We'd be happy just to get out and play Fredz to ten people, get sweaty, have a gig, happy days

Lockdown saw Cobh grunge/psych trio This Place is Death come back from indefinite hiatus and finally release an extended-player that had been shelved a number of years ago. Mike McGrath-Bryan catches up with Eoin Leahy and Frank O’Brien over Zoom to talk about the release, and the intervening years.
We'd be happy just to get out and play Fredz to ten people, get sweaty, have a gig, happy days

Cobh grunge/psych trio This Place is Death release an extended-player that had been shelved a number of years ago.

As we’ve seen with a few lockdown-era comeback stories that have happened in Cork music, the downtime we’ve collectively experienced has given people perspective, and reminded us of what’s important to ourselves, as we venture off into the next social and cultural moment. #

Among that number of artists that have rekindled old sparks and got back in the swing of things are Cobh grunge revivalists This Place is Death, coming back after taking a permanent break in 2017, following a hectic period of touring, writing and industry involvement, including the shelving of their second extended-player by its UK-based label.

Like, we're kind-of shocked at how it's been received

Said EP has finally seen release in the past few weeks - it was, after all, a wise decision to keep the recording and production costs in the band to own the masters - as ‘Falling Out of Frame’, on Bandcamp and across streaming services.

“Like, we're kind-of shocked at how it's been received so far”, says drummer Eoin Leahy.

“We just thought we'd put it out, and see what happens, but seems to be doing really well - streaming, plays.

“Everything seems to be doing really well, it's on playlists, it's on some song of the month thing at the moment.

“We're shocked at the kindness, the support behind it over the last two weeks has been great, which took us aback a small bit.”

The EP was recorded in 2016 in Derby, in the UK, with SoundHub, a studio/label setup that offered to produce and record the songs in-house.

While the idea of a self-contained studio taking on release duties might remind more business-savvy readers of various ‘record label’ scams over the years, the band themselves sing the praises of the enterprise, citing musical differences for the end of their business relationship.

“It was a small room, kind-of like the rehearsal rooms up at Richie's, they're sitting there watching us play, it's really awkward but they're taking notes, like BPMs of the tracks, which I thought was really, well-on”, says Leahy.

“They said 'these three tracks are the best, and we'd like to work with ye', and we were like, 'yeah, cool'.

“We went over in January 2016, paid for everything so we could own the masters, which is great because you won't be stuck in something a bit messy, since like they're kind of just going to release it then, afterwards.

This Place Is Death: “We’d be happy just to get out and play Fredz to 10 people, get sweaty”.
This Place Is Death: “We’d be happy just to get out and play Fredz to 10 people, get sweaty”.

“It was sent to Metropolis in London (Oasis, Amy Winehouse) to be mastered. Then (first single) 'Caught Inside' was pushed out and... then yeah (laughs), that's about it.

“They weren't really too happy with the response, or whatever, fuck it, and we just kind of said, 'we'll do it ourselves', but y'know, we were gigging our asses off and then we kind-of broke up, then, a year later.”

Adds guitarist/vocalist Frank O’Brien: “I think after we'd done that, we were promised so much, and it never came to fruition. So I just kind-of went, 'I can't deal with this anymore'.

“Y'know, what they laid out is not going to happen, you know, in the next couple of months, after we do this, and it broke my heart, I couldn’t keep doing it.”

The intervening years before a lockdown reunion saw a lot of things happen for each of the trio, not least the unveiling of multiple side-projects, including Hidden in Silence, Leahy’s foray into ambient electronica.

“I just went off into that, and I had a kid in 2018, so that’s what I’ve been doing since then,” chuckles Leahy.

“He’s two-and-a-half now, so we’re up the walls. Frank’s had about ten different releases since then.”

“Yeah, I’ve gotten everything out of myself that I could possibly do. It’s time to get back to doing something raw and energetic again, get back to playing live.”

The band is formally back together, rehearsing and writing with the intention of kicking things off as soon as circumstance allows.

There’ll be post-Covid gigs, that’s for sure - it’s just a matter of figuring out the rest along with the rest of us, a process Leahy is more than happy to get stuck into.

“We'd be happy just to get out and play Fredz to ten people, get sweaty, have a gig, happy days. We're talking about doing a live stream as well, towards the end of the year. I just wanted to trial-run a few of them, pre-record it and put it out, that's the plan now for September, October-ish.

Next year we just want to go gigging, make more music, just go back to normal

“But yeah, next year we just want to go gigging, make more music, just go back to normal. Just do a Hope is Noise, just put out music, have a laugh... they're the kind-of blueprint at this stage, I think, for all bands in Cork.”

This Place is Death’s new EP, ‘Falling Out of Frame’, is on streaming services now. Follow This Place is Death on Twitter: @TPIDofficial.

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