Dublin’s next great export SPRINTS are announcing their debut album ‘Letter To Self’ with a massive new banger, ‘Up and Comer’. Read our latest Hype playlist cover feature now.
Words: Sam Taylor.
Photos: Niamh Barry.
It’s debut album time for everyone’s favourite straight-talking punk up-and-comers, Sprints. The Dublin four-piece are opening 2024 as they mean to go on, kicking down the door with their first full statement of intent, ‘Letter To Self’, arriving on 5th January via City Slang. Billed as “an exploration of pain, passion and perseverance”, it’s going to be an explosive start to the new year. Karla Chubb tells us more.
Hi Karla! How are you all? What are you up to today?
Hey Dork! We are doing well; thank you so much. We’re currently recovering after a weekend of shows, so just unpacking, relaxing and getting ready for the next batch.
It’s been a whole entire year since we last spoke, give us the lowdown on what you’ve been up to in that time – it sounds like you’ve been busy?
It’s been a whirlwind. It’s hard looking back at the year now to remember what has happened, but it’s been incredible. We signed to City Slang, played a lot of our first shows across Europe, and we’ve been on the road a lot. It was such a big mental and physical change for us too, but meeting new fans, playing in new cities and festivals has just been a dream. We spent the start of the year tucked away recording the album and getting everything ready, so we’re really excited to be releasing again.
“We’ve really poured everything into this record”Karla Chubb
Tell us about your debut album, then. Is it completely done and dusted now? What’s left to do?
The album is done, dusted, and on its way to print, so it’s extremely exciting. It’s pretty terrifying to think that in a matter of months, our debut album will be out, but we’ve really poured everything into this record, so hopefully, the response is good.
What was your process like for pulling it together? Was it an easy birth?
I think the process was painless enough? I feel like we’ve got such a natural chemistry and understanding with each other that we kind of knew what songs we wanted to use and what we wanted to say. There was definitely a bit of unspoken pressure we were putting ourselves under for it to be great – looking at iconic debuts like [PJ Harvey’s] ‘Dry’, [Pixies’] ‘Surfer Rosa’, [The Strokes’] ‘Is This It’… that’s the level you want to be at but is obviously incredibly hard to reach. So we definitely pushed ourselves a lot, explored a lot of new sounds and textures, but eventually, we just trusted each other and put forward what we think is our best work yet.
What’s the record about, is there a general theme or vibe?
It’s definitely our most honest and autobiographical work to date. Lyrically it is very open, blunt and raw. I’ve really kind of poured myself, my experiences onto a page and laid it all bare. I feel like there are parts of my life, things I’ve experienced that I’ve not fully processed or healed from, so now, after writing them and putting them out, it’s almost like I can close that chapter and move forward.
Sonically, it’s pretty classic SPRINTS – loud, fast and heavy-hitting. We drew a lot of inspiration from the early 80s gothic of Bauhaus, the 90s guitar-driven fuzz of Pixies, PJ Harvey, and there’s definitely a modern LCD Soundsystem, BRMC, IDLES edge to some of the tracks, too. So basically, noise.
Do you have a favourite track on the release?
Oh god, there are a few that we really love and all for very different reasons. ‘Cathedral’ is definitely one we’re going to love breaking out live, ‘Shaking Their Hands’ because it’s so different to our other tracks, but overall, I think we’d say ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’. It’s just really emotive and powerful. I don’t know if it’s our slow song? As there’s a pretty big build, but, yeah, it’s a powerful one. Very honest, very open. A little scared to see the reaction to that one, haha.
What’s the most unexpected place or situation where inspiration for a song on your album struck?
Anywhere and everywhere. A lot of our tracks just start as voice notes on my phone, which I love because I can go back and date all our songs, and the location is always saved, so I love looking at that kind of stuff. Unfortunately, I’m not that adventurous, so I’ve never had one like pop into my head atop a mountain or kayaking or something cool, so I’ll just say the pub toilet, maybe?
“We’ve really poured everything into this record”Karla Chubb
If the album were a movie, what genre would it be and why?
100% a horror movie. Without a doubt. The entire story behind the album’s music videos was quite inspired by Ari Aster films, particularly Hereditary, and I’m a massive horror buff, so I was reading a lot of horror-esque novels like Come Closer, Nightbitch and Pew at the time of writing the album so I think a lot of that creepiness seeped into the soul of the album.
How prolific were you during your album sessions? Are there many unused songs we might hear at a later date?
There’s definitely one or two songs that didn’t make the cut, and one or two 2am jams after too much French wine that will never see the light of day… But no, for sure, there will be a lot more to come; we had a list of about 25 demos for the album originally, I think? Which we shaved down to 14, and then 11 made the cut.
Do you think fans will be surprised by the record?
I think there will be a pleasant sense of familiarity, but definitely with a newer sound and voice. It’s for sure a bit of a step away from our EPs, but hopefully, they understand the step and see what we have done. We really wanted to take that anger, aggression and energy from our earlier work and live performances and channel them into something positive and powerful. Hopefully, we managed to do that.
What else have you lot got going on at the moment?
Besides the album, upcoming European, US and UK tours, as well as Irish dates and potential in-stores… Hopefully, not much lol. Spending time with friends and family when we can before the madness of the album launch takes over our lives.
Is there anything else we should know?
Our only headline shows of the year in Dublin and London are sold out, but we are heading to play our first USA show in NYC in November. You can catch us at Reeperbahn in Hamburg or Iceland Airwaves in November before we head into hibernation ahead of the album release on 5th January! ■
Sprints’ debut album’ Letter To Self’ is out 5th January. Follow Dork’s Hype Spotify playlist here.