This is the fourth year that I’ll be hosting an event for the Musictown Festival in the Music Library, Dublin. Previously we’ve had Mongrel State, Kicking Bird, Naoise Roo, Hvmmingbyrd, The Motives and Cult Called Man. This year we’ve got an electro act, No More Questions and the horror/fantasy inspired rock of Lugosi. I’ll be leading the Q&A between their live sets so I thought I’d get a head start and have a chat with the Reverend JM Burr from Lugosi. We meet in the library a month before the show.
“There aren’t enough places like this. I was working with a guy who was bumming me out and I didn’t get on with. There were only two of us in the office. I was trying to teach myself more theory and I discovered that the Music Library has a piano here so I spent every lunch on a Thursday here just running through scales, expecting that that would transfer over to the music theory that I was going to follow up with. It didn’t help. That’s my experience of playing in a library. I’ve gone to a number of things in the room here. My friend is a librarian in London and has to go on all these ‘Save The Library’ marches. It makes no sense.”
The two bands will be playing a set together to close the show. “On Soundcloud, they [No More Questions] have genres for each of their tracks. One says ‘dubstep’ and the beats are very interesting. Then there’s another one for ‘pop’ and it’s nothing I’d listen to. It should be an interesting show. I have an idea for where it’s going to go. We’re saying we’ll do an original song together, a drone-y jam number and then a cover. Even if we don’t get it right, we’ll still get it right. They seem like they’ll be comfortable in whatever modality of music. If we spend two or three hours in a room and make a soundscape together that could be good. Rather than a ‘1-2-3-Go!’ That mightn’t work for us. It’s musical impressionism.”
“Several years ago, around Halloween time, I got a note in my door from a neighbour. It said “I’ve seen you play. I like the way that you sing and growl and front your other band. Let’s get together and make some music.” We didn’t have a drummer at the time, so it was the bass player and myself, the singer. We got a guitarist and we knew who we wanted for the drums. My brother-in-law, who had been playing drums in one of my other bands. We got a drummer from metalireland.com; he was a very good drummer but we just really wanted Jimmy. There’s nothing wrong with his drumming but he wasn’t Jimmy.”
“I had a number of songs that I had written originally for a punk band when I was just out of high school. We were called The Red Skulls. We recorded some songs and the ones that I had written the words and music to, we threw in for Lugosi to get us started. Then we started writing other tunes as a group. Generally speaking, they were all inspired by horror movies, science fiction, TV references, campy horror, serious horror, but it’s all in the spirit of fun.”
“Myself and Neil are big fans of The Misfits. The first time I heard them I was thirteen years old. I just could not believe what I was hearing. The other punk I’d heard up to that point wasn’t very good. It wasn’t very interesting. With a lot of American hardcore, I just don’t like the singing. It’s not very musical. Everybody loves Black Flag but they never had great singers. Musically fantastic, and Rollins did so much after but it never appealed to me. I prefer the more musical singing like Bad Religion. A lot of people are turned off by that because it is very melodic but, for me, the musical singing, coupled with interesting growly stuff, really makes for something I like to listen to. And I like to make music that I want to listen to.”
“We’re going to release an album soon. We’re putting the finishing touches on it at the beginning of April. Pressing is a thing from the past but I love the idea of a physical product so even a small run that we could have just for gigs. It’ll be a 10-track album with nine originals and an instrumental, a gargantuan instrumental called ‘Galactus’. There’s songs about vampires, about shape-shifting native American witches, plain old run-of-the-mill witches. There’s a song about Ash Vs Evil Dead, ‘Groovy, Baby’. There’s one about Twin Peaks. A lot of people don’t consider that horror but I think it’s the height of horror. This is the guy who made Eraserhead after all.”
Lugosi and No More Questions play The Music Library, Dublin on Saturday April 13 from 2.30 – 4.30 pm. This is an all-ages show and tickets are free from Eventbrite here.