoiac intensity we apply to the recording.
As usual, you’re working with some talented visual artists on the videos for the new album, Luke Byrne did a wonderful job with On Avoiding People. And did Adam O’Regan of Little Green Cars direct the video for your current single, Oh? How did that come about?
One of the first gigs we played as We Cut Corners was upstairs in Whelan's with Little Green Cars and since then, we've been friends and played oodles of shows together. Adam directed the video for the first track from the latest Little Green Cars record, The Song They Play Every Night, and we were bowled over by how deftly he conveyed the essence of the song. We met up during the summer and knocked some ideas around for the Oh video and left him to do his thing, which he did masterfully.
Oh is over three and a half minutes, which is longer than what we have come to expect from We Cut Corners. Are you continuing the ‘keep it short and sweet’ trend with the rest of the songs on the album?
No! In fact, we made a conscious decision to allow the songs a little more room to breathe and tried very hard not to freak out if they exceeded four minutes!
What are we to expect as the next single?
The next song we're sharing from the new album is our collective favourite. It's a track called Of Whatever and it encompasses all our favourite things about the album as the finger-prints of the chapel are palpable all over the track.
And, finally, please share any funny or interesting stories from the studio.
The atmosphere was so relaxed during recording that at one point, after a particularly long guitar track had been committed to tape, I looked up to see Jimmy, one of the engineers, in a recumbent position on the altar, utterly asleep. That moment embodied, in so many ways, the making of the record.
We Cut Corners tour dates:
Spirit Store, Dundalk, Saturday 5th November
Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Friday 11th November
Roisin Dubh, Galway, Friday 18th November
Button Factory, Dublin, Saturday 19th November
The Cadences of Others: Track Listing
On Avoiding People
The End Has Already Happened
Written by Lora Dimitrova
Lora is an experienced singer-songwriter, who combines two of her greatest passions in composing music for games.