Track-By-Track: Drainland/Crows Split
The first in a new series on Drop-d, the Drainland and Crows boys give us a blow-by-blow account of their new split E.P.
SIDE A: DRAINLAND
Contrary to what the number of releases we’ve put out recently might suggest, Drainland is a very occasional thing at this point – the longer we’re together the less we get to rehearse due to various factors I won’t bore you with here, but suffice to say we regularly have periods of a month or two where we don’t do anything. Both songs for this split were to varying degrees the end of result of me bored at home during one of those break periods. I was reading a couple of books about cults at the time, a minor obsession of mine I’d wanted to write about in the past, so I decided to adopt that as a theme.
“Solar Temple” was written early one Sunday morning in my living room in about 20 minutes. I’d had the riffs for the second section in my head for a couple of weeks and decided I wanted to write a faster song with that as the ending. The subject matter for the lyrics to this one is a cult called the Order of the Solar Temple, started by a delusional fucker called Luc Jouret who believed he was upholding the Templar tradition, and whose followers were bumped off after dissenting on a variety of unpleasant ways – the easiest summary I can give you is via wikipedia here. Lyrically… well,to research it I had watched a couple of news reports on Youtube and read what I could and ended up with a fucking page or so timeline in my notebook of events that occured. It was difficult to fit so much information into a small amount of lines but I think I did okay. The “stabs” after each line in the fast part were supposed to add up to a certain number relevant to the murders to further add to the whole effect, but of course I miscounted. D’oh.
I should belatedly dedicate this to Drop-D‘s very own lens lady Liadain O’Driscoll. Years ago, before becoming an internationally known rock photographer par excellence and ruling the world with top Galway heavy metal band Neifenbach, Liadain sang in Drainland, and before that, she was in a band with me called Serpents. I mention this because parts of the music for “Blood Procession” are cannibalised from an unfinished song from when she was in the band and the unrecorded/unreleased final song I wrote for Serpents.
The “Hand of Death” was a Satanic cult that Henry Lee Lucas claimed had influenced his killings. It may or may not have existed – it’s generally held that it was a figment of his imagination as there’s very little information about it anywhere other than his prison interviews – but it’s alleged to have been behind various murders and human sacrifices at some point,and supposedly even provided Jim Jones with the poison used in the Jonestown massacre. The song is basically adopting the point of view of a member of this fictional cult (or any other religious murder you might care to imagine) on his walk to his execution, remorseless for his crimes as he awaits his reward in the afterlife for serving his “higher purpose” on earth. The title is also a reference to the Procession De La Sanch that happens in Perpignan during Easter every year – a reenactment of an old Christian tradition where reformed, penitent criminals would dress in robes and escort condemned men through city streets to the gallows.
In closing, it will perhaps not be much surprise to any of you who’ve heard it that this song is usually listed as “Swans” on the setlist when we play it.
SIDE B: CROWS
I had explained in another interview earlier this year that these songs are all contained within a loose concept, basically, where our country stands now and what it’s like to be a young person who considers himself of a punk persuasion and mindset; striving to be an alternative to the accepted norms and conventions of modern Irish society. Basically, stuck between a rock and a hard place, with a conservative, money-driven and power hungry government and civil service on one side, who’s aim is to make sure we’re as docile and clueless as possible, and a supposedly open-minded and liberal punk scene on the other, which in fact nurtures normality, sameness, and excuses segregation and hierarchic politics. The lyrics deal with the punk scene, the cops, my dickhead boss, far-right republican politics, the recession and it’s effect on the population of our country, on the public end of things, and dissatisfaction with your surrounds, alienation, loneliness, and general teenage angst on the private. Without going into anymore detail, it’s a list of things I’m pissed off about, basically.
Living in the city sucks. Living in the middle of nowhere sucks. Both places have had songs written about how much they suck. So, I wanted to write a song about how living in the in-between area sucks. The suburbs as Ireland knows them – not the vast, sprawling grids of housing estates and small shopping centres as they’re known as in America, but uncomfortable satellite towns to the country’s capital. Let’s face it, any small town in Leinster has its roads pointing toward Dublin city. Army’s of semi-affluent families feigning like they’re billionaires, or pretending like they haven’t got a cent to their names. Rows and rows of identical houses. Closed down and bordered up stores, old concrete paved council estates, petrol stations, massive, deafening by-pass motorways. Everything in the suburbs seems predestined, the whole population content with living out the lives already lived before them. The suburbs is a stifling place. It shifts between the vibrant violence of the city, and the bleak calm of the countryside. It has no place on a spectrum of sorts, constantly shifting, personality destroying. And the hardcore scene is no better.
One of the most vivid memories I have of childhood is having a fever. A fever so hot that your eyelids burn. They can’t even be closed for sleep. For my own sake, lately, I have made a conscious effort to close my eyes to the bullshit raining down around me. Ignorance is bliss, they say, and it’s a lot easier to take to the modern world with an attitude of apathetic disinterest. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your eyes shut. It’s hard to forget how little being a human being counts for, and how worthless it is to try and live life the way you feel best. Everywhere we go, we are locked into designs; age old designs of control, cages of pretense and discipline. Just because you dye your hair, or wear the clothes you want, listen to and read things on your own terms, doesn’t mean you’re free. But you can still be angry about it.
What pisses me off more than the church, my boss and the Gardaí? Nothing.
Drainland/Crows launches this weekend. Cork launch gig is Saturday night at Fredz, E5 in.