The festival brings together some of the best extreme metal bands on the island of Ireland. As part of our build up to the event, we will be interviewing all of the main stage acts: today it is the turn of Kevin McHugh and John Moffatt, vocalist and guitarist respectively with Setting Off Sirens to go under the spotlight…
How would you describe your style of music?
Kev – We make sharp, jagged, aggre ssive music using punk as a starting point and taking it wherever we feel like. There are elements of metal, rock and even Nick Cave in there, depending on what day you catch us.
Who all is in the band and how did you come together?
Kev – The band consists of John Moffatt on guitar, Ciarán McNulty on bass, Alan Connolly on drums and myself on vocals. Ciarán, Alan and myself were previously in a band called Fractured and when that went south we hooked up with John, ditched all our songs and started from scratch. We’ve all been friends for longer than we can count (we’re in a punk band so we can only count to four) and we trust each other as people and musicians. This means we can try anything when writing and not be afraid of being laughed out of the room. We still may be laughed out of course but we can take it!
Do you have any material available?
Kev – We have a mini album, ‘The Eyes Of The Ancients’ which we recorded in 2007. We were still finding our sound back then but there are a few gems on there.
Our full length album, ‘Step Up’ came out in 2010 on the FOADMusick label and was exactly what the title suggested – a big step up for us in terms of focus, confidence and just knowing our own minds I suppose.
Both albums were recorded in Oaks Recording Studios with John Moffatt and Bob Kerrigan at the helm. ‘Step Up’ can be bought from most major outlets worldwide either digitally or in physical form but for ….Eyes’… you’ll have to come see us play and get it in person.
Do you have any new material coming out in the near future??
Kev – Right now we’re preparing to record the next album. We’re at the stage where we’re going through the songs with a fine tooth comb, making sure they’re up to scratch and there are no little niggly bits that will show up during recording. It really pays to have EVERYTHING ironed out before going into the studio, that’s not the time to try to fix things.
I’m glad to say the songs are sounding good and we’re almost ready to go on them. We’ll be playing a lot of them at Monsters Of Rot so they’ll get a good airing then.
Have you played with any of the other bands on the MOR bill before? What other bands on the MOR bill are you looking forward to seeing?
John – I’ve played with Overoth before (in another band – William Christ and the One Man Orgy) – fucking awesome band and a great bunch of lads. And Sirens have played with the Savage Rabbits before some several times, good friends of ours with a deadly early 90s sound and great songs. Looking forward to seeing everybody but in particular for me, its all about Coldwar and Fuckhammer: Coldwar’s latest album is just crushing!
Also,its great to see the noise stage running again at MOR, it’s always a pleasure to see Bipolar Joe, Luxury Mollusc, Phoresy and Cathal Rogers (I run noise gigs occasionally at the studio,so know them all well, bunch of looneys that they are!)… also nice to see a few new names on there.
What is your assessment of the current state of the Irish metal scene? Is it in a good state of health? Are there too many bands and not enough venues/promoters, or is there a good balance between the two?
John – As far as the actual music goes, the Irish scene is in great health! Loads of great bands out there doing great things at the moment, really digging what Malthusian and Okus are doing in particular….A s far as promoters and venues… a slightly different story I think. Too many people with the same idea for my liking and in a small skint country, too many gigs means smaller audiences and more or less paying to play.
Is there enough support for the metal scene in the Irish media? Or is that important?
John – I’m not sure how important the media is to be honest, sure, it’s nice to see your band name mentioned in the press, but does it get you anywhere? I’m not sure.
John – It probably is taking over. To be honest, I’m shite at Facebook etc., but I can see how and why it is becoming so important.
Outside of the bands at MOR, what other Irish bands would you recommend PM readers check out?
Kev – I love The Lee Harveys, Paranoid Visions, Runnin’ Riot, Joy Of Six and Darkest Era to name a few.
John – Another vote for Runnin’ Riot, Lee Harveys and Paranoid Visions from me, but I’ll add Jobseekers, Malthusian, Okus, Cutter (fucking AWESOME groovy Satan worshipping bluesy metal) Bad Boat, Black Mono, Gargantuan…this list could go on for a while so I’ll stop there.
Apart from your instruments (obviously), what is the one essential item you always carry when playing a gig or festival?
Kev – A change of clothes! Well, at least a T-shirt.
John – listen to Mr Swanky with his spare t-shirt! But yeah, emergency tobacco and skins and a stash of tea bags.
Finally, MOR is a week after Bloodstock: do you think a festival like BOA would work on the island of Ireland?
John – Honestly? not a hope. Don’t even think about it. There are enough great independent metal festivals in Ireland (Siege Of Limerick, To Hell or To Connaught, MOR, etc.): a big one would be an unqualified disaster. Just sayin’…
You can find out more about Monsters Of Rot at www.monstersofrot.com.
Tomorrow, it is the turn of Maulgrim from black metallers Eternal Helcaraxe to go under the PM spotlight.