The couple of times I’ve seen I am a car crash live have been challenging experiences. Definitely more post thank punk and angular rhythms aplenty but tunes sneaking in the back door. Once or twice I have been rocked from my comfort zone, unsure of where John is going with his lyrics. In anticipation of their new record coming out before the end of the year I sent him a few questions
For those interested can you give us a bit of history to band and some of the other bands you’ve played in?
Myself and j have been long time band mates after our last band lebowski disintegrated, I thought I’d never play again hated all of it and had nothing in me to say. But after few years I just started to write again. Felt the compulsion. Called jay and together we formed I am a Car Crash. Jay is the director. Shane is the keeper of my focus and together it’s a sound we love.
What is the connection with foad?
Peter jones saw us play early on and was instantly on board and a gigantic support. We’ve a lot of thanks owed to him
How many times have you played rebellion? What are your honest impressions of it? Did your opinion change after attending the festival?
This year was our second rebellion. We loved the whole thing. Last year was great too but this year we have the right people and got to play a bigger stage and I felt we lost ourselves in the set and did ourselves very proud. I’m no massive punk guy but there’s lots of artists there who I have huge respect for, paranoid visions, I had some good chats with Steve ignorant and what a fucking lyricist he is also our good buddies Protex and Lee Harvey’s are great company. I think my onstage self and our vibe is what the punk audience latch onto and I’ve no issue there. I’m ridiculously ethical when it comes to music so there that too.
But rebellion I loved the community of the punk crowd. That’s thing I’ve been struck by most, a love for music and for community
You’ve also done rocking Road festival. How did that come about?
Rocking road is a great cause that’s why we do that. My son goes to that school and to help in anyway is a privilege, the drummer dad David runs it everywhere and is a special guy so it’s a total pleasure.
If you had a limitless budget for your own rocking road festival what would be the line up (6 bands if you can)
Gang of Four
Future of the left
Kaisier Chiefs cause they’d probably get onto the bill anyway somehow, they always do
Can you tell me your favourite gig a) to play and b) to see ?
Favourite gig? Well, I’d love to see future of the left live but I’d probably have to say sonic youth at electric picnic or pavement, a toss up. Favourite place to play? lots of great places round Dublin, fibbers can be great, Thomas house is nifty, Whelans. But I’m looking forward to getting our album out and hitting far more stages.
What made you pick up an instrument to begin with and decide yes I can be in a band? What makes you keep doing it?
I always wanted a guitar. Before that I was just dancing round like a sap with a tennis racket in my room. Brothers and sisters used to catch me, now that’s embarrassing, I’d rather of got caught masturbating which I never did and don’t don’t do anyway cause I’m a born again catholic.
Started to jot words in sixth class just did. Never been able to explain it and it morphed. Got guitar at twelve and slowly slowly got better. Now it’s the same. I’m writing at various stages. I think I’m just a writer who happens to be in s band using a guitar I could put it down and use some other instrument which I’ve always thought would be interesting. It’s always unconscious what comes out there is. So yeah we don’t really sit down and say it needs to be this or that. We change structure about. Each one is its own thing so we never know what’s next. This album is I dunno dark, funny, loud, post punk, pixies smacking into talking heads but I’m told I’m bad at referencing us by the other two. But when this album is out we’ve no idea what they next thing we do will sound like.
We love doing it. Creating is the fun. We wanna up our output and this album is just the beginning. Everyone is writing and is everyone feels peak and it’s just a great fun outlet. I love playing live and I love being in the studio with this band.
Your sound is more based on angular rhythms rather than straightforward punk rock. Do you sit down and think, yes this has to sound a certain way or is it just the way it all flows
Again. The lads will tell ya. I know nothing of time signatures and beats and middle 8ths and all that. So ye the music just flows with the words. I may try throw a subject in but once it starts I’m not even in the equation then suddenly there’s a song and we hone it. That’s really it. We only have comparison to make with last ep ‘white people problems’ and it’s a million miles from that in a lot of ways. So we are just really really excited to finish and share it cause it hits everything in its nose. We are thinking of calling it Them Not Us but no definite yet.
We are hoping for the album to be out by the end of the year. It’s 80% there. This album is just inspired by what I see around, everyone losing their humanity while speaking online, ridiculous presidents, identify politics, love, the limits being put on free speech, people’s belief in magic and conspiracies, unemployment all things I’ve seen and have got to me in someway or make me think we must be in a simulation cause this shit would only be happening if someone was just having a laugh. I hate left I hate right it’s hard to tell the difference some of the songs poke at that sad truth how they’ve both gone extreme and then meet, the horse shoe affect. Everything is a team, everything is worth digging in for, there’s many wars on but there’s definitely one on intelligence and reason taking place. Then the next song will be about a gym bunny or “what about building 7” which is one of my favourites cause it just hammers at the silliness of it all.
I’ve seeen you a couple of times and each times it seems like you are about to say something controversial. Is this done on purpose?
Nope. It’s the listener who decides if it’s controversial.
I just have fun and switch off it’s the same as writing. But I think most bands are so sterile now so we stand out but that’s more there thing. Outspoken I don’t even know what that means. We are just a band having fun it’s no big deal I think the majority at gigs get it and see what’s being done, thought it’s not always instantly obvious but isn’t there bigger pay off in that. I challenge and poke st subjects I care about but it’s always more fun to me to joke with it cause I always find that’s the best way.
But it depends on the mood some gigs I’d be very quiet ya never know with us
Do you use music to entertain or challenge?
Both I guess. Predominantly it’s us saying we like this so. So I would say I never think oh I’m gonna try challenge it’s more just a natural occurrence if that does happen but we don’t look for that, that’s easy and ultimately pointless I reckon. No matter what you do or say or don’t say or do, someone somewhere will be upset and all good music should upset some people that’s the point of any meaningful art, blandness offends me and there’s plenty of that.
Entertain is also just an offshoot but never the point. The point is only to make music and to share it with others. Some we entertain some we bore as long as we aren’t referred to as nice band with nice songs, I’m ok. We can switch to most rock bands dressed in black pretending to be something important for the nice but packaged as unrulely hard rock.
Just out of interest were you going to punk gigs before playing in the band? Had you come across the diy scene in Dublin?
DIY never belonged to punk all the bands we were round when we started were putting out their own music. We played with many a punk band and we’ve played with many a band who call themselves some other descriptor. I’ve never felt the need to call us a punk band or a alternative band or a slow dance group that was the point of the band name I AM ACar Crash doesn’t make you think of a genre, The main reason I liked it. But for now we are 3 with guitars and drums so we are a rock band and then it’s up to everyone else to name us and I always enjoy hearing what people think, I hear a million different things after gigs always usually lovely even though I’m not the most comfortable person post show
So when we were younger there was that whole treasure island thing which was the pop punk thing I was aware of that I was aware of hating it to its core. I’ve never been a network guy or a click lover. If I really wanted I’d be out at gigs every night telling some little eager beaver scene band how great they are and trying to get an opener by use of felatio cause that’s what happens but I couldn’t be making eye contact with myself then. or we could water down our sound and try tick as many boxes most bands do that stuff. It’s very much business over art with most now. It’s like football, you look at some players and think, wait does that guy even like football at all.
Old band was called levowski so j and stu from that band went on to form Liz is evil our bassist works at golden plec and I just sunk into a bad state for a year or two I’d say doing nothing and love for nothing I always remember j telling me he thought I was done for overweight and in a mental crisis but one day it left or subsided and the need to write returned and hasn’t left since, it could do but there’s no point worrying about something. I will never understand. But you’d hope people find our brand of lark entertaining, we certainly do.