Waterford man Jamie Grimes has spent the better part of the last two decades quietly etching a legacy for himself in the walls of the Irish underground. He’d tell you otherwise, but from his work with the likes of doom-mongers Debt and noise band Serpents, to playing with death-metallers Vircolac, hardcore harbingers Drainland and grunge lads Lurch, taking in a body of gigs, tours, solo improvisations and a hefty catalogue of metal critique, interview and journalism, there are few people in Irish music that have been more singularly focused on self-expression, and the virtues of doing it yourself.
Grimes has been a part of heavy music in Ireland for over twenty years at this point, but it was a crisis of confidence that led the components of newest musical excursion Electricals back together, drawn from previous projects. He gets into the circumstances of the band’s creation, and the events that informed the musical direction the band has taken. “The quick answer to this, is because I can't say no to Cory, our guitarist. I'd walked out of my previous band after completing an album, and had felt utterly deflated and dejected by that experience. I felt utterly burned out, like an absolute failure, and had decided to just give up, to the point where I'd actually sold off pretty much all my equipment straight after, bar my guitar, which Cory, and Pete, our bassist, talked me out of selling. Long story short, I ran into Cory in the street about a month later, and while we were talking about things he just said something to the effect of ‘we're starting another band though, right?’ which I absolutely didn't want to do, but… well, I think he knew once he put the idea in my head that I'd do it, and he was right. So basically, he and Pete are two of my closest friends. we've played in various bands together. Drainland and Lurch being the two best known I guess. I think they both convinced me I needed to not completely give up, but maybe just step away from the kind of music I'd been playing, and try something new.”
The first fruits of Electricals’ efforts in that regard, debut single 'I'm Going to the F**king Moon' is out now via Bandcamp, and it's a noisy piece of work. Grimes gets into what the creative process been like, in terms of banging out tunes together and settling on things like space-faring conspiracy theorists and the sad rabbit-holes that underlie such trappings. “As with a lot of what we're doing, it’s basically a pop song just filtered through a shared history of playing heavy, noisy music. Lyrically it's also pretty tongue in cheek, as is a lot of what comes out lyrically - a lot of the songs are character based or rooted in ridiculous real life experiences. ‘Moon’ is basically poking fun at conspiracy theorists, of the tinfoil-hat-wearing type that was kind-of inspired by a bunch of people I saw mounting a march against chemtrails parading around Dublin last summer. Creatively, it's honestly been a case of one person having a riff, then another one of us having a complementary part, and then refining that ‘til the music is in place, at which point I'll go home and listen to a rough recording until I get something going on lyrically that I think fits. I hadn't written lyrics in years so it's a skill I've had to re-learn. The whole process has been very spontaneous, if not without occasional problems, and very collaborative, as opposed to previous bands where I've pretty much brought in entire songs for people to learn.”
There's been mention of 'a recording' on the band's Twitter for a while, following the further unfurling of Electricals’ processes. Grimes gets into the process of pulling together the next step for the band, and gives us a quick scoop on its upcoming release ahead of their Cork gig on the 25th. “It's a four-track called ‘Healing Services’, which has been in mix hell since we recorded in in late September 2019. Both ourselves and the person we recorded with have all been crazy busy, and finding time to nail down the final mix has been super-difficult. It should be online by the time we get to Cork, otherwise it probably never will. We recorded it live with Steve from (Dublin hardcore lads) Destriers, and it's essentially four of the first five songs we wrote. To be honest, I don't think any of us have considered doing anything beyond putting it on Bandcamp for now, the recording was done out of necessity, and for documentation, as we'd been rehearsing for a year. We're a very new band, who aren't exactly hard touring road-dogs, so for now, I'm not entirely sure a physical release is necessary for us, and it was ultimately sort of a calling card to send to promoters to get shows with.”
The band also played Bad Reputation’s Siege of Limerick all-dayer at Dolan’s Warehouse in the city, on the October Bank Holiday of last year, gracing the bill on the most important community metal event on the Irish calendar. Grimes gets into the experience, and bringing the band to new audiences in towns around the country. “Slightly nerve-racking. On one hand, no-one knows who we are, so there weren't a lot of expectations, but then on the other hand, no-one knows who we are, and at an event with that many bands, you really have to prove yourself, so there's a level of internal pressure… I think we did well, and certainly we got a way larger crowd and far more positive response than we expected, particularly as we'd gone on just after (Dublin death-metallers) Coscradh, and it was a fairly death-metal-heavy line up. We were delighted to play, delighted (promoter) Tall John trusted us to pull it off, and I was delighted to survive the worst hangover of my life playing it. I actually gave up alcohol permanently the following week, it was so bad.”
Electricals are playing Fred Zeppelin’s on Saturday, January 25, for the monthly Paranoid Pit gigs, which will be documented in audiovisual form, alongside Corkonian post-metallers Partholón and Galwegian outfit Third Island. Grimes recounts his musical connections to Cork City, and collects his thoughts on the upcoming gig. “We're extremely psyched. Cork has historically been extremely supportive of my dumb little musical ventures from the days of Serpents, to Vircolac, but for Drainland in particular. Cork, specifically Fredz, really was a place we felt most at home, so I know for Cory and I, it's exciting to bring a new band there, even if it is very different. Stoked to play with two excellent, forward-thinking heavy bands, and extremely grateful to Howard and the Paranoid Pit fellas for having us. We’re very much looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.”