- 09 Sep 03
Limericks Giveamanakick insist it's ok to be loud.
As with most stories, the tale of Giveamanakick begins with the end of another. In this case it was the demise of well respected Limerick band Tooth, the break up of which left main songwriter Steve kicking his musical heels. “I started playing these solo gigs with these songs that I had,” he explains, “just me, an electric guitar and a few noisy peddles. Keith saw me one night and I mentioned that I was looking for a drummer. He was playing guitar in another Limerick band but he started playing drums with me as well.”
Was he worried that he might end up being lumped in with all the other singer-songwriters doing the rounds?
“Kind of, but my songs were always a bit noisy so there wasn’t any gentility there whatsoever,” he admits. “It’s easy to do because you can get away with a lot more. People were interested in it, but they seemed more interested when I got the drummer. I still do my solo stuff but it’s a bit quieter these days, the sort of stuff I couldn’t do with Giveamanakick.
Having come so close with Tooth and then watched it all disintegrate, Steve was loath to go down the band route for a second time. In fact, even forming a duo proved something of a test. “It was a tough decision to get someone in the first place. As a guitarist as well as a drummer, Keith knew exactly what I was trying to do with the songs. I said, let’s just be loud so I got a big bass amp and put my guitar through that and I use special pedals and samples”.
Although the concept of the two person band isn’t particularly new, it has of course been given a higher profile by a certain pairing from Detroit. Did Steve and Keith let out howls of despair when they realised that comparisons were certain to start appearing.
“It only comes out of laziness,” says Steve. “It’s nice to put people in bundles rather than apart but if people heard us they’d stop thinking that straight away”.
As their debut album Is It OK To Be Loud, Jesus? confirms, such comparisons are indeed a waste of time. Giveamanakick may have their roots in the US guitar scene, but this is more a brutal hardcore racket than any faux blues revival. Even so, does Steve see some sort of beauty in the simplicity of it all? He laughs. “Yeah… beautiful like a rock in the face… There’s just two people to look at and an awful lot of noise. There’s no subtlety and I’d be the first to admit that, but I love it.”
The duo are a product of the burgeoning Limerick scene, having benefited from the opportunity of playing a series of high profile supports. Is there not a risk, however, that that approach can have a negative effect in the long run?
“There is that danger, especially in Limerick,” Steve agrees. “There’s a group called AMC who bring all these bands into Limerick like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. There is a big music scene in the town but bands appear then disappear for a few months. We kept bugging AMC for support slots, but after a while you think people are going to get sick of you if you keep doing that. We’re trying to get out of Limerick and do our own gigs”.
He’s the first to admit though, that such activity has been hugely beneficial for local musicians.
“It’s fantastic. You always know that there’s going to be a place to put on a gig, whereas maybe three years ago it was really drying up.”
As with so many Irish bands at the moment, Giveamanakick are firmly rooted in the DIY ethos. “We do our own gigs as well, you can’t rely on other people all the time. In my old band we were putting on gigs all the time. We organised our album launch and tour, no-one else is going to do it for you.”
Does he think that this approach has become easier of late?
“I wouldn’t have any experience of any other way to be honest, this is the only way I know of getting music out there, to do it myself and get it as far as I can.”
Is It OK To Be Loud, Jesus? Is out
now on Out On A Limb