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Our Glorious Leaders
One year on from their Play On The Day triumph, Leaders Of Men have the world at their feet. Frontman Brian Ashe explains why success won’t change them.
Dave Hanratty, 03 Oct 2012
“It was a mad day,” he recalls. “The week before, we played in our local on a Friday, just to a few mates in the upstairs of a restaurant in Tallaght. Arthur’s Day itself, that was the same day that Hot Press was out, so we’re walking to the shop for smokes and there’s your face on the cover and then you’re on the way to soundcheck with Paolo Nutini and Stereophonics, so that was a fuckin’ mad day. Very, very, very mental. Did we freak out? Honestly, no. It felt comfortable. It might be an ego thing but I think because we have our aims set so high that we know all the stages that we have to go through until we get to the big stadiums. Unfortunately, we are that cocky in the sense that this is where we want to go and what we want to do.
“There’s no point in doing something if you don’t want to be the best at it. If you’re going to be a band, try and be the biggest you possibly can and aim for that. Every other step should be a stepping stone. With that mentality, you don’t really get fazed on the way up. The day you walk out in the Aviva in front of 50,000 people? That’s when you’re allowed to get fazed.”
There’s not a hint of doubt or humour in Ashe’s voice as he lists off this lofty ambition in the same tone of voice that you or I would use to order a coffee. Such moments are a case of when, not if. The ‘when’ is interesting, where Leaders Of Men are concerned. Their continuing ascent up the ladder has barely left time to stop and take it all in, yet there is a deliberate slow burn aspect to their music that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Take new EP A Trick On Confidence, for example. First recorded as part of an RTÉ session, the finished product failed to leave the band particularly enamoured.
“It came out really clean, really poppy,” sighs Ashe. “We listened back to it and our cringe bones went on fire, to be honest. We got the masters, deleted everything and started from scratch. It was originally titled The War On Conversation which will never exist again, in that form at least. I felt like Danny from The Coronas listening to Metallica or something. I was burning inside. With the new EP, we did everything our way. It was 100% the kind of thing that we would want to listen to and not necessarily what radio would like. And it worked out better in our favour. It is a slow-burner, purposefully so.