We started this particular ride in the summer of 2014. Me crossing Dublin city by bicycle most days, to Dave’s studio in Raheny. Take the coast road or the Malahide road after Fairview? I’ll have to check the app that tells me which way the wind is blowing (God forbid I might actually feel it in my face)…pleasant as it is, the coast road’s a bitch with the wind against you. Cycling to and from, my head’s a whirl with tuneage…I don’t notice the city being squeezed by Luas works, until I’m being funnelled around College Green at rush hour on the narrowest of roadways, sandwiched between a barrier and a bus. For non-Irish folks, the Luas is our light rail network – known, in a way that reminds me why I love this city and it’s people, as the Daniel Day…
There was the morning coffee and talk of the issues of the day. There was a morning session, luncheon of hang sangwidges froofified with jalapeño peppers and chilli mayonnaise, then afternoon session. There were songs, both country and western, as is our wont. Noisy ones, gentle ones, krautrock, slow jams…not sure what we’re doing, just go with it. We took them to the wilds of Donegal, to Attica Audio and recorded with Tommy McGloughlin…again, circling, flinging paint – show yourself, you devil! A bunch of songs that had their moments, but still felt uneasy in each other’s company. Back to Raheny for honing, plain hacking and dumping…and still more songs. Getting closer.
Into the arms of Glenn Keating for some sweet sounds, coming down, on the nightshift… He played some keyboards and helped punch out some of the grooves we were going for, and his help was invaluable in getting the record to check its delinquent self. He said of what we presented him that he was particularly drawn to the sex vibes… the what now? That there was a sex-vibe going on with some of the tunes and that that was a good thing. Well, sweet Jesus and the Orphans, we didn’t know where to look… If that’s the case, then that is a good thing. Not that there are songs about just sex, but in all the circling and exploring we did talk about soulful grooves and feel being more important than narrative, and tried to gather the songs we settled on under this awning.
We came across the work of artist Mirjam Dijkema when in Donegal – she had made posters for Villagers, with whom Tommy had played. We got in touch and she made a poster for the acoustic-ish tour at the end of last year. She came over to see us play and we got talking about how to represent the new music visually. We used word like “shonky”, “scratchy”, “dayglo”. She rolled her eyes (maybe?), nodded and went about creating a sunburst metallic intergalactic collage and we thank her for it…
This has been the most difficult record we’ve made, in terms of feeling like it was good enough to share, to let it go and no longer be just ours. That we’d made something different to what’s come before. I know we’ve been crazed with doubt, occasional bum steers & misguided conviction along and we say thank you to those who’ve calmed the waters…
As the world feels like it’s becoming a harsher place (maybe there’s just more damn noise?), we seek out the comfort of the familiar and familial…arms – Paul.
(ARMS will be available 14 Oct. Pre order it here to receive a special discount & 3 new tracks instantly: http://radi.al/BellX1Arms)
To celebrate the release of their new album, Bell X1 return to Australia this Dec !!
Special early bird tickets available now at www.bellx1.com/tour
Most pleased to announce shows at Vicar St on 22 & 23 April
On Sale Friday @ 9 am