By Mathew Robson
Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, and the third most populous on the island of Ireland. The Gaelic for Cork (Corcaigh) literally translates as “marshy place”. It’s in this once marshy Irish city that Inhale The Fall call home.
Cork itself is not a place that immediately springs to mind when thinking of hard rock bands. Consisting of Jenny O’ Keeffe (Vocals), Pavol Rosa (Guitar), Alex Hornibrook (Guitar), Eibhlin Palfrey (Bass) and Barry Wilson (Drums)- Inhale the Fall have been taking Ireland by storm. Described as ‘infectiously melodic’; the band is eagerly awaiting the release of their debut EP- due for release on 8th August 2013 with a launch party in The Crane Lane Theatre in Cork.
With an album aimed for a release sometime at the end of the year, Inhale the Fall took time out of their busy schedule to talk to us and tell us all about gin, music and the search for a drummer.
Eibhlin and Pavol started off playing in local bands, where did the decision arise that you guys wanted to work with each other?
We were playing together in a previous band and when the singer left, we decided to continue developing a new sound and produce our ideas. We spent a lot of time working on the songs and getting the sound we were looking for.
Can you tell us a little bit about the recruitment of Jenny and Branko?
Branko was the drummer from the previous band who we called over from Slovakia to drum for us. But he has since moved away and we have the extremely talented Barry Wilson drumming for us. We met Jenny when I was standing in for a bassist in a cover band and she was the singer. We have also taken on a second guitarist, Alex Hornibrook who brings some extra ummph to the band.
I thought Jenny’s vocals would be more than suitable for our music, so we asked her if she would record a song for us to see how it will sound. So we tried the first song and we were very happy with what came out of it. Jenny agreed to record some more songs for us and so here we are.
Describe for us your first gig together as Inhale the Fall.
We started out as a recording project but as we were writing more songs we put a demo up online and we had really great feedback about it. I thought it would be a good idea to release them. So we are having our first public gig to celebrate our E.P. launch on the 8th of August, in the Crane Lane.
You find that song writing and lyrics are just as important to the overall construction of a song as the melody. Can you talk us through a typical song writing process? Do the lyrics come first or the melody?
It usually starts with some chord progression or a melody, so it’s either finding a melody in the progression or building chords around melody, which ends up being a vocal line. Many times it ends up with nothing usable, but if there’s a strong and catchy idea, then we try to develop it into a song. That involves choosing a structure, tempo, rhythm and groove. Quite important aspect while writing music is knowing the singers abilities and vocal range as it is essential for choosing the right key and voicing of the chords. Lyrics come after there’s a melody line written, which is not easy for Eibhlin as she writes them. We spend lots of time discussing the atmosphere and theme of the song, which affects the arrangements. It’s very interactive and experimental process, which requires lots of concentration and listening to each other’s ideas (and sometimes lots of gin).
You wear your influences on your sleeve, even describing your upcoming EP as reminiscent of Halestorm and Guano Apes, what else influences you guys to write and record your own music?
I was listening to lots of very heavy music when I was younger and I mean very heavy. I love ‘big’ sound and production, experimenting with different sounds and effects. The most inspiring music I have been listening to in last few years is Devin Townsend and Porcupine Tree. Of course there’s tonnes of other bands I listen to, but if I really like some music I tend to listen to it over and over again, analyze it from all points of view.
There are four members of Inhale the Fall, do you all have separate influences and how does that affect your writing and recording?
It’s actually five members now. We got another guitarist Alex Hornibrook on board when we decided to do the E.P. launch, because most of the songs are arranged for two guitars. We want the live show to sound as close to recording as possible.
Our influences wouldn’t be too far from each other, everyone seems to have good bit of background in heavy music.
You’ve your first EP coming out sometime later this year, can you tell us a little bit about it and it’s inception and recording?
The EP is coming out on the 8th of August and the launch party will take place in The Crane Lane Theatre in Cork.
As I have mentioned earlier, it started with the first song called ‘All Apologies’ that we have recorded with Jenny. All the music was recorded in our very basic home studio and then we recorded vocals in Jenny’s house. Working with Jenny is a great experience as she is opened to trying different ideas and her attitude is very professional.
Being able to produce our own music is a huge advantage because it takes away the pressure of expensive studio time. For us the production process involved lots of learning and trying out different things to achieve the sound we were looking for. It took a good bit of time, but in the end of the day it didn’t cost a penny and we are happy with the result. The only thing that was done outside our home studio was mastering, which we did ourselves at Data Recording Studios.
The EP contains the single Weak, which you’ve just finished producing a video for; how did you find the whole ‘movie making’ experience?
Making the music video was an unbelievable experience. We choose to use Cork based production team “Epic” who were outstanding. Just seeing what goes on behind the scenes and how much work is involved is breathtaking. The crew spent some very long nights getting the shots we wanted and the actors were put through hell but the professionalism of everybody involved was amazing.
We wanted to have some story in the video, so we came up with this concept considering lyrics and the atmosphere of the song. We had couple of meetings with lads from EPIC who were very enthusiastic and creative in terms of production. Apart from not being able to move my head for a week it was a great experience. I’m looking forward to shooting more videos in future.
The video features a horror movie storyline, is horror a significant part of your stage persona?
I don’t deliberately think of horror when I’m writing or performing, its more like a by product of insanity, that some people seem to enjoy.
Presumably the release of the EP will coincide with a tour to promote it; where will it take you guys?
At the moment we are concentrating on finishing the album, which should be released by the end of the year. Most of our time is taken up with that, but we will be gigging in the near future to promote the album.
I rather think about a gig as an audio-visual show. I would like to spend more time working on the visual part of the show to make our gigs more worthwhile for our audience. With the album promotion in the future I hope to play venues where we can implement more visuals such as projections, etc.
You’re based in Cork, how would you describe the music scene up there? Are there parts of the country you find are more receptive to your genre of music?
Cork has a lot of very talented musicians and the music scene is very diverse. There’s always a gig worth going to.
I think that heavier style of music has relatively small background and tradition in Ireland. That means less target audience, but also less competition. Irish scene is influenced mainly by US and UK music. What I miss here is European scene, which I was exposed to before I moved to Ireland.
I have met loads of very talented musicians here and I’m glad to be part of the Cork scene.
Describe for us what you would consider to be the perfect gig and, conversely, the worst imaginable gig.
Hmm, If the audience is into it and there’s a good vibe then that’s a great gig for me. There are a lot of things that can go wrong during a gig but in the end if the music is good and people enjoy it that’s all that matters.
Technical difficulties can turn gig into a nightmare. The perfect gig is when you don’t feel like leaving the stage and the audience doesn’t want you to stop playing.
Where would you like to see Inhale the Fall in five years time?
I would like to have written and released a couple of albums, it would be nice to build up a good fan base and possibly tour with some European acts.
Sold out Wembley? Hall of Fame?
You can view their video here:
You can find out more about Inhale The Fall on their official site at:
You can download their single “Weak” here: