One of the best things about moving to a new city is finding new music – discovering bands that may not be well known (yet) in your previous home town, or bands that simply haven’t fallen onto your radar. When I moved to Dublin two years ago, Groom were one of the bands I was really looking forward to seeing, not least because they were mentioned a lot on the Thumped forum and I was curious to experience what they were like live. I think the first performance by Groom that I saw was in the Lower Deck, a quirky … Continue reading Groom’s Golden Age
I Only Want to Write Songs
By Aoife Barry
“We were calling it ‘the album they couldn’t kill’…” It’s a wet Wednesday evening in May and Dublin-based band Groom (guitarist/vocalist Mike Stevens, bassist Wil McDermott, drummer/percussionist Ruan van Vliet and guitarist/keyboardist Jeroen Saegeman – drummer Brian O’Higgins is absent) are huddled in a booth in a city-centre pub, telling me about the making of their latest mini-album, At The Natural History Museum (the follow up to 2007’s Love Me Aimlessly EP – their debut album proper was 2006’s All This Happened, More Or Less). There are laughs as they outline for me the various mishaps that led to a delay of a year in the album being released – illness, acts of god and good old technological breakdowns that left them wondering if the album was meant to be made at all.
‘At The Natural History Museum’ is an album of wonderfully melodic pop songs that have a sense of fragility to them, but yet are bolstered by catchy hooks and beautifully off-kilter lyrics. It was produced by their friend Barry Phipps, whom band members Wil and Mike met when they played in Barry’s hometown of Chicago back when they were in the band Settler together. Barry runs his own boutique label, Tight Ship, and invited the band to send their album to him so he could produce it, add some instrumentation if needed, and then release it. And all was going well until one fateful day when a hard drive – containing all of the recordings for the album – crashed. “I had to ring Mike,” says Wil, “and say, [adopts a very calm voice] ‘Mike, we’re having a bit of a problem transferring all the files, they don’t seem to be there anymore…’”
“I was in France,” remembers Mike. “And we were in this apartment and Mide, my wife, she made me leave the house because I was cursing in front of the kids – Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Wil laughs. “You were so nice on the phone, I’m sure the minute you put it down you were – ‘Argh!!’” he teases. “I had to get them to recover all of the files and they recovered every file that had been on that drive that it could, which totalled about 2,000 files – none of them had names, none of them had dates, so I had to go through every one of them, listening to it going ‘this is one of ours, what is it?’.” While he completed the arduous task, Mike kept in contact. A lot of contact. “Of course it didn’t help that I was texting you every 15 minutes – ‘How’s it going now? How’s it going now? Any updates?’” laughs Mike. Continue reading “Archive: Groom interview”