- 17 Feb 04
Not even the loss of their gear in a fire has dampened the enthusiasm and ambition of Cork’s Waiting Room.
Change, as we are frequently told, is good. It’s certainly an ethic that has worked for Cork’s Waiting Room, who have taken great leaps with their second album, Catering For Headphones. While their debut Losing Patience was a more straightforward affair, this release finds them heading down a more experimental, complex path.
“The first album was just (guitarist/vocalist) Nigel’s songs”, explains bassist Dave (drummer Wayne completing the picture). “We just went into the studio and recorded them. Once we had it done we started practicing more and writing together more. The old songs didn’t mean that much to us anymore so we never really released it properly. We just started to work on the second album from then on, it’s come from all of us and our different influences. We realised we could do a lot better with the second album, especially if we took our time”.
It transpires that the positive reaction from domestic audiences was a key factor in the band’s decision to push the stylistic envelope with their econd album.
“Yeah, people who go to gigs here are actually there to watch the bands and not just go out and drink. It’s cool because there are so many musicians in Ireland, more so than in the UK or anywhere else we’ve played. People who are actually interested come to the shows over here and they get where you’re coming from.
Still, given that the live experience can be something of a battle of wills, was it a leap of faith to begin playing quieter, more intense material?
“It’s a hard one to call really but you have to have dynamics to grasp people,” Dave agrees. “If you don’t people will just hear the one thing all night and it’s not interesting enough. It’s good to have diversity in every song.
Yet Waiting Room persevered and refused to be rushed into making a second album.
“We took our time. In fact there were a lot of overdubs that we took out because we didn’t want it to be too cluttered. We’ve all done a course in music and our lecturer always said that less is more. You come to realise that it’s important that certain notes don’t get lost behind keyboard effects. Plus you can’t do too much on the record because then it’s even harder to produce it live, especially when there’s only three of us”.
On the evidence of Catering For Headphones they got the balance just right. The influence of those instrumental post-rock bands is there, as are more diverse elements. It’s an apt title too, with close scrutiny revealing a world of subtleties.
“It’s really nice to be able to stand back and listen to each song, seeing what works and re-arranging things,” says Dave of the recording process. “It’s a totally different experience to playing live or when we’re rehearsing in the garage. We’re happy though, it’s a nice mix between the garage and the studio”.
Catering For Headphones is out now on Out On A Limb. Waiting Room play Half Moon, Cork (February 12), High Stool Limerick (13), Tower Records, Dublin (14 @ 1pm), Sugar Club, Dublin (14), Aunt Annie’s Belfast (15), Nerve Centre, Derry (16), Mullingar (19), Skellys, Ballymahon (20)