Liverpool-based four-piece Courting are the latest act to take part in Nice Swan Records’ and RIP Records’ new introducing singles series, which aims to highlight new and exciting talent on a monthly basis – and they certainly fit the bill. Energetic and tongue-in-cheek in a similar way to Sports Team and their ilk, their new single ‘David Byrne’s Badside’ is nowt to do with Dave, but rather “class tourism and the casual racism that exists in Britain today,” Sean Murphy-O’Neill (singing and strumming) explains. Get to know the band, and give their new video a watch, now.
Hello Sean! How are you? Having a good day?
I am feeling good today. I’m currently designing a Courting hat.
Give us the tl;dr of Courting so far then – what’ve you been up to?
We’ve been a band for nearly two years now – and things start to be getting a bit interesting. Over the last few months, we’ve gotten a lot more ambitious with our writing and performing, and I truly believe we are the hardest working band in show business. Slowly planning how to make waves the second that we can play gigs again.
What first sparked your interest in music?
I didn’t even really like music as a child, my mum used to listen to a lot of Guns N Roses, my dad listened to a lot of Kylie Minogue, and I think it’s safe to say that our music sits right between those two artists in a Venn diagram. Realistically, I started learning guitar as a way to avoid revision when I was doing exams and then we just started taking it a bit more seriously and formed a band.
And how’s Liverpool treating you? Is it a good place to be an up-and-coming band?
We <3 Liverpool, I don’t think we’d be the band that we are today without the cultural heritage of the city, loads of fantastic bands coming up and it’s like a melting pot of experimentation and great writing. I think being a band from Liverpool gives people high expectations of your art, and we like that. I think it’s a very good place to be an upcoming band; there are loads of fantastic venues and things to write about.
How are you guys finding lockdown? What are doing to fill your days?
We’ve been listening to a lot of 100 gecs. The whole band have gotten together online to collectively listen to 100 gecs. It’s good fun. Me and Sean (drummer) have built a really nice house together in Minecraft which we are currently cohabiting. Apart from that, we’ve been writing new songs, designing new t-shirts, learning about the possibility of performing gigs in zorb balls and we’ve realised we’re really crap at live streams.
Congrats on getting your new single ‘David Byrne’s Badside’ out, what can you tell us about the video? How was it conceptualised and put together?
Thank you! The song kind of talks about the harms and negatives that come alongside pub culture. Obviously, none of us can go to the pub right now, so I wanted to make something a little bit more lighthearted and nostalgic. Firstly, we collected a bunch of pictures of our fans and friends of their local pubs and smashed them together into a montage. I got on zoom, and I lip-synced all the lyrics over some nice pub backgrounds. If anything it was just a bit of lighthearted fun, I didn’t want to try and direct some massive statement piece when for one, I have never made a music video before and two, the whole band wouldn’t be able to be together for it – so instead I decided to do something a little bit silly, and contained two things that everybody can relate to right now, missing the pub, and messing with the zoom virtual background feature.
What drew you to sort-of-but-not-really writing about Dave? Did his name just fit?
I went through a phase of watching ‘Stop Making Sense’ a lot last year, and I thought if this man was genuinely a psycho killer who hates people when they’re not polite, then I really wouldn’t want to get on his badside. It started with the pun, and then I spent a lot of time considering what type of person who wasn’t polite to profile and write about. I ended up just writing about what I saw. I did go through a period of worry thinking that people are going to presume I’m calling the lead singer of talking heads a racist or something because the topics don’t obviously link, but in this song, Dave definitely serves as the protagonist of the track. I don’t think it’s just the fit of his name either; I wouldn’t be as scared of other members of talking heads. Tom Tom Club don’t particularly come off as threatening. I really hope he likes the song.
Do you have lots of songs ‘in the bag’ and ready to go?
Of course, we’re very fussy. A lot of songs we write just get immediately scrapped, but we’ve got a collection of our favourites ready to record.
What’s your songwriting process like? Where do you find inspiration?
It’s sporadic and a bit annoying. I write hundreds of little songs full of weird ideas and lyrics, and then we tend to rip those songs to shreds and steal little riffs and ideas and lyrics to use in the final product. Because of this, it takes a long time to get a finished song we’re proud of, but I’d rather spend longer to get a better-finished product. I think one thing I’ve learned is that anything can serve as good inspiration for a lyric – rather than trying to search inside yourself you might overhear great concepts and lyrics on the TV or on random websites.
What are you working on at the mo?
Between you and me, we’re writing an EP, but that’s our little secret.
What’s your favourite thing about being a musician?
The feeling when a song you’ve been working on for months comes together live and people enjoy it how you’ve been enjoying it in your head for the time before that. Feels very artistically satisfying to create something from nothing and then have other people who you don’t even know enjoy what you’ve created. Release days are also a lot of fun, love watching the little Spotify stream counter tick up.
Do you have any predictions for later this year?
Arena tour. Reality TV show. We’ll be the supports at the JLS reunion. Christmas album. Break up. Reunion tour 2021.
Courting’s single ‘David Byrne’s Badside’ is out now.