The New Life – Interview with Cathal from Girls Names

This Monday Girls Names released their long-awaited 2nd album The New Life via Tough Love Records. Since their debut Dead To Me in 2011 the band went through some major changes, not only regarding their sound but also the band’s line-up. Good friend and Charles Hurts frontman Philip Quinn joined the Belfast based trio last year and together they started performing the new songs at a few gigs in Europe including Primavera Sound Festival. If you have missed one of their concerts it’s now time to get tickets for their European tour including three dates in Germany – Nuremberg (6/3), Leipzig (7/3) and Berlin (8/3). For Lowtape & Iamnosuperman singer Cathal Cully answered some questions about The New Life and the upcoming tour. Check it out below!

What can your fans expect from the new album The New Life? Did you start a new life musically?

It doesn’t seem like that to us. This whole process of making this album really encompassed a two year period of hard work and developement. We’ve kept our mouths shut for two years so maybe that’s why it seems an over night transformation. But really we’ve been playing these songs live for the last year. I think in a way it’s been freaking people out a bit as they’ve been coming expecting one thing but we’ve been testing out all these new songs and not really giving a fuck. We knew these songs were ten times better than anything on Dead To Me so it was important for us to test them all out as soon as we could. I can imagine there can be a bit of an oppressive atmosphere built up sometimes.

What was your main inspiration for the album?

Lot’s of things. I keep getting asking this question, obviously. So the more I think of it, on reflection, escapism is the main over-riding theme to this album. It’s one to get lost into. I wanted to lose myself when making it. I had a real period of questioning every single I was doing. It was a bit of an outlet for a lot shit feelings eating away at me.

Since Dead To Me a lot happend in the past including that you are now a four-piece band. Philip Quinn from Charles Hurts joined you last year. How does this influence the sound of Girls Names?

It makes us significantly better live than we were previously. The sound’s more expansive. There’s more room for the songs to breath. It’s fleshed out. There’s a lot of pressure lifted from the live show now I feel. I think we’re starting to relish playing live a lot more now as opposed to it being an unnecessary evil to promoting a bunch of songs. Maybe that’s just me. But we’re really enjoying playing together now.

Are you excited about the upcoming tour? You will play Nuremberg, Leipzig and Berlin beginning of March. Is it your first time in Germany?

It’s the first time we’ll have played in Germany and I’ve ashamedly actually never visited the counrty before so I’m really looking forward to it. Phil studied in Leipzig for a time a few years back so he’s excited about going back there. I personally love travelling everywhere around Europe, it’s exciting to visit new places.

You are also playing SXSW this year. How does it feel to be part of one of the biggest festivals in the world?

It’s great, we’ve never been to the states before either so hopefully it’ll be a real eye opener. We’re at the stage now where we’ve worked really hard the last while and know we’re in a really privileged position at the minute so we’re just going to take everything we can and run with it and make the most of it and hopefully go on to make an even better record than this.

Your drummer Neil announced that he won‘t be part of the tour. Will it be different for you touring without him?

Yes it will. Although we took, Gib, who’s taking his place, with us to Holland last month to get him up to speed. It was a bit of a baptism of fire but think we’re starting to get it together now. Obviously it’s not ideal timing that Neil’s taking a break but it’s all good. He’s a really talented guy and got his own shit to be going on with the next while so we’ll just see what happens.

Can you recommend bands from Belfast or Ireland in general that we should listen to in 2013?

Thread Pulls, Documenta, Third Man Theme, Patrick Kelleher, Somadrone, Charles Hurts. Too many to mention and leave out.

Last but not least a banal question I always wanted to know. What is the story behind your band name? Who came up with it? Can you imagine how hard it was for me to google you back in 2010?

It’s a very stupid name. There is no reasoning at all behind it. I really hate it. I think it’s a testament to us as we had no game plan when we started the band. It was like, right let’s just do this, here’s a name. There was no real big thought process to it. I’m sorry I can’t give you a better anecdote.


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