Music Interview: Never Do Things by Halves

 
 

Halves talk comical technical problems, making a statement with a debut album, and why you should never call them post-rock, with Cormac Duffy

Halves are easily the most interesting act in Irish music at the moment. The core of the experimental rockers Brian Cash, brothers Tim and Elis Czerniak, all serve as multi-instrumentalists, something they do to “keep themselves amused”.

Their expansive, atmospheric sound has filled two buzz-generating EPs and their debut LP is eagerly awaited by fans and critics alike. Yet, speaking with Brian and Tim the night of their Hard Working Class Heroes performance, there’s a sense of trepidation about them.

Apparently, this festival has cursed them with “comical technical problems” through the years. In 2007, the laptop used in all but one of their songs died. When rebooted, the Apple start-up sound blasted through the speakers, setting the crowd and band laughing.

They fared little better the next year, as the stage crew forgot to turn off the house music, leaving the band in competition for the audience’s attention with a Don Caballero track.

The gig aside, they have much reason to be optimistic. After being in the works for the best part of a year, their debut album It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever) is about to be released.  As Tim remarks, “for some reason it’s taken us ages to make an album”, but the reason is clear.

Determined to record something genuinely different, they’ve used not only a rock band set up, but synths, strings and choral parts to expand the scope of the album. “A lot of albums today tend to be people putting ten songs in a row, and that’s it,” they say.

Halves’ new album is an attempt to create a cohesive “body of work”, encompassing eleven tracks playing in three clear parts. “Note this is not a concept album,” Cash laughs. Either way, it’s shaping up to be one of the most original Irish albums of the year. “It’s nice to be somewhat unique,” Tim says with a smile.

Does this experimental tendency justify the press calling them post-rock? Apparently not. “It’s a stupid fucking term,” claims Cash. “Those two words together, it’s disgusting, it implies rock music died.”

Even their debut was an attempt to “make the most un-post-rock album we could”. And they’re extremely happy with the result. “In three weeks time we’ll be the happiest, drunkest men in Ireland.” Their music may be about pushing boundaries, but their goals are summed up simply by Cash: “If we’re happy, some people like us, and we’re not doing Vodafone adverts, we’re happy.”

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