- 01 Dec 22
Meltybrains? Brian Dillon and Micheál Quinn talk about the band's creative process, their upcoming Dublin gig, their debut album and more.
Meltybrains? are a five-piece band from Dublin made up of classically trained musicians who venture outside of the box to make captivating and imaginative electronic soundscapes. They are known for their highly unique live performances which leave attendees in awe. Their cult-following is in luck, as the group is returning this December 17th for their first live show in over three years. They are also set to release their debut album You on January 25th.
Despite having spent a sizable amount of time separated and working on other projects, Meltybrains? members Tadgh Byrne, Brian Dillon, Ben "Bix" McKenna, Donnacha O'Malley and Micheál Quinn are more than ready to get back into the swing of things. Micheál assured that they aren't nervous for their upcoming gig at The Button Factory: "I'd say in the back of all our heads there's a little bit of, 'Wow, we haven't done a Meltybrains? show in a while,' and Meltybrains? shows are kind of a specific type of thing. And it's like 'Oh will we find out way to that headspace?' But I think once you get the five of us together in a room and we're bashing away, I think it'll all just click. Our main prerogative is to enjoy ourselves when we're doing the gig. Spirits are good."
The group have a special bond, Micheál explained. "We used to spend 24/7 together when we were coming up." The musicians separated a bit to focus on other endeavors- Micheál himself is the drummer for popular Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy- and are now getting used to being together again. "It's strange to go back to the headspace where it used to be like one singular headspace for the five of us, whereas now everyone's doing their own thing," Micheál shared.
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However, there was never a doubt that Meltybrains? would find their way back to each other. "There was never a will-we wont-we," Micheál explained. Although they play music separately as well, he continued "there's something about a Melty gig that's very different. It's almost like home base, and you're like 'Now I'm back where I belong, doing what I'm supposed to be doing.'"
Meltybrains? are notorious for their theatrical and unique gigs. The Irish Times called them "bewildering," and The Huffington Post said they're "unlikely to compare to anything you've seen or heard before." The keys player Brian used the words "seizure," "spectacle," "fiasco," and "circus," through laughs. "It's a bunch of people who are very very good at what they do, but who are innately messes. It's a constant battle between musicianship and skill and messing," Micheál explained. He promised that concertgoers will "walk away being like, 'fuck, that was so good and I don't know why.' None of it on paper adds up to being awesome and it exceeds expectation."
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The group are eager to get the album out after spending so much time on it. They've already released three singles, 'Journey To/From The Meltyworld,' Worth,' and 'Space Ghetto' with the rest to come next year. "All albums take time and this one has taken a lot of time. With anything like that, I think to a certain extent you've kind of moved on by the time it comes out," Brian explained. "At the same time, we all really like it. Looking forward to other people getting to hear it as well and hoping that people will enjoy it as much as we do. But there's not a lot of pressure," he continued. Micheál agreed that they all feel "carefree" about it, and are generally in a good headspace.
In true Meltybrains? fashion, the way they created the album was nontraditional. Even before the pandemic, the group was well versed in making music together while not being physically together. "There were points where three of us were living together working on it, then I'd be away for a while and the four lads would keep going. It was worked on randomly all over the place and in different groupings of people," Micheál explained. "You'd come in one day and there'd be a whole new bit to a song and you'd do stuff to it and change it, then you'd come back the next day and what you did was completely gone and had been tucked in somewhere else," he continued.
Their writing process is so chaotic, that at times the group can't even remember who wrote what. "It's funny, when we listened back to it someone said 'Oh that's really cool, who did that?' and none of us knew," said Brian.
Micheál recommends you listen to You by yourself for the first time, as it's "pensive" and "immersive" in nature. In terms of the album's message, it's up to the listener's interpretation. "There's an ambiguity to the lyrics. It's vague enough that you can make up your own little version or picture something," he explained. Brian added, "The name of the album is You. And the sleeve has a mirror on it, so I suppose we've left that up to the listener to a certain extent."
Both Micheál and Brian are beaming with pride about the album, and can't wait to share what they've made with everyone.
You will be out in full on January 25th- in the meantime, listen to their latest single 'Space Ghetto':
Tickets to the Meltybrains? Button Factory gig on December 17th are available now from €25.