Hiya! Can you introduce yourself/yourselves to our readers please?
I am Martin, the band's guitarist. The other members are Alan (bass), Dan (vocals) and Kevin (drums). We are all from Limerick city and the surrounding area in the mid-west of Ireland.
You are active now for some four years, looking back to that first part of your band career, what have been some highs and lows?
The lows have usually revolved around nailing down a solid lineup and getting together a group of people that were able to rehearse and gig on a regular basis, something that we have only achieved in the past two years. We are a lot more productive and having a lot more fun now that we have a committed lineup. Recent highs have included releasing our debut EP 'Cry Havoc', supporting Decapitated in Dublin and hitting the Netherlands for a couple of gigs in Amsterdam (Vrankrijk) and Leeuwarden (Mukkes) in October of 2012. Mostly we just enjoy playing with good bands and getting to travel around the place, playing gigs and meeting like-minded people.
What was the musical idea, the goal you had in mind, when starting out? What are your goals now? Both musically and about things you want to do in the (near) future.
To be honest I do not think we had a particularly well-developed musical vision in mind when we first started out four years ago. It has really only been in the past two years that we have really began to develop a clear idea of the sound we are going for, which is due in large part to the fact that this is the most committed and stable lineup we have had. In terms of goals for the band, we just want to keep having fun and contribute to developing a good local scene in Limerick. We would love to play more in Europe too and get back to the Netherlands as soon as possible. Gigging in the Netherlands recently was definitely the best experience we have had as a band so far. As regards long-term goals, we do not really have any to be honest, we are just happy to keep having fun.
"Operation Cast Lead", initiating a three-week conflict that would become known as the Gaza War or the Battle of al-Furqan. It was a particularly savage conflict in that most of the fighting took place in densely populated cities like Gaza, Khan Yunis and Rafah, meaning that civilian casualties were high and atrocities, such as the use of human shields, were committed by both sides. As a result, Israel came under a lot of international pressure to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza. So, on January 7th, 2009, the Israeli military opened a humanitarian corridor through Gaza and both they and Hamas agreed to stop fighting for three hours to allow the safe delivery of aid to the civilian population. The two sides went on to repeat this three hour ceasefire nearly every day for the remainder of the conflict.
It was during this ceasefire that people would leave the safety of their homes to get food and supplies and conduct the ordinary business of everyday life, and so for us the ceasefire came to represent the disconnect between the leaders of the warring factions, squabbling over land and pride and pseudo religious ideals, and the ordinary people they claim to represent who, for the most part, just want to live in peace and carry on with their lives the same as everyone else. Basically we named our band in solidarity with the people who found themselves caught in the crossfire of Hamas and the Israeli military and for whom the three hour ceasefires meant a brief daily respite from the violence.
Not to continue on the 'war theme', but because your music made me think of it; I described your music as "Bolt Thrower played at 45 rpm, with a dose of thrash and just a hint of core.". Which I liked, by the way! Love the way you combine the heavy, punishing groove, mad drive and aggression. How do you describe your own sound?
Cheers, it always feels really good when someone gets what we are going for and we were really happy when we read your review because you were the first, and so far the only, reviewer to pick up on the Bolt Thrower influence. We definitely like to play fast and to keep the songs relatively short and aggressive, but with a healthy dose of filthy groove. For me personally, creating and maintaining a sense of urgency is what we are all about. I guess we are trying to mix the aggressive approach of darker thrash bands like Slayer, Sepultura and Kreator with the groove of bands like Entombed and Bolt Thrower. In terms of the hardcore element of our sound, that is something we have picked up from going to hardcore gigs and playing with hardcore bands more so than actually listening to hardcore records, although bands like Entombed and Bolt Thrower are/were both clearly influenced by 80s crust and d-beat so I guess we have picked up on that as well. We have been described as "filthy thrash" and I think sums up our sound pretty well.
Pretty much the only thing I did not like about 'Cry Havoc' is that it is way too short! When will we be able to hear more from you guys? What plans are there in that department?
'Cry Havoc' is neither too short nor too long, it is exactly as long as it should be (laughs). We recently took a short break from practicing and gigging, but as of January 2013 we are writing and rehearsing for our next release, which I imagine will be another relatively short release. I see our style of music, with its focus on urgency, as being best suited to releases with a short overall playing time. I do not think we have any interest in producing a so-called "full length" release just for the sake of it, we will continue to do whatever we thinks works best for the material. So far we have two songs completed for our next release and another two in the works. I have no idea when we will actually get around to recording and releasing anything, but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. Personally, my own focus is just to continue having fun jamming with the lads and the next release will take care of itself as and when the time comes! (laughs)
And how have reactions been so far, by press and music lovers?
We have had a lot of good reviews, which we have been happy with, but overall I do not think we have created much in the way of buzz to be honest. We do not really fit in with any of the traditional styles or current trends that are popular in the underground (morbid death metal, doom, etc.) and we definitely do not appeal to younger people at all as far as I can tell. We are not techy or breakdowny enough for the youth! (laughs) (breakdowny.... Ha! I love that word! - Sicktus) We do have a lot of faith in our music and the quality of the material we have released, but the truth of the matter is that we simply are not playing a style that is going to excite a lot of people at this time. Even if some trend did emerge that benefitted us, a whole wave of bands would probably emerge pretty quickly that would be better than us anyway! (laughs) That said, we have actually had some really positive feedback from people that have enjoyed 'Cry Havoc' and we are definitely playing to larger crowds outside of Limerick as a result of people hearing our stuff and liking it.
How did you write the material for 'Cry Havoc' and over what period of time?
We wrote the songs on 'Cry Havoc' over a six-month period in 2011. The way we generally do things is I will write and arrange a bunch of riffs and demo them on my laptop with some programmed drums and then email .mp3s to the rest of the lads. We will then usually jam the song for a few weeks and work on the arrangement and drum parts at which time Dan will usually be sitting in the corner listening to us jam and writing lyrics. Writing and jamming new stuff is probably my favorite part of being in a band, it is great to just spend a couple of hours in the evening in a room with your mates making noise. As regards our new material, I am easing back on programming drums, producing demos for the rest of the lads and generally "creating facts on the ground", as some might say, and we are going to try a more organic approach which involves more extensive jamming of different ideas before we settle on particular arrangements or drum patterns.
You are on Savour Your Scene Records. I really like the philosophy behind that label. Brings me to the next few questions. First: how did you get signed?
The guy that runs the label, Stephen, plays drums with a band from Belfast called Gacys Threads whom we had gigged with a couple of times and for whom we organized the Limerick leg of an Irish tour they did with a German band called Killtribe. After we got our EP mastered, we put a track up on soundcloud and shared it around. We had actually intended on releasing the EP ourselves, but Stephen heard the track online and offered to help us out and we were delighted to accept. It is a great label and Stephen is really hard working. Funnily enough, we are the only full-on metal band on the label, the other bands all fall within the broader hardcore spectrum.
...then the obvious follow-up "So how is your scene doing?"! Let's make that Limerick and Ireland. What bands deserve more attention?
The scene is relatively good at the moment and there have never been so many good metal bands active in Limerick and probably Ireland as a whole. These things come and go in waves, but at the moment Limerick is doing well and we are lucky in that all the bands are friends and work together in a spirit of solidarity. Bands that I would recommend checking out are Shardborne (instrumental tech / prog), Dark Matter (spacey instrumental stuff) and Zealot Cult (old school death metal), all of whom are from Limerick. Ilenkus from Galway and Zhora from Tipperary are two excellent bands that we have gigged with in recent times too. It is great to have so many like-minded people working so hard and gigging so regularly around the country.
What was the Decapitated gig like?
It was cool though we did not actually get to stick around and watch Decapitated because our drummer's girlfriend went into labour and gave birth to their son that night (laughs). The gig was in Dublin, so we made a quick dash down the motorway to Limerick, which is 200km from Dublin, so that our drummer Kevin would be back in time for the birth.
I have this idea in my head that it is hard to get (decent) gigs in Ireland, is that true? If so, how come? And do you see this changing in the future? Or is what I am thinking of a situation from a couple of years back and are things improving already anyway? Or maybe I just had too many Guinness when I was in Ireland and got my memories damaged. Certainly a possibility...
A lot of international bands play in Dublin, so there are definitely opportunities for local bands to support established bands and bands that people like us would have grown up listening to. We are lucky in Limerick these days in that there is a really successful all-dayer called The Siege of Limerick that takes place twice a year and which we play regularly. It is really beginning to take off and we have got to see and play with some great bands from overseas as well as most of the best bands in Ireland. There is usually a crowd of between 400 and 500 people, which is really good by Irish standards, so it is a great opportunity to play to people who would not necessarily attend gigs every weekend or be overly familiar with a lot of lesser-known bands such as ourselves. The fact of the matter is that Ireland is a small country where Metal is not particularly popular, but there are still plenty of opportunities to have fun and meet good people. The big advantage of having a small scene though is that idiots in bands that think they are going to "make it" usually lose interest fairly quickly and disappear shortly thereafter, meaning pretty much 100% of the bands and gig-goers are genuine, down-to-earth metalheads that are just there for the music and camaraderie.
Alright, cheers and beers! Any famous last words?
Thanks for your interest and for taking the time to interview us, really appreciate it. Anyone reading this can check out our stuff at www.threehourceasefire.net and be sure to look out for our Irish friends Shardborne, Dark Matter, Zealot Cult and Zhora. Also, check us out on facebook or soundcloud! " alt="band image" style="float:right" class="cover" />