IT has been a while since I have done an interview...
but I have speaking with the Irish bands Bouts. They (Barry fields the answers) talk to me about their upcoming album, Flow, and what we can expect; how they got together and the type of music that drives them – they reveal some rising names to get behind.
I ask whether there are going to be tour dates and what comes next; which musician they’d support on tour if they could; an album that means a lot to them – they pick a great song to end things with.
Hi. How are you? How has your week been?
Barry: It’s January; we’re surviving (like everybody else) but gearing up for album launch at end of the month.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We’re an Irish Indie-Rock band who just don’t know when to quit. Over seven years now. Taken the scenic route but now on album-two and back to touring after almost five years. We sound like melody mashed into vaguely Emo-guitar noise, sprinkled with a little shine and voila.
Your new album, Flow, is out later this month. Are there particular themes and experience you drew from when writing the songs?
I guess, as a whole, the album is concerned with small-scale dramas as they play out against the bigger whole. How they intertwine. How we all keep on keeping on. Other keywords might be perseverance, growth; acceptance and resignation.
It is a return after five years. What was the reason for the hiatus?
It’s a return to live shows after five years…
We released an E.P. in early-2016 and recorded constantly in the interim. Initially, I moved away from Ireland in mid-2014 (to London), then further afield to Asia and now based in Amsterdam. Our bassist is now also based in London, while the other two guys are still at home in Ireland. Just takes a little more effort to get ourselves together, but now we’re all back in roughly same the geographical sphere we’re getting out there as a band again.
Did you enjoy recording the album? Did you have to change your working process this time around?
It’s always immensely enjoyable to record an album. Our process was relatively straightforward; just a little drawn out and with minimal actual band contact. It concentrates the mind. First sessions were in late-2016. We grabbed some more time together over different weekends between then and now, in Ireland and the U.K., further rehearsing and refining ideas. Not taking too long to let them become over-thought was also important and is the single biggest difference between making album one and two.
How did Bouts start life? Were you all living in the same part of Ireland?
We were all based in Dublin and playing in different bands. As so often happens, back home we all kind of knew each other anyway. It just so happened that myself and Daniel started playing together as both our previous bands had sort of wrapped and gradually Bouts began to take shape…
Do you already have plans for 2019? What can we expect from you guys this year?
To play live as much as we can and enjoy it as much as possible.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Playing a festival in Dublin and our slot was after the late Bobby Womack. Coming on stage and blasting noisy guitar rock to the utter bemusement of the crowd definitely sticks in the mind.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Well. One album that really means a lot to me personally is Phoebe Bridgers’ Stranger in the Alps from last year. It’s extremely searching, soulful; lucid and, ultimately, life-affirming Indie-Rock.
If you could support any musician, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
For supporting musician and rider: Stephen Malkmus - and you can’t go wrong with beer and snacks.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
We’re playing a bunch of dates around Ireland at the end of January and in London on 26th January.
As your name is Bouts; if you could get any celebrity in the ring, who would that be?
Don’t take the name too literally: we’re not huge boxing fans and have no desire to get in a ring with anybody.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Write many, many songs before you release any. Be alive to your own creative spontaneity and don’t listen to advice from anyone – do it your way!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Podcasts. We’re all doing that now, right?
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Swearin’ – Grow into a Ghost