Music Interview: Ireland Indie Band – Angel Pier

angelpierI wish I could tell an enchanted tale of how I met this group while on a wonderful and much needed vaction in Ireland.  A tale of how I heard them playing and instantly knew that I had to have them in the magazine.

But vacations are unheard of here at the moment.  So I have to tell you the truth.  I was sitting on my ass in front of the computer and voting on groups on Ourstage.Com.  I forget who they were matched up against the moment I found them…but I do remember the shock of wonder that went through me when I heard the first few chords of “Sprites” from their world acclaimed EP “Bullet Holes & Broken Sectors”.

After the vocals kicked in, the shock of wonder turned into that gut feeling that tells one they’re on the right track.  I have found something grand and wonderful in Angel Pier and since I’m not stingy but rather giving and loving, I will share with you this Irish treasure that I have found.

The rest of this story involves a lively, well timed IM chat across several time zones, a sadly missed opportunity to meet them in person when they played SXSW this past year because yours truly had to get a breast reduction, and  a promise to meet up for drinks when I finally do get to Ireland.

Fully formed in 2006, it all began with the intention of pinning melancholic melodies to a gothic groove. Thrown together by a mutual friend at a chance meeting one night in Whelans in Dublin, Darragh (vocals, guitar), and Mark (Drums) quickly found the intended direction and began pursuing refinement. Canadian guitarist Luke & bass groove merchant Vinny Redmond were then bolstered on to complete the line up. The heart now a solid groove recalling elements of the Stone Roses and the Cure, Luke’s classic blues rock sound, which lies somewhere between the Pixies and the Beatles, sat comfortably on top of the straight rhythm guitar and looping backbone. The instruments combined to create a discordance that surrounds the classic pop-induced melodies of the song writing, underpinning the darker lyrical content within. With high, melodic vocals that lie somewhere between Thom Yorke and Jason Lytle soaring over the top ANGEL PIER was born.

Their first foray into the studio was with Kieran Lynch (U2, Elvis Costello, REM) undertaking production duties, and is titled the “Bullet Holes & Broken Sectors” EP. They recently regrouped in Thomastown to record with veteran producer Leo Pearson, who has worked with U2, Elvis Costello & David Holmes to name but a few, and will result in the forthcoming “Sacrifice” EP.

While their first EP was extremely well done their second EP “Sacrifice” has a more mature sound as if this newly formed group is truly finding their fit with one another.

“I think we are finding our own comfort zones as you put it, we’ve really gelled as a band this year, and have developed a sound that is distinctly us, in our opinion,” says lead singer/songwriter Darragh Nolen.

How did Canadian Luke Paluch find his way into the group?

“ I was born in Poland then moved to Canada when i was 10,” relates Luke.  “So i am a Pol-Can…with a really bad Irish accent now”.

“ Pol-Can-ish,” interjects Darragh.

“I think we were just ment to be,” continues Luke. “Especially since after getting to Ireland I was in the band within 2 months…you don’t just show up somewhere and score to be surrounded with musicians and song writers like this and that have the same goals and views…etc…”

With music that is very happy in feeling it can be quite confusing when you actually start to listen to their lyrics because they are…well…quite dark.  According to the group, the confusion is intentional.

“Yap all intentional…as far as i know..unless Darragh is sad… need a hug?,” says Luke.

Darragh explains, “Yes, I think melody is the first element of a song that grab you, and the lyrics are designed to unfold over time. Plus, I can’t really write words when I’m happy.”

Well whether he’s happy or not, Angel Pier’s songs are exceptional and thankfully the band is there to help uplift the mood and tie everything together.

“Usually I’ll arrive with basic elements of a song structure, chord, melody etc… unarranged completely, and then we all work together on the song, playing off each other until we’re happy with the result.  The end result is usually quite different to where we start,” says Darragh.

Luke’s approach?

“I personally try to feed of the vocal melody 1st so that my guitar part is not over powering or takes away from the melody. Then i try to feed off the bass as much as possible,” explains Luke.

“It’s a bit of a moulding process, and everyone has their input, my parts will usually change based on what everyone else is playing,” reveals Darragh.  “Vinny & Mark work together to get a “groove” for a song so to speak, not sure if thats the most appropriate word but you know what I mean, and myself and Luke usually try and be sympathetic to each other, guitar wise.”

Quite the talkative bunch, this interview went on for hours and much was revealed.  But for now, the introduction has been made and we predict HUGE success for this band.

For more information visit:

www.myspace.com/angelpier

 

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