Q & A with Dirty 9s

Kev Donnellan writes.

Dirty 9’s are probably Ireland’s best multi-lingual rock band. Ah wait hang-on that’s not the greatest claim to fame, that’s like being Ireland’s best fire-breathing band (actually that would be savage). Anyway, they’re really good, right? We spoke to Cian from the band about the usual mix of gigging, recording and writing songs as gaeilge.

So the HWCH festival is on next week, have you been involved with it previously? It must be nice to be involved in something like this in your home town?
This is actually our first time ever playing the HWCH festival. Its always been something we wanted to be involved in so we’re delighted to be playing this year. The Workman’s Club & Button Factory are great venues too, so yeah we’re really looking forward to it. We know lots of great bands who got picked to play this year and lots of great bands who didn’t, so we appreciate getting the slot.

Will you be checking out any other bands over the weekend? Any recommendations for meg readers?
Yeah there’s lots. Heathers are playing with us in the Workman’s Club on the 7th they were great at Electric Picnic so I would recommend them. As well as that I’d recommend checking out Planet Parade on the 8th in the Workman’s Club, Pearse McGloughlin in Sweeney’s on the 8th also and Funzo in the Grand Social on the 9th.

Will you be showcasing any new material or will you stick to songs from the album?
Although we only released our album back in March we actually recorded it nearly two years ago, because of that we’ve got a lot of new songs that we’re dying to record. We’ll be playing a good few of them in our set at HWCH along with another few surprises.

The band played a fair bit over the summer, including Electric Picnic and Arthur’s Day. Any particular highlights?
Our singer Fergal gave Glen Hansard a lend of his guitar at Electric Picnic which was a pretty big highlight! We bumped into him at the media tent and he needed a lend of an acoustic guitar to record a radio session, Fergal was more than happy to oblige. He signed the guitar too and was an all round cool guy which was nice. Arthur’s Day was great too we played in the Powerscourt Centre and during the gig people got in the glass lift behind the stage. They kept going up and down in the lift dancing which was hilarious.

You got some attention on youtube for your Spanish version of Sex on Fire, any other multi-lingual covers in the offing?
There are, we played the Puball Gaeilge Tent this year at Electric Picnic and decided to try and play No Cars go by Arcade Fire in Irish. We found some of the lyrics hard to write in Irish so we translated parts of the song to Spanish. In the end it turned out being a half Irish half Spanish version of the song. It went down well at that and when we played it on Arthur’s Day too so it’ll more than likely make an appearance at one of gigs again.

Given your experience with TG4’s Deis Roc could you be the band to finally deliver a classic Irish language rock album?!
Ha! Well that’s a tall order. It can be a hard language to write in but when you get it right its great. I listen to a lot of Welsh bands and I love they way they can easily write in the Welsh language. Although a lot of bands have tried the same thing with Irish here I don’t anyone has really nailed it, so it’d be great to be the ones to finally do that! A whole album in Irish from us is a long way off yet. Having said that we’ve just recorded an Irish version of our song Trouble, it’ll be available very soon so people can listen and judge it for themselves.

I just had a look at your website there, there’s links to your facebook and twitter accounts, it’s really well put together. Is that something you feel bands need to take an interest in, promoting yourselves online?
Of course, its really important nowadays and there’s loads of ways of getting your music to new people through the internet. However we can’t really take the credit for all the work that went into our website and twitter/facebook accounts. Our friend Ken O’Neill took it upon himself to get our site up and running and he’s does a great job. Having said that if you’re not lucky enough to have a friend who’s good at that sort of time you should take it upon yourself to get a website for your band, its getting easier to do and in a lot of ways is probably the most important way of promoting your band.

Finally what is your favourite album and/or single of the year so far?
Well in our band we can never agree on music we all like, so I cant just pick one! I know the rest of the lads have been really taken by stuff from the National, Foals and Laura Marling. Personally I really like Bombay Bicycle Club’s new album Flaws, its all acoustic and very different to their first album. Its nice to see a band developing like that. We’ve also got some acoustic songs we want to record pretty soon but have been worried about how it’d mix with our other songs. So its good to see other bands like Bombay Bicycle Club be able to mix it up with full on songs and acoustic ones. It shows us it can done!

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