When State last caught Jogging, as they opened the recent Camden Crawl Dublin festival in The Button Factory in May, we found them in world changing form and, to be honest, we’ve not been the same since. Acute of lyric and thunderous of sound, their arse-kicking debut Minutes (2010) represents all that is noble and proper about the brainier end of punk/hardcore. The three-piece are readying the release of their ripped follow-up Take Courage, an album that has seen off the considerable gestation issue of label-collapse (the sorely missed Richter Collective) just as they were preparing to step into the studio. That the record has emerged triumphantly and the band have settled into a new home on Limerick’s Out On A Limb (Windings, Ten Past Seven, Crayonsmith) is evidence that good music can’t be stifled so easily.
Sure as eggs are eggs, we’ll be there on August 25th to hear them make their case at the launch night in Whelan’s. Before then, we decided it was time to get to know Jogging a bit better and thus did we pick the brains of Ronan and Darren.
Let’s start at the start. How’d you guys meet?
Ronan: We all played together in another band called The Coldspoon Conspiracy. We lost our singer a few years back and after a completely wasted two years looking for a new ‘singer’ singer, we decided to step up to the plate and just give it a try ourselves, hence the dual barking. It was kind of shit-or-get-off-the-pot time.
R: I liked the look of it! All those hanging consonants (especially when written in lower case). Also, it didn’t seem to fit in to any bracket, I liked that it didn’t pin us to any particular scene, it was just so vague it could apply to any type of band… it could be shoegaze-y or it could be hardcore.
Three. No more, no less, it’s a magic number. Comment.
R: We had initially always intended on getting a second guitarist. There were parts I could even hear in my head. Then when we started writing these songs it became evident that every instrument had its own particular frequency range, nothing clashed and that the parts we wrote really locked in to each other without leaving much space musically. We really do fill up every second – it’s not like you could really be adding little subtle touches throughout.
What were your thoughts on the demise of Richter Collective? How do you feel about it now?
R: It was very sad really. Every single band I had known from before they were Richter bands, even some of the Belfast lads I’ve known for 10 years now, so there was always a real sense of community within the label. It came at a very awkward time for us, just two weeks before we started recording this album, but the Richter lads were always completely open and honest about everything at every stage and kept us fully informed. They have done a lot for us over the last three years.
What are your ambitions for this record?
R: It changes every day! Some days I daydream about worldwide tours, other days I just hope the initial launch gig goes well and think no further than that. Planning is all well and good but you can’t really let it corrupt the album itself. It is a definite finished article no matter what happens in the wake of it. I suppose I just really wish the music can affect people the way my favourite music has affected me. That’s really at the root of it all.
Where do you get your energy from?
R: Ha! We don’t leave much space in songs, and we don’t really go in for intros or extended sections. We throw ourselves right into it from the second the song starts. Sometimes it feels like we are frantically battling against our instruments, just pummelling them. It doesn’t give us much choice than to use up all our energy – it’s just the way the songs have been written. It would really be doing them a disservice not to expend at least that much energy. We do question ourselves about it though – “Why don’t we write in some respite periods to catch our breath?!”
Ireland has become a bit of a European capital for ‘smart’ rock (ASIWYFA, Adebisi Shank, Cast Of Cheers etc). What would you put that down to?
Darren: I see it as the evolution of music on a local level. Most cities seem to have a musical theme running through each scene, and when you spread that over 10 years you’ll see traits and styles that have been passed on from band to band. For our generation, the big band to emulate was The Redneck Manifesto. Eighteen-year-old bedroom musicians would practice to that standard and then start their own bands, constantly pushing music into new and interesting places and everyone trying to outdo each other. Add to that the evolution of music technology and affordable digital effects and you end up with a lot of incredible guitarists playing more with their feet than their fingers, creating a new sound that represents their generation.
Sorry, but we was have to ask you about influences. We always hear Minutemen and Fugazi.
R: Fugazi would be an absolutely huge one, yes. It’s always annoyed me since I was a teen that when people wrote about Fugazi they would write about the DIY aspect or the ethics or politics. Of course all of that is massively important and implicit to who they are, but to me it was always about their fascinatingly constructed songs and brilliant lyrics. They really are unbelievable songwriters. I’ve only ever owned one Minutemen album though, to be honest. I did watch that We Jam Econo documentary a few years ago and I found it hugely inspiring, but I have to ‘fess up; I’ve never given them the time they deserve.
Tell us about a weird occurrence that happened during the recording of Take Courage.
D: We had a pretty intense time in the studio. We had six days to record 10 songs which meant there wasn’t much time to hang about. Sun Studios and Chris [Common – Minus The Bear, Pelican, Mastodon] are total professionals so any problems were sorted quickly which meant it was a very smooth and relaxed experience for us. That said recording is a completely different to writing and playing live – things that you’ve done hundreds of times without question are suddenly under the microscope. One of those situations revealed that when I sing certain phrases or try and pronounce certain words, I take on the persona of an eccentric posh English magician from the 19th century. I just couldn’t shake it. It was very strange.
Take Courage is getting a vinyl release too, we see. It’s making a real comeback, isn’t it? Are any of you collectors?
D: It has made a bit of a comeback, but the way music sales are going I reckon it’ll drop again. It’s an expensive, fragile format which can only be listened to at home, which is what makes it so amazing. It requires the listener to take care and cherish it, but seeing as no one under 25 buys physical music and as soon as subscription-based streaming becomes a little more advanced, I reckon it’ll be just left to the hardcore enthusiasts. I love vinyl though and I am a collector. One of the reasons it works so well is that with two sides it gives the songs a better chance of being really heard because 50% of the time when you’re returning to a record you start on Side B. Time and time again you see with digital releases that track #1 was listened to 500 times and track #10 was listened to 100 times. I think all the songs on Take Courage deserve equal attention, especially seeing as one of the best is the last song on the album.
You can download and listen to Take Courage at jogging.bandcamp.com and also below.
August 25 @ Whelan’s, Dublin w/guests Elk & Guilty Optics. Doors 8pm. Admission €10/€15 with copy of LP
September 14 @ Upstairs Róisín Dubh, Galway, w/guests Gift Givers & more TBA. Doors 9pm. Admission €6
September 15 @ Triskel, Cork, w/guests Terriers & more TBA. Doors 8.30pm. Admission €6/€7.
September 20 @ Bourke’s, Limerick w/guests Ginnels. Doors 9pm. FREE