Facing the Aftermath

 
 

OtwoIssue8.indd Alison Lee gets to know up and coming midlands rockers The Aftermath

“It’s a dark place, Longford is!” chortles native and guitarist of the Aftermath, Johnny Cronin – but it was where he and brother Mick founded one of the most successful Irish rock outfits of the noughties. “In the middle of the bog there isn’t much to do, so your imagination tears away when you hear The Beatles!”

The Cronins studied in Leeds during their teens (hence their strong Yorkshire accents), but returned to Ireland, joining forces with guitarist Justin McNabb and bassist Martin Gray to form the Aftermath, who are currently based in Mullingar.

Moving to Leeds made the boys realise just how much their native sod means to them. “You miss home – the craic in the pubs, the Barry’s Tea, the beef! You do find you’re more Irish over there.”

There’s something refreshing about a band who embrace their nationality, though they do believe it essential for bands to break out of Ireland. The Aftermath have gigged in spots like Athens, Berlin, and London, but “to stand out abroad, bands should look to their Irishness,” believes Cronin.

A recent triumph was the inclusion of their debut Friendlier Up Here in Hot Press’ list of the 250 Greatest Irish Albums Of All Time. “We’re delighted that we’re considered Irish! Sometimes we’re called Anglo-Irish but we’re pure boggers who had to emigrate!”

Despite the patriotism, the band don’t encompass trad in their music. In fact, they’re regularly described as ‘Britpop’, while they dub their style “mod pop”. Will they retain this sound in their new album, currently in the works? Cronin doesn’t give much away, though fans can anticipate a record produced by Noel Hogan of the Cranberries and Gerald McDonald, who previously worked with the likes of U2 and Travis. How did the Aftermath enlist these bigshots to their ranks? “Just get very drunk and social! Go up to them and give them a CD, hope they like it. You need a neck on you and you need to believe in yourself!”

Unlike many indie bands today, the Aftermath still think a record deal and an agent are the way to get noticed. On an indie label “you can only go so far, get the 2FM playlist for two weeks, but I don’t think that’s enough to crack it as an artist.” Ironically, the band made th top ten the same week they had a near-fatal bus crash in 2007 – “It’s cynical but people are more interested in stories like that.”

Already booked to play Electric Picnic and Sweden’s Peace and Love Festival this summer, it seems The Aftermath are well on their way to establishing themselves as yet another Irish musical success story.

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