IT’S a surprise to find Little Green Cars writing material for album number three. The quintet are secluded away in County Westmeath, in a place so remote they don’t have solid wi-fi or mobile coverage.
When Little Green Cars released their debut album, Absolute Zero, in 2013, they had been sitting on it for a year. They waited until 2016 to release their follow-up, Ephemera.
“Definitely, it’s a shorter period for this album than it was between the first two albums, but we were just eager to get back writing together,” says guitarist, Adam O’Regan.
“We co-produced the second album ourselves and I think that there was something about that experience that was very kind of experimental and very liberating, and I think that, as a band, we kind of got a lot better and got a lot braver. I think that there’s, maybe, something to be said for just writing that way. So, we’re just getting very anxious to keep going and keep making music,” O’Regan says.
O’Regan says that this next album, due out in 2018 and coinciding with their tenth anniversary, will highlight a different side to the band.
“It’s rather a lot of fun,” O’Regan says of the writing process.
“I mean, there’s a joy to this music that we’re making, right now, and an energy that we haven’t really done before that we’re already excited about.”
Even at their most exuberant, Little Green Cars have inclined more towards the melancholy, but facing up to grief has given them an appreciation for joyfulness.
Says O’Regan: “I think that our last album, there was kind of themes of death. It was about that kinda constant struggle of life and death. I lost my father before the release of Absolute Zero, and that kind of affected the song-writing to some degree. The song on the album called ‘Brother’, that’s about that experience.
“I think, when you go through things like that, losing loved-ones and stuff, when you come out the other side, there’s a new appreciation for life and a new outlook and I think that it’s a very kind of enlightening thing.”
They have also approached song-writing in a different way.
O’Regan continues: “Before, the lyric was always the most important part for us and we’ve kind of felt we have to build the song from the lyric up, so we’d focus on what the emotional sentiment was and then that would determine how the music was.
“So, oftentimes, the music would be quite… I wouldn’t even have said downbeat, but certainly there was kind of a heaviness sometimes, or whatever you might say.
“So I think, with this album, we’re kind of experimenting, or we almost have the kind of new outlook that there can be an exuberance to some of these feelings. There can be a kind of an anger. We’re louder and you can dance to these feelings as much as you can kind of lie down and listen with your headphones on.”
It is, perhaps, a huge coincidence that O’Regan is suggesting that their bookish audience can get their dancing shoes out for the next record, in the week that Little Green Cars’ musical heroes, Arcade Fire, are releasing their most upfront dance number, in the shape of Everything Now.
Is there a disco element you’re pursuing, I venture?
“A disco element?” O’Regan considers. “Certainly. Well, we listen to a lot of music in the band and our tastes have definitely kind of diversified. Each individual member has their own tastes and it kind of feeds into the music and… Yeah, I mean… disco, for sure,” he says with such a highly amused chuckle you can practically hear him shrug a ‘why not!’
Cork audiences will have the opportunity to hear some of their new material when Little Green Cars play Ballymaloe Malt & Music Weekend.
Not only is it a chance for the band to test new numbers, there’s also an element of nostalgia to the trip, as O’Regan and singer, Stevie Appleby, holidayed there as children.
“I had been friends with Stevie almost since we were 13, or something, and when we were much younger we went down there with his family for a weekend. It was the most beautiful, serene place. There was a happy memory associated with it,” says O’Regan.
“We wanted an opportunity to just play in the middle of the summer and it came along, and we thought ‘that sounds like a very beautiful, nice day out’. It’s going to be an opportunity for us to try out a song or two. It’ll be a nice summer day.”
Little Green Cars play the Ballymaloe Malt & Music Weekend on Saturday, July 1. For more details, check ballymaloefestivals.ie