We Cut Corners are about to release their much anticipated third record The Cadences of Others. On their first two offerings, Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards and Think Nothing they showcased a nous for tunes seldom seen in a new band, not to mention the powerful immediacy of their live shows. State caught up with bandmates John Duignan and Conall Breachain to try get and idea of what to expect from their latest offering.
“This time we oversaw the whole lot, from start to finish. We had a very clear sense of what we wanted. We didn’t engineer it ourselves, because we recorded it in a church we needed a very solid engineer. In terms of conceptualising the record from start to finish, Conall did all the string arrangements, so it was very much in house all the way.”
“We wanted the second record to be a lot more raw than the first, with less effects. Less stylised in the sense of reverbs and delays that we used, the second record had very little of that kind of stuff. There were songs on the second record like ‘Best Friend’ and ‘Blue’ that were balls to the wall. I guess with this record it’s certainly not heavier but it’s much grander in our conceptualisation of it. On the first two records, we were very focused on sticking to a specific sonic template which was based around the drums, guitar and the voices. Whereas with this one we didn’t have that restriction imposed on ourselves. We just wanted to collaborate with some different people, we wanted to do arrangements that were quite big and interesting and that would push us to stretch ourselves creatively.”
One of the bands most defining characteristics is the intricate quality of their beautifully crafted songs. Vocally, lyrically and with the dynamic created between guitar and drums they create an excitingly unique sound with each individual song.
“John’s lyrics are crucial to it. It’s important that all the songs fit. So, the lyrics are all written by John or certainly adapted to fit our style.”
“I suppose I would sketch a lyrical and melodic idea and get it to a point where I felt confident enough to bring it to Conall. At that point we’d probably take it apart and see where we were going to go with it. Because a song written in your house on acoustic guitar once you bring it to someone whose playing drums and keys is going to mutate radically. It’s at that juncture when we usually go about breaking it down and putting it back together. That would be typically the most common way we would approach song writing but then other songs on this record Conall would have brought almost completed songs which had a similar deconstruction process.”
“With this record it felt like the song writing was the quickest part of it. We wrote those songs in a couple of months in a rehearsal room together pretty non-stop during our holidays from work.”
The band have a bit of a Bruce Wayne/Batman/Dick Grayson/Robin dichotomy going on as Dublin’s very own dynamic duo, working in the education system by day and rocking rafters in the city’s venues by night.
“It would never feel like a We Cut Corners song until we had dragged it through the mud and put our own collective stamp on it. There are so many songs that I would start to write that I would have no intention of singing just because it would be physically impossible. So it’s always with Conall’s voice in mind. To me it might seem implausible but that I know Conall can sing while playing drums and keys. When I’m writing I’m always thinking of how it’s going to work within the confines of our band.”
With such care taken in the writing and producing process we wonder do the band still have favourites?
“There are a lot of songs on this record that mean a lot to us or that we have very vivid memories of writing, putting them together or recording them in the church. If there was one that stood out it’s a song called ‘Of Whatever’ it’s the third song on the record, even playing it in the rehearsal studio the other day it felt very special. It had a certain atmosphere to it that was very exciting. There’s others too there’s a song on it called ‘Traffic Island’ towards the end of the album and the way in which that came together was just so interesting for the two of us. We were genuinely looking around thinking how did we write a song like that.”
“I think this record more than any other for us, just because of where it was recorded and who was involved in the process, because of where John and I were in terms of how we felt in the band at that time, it does mean a lot to us. We wanted a sense of continuity between the first two records. It was important too, because our songs were very short we had a short set list so we needed the second record to play a full live show. With this one we did kind of stop and we’ll do similarly from now on.”
“The real adventure of the record was in the recording and orchestrating. We got Conor O’Brien to play bass too so there were so many different elements that came in after the song writing that added to it. We were given ourselves carte blanche to just let the songs take us wherever they did.”
Villagers Conor O’Brien is joined by Booka Brass Band as the album’s special guests so will We Cut Corners be straying from their two-piece line up for their upcoming live shows?
“Do we go there? Do we go bass player? Then do we get brass? Should we have someone on keys? That’s a possibility but at the same time it’s almost more exciting to see if we can pull it off without that. We just can’t wait to get back into that arena of physical music. We’ve been doing the academics of it for so long now it will be nice to get back on stage again. Recording is amazing but it’s always tempered with the idea that you’ve got to represent the songs in a live setting. They both go hand in hand.”
We Cut Corners are one of the most original and exciting bands not just in Dublin but anywhere at the moment. You can catch them live across the month of November, tour dates below.
The Cadences of Others is released on November 4th.
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