It’s official – 2019 is the year we all finally embrace the bubbling Irish music scene, and judging by the first couple of bands to turn heads, a lot of that music sounds a bit like getting your head kicked in.
Enter The Murder Capital, although you could be forgiven for not knowing what they sound like at all as they sold out their first run of shows without having any songs officially released, Now they’re back in the UK for round two, this time with a solitary track on Spotify to whet your appetite.
“It wasn’t really intentional for it to happen this way,” explains frontman James McGovern, his voice crackling over the phone thanks to rural Ireland’s spotty phone signal. “I guess that was just the way the path led us, but it’s freeing for us to finally get something out there. The reception has been pretty humbling too, so we’re just trying to keep going and get back to writing rather than letting it overwhelm us. The accidental ‘more is less’ approach seems to have done us wonders anyway, maybe that air of mystery helped it all spread… or maybe it was just pure luck?”
There’s a real note of confusion in James’ voice when he talks about the incredible hype that’s built up around the band. His solution? Just keep pushing forward. “We just try not to think about it too much, to be honest, just take it as it comes and laugh at those mad moments. We do feel comfortable in where we are though because we’ve worked really hard to get here. Obviously, we haven’t been slogging it out for eight years, so we can’t come from that corner, but we take what we do seriously, and we work really fucking hard at it.”
He pauses, before adding: “That makes it sound really extraneous, which it isn’t at all. We’re all really enjoying touring and playing; I think we’re all kind of made for it. We’ve all travelled all over Ireland all our lives, I’ve spent my life on trains and buses and all of that shit, so to do that and then get to play a show at the end of every day? It’s a pure pleasure.
“At the moment we aren’t playing for all that long each night but getting up there and getting a taste of meeting people and building a sense of community around the music is incredible. It’s like the feeling of community we had playing at The Workman’s Club in Dublin, but on a global scale.”
As the conversation goes on, the links back to Dublin are never far away, and the city is a big part of what makes The Murder Capital tick. “The social climate in Ireland and Dublin has a direct effect on us, as a band and as people,” he says. “The rate of gentrification is almost overwhelming at the moment in the city, I think pretty much everyone in the band is just scraping by the rent and the constant balance of having enough money for food, rehearsing, a social life, all of it.
“We’re lucky to be in the position we’re in though; there are people all over the place that have it worse than us, it’s just the nature of any capital city. I feel like they’ve all got this warped nature to them that runs alongside all the bright lights and shit.”
“Having said that, Dublin and Ireland influence us incredibly positively as well,” James adds. “I think everyone in the band has read some James Joyce for sure; those Irish literary influences definitely run deep in our DNA and in the blood of the band as well. We read extremely broadly though; I draw influence from writers like Murakami, John Keats, Ishiguro…
“Our music taste is massively broad too. Obviously, we love Joy Division and The Fall, but we also listen to people like Phillip Glass and Bjork. We’ve been listening to a lot of electronic music recently too, and I think it’s affected how we write, arrangement and instrumentation-wise. We really do take influences from fucking everything.”
As a band so tightly bound up with their home city, we wondered what the perfect day in Dublin looks like for The Murder Capital. “Oh we can do that, easy!” James laughs. “Get up at 11am, go and get a creepy breakfast somewhere really shitty. There’s a place called Roma 2, we’d go there and get a bag of chips at midday, then an afternoon pint of Guinness at Grogans – best pint of Guinness in the world. Spend the evening walking around St. Patrick’s Cathedral, steer clear of the Guinness storehouse, obviously, then end up in a bar on Essex street and dance your heart out to The Fall and LCD. That’s the absolute best day you can have in Dublin, 100%.”
Taken from the March issue of Dork. The Murder Capital’s debut single ‘Feeling Fades’ is out now.
Words: Jake Hawkes