Q&A: Brian Cash of Halves
On Sigur Ros, Arcade Fire and TGI Fridays
Why go all the way to Montreal to record your debut LP when there are plenty of perfectly decent studios in Dublin?
Given the fact it's our first album we wanted a) to do it somewhere special and b) to do it in an environment that would breathe a bit of creativity. The particular studio we were in is almost a museum of analogue equipment from the 30s to the 70s. Some of my favourite bits on the album are made out of these creaky old instruments. It seemed better to do it there than in Temple Bar.
Plus you got to work with some of the guys from Godspeed You Black Emperor, aka the most terrifying post-rock band on the planet.
Yeah, the studio is run by two of the members of Godspeed You Black Emperor and Howard Bilerman, the ex-drummer from Arcade Fire.
You must have been conflicted. After all, you've been trying to escape the post-rock tag for years.
It's funny. In the early days, people gave us the post-rock term. Admittedly, on the first and second EP there was one song on each that could be classified under that genre. The first thing we wanted to do with the album was get completely away from that. Ironically, we chose the mecca of post-rock as the place to do it.
At least people have stopped saying you sound like Sigur Ros (though you do, a bit)
Yeah, but at the same time. I can see where people got that from. There was one song on our second EP where we let our influences at that time shine too much. We hadn't found our sound. Whereas with this album, I'm 100 per cent happy that we've created our own odd little space.
Did you run into anyone from Arcade Fire during your stay in Montreal?
Um... well I don't think the folks in the studio particularly get along with Arcade Fire. They were telling us stories I probably shouldn't repeat. There's a bit of bad blood there I think . . .
Arcade Fire are very good at rubbing people up the wrong way, aren't they? Wayne Coyne from Flaming Lips said they were stuck-up and grumpy . . .
Yeah, I got the impression from what I heard that Wayne Coyne was right on that one...
Is it true you performed at the local TGI Friday's during last year's South X Southwest music festival in Austin , Texas?
We did four of the most bizarre shows in Austin. [TGI Friday's] was the only one that offered any money. It cost a ridiculous amount for us to travel there, with all the members and equipment. We were playing to loads of golfing families who really didn't care. We were happy because we could pay for our luggage.
Did you send the punters home with their eardrums on fire?
We played it safe and did a 'quiet' set. As Halves, we did our first cover version. We didn't have enough stripped-down songs. We sang a Portishead tune to fill out the set. The other three shows were mad. One was on the 18th floor of the Austin Hilton, which was insane. It was a conference room. We were playing as the sun was going down. It was like we were playing in this Las Vegas skybar.
It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever) is released next Friday