Bittersweet Symphony: Interview with The Sour Seeds

Bittersweet Symphony: Interview with The Sour Seeds

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By Marky Edison 

Dublin’s Sour Seeds recently launched their second E.P Always Never at Sin é. It’s the follow up to last year’s Find You First. Darragh Cullen, Seany Lay, Brian Reynolds, and Mikey Deasy formed the band in 2013. It’s rare to see a band where the drummer sings, rarer still for the guitarist to also play saxophone.

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The standard of bands in the capital is as high as it has ever been and The Sour Seeds are no exception. The rhythm section is both solid and inventive, giving the lead guitar and saxophone room to manoeuvre. The band are effortlessly tight, embellishing their bluesy rock ‘n’ roll with little flourishes that set them apart.

Marky sat down with the lads after their E.P launch to chat about about the record, their future plans, and porn moustaches!

What are your memories of recording the E.P?

Sean: “We were going to record an album. We recorded an album in two or three days, about seven or eight songs, but it would have cost too much to get everything mastered. So we said we’ll just do an E.P.”

Darragh– “We have a few tracks left over for some singles over the next couple of months.”

Some of the stuff you played tonight?

Sean: “Yeah. A few of those were recorded but didn’t make the E.P so they’ll be coming out later on.”

So it was a prime set tonight of A-material?

Darragh: “Yeah, we’ve actually been going for about two years now.”

Mikey: “Except for me.”

How did you get into the band Mikey?

Mikey: “I knew Darragh already. Steve, the old bass player, had to leave. There was a thing on Facebook saying Sour Seeds are looking for a bass player and I wasn’t in a band at the time, so I put my name into the hat.”

Darragh: “Then he messaged me and that was grand. Then about four months later it was, ‘Oh yeah, we still need a bass player!’ We sent Mikey a message as soon as we recorded it, which about this time last year, then waited until about Xmas to get going again, so lazy! So we called Mikey again.”

That sounds like every band I’ve ever been in; “Am I actually in the band?…”

Mikey: “That’s what’s going through my head right now! But I don’t actually have an answer to it yet.”

Sean: “Yeah, yeah, you’re in.”

Mikey: “Phew, thanks Seany! I’ve got the beard anyway.”

Brian: “If you can grow a beard, you’re in, that’s the rule.”

The only reason we’re here tonight is for Mikey’s hair.

Mikey: “This is since the haircut! It used to be higher.”

Sean: “You should see him with the moustache, he’s like a 70’s porn star. I used to play the wah every time he walked into the room.”

Darragh: “We do a lot of porno soundtracks, some slap bass and wah, we bring the boom chicka wah.”

You mix up the old blues stuff and more modern versions like The Black Keys and White Stripes. It’s something that is coming back into vogue again.

Sean: “To be honest, I don’t think that was a conscious thing. It’s just our taste in music. We love Black Keys and White Stripes. We were jamming a Bob Dylan song and I started jamming Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground and it was, ‘Yeah fuck it, let’s do that’.”

Your drummer is a singer, like Phil Collins and….?

Sean: Jack White did it, Josh Homme a bit in Eagles of Death Metal

Darragh: “There’s a really good band called Jellyfish. They had a singing drummer. Phil Collins is okay though, I’m fine with that.”

Sean: “When we started the band it was just me and Darragh. I wanted to do something like The Dead Weather, synthy kind of stuff; and we were looking for a singer. We couldn’t find a singer anywhere. So we said, ‘Darragh, you sing. And I think you should play the drums as well’.”

Darragh: “I said ‘sure’. I’m a guitar player first so it’s nice to get to hit things. I was playing guitar and the drumming was a hobby so it’s nice to bash things around.”

Brian: “Darragh’s just a multi talented guy.”

Any album plans?

Darragh: “I think for the moment we’re going to stick to E.Ps and singles.”

Sean: “We’re going in to record the next E,P, next week. Then maybe another E.P, or maybe an album. We’ll see how it goes. We usually write a song a day.”

Darragh: “The next one is definitely an E.P, and maybe a few singles. Then after that we’ll think about an album, but we like doing the E.Ps at the moment. It’s short and sweet.”

Seany: “We get to look like we’re a lot more busy than we actually are.”

Darragh: “We’re also very impulsive.”

Do you think EPs are the way forward?

Darragh: “Probably, they’re cheaper to make, for indie bands definitely. You get to hear what the band is about in a short amount of time rather than listening through a whole album. Plus, the activity side of it. We say that messing, but it is true. We want to make it look like we’re doing something and keep it in people’s minds. It’s good to look active. You need a fan-base before you can release an album. Keep the buzz going and keep the gigs going.”

With the E.Ps, you can put out your best 3/4 songs, and then do that again for the next one, and you’re continually putting out A- material.DSC_0009

Seany: “Yeah, we still look at an E.P like an album to sound like an album does, like an experience from start to finish. Like a cohesive whole rather than a bunch of songs we like.”

With Spotify, Grooveshark and the like, do people still write an album from start to finish?

Darragh: “I think a lot of the bands that we listen to still do that, like The Black Keys. But there is so much choice now. It’s so much easier and cheaper to record these days. There are so many avenues you can go down. You can do albums or singles, do E.Ps, do an album, do a triple album. Maybe we’ll do that. And then the greatest hits.

Mikey: “The greatest hits tour will be just after Xmas, book tickets now!”

And the reunion tour?

Seany: “Yeah, Brian has a drug addict thing going on, heroin or something?”

Brian: “Panadol, man, the hard stuff!”

How did you get together?

Sean: “We met in college. There was a guy called Alex Jordan, who is still playing under the name Alex Jordan & Co.”

Darragh: “I was & Co. The bass player in & Co.”

Sean: “Darragh was playing bass, Alex was singing and Darragh was going to play drums too. We started the band with Alex and me and Brian decided to get Alex out of the band! And get Darragh in. No, he’s a great guy. That was him leading the dancing tonight.”

Darragh: “But that band fell through. And then me and Sean decided to form a band, and Brian came along too with his lovely saxophone.”

Sean: “Then we found Steve, the old bass player. We started gigging. We did the first EP with Steve.”

Darragh: “We actually did this one with Steve as well. We recorded and he went to America. He’s still in America. He was going off and we had a week to find a studio before he left. The studio that we usually go to was all booked up. We recorded it on the Tuesday and he left on the Thursday. Then we did the overdubs without him. And we got Mikey in. And now he’s our man. And we did this interview…”

Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

Darragh: “Yes, Brandon O’Rourke who did the posters. He’s class. If anyone needs any artwork, he’s cheap, he does great work and he’s also a good dancer.”