Sprints: “We want to look back and feel like we’ve left a stamp on the world”

There’s no shortage of great new bands coming out of Ireland right now. Even for a country with a rich musical heritage, the production line is running hot. Right at the front of the queue are Sprints.
Photo credit: Ste Murray

There’s no shortage of great new bands coming out of Ireland right now. Even for a country with a rich musical heritage, the production line is running hot. Right at the front of the queue are Sprints – a band who know how to punch through the post-punk masses with music that demands full attention. With a new EP ‘How Does The Story Go?’, we caught up with vocalist and songwriter Karla Chubb.

The new EP is brilliant. What comes first for you when writing a song – the subject or the music? What do you enjoy writing about? 
Thank you very much! More often than not, it’s the subject or the feeling of a song. I’ve found that our writing style is constantly evolving, but the one constant is an emotional foundation or a subject that grounds it in something. Often it’s real experiences, feelings or whatever we’re witnessing. An autobiographical approach has been the go-to for our writing and helps keep me honest, accountable and raw. 

You’re a band who definitely have things to say in your music. Are big topics and experiences central to what makes a Sprints song? Could you ever see yourself making music without that side to it? 
I joke that I always feel like I’m living in a state of existential crisis, and perhaps that’s the central theme to all of our material. I find it hard to accept or digest that growing up, getting married, working forever without any real sense of purpose is all there could be to life. To keep myself sane and grounded, I try to use my voice to understand the world around me, fuel a sense of purpose and communicate those struggles, so they don’t boil over inside. At the end of the day, we want to look back and feel like we’ve left a stamp on the world and did something that mattered. Maybe that’s sanctimonious, but I also think it’s the real core of what it means to make art. 

Are there many shared musical reference points in the band? What’s the stuff that gets you all excited? 
100% – we’re lucky that we all share such similar tastes but are also so open to finding new reference points and discovering new things. I’ve been listening to Colm’s Discover Weekly all week, and it reminds you how much amazing stuff is out there that you don’t get served yourself. Musically and lyrically, we all share the same reference points, and the new material is shaped a lot by the likes of PJ Harvey, Bauhaus, Savages and IDLES. Definitely a bit of LCD Soundsystem in there as well.

Are you creative in non-musical ways too? 
We all are. Myself and Sam [McCann, bass] both work in media so get to work a lot with content, video and animation on a day to day basis. Colm [O’Reilly, guitar] and I are avid film photographers, so love going out to shoot. Jack [Callan, drums] is probably the smartest person I know, one of the most incredible academics and always reading and kicking my ass in Fantasy Football, so I think we all fuel our creativity in multiple ways. 

The Irish music scene seems especially strong at the moment. Does that give you an extra push, or with so many great bands coming out of one place, do you feel like you end up having to compete for space? 
It’s simultaneously a great push and a constant challenge. There are so many acts in Ireland who are making serious waves, which, to be completely frank, fuels not only your creative drive but also your competitive nature. It helps keep you motivated; there’s always another goal to hit or benchmark to strive for. We’re very aware that the likes of Fontaines D.C., Just Mustard and Pillow Queens etc. did an incredible amount of work to light the spark that seems to have ignited the media and the Irish scene, so we’re just hoping to keep fanning the flames. 

When was the first time you really felt you were on the right track as a band? Was there a eureka moment? 
To be completely honest, I feel like we’re still constantly hit with eureka moments. When we write a new song, when we’re prepping for tour, recording demos, when we were standing on stage at Other Voices… it feels constant that we turn to each other and say, ‘can you believe we’re doing this?’ I don’t want that feeling to ever fade. 

Do you already know what’s coming next for you? Has anyone within the inner circle dared mention ‘the album’ yet? 
The album is definitely a constant topic of conversation. Myself, Colm, Jack and Sam are all such massive album listeners and collectors – we really consume them as a body of work. So we wanted to make sure that whatever we wrote felt like one story or chapter in our book. A debut album is really a cementing moment for an artist, so it’s critical in our eyes we get it right, which I think we have. It’s written; now it’s time to bring it to life.

Taken from the April 2022 edition of Dork, out now. Sprints’ EP ‘How Does The Story Go?’ is out now.

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