Gypsies on the Autobahn release their debut album Born Brief in late February; a record that crystalizes everything the band have done since they formed in school. We caught up with the band to get the skinny on Born Brief, musical influences and future plans for world dominance.
Born Brief is a ball of frantic, pulsating energy with only brief moments of respite to allow the listener catch their breath before proceedings crank up through the gears again. The dichotomy of the aggressive, driving, assured playing beneath the precocious vocal melodies create a real sense of anger refined into a delicate vulnerability. It’s a characteristic the band have developed from hour after hour of disciplined drilling in the practice room.
“Years ago, we were finding it difficult to get gigs, we weren’t seen as part of the ‘cool’ set of bands in Dublin. So, our manager suggested we focus on the songs. That’s what we did, we kept writing new songs and drilling the ones we already had.” A strong work ethic born out of necessity according to guitarist Niall.
Subsequently the band were a well-oiled machine by the time Universal Music snapped them up. However, with an even number of band members a democratic deciding vote is absent. By their own admission, the Gypsies agonise over the most minute detail, that’s where producer Rob Kirwan came in.
“We had the songs more or less ready to go, Rob came in and said “Right, that’s going in. That’s no good. We need to do that again.” He is big into the vibe. We might be saying “Oh we messed up a note on a guitar line here” and he’d be like “It doesn’t matter, the vibe sounds right. That’s more important.” James agrees “Yeah, he was able to be more subjective which was important.”
Individually the band’s influences are varied and diverse, ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Prince and the Chilli Peppers to The Maccabees. Fairly standard fare for the band’s age group, but the initial seeds of musical interest was sown by a far less likely source.
“We (brothers James and Dan) travelled all around Ireland with our mam a lot when we were very young and the only cassette we had in the car was Leo Sayer. We loved it.”
Somewhat thankfully, the brillo-pad-headed minstrel isn’t an audible influence on Born Brief, but then again not a lot is. Of the band’s many individual influences perhaps the only one that comes through fully formed is London outfit The Maccabees, James is glowing in his praise of the band. “I’d love to work with Orlando Weeks. I think that everything he does is really interesting.”
Gypsies on the Autobahn are in a fairly unique position for an Irish band about to release their first album. Signed to a major record label (Universal Music) the process of getting Born Brief to the eardrums of the masses has perhaps been slightly more laborious than it may have been on a smaller independent label. Born Brief has been in the can for more than a year, the band have used that time to get the creative ball rolling for the follow up record.
“We’ve got a clear idea of what we want it to sound like, we’re ready to go.” Drummer Dan echoes the quite confidence the band have in their future plans.
Expressive, confident, dynamic playing born in the practice room permeates Born Brief, Gypsies on the Autobahn unleash their spikey guitar attacks back into the live arena with a show in Whelan’s on the 11th of March. Born Brief is a uniquely diverse aural assault, expect the live show to be similar with added lubrication.