Only 20 years old, and already getting rave reviews from the world’s harshest critics? Alison Lee meets Cymbals Eat Guitars
Pitchfork is not renowned for being cute and cuddly – the online music mag is in fact famed for the corrosiveness of its music reviews. However the site hailed Cymbals Eat Guitars’ debut record Why There Are Mountains as being among the year’s “best new music” releases. Not bad, considering vocalist and guitarist Joseph d’Agostino is only 20 years old.
otwo catches up with him via a phone call to his native New York for a chat. “It was amazing to get a reception like that from Pitchfork,” he says in a hesitant, almost shy New York accent. “It’s great they’ve been so good to us, promoting our music and helping to put it out there.”
Pitchfork isn’t the only music website where Cymbals Eat Guitars are in the spotlight. They were discovered early on by Irish online record label Indiecater, and their track ‘Share’ was included on the Indiecator Volume One CD released early this year. It seems blogging really is the future of music promotion.
“Yeah, maybe nowadays people don’t have as much time to just sit down and listen to their records,” agrees d’Agostino wistfully. “Blogs are a way to get to know what’s out there, there’s so much new stuff.” He himself admits, “It’s really rare I find a new band that really hits the spot”.
The indie rock label is constantly being slapped on Cymbals Eat Guitars, so otwo asks d’Agostino what niche the band see themselves occupying in the music scene. “We never really fit in… there wasn’t much of a DIY scene in Brooklyn where we started up; bands never really knew each other… so we were always on the outside of that kind of scene when things got going,” he says.
It is indeed difficult to classify Cymbals Eat Guitars sound. Orchestral, cataclysmic, epic… these are just some of the terms commonly used to describe their music. The group’s lyrics conjure up eerie images of urban decay, juxtaposed with images of nature. “I grew up in South Jersey, and there was a park down the road where I used to go as a kid, I always loved being there. I’ve lived in the city for years now but I feel really at peace with nature,” explains d’Agostino.
The group are soon to play here in Dublin as part of their first European tour. “We’ve never played Ireland before, the only dates we’ve played outside the States have been in London. We really don’t know what to expect!”
The band got a warm welcome in London, by all accounts, and it’s safe to say the same will happen here: their Irish fanbase is already pretty big and is only going to get bigger. D’Agostino tells otwo that “the new stuff I’m working on is better than the last album… at least, I hope it is! Not different, just more the way I want it to sound.”
That’s something to look forward to. Who knows: in a few years’ time, you could be that cool indie kid that gets to boast: “I was at their first ever Dublin gig.”
Cymbals Eat Guitars plays Crawdaddy on 14th November