Musical Rooms

May 2, 2008

Musical Rooms in The Irish Times

dawn2From today, I’m delighted to say that the Musical Rooms will appear as an occasional column in The Ticket, in The Irish Times. People have been very supportive of the series since it started on the blog back in November. Musicians who read it confess that it’s a bit like Through the Keyhole for them, without the nasally guided tour by Lloyd Grossman of course. Here’s some background on how it all started, and a full index of all the contributing acts to date.

Particularly recommended are Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip’s toilet, the
kitchen antics of this year’s Choice Music Prize winners Super Extra Bonus Party, James Yorkson and his stuffed heron, Adrian Crowley’s attic hideout and Dawn Landes’ New York recording studio.

The first Musical Rooms piece, featuring The Jimmy Cake, can found here in today’s Ticket.


February 13, 2008

Musical Rooms Part 12: Super Extra Bonus Party

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 3:49 pm
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“The creation of our music takes place in a lot of separate places – with seven members contributing equally, the basis of different songs can be formulated in loads of spaces! But the one I think that ties us all together is the kitchen in the house in Terenure where we did most, if not all, of our debut.

The house is what you’d expect: table and chairs, a cooker, a fridge, a kettle and a lot of posters/scribbles/written abuse towards members of the band! It’s a big enough space though so we are able to set up whatever needs to be recorded, be it synths, guitars, drums, whatever. It’s nice because in my experience, being in a professional studio somewhat adds to the pressure, especially if you are funding it yourself. We are lucky in the sense that Sean our engineer is able to get quality sound wherever he goes, so recording here was a doddle for him. He just sets up his rig and away we go.

As weird as it sounds, the most important things to have here are the other members of the band. I think it helps immensely to have the other lads there cracking jokes and basically taking your mind off the task at hand, providing advice in between bursts of comic relief. During the recording of some of the guitar parts, we couldn’t use the takes because I was laughing so hard. Apart from that, not much except Sean and the kettle! Some instruments would help as well I guess…

I spend as much of my free time as possible, even though I don’t live here! I like demoing stuff here because I always work well in surroundings I’m comfortable with and I think the rest of the lads would agree. I have a simple setup of a laptop and a USB box to plug my guitar into or a mic into and I record whatever I want then pass it onto Mike or Cormac and it’s then passed around. When we actually get down to it we are very efficient now that I think of it! We all just live for making new music so the vast majority of our spare time is spent demoing or recording or finishing tunes – we’ll be full time hermits before the summer comes!

Of course, hammering out tunes at high volumes late at night in a residential area is not without its problems. Our gaff is at the end of a row, and our one neighbour, for the most part has been pretty tolerant/deaf. Naturally enough there have been times when we’ve pushed him over the edge. On one occasion, he called around to the house the morning after a pretty intense recording session. He looked pretty half eye’d, probably from lack of sleep. When I opened the door he stared at me, and as I began to feel uneasy he stepped forward and said “Ye better get off whatever the fuck it is yer on” then turned around and stormed off.

Personally speaking, I can never write to a schedule. If I want to do something decent, it usually starts with me sitting down with a cuppa while the lads are busy doing something else, with me just messing on the guitar. If I hit on something I like, I’d set up the laptop and get it down. But no really strict hours. I’ve been getting up at 9 or 10 this week because I want to get more done but the week before I wouldn’t get cracking until maybe 2 or 3. I’m the only one at the moment not holding down some sort of day job so I can afford to take my time whereas for the rest of the lads it’s not so easy. They still crank out the tunes at an alarming rate though.

In creative terms I’d be inclined to say that isolation isn’t important? Obviously it’ll be different from the programming end of things because I’m sure there’s nothing more annoying than someone staring over your shoulder while you are trying to work on something just so. Myself and the two Stephens (Fahey and Conlan) will work on something together, then pass it on to either Mike or Cormac. We never work alone as such because everyone is involved in the writing process and contributes to the songs. Another reason we like working in this space is that you are never isolated because everyone is just a few feet away in the front room. That, way, even if you are beavering away on your own you can stop and a few other pairs of ears are there immediately for a quick listen!

I love the homeliness of the place. I mean, it’s a kitchen! We are all pretty chuffed with the fact that a few diversions aside we were able to put together an album here having never done one before, and just being here makes you think of what we did before and what we will be doing. It’s messy, it’s not very warm and it can get very annoying trying to do a part while someone is rooting in the presses for that last penguin bar but it’s cool and I wouldn’t be in a rush to record anywhere else.”


Super Extra Bonus Party’s 2007 album Super Extra Bonus album LP is nominated for this year’s Choice Music Prize. They have just released a 12″, ‘Everything Flows’ (vid here), which includes remixes by Cadence Weapon, Jape and Nouveaunoise. They play Baker Place in Limerick this Friday and are also appearing at the Choice Music Prize gig in Vicar Street on February 27th. For more information on the band, including upcoming gigs, visit .

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