On top of providing a chance for brand new bands to find a following, an advantage of Hard Working Class Heroes is that it gives the casual observer a chance to catch up with the bands who’ve been soaking up all the hype since this time last year. Dublin’s burgeoning indie pop scene continues to release records apace, but on top of that, there are artists mining new, untapped veins of electronic music.
According to the two-piece themselves, Last Days of 1984 make a genre of music entitled ‘beach house’, but if you were expecting the swirling, dreamy pop of the Baltimore duo of that name, you’d be looking in the wrong place. Except that, in a sense, swirling, dreamy pop is what they make. Driven by summer night Balearic swoons and afrobeat sensibilities that seem at least a little filtered through Ezra Koenig’s taste, their music is an invitingly sunny reverie.
Staffed by three former members of Choice Music Prize winners Super Extra Bonus Party and a current member of Grand Pocket Orchestra, We Are Losers represent the louder, more unapologetic end of Irish indie pop. Leeds label Dance To The Radio (¡Forward, Russia!, Sky Larkin) released their debut 7” Sunset Song/Cheerleader over the summer, the first physical example of their confident, slap-dash melodics in the vein of Male Bonding and Best Coast.
The label ‘experimental’ doesn’t actually connote anything specific other than an aversion to conventional generic strictures, but it’s really the only word possible when discussing Simon Bird. With compositions that vary from half-sleep sonic sweeps to bumping jams that reference French House and DJ Shadow-style cut-and-paste hip hop instrumentals, Bird’s music always feels uneasy, but that might be the point.
It seems like a lot of the reason people have taken notice of you is to do with your live show. Is playing the songs live something you had to learn afterwards?
I started playing “live” shows with just a laptop, and that got really boring. I was composing things with a keyboard and a drum pad, yeah, but I didn’t think those would really translate to a live setting, as there was so much going on. So I started buying bits of gear to use just for live shows. The stuff I use live actually doesn’t feature that much in producing the music.
Have you thought about where you fit in social-genre terms? There are certain electronic artists that play a lot to predominantly indie crowds and others that are clearly directed towards dance music heads. Which are you?
I know what you mean by that, and it’s a tricky one to navigate. I started off playing to “dance music heads”, but then my productions became slower and I thought they’d better suit the live venue/bar crowd. That said, in a lot of clubs, you can get away with playing slower things in the right setting. You disregard a club-goer’s intelligence and think that they just want repetitive hard beats, which isn’t the case most of the time.
Are you post-Four Tet? There are certain artists that seem like they were very influenced by his stuff, and you might be one of them.
I wish I could disagree with you but Four Tet is like my idol. I think Rounds was one of those albums that just completely changed the game for electronic music, like Endtroducing a while before it. You can still see people trying to capture that feeling, almost 10 years after the record came out, you know? That said, I’m definitely influenced by a lot more than just Four Tet. There were a few years where it was just him I was trying to be, now I’m trying to be like 1000 people.
Words Karl McDonald