Formed: Jan 2013
Line-up: Adam Kerr (guitar) / Colm Meir (drums and programming) / James Smyth (vocals, guitar, keys and programming) / Piaras Nolan (bass, vocals)
What They Say: “A monster!” Dan Hegarty, RTé’s The Alternative
What They Say: “Guitar driven rock tinged with brooding emo and palpable theatrics”
◀ Q & A ▶
▶ Tell us about your stage name?
We felt we needed an immediate, almost grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-shake-you name to coincide with the vibe we were organically creating as a unit. Naturally, we did what 99% of bands starting out do and took to wikipedia and hit ‘random’ for about 15 minutes until we found just one word that commanded a sense of immediacy, urgency; Escobar. Up until that time we were toying with villains from pseudo-popular culture, so Escobar seemed appropriate in the realm of the aforementioned search!
▶ When did you start playing music and how would you describe your sound?
We formed in January 2013, just 4 guys in a garage, and practised for months honing a set. We set out originally just to make a din, just blow off steam when we clocked off our respective day jobs. It got to a point where we thought, ‘Yeah, people might dig this! Let’s take it outside these four walls’. We aim for the cinematic, the dramatic, the big. Watching tonnes of Sergio Leone westerns and B-zombie flicks in an energy-saving-lit living room definitely helped. Have you ever seen The Raid? Watch The Raid.
▶ What music have you put out so far?
We recorded two tracks in early 2013; ‘Cuts & Bruises’ and Pariah Dollarhyde, both testaments to film villains and real-life dastardly deeds. After a few months these fell by the wayside in the set as more grandiose songs began to form with each practice; guitars were replaced by soundscapes, shouting by polyphonic vocals and so on. This is definitely reflected on our latest EP, recorded by the visionaries at Millbank Studios and fulltime Mojo Fury musos which we release this month in Belfast’s Stiff Kitten. The video has already garnered a lot of press for ‘Sirens’ one of the upcoming tracks. Most certainly implementing all the tenets above (dirty church organ, why not?!) and then some, check it out!
▶ Is there a particular live show which stands out amongst all the rest?
We’re actually just back from the illustrious Vantastival Festival in Co. Louth. We played an absolute stomper of a set on the Vanhalla Stage on Sunday night. It was awesome! It was affirming playing to literally none of our usual cohorts and the response was unprecedented. We had people going daft in a forest, chanting ‘one more tune!’ to the sound of feedback and oscillating kaoss pads; up there with the best, certainly with the LaFaro show for Arthur’s Day or Bonnevilles live album recording in Limelight last year.
▶ What has been the highlight of the journey so far?
I’d say becoming a unit, a tight-ship and best of friends. It’s all about the promo, and it’s a lot easier to get the word out when you have four mates pulling in the same direction. That’s the best part, knowing that when our respective phone’s buzz in the pocket it’s always news about the fruit of an individual’s labour. Oh, and creating music for US. Certainly.
▶ You are in control of forming a 4 piece ‘super group’ – who is in it and what do they do?
Tricky! I’m writing this as Hardwell is blasting in the background in my day job, so my brain is mush. Freddy Mercury as frontman, there’s none better. Let’s put Simon Neil on guitar with Chris Wolstenholme on Bass. Do we need drums? How about Hardwell on beats and bleeps, he gets some bad press.
▶ If you were to go on a world tour and you could pick any 3 acts come along, who would they be?
Aquatramp and Loris – these guys are actually playing at our RISE//FALL ep launch; the nicest of guys and hardest-working bands we’ve met yet, check them out! Finally, let’s get the Ulster Orchestra to mellow the crowd as a warm-up before the face-melting onslaught.
▶ What would be the 3 strangest things on your rider if you were able to make any demand?
Butterkeks biscuits, Germanic elbow-ham and San Pellegrino left to flatten for a solid hour.
▶ Who has been your biggest inspiration as a musician?
We’re local through and through. Obviously we’ve been listening to what comes out of the radio since we were nippers and no doubt many made us pick up our respective instruments and roles, but genuinely what made us take our act from garage band to the live circuit was Mojo Fury. Seeing the guys continually tear shit up and rock out so passionately to their own tunes was like, ‘Whoa, let’s attempt to forge a career out of this, these guys play some twisted oddities and definitely have fun!’. Getting to record with the guys was awesome, the ideas they put in 100% helped in shaping the current sound, and when it comes to putting out record number 2 it’ll be the Millbank Massif we return to. All Hail The Pig.
▶ Is there a particular aim or goal which you hope to achieve through music?
Stay mates, have fun and know that even if someone somewhere is listening to a dodgy .wav or live recording years down the line in a log cabin and having some sort of affinity with what we’ve got to say, we’ve done ourselves proud. But yeah, catch us and a host of equal talent at Stiff Kitten on
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