Music Interview: SACK

Posted November 23, 2009 in Music Features

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Sack, for the uninitiated, were one of the most unassumingly definitive Irish indie-rock bands of the 90s. Their three albums ‘You Are What You Eat’, ‘Butterfly Effect’ and ‘Adventura Majestica’ catapulted them around the world, from toilet venues to stadium settings. After a two year period of inactivity, and no releases since 2001’s seemingly final album completed their triptych, the Dublin-bred windswept indie rockers are showing signs of life once more. With a comeback gig in the Button Factory under their belt and a new album in the pipeline, guitarist John Brereton gave us the lowdown of where the band have been, where they are now and, more excitingly, where they’re going next.

What was Sack like in the 90s?

“I gave up my job. We all did, back in the late 80s, to be in a band. We were all on the dole and struggling. But so were 99% of the bands, even when they were on a record deal. But we got to travel around, we got to tour with Morrissey, and have a great time. We went from paying little toilet venues in London to playing the Cox Arena in San Diego in front of 15,000 people. A lot of bands never even get beyond playing a gig in Whelans”

What do you think are the massive differences in being a band in 90’s Dublin to now? Do you think it’s more difficult now?

“Internet’s changed the face of music. You could have done one gig in Eamon Doran’s and you’ve 10000 Myspace friends. It’s probably harder getting a record deal now, there’s less money floating around and the corporations have been undermined by the internet. We haven’t been on the scene for a while and we aren’t looking for a deal. We’re getting together just because we miss what we’re doing.”

Has a new album taken shape yet?

“We’ve about three quarters of the song written for the album. Our original bassist (Derek Lee), from between 1988 and 1998 is back in the band. The background to this gig is him coming over from Brighton to do a jam for a few days in Dublin. He’s married with kids over there, and coming over for a few days is getting away from it all. It’s gonna go back to a punkier sound, much more in your face. His brother is Jackknife Lee (megabucks producer of R.E.M., U2 and Snow Patrol), who produced our second album, and we’re going to record the new one with him.”

Is that not massively expensive?!

“Well his brother’s in the band, so he’ll be getting a clip around the ear. Smacks if he doesn’t do it at a vastly reduced rate.”

You’re talking about going back to your older, punkier sound… Over the course of twenty years I’m sure your influences have changed massively. Can you track those changes in your music, or are you is there just this defined sound of what Sack is and you stick to that template?

“Our singer (Martin McCann) has a very distinctive voice. We could do a techno album and it’d still be Sack because of his voice. We’re always guitar based, but I’ve songs that would be more in the orchestral mode, like Elbow maybe. I’d like to get into bigger soundscapes with the next album. I’d like to deviate a little bit. The first album is very Pixies-aggressive. The second is more melodic, Smithsy guitar stuff, and the last album was more of a mish-mash. Derek has a very defining sound, a cross between Peter Hook from New Order and Paul Simonon from the Clash. There’s always a certain Sack quality there.”



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