Jim Jarmusch once said that there was nothing original left to be made in the world. He claims that we, rightly so, steal from everything we encounter – movies, books, poems, songs, dreams, etc. – and use these influences to create something new and in itself original. Jim, it’s safe to say, would love The Altered Hours. As the Cork based five-piece settle into life after releasing their debut album In Heat Not Sorry last month (album stream here), State chats to them about what makes their music so unique and how they have distilled their influences and experiences into some of the most original music to come out of Ireland in years.
It’s always interesting to hear how people (including us…) describe your music; hypnotic, experimental, doom-laden, etc. How would you describe it? Does your music even need to be described?
I don’t feel like music needs to be described but I don’t mind at all if people do. I enjoy when someone tells me that our music reminded them of something and I have no idea what that is. It’s interesting when someone hears something you don’t and I think it shows that there is very little control over how people perceive what you have made.
Having experienced life on an international label do you think there is enough localised support for emerging Irish bands? What could be done to help bands like yours?
Currently we are working with Art For Blind records & Penske Recordings. These guys are based in Sligo & Cork and have been really great to work with. We are Art For Blind’s 49th release and a lot of them have been Irish releases. This is Penske’s second release as a brand new Irish label, they have teamed up for this album release. It’s really great to have such solid support from people on this island. Having the opportunity to release music on [Anton Newcombe’s] A Recordings was great too, really interesting to release music with an international label coming from such a small country. I have no idea what could be done to help bands like ours, we really love music and that’s the problem that can’t be helped!
What has been the biggest influence on your music? Not just musically speaking – influences like school, society, art, etc.
Apart from music itself, we’re attracted to the the idea that you can create your own world to exist in with a band or project. At an early age I realised I didn’t really want to grow into the young Irish male that society hinted at. When I listen to my favourite bands it’s possible to get entirely immersed in the world they have created and I’ve been so convinced at times that now I’m in the process of making my own.
Can you tell us a bit about the new album?
While recording In Heat Not Sorry we didn’t know if it was going to be a full album or not. When we do recording sessions we like to remind mourselves that you don’t have to release something even though you have put a lot of energy into it, it’s often recorded with no release plan and then we’ll decide what to do when we like it. Some songs were written two years prior to the recording, others a couple of months and some were developed in the studio while recording. There are many faces to the music we make and we would like to push that out further as we continue rather than choose one particular route. I think In Heat Not Sorry is the first step towards this and a movement towards finding our own voice and feeling comfortable with that.
As a live band you have a reputation of being intense; is this part of your collective personality or does the music itself dictate your stagecraft?
I’m not sure but probably more to do with our collective personality. We don’t have anything planned as to how we act onstage when we are playing, most of the time we are really enjoying ourselves and if it gets intense then that’s quite spontaneous. There have been occasions when it has gotten emotionally heavy onstage & usually this just translates into a better show for us even if it is draining.
What are your current touring plans like?
We are touring Ireland, UK & Europe in February/March and throughout 2016. We love to play live and we feel lucky to have the chance to travel and play a lot this year. In 2014 I broke my arm and had to re-schedule a UK tour so I feel especially grateful now because that was shite…
Are there any other bands in Ireland who excite you these days?
What would be your ideal festival line-up?
The Soft Moon
Sun City Girls
The Altered Hours will be launching their new album In Heat Not Sorry in Dublin’s Workman’s Club this Saturday night, before embarking on an expansive tour, with all upcoming dates to be found here. Tickets are available here