Sometimes before a band release any work you know they’re going to make an impression. With difficult economic, social and political climates we may all be struggling, but musicians like The Murder Capital are stamping their mark on the UK scene speaking the words many can’t find themselves.
James, singer of The Murder Capital, confesses to us that the band have taken a very deliberate approach, drip feeding us hungry listeners only one single and one YouTube video so far. This is the signature of a collective who know their worth and will only deliver when the results are of the highest calibre.
Our photographer Simon Clay headed to Brighton to capture a photo-story for Underscore Part 3 earlier this week. Reporting back, he told of a band that oozed confidence, and observed that they had stunned the eager audience still, staggered at what they were watching. The Murder Capital arrived with a wall of feedback and left in the same way. A force to be reckoned with.
After hearing Simon’s dumbfounded reports, James Wadsworth of Underscore Part 3 had to get on the phone with the man behind the lyrics, James McGovern. Speaking to James, he was like Rocky Balboa being held back by his head, ready to take the title when his time comes. This year we will hear so much of The Murder Capital but as yet we don’t know in what form. They’ve got us exactly where they want us and they’ll use this to their advantage to take their rightful crown. Here’s what James was happy to tell us…
You’re on a run of shows in the UK which have been highly anticipated by many. Tell me how they’ve been going?
They’ve all been really good. Different kind of crowds but all super attentive.
You commented that you wanted a name that reflected ‘the current state of mental health in our country’. How does a very stark name like The Murder Capital convey this mental health state?
‘[The name The Murder Capital] has different meanings at different times to different people.’
It’s evidently reflecting those situations but at the same time you don’t want to force a narrative, it has different meanings at different times to different people.
You and Black Midi have very different sounds but have both taken the route of being relatively secretive on your work, choosing to take an approach of “get out and see us live”. What has caused you to work in this manner?
‘There’s not much more you can do except come and see us live, for now it’s the best way for us to communicate what we want to say.’
It just worked out a better way for us. It wasn’t massively planned out, but it just took time until we were happy, and we wanted our opening statements to matter; we didn’t want to release something on a deadline. It was well thought out so it took longer, finding the right thing to say at the right time. There’s not much more you can do except come and see us live, for now it’s the best way for us to communicate what we want to say.
Right now, post-punk and abrasive sounds seem to be very current; examples being IDLES, shame and FONTAINES DC. What is it that is promoting this style? And what influences have brought yourselves to this sound?
There’s an immediacy, it’s quite reactionary music so there’s a few mixed feelings at the moment. Our sound is really broad, it kind of goes everywhere but there’s an undertone of something fast and challenging and emotional.
Furthermore, in your Pressreader interview you comment that you are/or were sharing the same rehearsal space as FONTAINES DC, there are inevitable comparisons people will make of your two sounds; how much of an influence does sharing the space and their friendship in general have on the band?
‘Watching [FONTAINES DC] getting Partisan [Records] and things like that happening made it seem less of a pipedream.’
We’re all really good friends and we used to hang out together loads but then when everyone started touring we don’t get to see each other that much. I’m sure it’s had an effect on parts of our art, but I don’t know consciously. For me they were a couple of steps ahead of where we were at, watching them getting Partisan [Records] and things like that happening made it seem less of a pipedream.
A lot of people’s first encounter with you was the ‘More Or Less’ SOMA x O’Hara’s Session. How did this come about and did you have any idea that it would go viral?
The opportunity to record it came through a friend, through one of the nights we played. We definitely stressed strongly which song we wanted to record because we felt we were definitely making our opening statements with this recording. We were recording what we felt was the best thing we had to say at the time. The reaction has been amazing, its been great but I think it makes sense.
Will ‘More Or Less’ ever see a studio recording a release, when and in what format?
I honestly can’t say, I have no idea, but yeah, we do still play it [live].
In the track you speak of giving (possibly your muse) more by giving her less of you. We’ve spoken about your minimalist approach to releases so far; would this kind of deliberate approach be a recurring theme in the band?
Not far off how I see it. I think you’ve nailed it in a way, there’s a desperation in a way at the end.
Your current single The Feeling Fades was Steve Lamacq’s ‘Lamacq Livener’ last week. Congratulations, will there be a 6 Music session in the future or are there any other appearances we need to watch out for?
‘There’s lots of different sessions with stations that we’ll be doing.’
I don’t believe there’s anything booked but it’s definitely something we’d love to do, we’re big fans of Lamacq. Other than that there’s lots of different sessions with stations that we’ll be doing.
It’s something we’d love to do but it’s impossible to say. Hopefully in the next year.
For people who may not have heard you yet what would you like to tell us about The Feeling Fades single and the general sound of The Murder Capital?
‘What we’re trying to create is an honest reflection of the human experience.’
What we’re trying to create is an honest reflection of the human experience. It can be fast and angry, or it can be really slow and sombre and so many things in between. We’re trying to create a cohesive body of work that fits, that’s how we approach it. It’s not just shows or songs, it’s more of an experience than that.
Your releases so far are really high tempo, is this the musical theme for all The Murder Capital’s work?
It’s not all fast tempo post-punk; we wouldn’t strive to play that for 45 minutes, it wouldn’t be honest from us.
What does 2019 hold for The Murder Capital; releases, tours, festivals?
All the above. We’ll definitely do festivals and we will be releasing new music and lining up some more tours.
Our question for all bands; what upcoming acts are you recommending right now?
The Sunshine Factory, they’re the most overlooked band in Ireland, they’re absolutely incredible. There’s loads of great bands, Just Mustard are another great act.
All photos Simon Clay (Instagram user @simonclaysnapper and web simonclay.com)
Words: James Wadsworth.