JOE meets The Riptide Movement to talk about their new album, WhatsApp and the Late Late
A band that have been on an upward curve for the last few years, The Riptide Movement have a new album on the horizon that promises to be their most complete project yet
The Riptide Movement have been on the up and up for a while now, but having completed their third album 'Getting Through', appeared on the Late Late last week and preparing for a show that's almost a sell-out in Vicar Street, these last few months have been pretty hectic for the band.
On top of all that, the lads have just signed with Universal Music to get their album released and heard around the world and are looking forward to a hectic summer of touring. Thankfully, Mal Tuohy, JP Dalton, Ger McGarry and Gar Byrne had a few minutes to spare
JOE: So for our readers who have managed to miss you (somehow), tell us a little bit about how you guys came together?
Mal: Basically we're all mates from school, and we've been around since 2006. What About the Tip Jars? and Keep on Keepin On were our two previous albums that we more or less self-released, and they did really well here at home. We got to number six in the Irish charts with Keep on Keepin On which was fantastic, so we have that as a building block really. This is our third album now, and we've just signed with a major record label for the first time, so we just keep going from strength to strength.
JOE: Has that transition been difficult, moving from self-publishing to a major label
Mal: Not really, we arrived with the album completely done and they were more than happy with it as it was, even down to the artwork. In a way it's a natural progression from each album that we've done, and they're getting behind it with the infrastructure to roll it out across the UK and Europe.
Ted Hutt was the man behind the desk on the production and he's done work with bands like The Gaslight Anthem before so he's done an amazing job in helping us to make this album better. We always felt that we never really captured the live sound of the band, and our fans often said that too, so we wanted to do that.
JOE: So how did you do things differently on this side to capture the live sound?
Mal: We always thought that getting that live experience involved bringing everyone in to a room and get the bass and the drums, maybe the guitar too, and add anything else later. Ted helped us to isolate everything off and get those laid down which slotted into place like a jigsaw.
Ger: It was a huge jump doing it that way for us, but Ted was a huge help. We had 30 tracks written for the album but we just rented a place out in Blessington, and he got us to whittle it down to 10 or 12, and we went from there, tightened those up a bit and recorded it over three weeks. I think people will really notice how much tighter it is.
JP: It was a learning process and all of us were pushed individually.
JOE: So what's different about the finished product?
Mal: It's more focused than the previous albums, although we are still really proud of them. There is a common thread running through the whole thing from start to finish, and it's more than just a collection of songs. It touches on a few different themes and it feels more like an album and a journey.
Mal: The album is entitled Getting Through because it's about where we were in 2013. It's about the band and our personal lives, how we saw ourselves then and how we see ourselves now. There are songs about relationships, emigration, self-discovery and getting older, finding yourself somewhere between youth and manhood.
Gar: It's more thought out. It was really difficult to get rid of some of those 30 songs that we'd written but Ted helped us to see why they didn't fit with the album or why they were out of place. It's very professional, to a level that we really didn't know we could reach, and you always want to be pushed and tested to do your best in your job, so for us it was a great experience.
JOE: Are you happy with being defined as 'Swamp Rock'? What would you call yourselves now?
Gar: On songs like 'Hot Tramp' there is definitely that type of vibe, and we get people coming up to us all the time saying they loved that tune and how it sounds like that, but there's definitely been an evolution.
Mal: With Tip Jars, it was rock and blues, and when we moved to Keep On there was a blend of rock, blues and folk. I suppose with this album you could just call it straight up rock.
Could you sum up the album in 140 characters, or a WhatsApp emoji?
Ger: Not the little poo dude anyway... It's fun and uplifting, it's energetic and relevant to people. The whole way through the album there are songs about getting through something with somebody, or about our journey as a band, songs where you face problems, songs where everything works out, I think people can relate to all that.
JOE: That's a bit long for a tweet...
Ger: Alright, how about: No
JOE: You were on the Late Late last week, what's that like?
Mal: The reaction on the night was great, and even though it's a mixed audience they were all buzzing. We used to busk on Grafton Street so that's nothing new to us, but the feedback after was incredible. It was a great opportunity to be on there and it's an Irish institution, you haven't made it in until you're on the Late Late.
Ger: The exposure was huge, we saw a spike in ticket sales for the Vicar Street gig, as well as pre-orders for the album so it was fantastic for that, people getting to know about us.
Mal: That gigs almost a sell out at this stage, it's going down to the wire.
JOE: Does that type of gig in a big venue still give you nerves or are you seasoned veterans at this stage?
JP: Yeah you still get nerves but if you didn't feel anything before going on then you might as well go home! It helps that our shows are energetic so you can use that nervousness a bit. You just don't want to be sh***ing it going out there.
Gar: You'll know from the first chord whether or not it will be a good show, and if that goes well, then the rest of it is just a joy, you can get in the zone and really put on a great gig.
JOE: So what's in store for the summer?
Mal: We have a busy summer, we're doing a few festivals here, but we can't announce them yet! We're also headed over to do a tour in the UK, and we'll be doing a few of the big festivals over there as well, so it's going to be pretty hectic.