It’s not easy being Super Extra Bonus Party. Few Irish bands of late have divided opinion to such a degree, from those who consider them one of the most exciting and forward thinking acts we have produced in years to those who, well, think pretty much exactly the opposite. State considers their second album Night Horses to be irrefutable proof of the former opinion. With their largest headlining show to date coming up this Friday night at the Academy in Dublin, we spoke to Gavin and Fatz from the band about love, hate and music…
How do you feel the band has developed since the first record?
Gavin: I think that we are closer to completing the jigsaw in terms of cohesiveness as a unit, how we work as a band and how our musical output hangs together. A lot of people tend to ask us this and I always feel like we belittle the first record a bit – we’re all still fiercely proud of it but for a band like us its a case of progression or being left to wither away, so it was very important for us as a unit to go forward with this and think it shows in the record.
Fatz: The first album was a compilation of different ideas and styles put together by three different groups within the band. We had two electronic producers in Co and Mick, who had been making tunes together for a few years, and then there was Gavin and myself who had come in to the fray to add a live dimension to the already existing songs and offer up some new material of our own.
Did making Night Horses feel like recording a debut in some ways – first as a full band?
Gavin: Yes and no – since we put together the live line-up of the band in order to tour the first record it’s always felt like a complete unit. Obviously Steve and Gary who joined after the first record might have a different opinion but that’s how it felt to me. If anything, recording Night Horses kinda allowed them to put their own stamp on the songs and overall sound of the band, cementing their presence and completing the circuit so to speak.
Fatz: We really pulled together and spent weeks down the country in an empty bungalow just putting as much of our combined energy and input into every song we had. There was a greater feeling of purpose when recording and producing or even just messing with sounds, obviously because we had already released an album and had great success with it, we needed to live up to that success and surpass it.
Did you write the songs on the album with certain singers in mind?
Fatz: We usually just approach people we really like or repect. It doesn’t really matter if we think they might not suit a tune stylistically, once they want to get involved we’re happy.
Gavin: We knew who we would love to work with but we didn’t tailor songs for a specific artist. In the case of ‘Comets’ we sent a demo of the song to Heathers which was a lot more electronic than the version we ended up with, it kind of put them in at the deep end as they had never really collaborated with anyone before, never mind the fact that the song was so different from their own style of music. That track was exciting for us because we enjoy taking chances on the people we work with, sometimes it doesn’t work but when it does…
Did you want to balance Irish and international guests?
Fatz: Again it didn’t matter at all where people come from. We’re proud of our Irish music scene and the artists involved in it, but we wouldn’t make a conscious decision to have as many Irish musos as foreign dudes just for the sake of it.
What reaction were you expecting to the album?
Fatz: We were expecting to be brought down to the docks, sliced open in every imaginable way and have our wounds filled with a thick mix of mashed up chip sticks in Bovril for even dreaming of releasing another album.
Why do you think you have divided opinion so much?
Fatz: Very hard to say. maybe people don’t think we take our music or music in general seriously. Which we obviously do if you take the time to look at what we’ve done. Maybe people are uncomfortable with the fact that we don’t look much like what a band traditionally looks like, and a combination of those things just pisses people off? I don’t know, you would have to ask someone who hates us!! Ask Emilio Estivez!
Did you hope that people might listen to the record and change their minds about the band?
Fatz: No. Just to appreciate it for what it was. Each album stands on its own feet. As long as there is a constant improvement and progression we’re happy. People are entitled to ther own opinion.
How’s it been playing it live?
Fatz: Fuckin savage. We’ve been playing harder and faster than ever. We’re just back from CMJ which has got our taste buds going again for some travelling next year. The Academy is going to ache!!!!
Super Extra Bonus Party play the Academy in Dublin this Friday with Bats, Heathers, Le Galaxie and Band On An Island.