Between awards and music lists, Cormac Duffy manages to steal a few minutes with Cocophone to chat about their unique boy/girl dynamic and violin-infused folk
Hype is a curious thing. It can come out of nowhere, dragging an act out of obscurity in seemingly no time. Cocophone can tell you what that feels like. In the last few months, the Dublin folk two-piece have been named Becks’ Band of the Year, featured in The Ticket’s Bands to Watch 2011 and interviewed on Phantom FM. And just when they thought things couldn’t get any better, they land a spot in O-two – heady times indeed.
Despite this sudden burst of fame, they are by no means an overnight success. Speaking to Freya Monks, the band’s violinist and vocalist, we learn the duo’s back-story. “We started playing together about five or six years ago.” The story involves a friend stealing her copy of Smashing Pumpkin’s Siamese Dream, and finding her practising violin when he returned it. This led to a jam session where Monks met Cocophone’s guitarist and singer Fin Divilly. Since then, the band have been touring extensively around Ireland, an experience they cite as an important part of their development.
“Playing live and playing around different venues: the amount of experience you pick up.” They soon realised they weren’t the conventional Irish indie act. Their boy/girl vocals and acoustic set up, married with their unique brand of atmospheric folk is a break from the ordinary. “We definitely noticed we were standing out,” Monks explains.
O-two asks her where the band’s sound is rooted. “You are shaped in a way by the stuff you listen to. We both really enjoy acoustic music, but we’re [also] both into much bigger band sounds.” Monks loves lyrics-based folk music, mentioning Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake’s Pink Moon as favourites.
At the same time, Monks is a big fan of “experimental bands, where it’s not exactly lyrics-based, it’s about sounds”. The experimental touches of Sigur Rós, Dead Can Dance and Radiohead all partly inspire their sound: “Radiohead would be a big influence on us, just for how dynamic they are.”
Listening to their debut EP, Special Offers, it’s easy to spot these influences. It also makes it clear the band have a promising future. Given the extensive backlog of material the band has, surely an album is on the cards soon?
“Yeah, definitely. It’d be a bit of a war over what goes on it though,” Monks laughs. She tells O-two the band are looking to play this summer’s festivals as well. One thing is for certain though, if the publicity keeps up at this rate, everyone will know the name Cocophone by then.
Cocophone play The Academy 2 on February 11th.