Ahead of their Sunday Night headline slot at this year's popular mini Irish fest Castlepalooza , Glasswerk caught up with Liam Howlett’s Irish support band of choice – Noise Control – to talk video games, Dubstep and work on their debut album…
How does it feel to be back headlining the Castlepalooza festival?
El: The last time we played here we had the same headline slot, it was great to play as the audience was packed in for it.
Kev: It’s great to back playing here, there’s a great set up and a great little vibe about this festival. Although the last time we were here it was a mud bath all over the place…
Artists like Metallica have grabbed the headlines for illustrating just what a great platform video gaming is for getting their music out to the masses, but you were ahead of that curve thanks to Pure (Xbox 360 quad racer)…
El: Getting our two songs as the default tracks to Pure was immense for us. We still get people hitting us up all the time on Myspace thanks to the Pure soundtrack.
Declan: And its another notch on your musical CV when it comes to knowing the avenues to take for licensing your music out to other games and even movies.
Was the approach to song writing you adopted during RTE’s Raw Sessions that different to the usual approach you adopt when crafting a song?
Kev: The Raw Sessions were great because it kicked us all in the one room and made us get shit done. With the five of us each having our own personal lives and families its very difficult to juggle things around and find the time.
Declan: We might have managed nine proper rehearsals as a full band in 2008, and mostly those were thanks to playing so many really big gigs last year; you always have to go in and rehearse before the really big ones. The Raw Sessions forced us to get our skates on, so we were glad of it.
You guys were due to play Glastonbury this year? How was that?
Kev: We were supposed to be playing the Arcadia stage this year, but we couldn’t get over because it was costing too much to fly everything over.
El: Which is a real shame, as we had three nights booked in Trashed City.
Kev: I’m sickened we couldn’t go, I would have loved to been at Glastonbury as I’ve never been to it.
Declan: But there is a chance that if the Arcadia stage returns to Electric Picnic this year that we’ll be able to play it there. The people who run Arcadia are friends of ours from Bristol, we’ve gigged with them previously and we’d love to gig with them again!
The most recent musical touchstone for your sound would be Hadouken! Do you worry that the Grindie genre might be the easy label for the music press to attach to you?
El: I wouldn’t even know what a “Grindie” genre was, so I dunno if I can be worried about it!
Kev: I think musically we cross at least two scenes, so getting stuck with one label isn’t a worry. But I suppose Hadouken! would be the nearest thing to what Mark does with his vocals, they have a similar London inspired twang, and they have an electro and hard techno vibe underneath their music, so they would be the nearest comparison.
But our music is very different to the type of music that they make. When people hear our album they’ll realise that it’s different to the singles we’ve released, that the music goes much deeper.
Declan: We don’t ever aim for any genre when we sit down and write our tunes, we just write whatever comes out. Its not like we say to ourselves ‘this is what we’re being told is happening now, lets try and do that’.
When it comes to writing we avoid using stock sounds, we don’t sample anybody else’s songs or anything like that, and we aim for the most original sound possible. In fact the only sample we use which we didn’t write ourselves comes from Planet of the Apes, and we might try and sell that to Fight Like Apes a couple of years down the line!
I noticed that you had listed yourself as rock/electro/experimental on your myspace, but recently you’ve replaced ‘experimental’ with 'Japanese Pop'. Is that a tip of the hat to the Derry Lads (Japanese Popstars) who are making waves at the moment?
Declan: Well it wasn’t us who changed that, it was probably our vocalist Mark who changed that. He changes it from week to week ‘cause he gets bored!
But Japanese Popstars are amazing; they’re good friends of ours. We did that show with them in Dollard park (with The Prodigy) and session-ed the night away with them.
Kev: I love their debut album, and it’s great that they’re kicking everyone’s ass with it. There’s no bullshit with them, they’re not contrived, it’s just “this is what we like” (to play) music.
People can like it or leave it, and like ourselves they aren’t setting out to fit into a genre or expectations, which is probably why we get on well with them.
I was at a Pendulum gig in the RDS and there was everyone from Skater kids, through Goths to the Drum and Bass crowd in attendance. Have you noticed a similar diversity among the audiences at your gigs?
Kev: We get people who are really into their dance music, and then we have the rock crowd showing up…
Declan: …really we get all sorts turning out, which is great because we know that we’ve got an audience of people who are just into their music.
And what sort of reception did you receive in London while touring your single release (Cities of Dreams/Mudbath) in Autumn last year?
Declan: It was great; the audiences over there are a bit more in tune and receptive to what we have to put out. We’re doing better in the UK than over in Ireland, because more people over there seem to get what we’re doing. We’ve been getting some great guest producers in on the album as they’re fans of what we’re doing…
Kev: …hence getting gigs like the Prodigy tour!
Does the Dubstep scene over there excite you?
Kev: I love all that Dubstep stuff that’s emerging at the moment, I mean we included a Dubstep remix in the new EP, that’s the first remix that we’ve had done in that style and I thought it was absolutely brilliant.
It’s a real underground scene, and its great to see a dance music style going back underground because that’s when you get the really good stuff breaking through; in a way it's gone full circle.
Those extra remixes really made the Addiction EP for me. I know it's getting ahead of yourselves but has the idea of a remix album crossed your mind yet?
Declan: Yeah it has, there’s a good few remixes knocking around already, and we’ve only remixed about four or five of the tracks, the eventual plan is to get remixes done of all the tunes and we’d definitely like to get a remix album together.
Kev: Perhaps we’d put it out as a freebie, or a digital download, but one way or another we aim to get a remix album out there at some point.
Declan: And we haven’t done any of our own remixes yet, but that’s something I can’t wait to start doing really, to remix someone in a band sense, to rewrite the parts of the song which you want to do and then perform it live, kind of not far away from what Pendulum do with 'Voodoo People'. It’s putting your own stamp on a tune.
How is progress going on the debut album. The last I heard it was still slated for release this year. Can we still look forward to that?
Kev: No, it’s going to be out at the end of January or early February of 2010. The album is about 95% finished; there are just a few little tweaks, a few little bits of mastering left to be done. We’ve had a friend of ours Ger McDonald in producing with us.
We’ve also being doing stuff with Dave Pemberton and it’s so great to work with talent like that. But now we’ve to tie in all the PR, get everything done right.
El: We more or less want to get a global release on it, not just (in) Ireland.
Kev: We’ve arranged a worldwide distribution deal already, so now it’s about lining up all the marketing…
Declan: Like we’re going to license out different tracks to games and movie soundtracks. We’re looking for more exposure and as many varieties of exposure as possible, because just releasing something worldwide won’t guarantee whether people will get to hear it.
What can we expect from Noise Control in the latter half of this year?
El: We’ll be playing Le Cheile festival straight after tonight and Arthur's Day in September. Hopefully Electric Picnic too.
Kev: We will playing a nice slot at the Hard Working Class Heroes Festival, which is a wicked platform for new Irish acts to get heard.
Declan: And there could be some more Prodigy gigs in December at the O2 too. But the kind of PR necessary for doing a worldwide release is where we really need to be clever and that’s where we’ll be concentrating our efforts for the next while.
Thanks for talking to Glasswerk, we appreciate it.
Dublin-based band Noise Control are building quite a fanbase in the UK & Ireland due to their blistering live shows and high profile support slots with fellow fans The Prodigy.
You can catch them play The Whirly Gig (Dub Arts Fest) in Temple Bar's Meeting House Square, alongside DJ/VJ CHEEBA from Ninja Tunes and many more. The gig takes place this Sunday August 23rd and tickets are €15 available now from tickets.ie