God Alone - Cork rockers take the UK

Having made an impression with debut album ‘ETC.’ and an accompanying tour, Northside ‘sad dancey metallers’ God Alone are gearing up to take their longest UK tour to date this April - culminating in a spot at StrangeForms Festival in Leeds. Mike McGrath-Bryan catches up with Cian Mullane and Jake O’Driscoll.
God Alone - Cork rockers take the UK

God Alone: Start their UK tour in April.

The release of debut long-player ‘ETC.’ represented more than a milestone for Northside metallers God Alone.

The album was the most profound yet in a series of sonic left-turns that have come to define the coalescence and maturing of a band that have, in turn, come along in leaps and bounds - from frighteningly capable young musicians in a black-metal/shoegaze crossover, to a forward-thinking unit, unconcerned with pigeonholes, possessed of a way with riffing and a super-kinetic live show.

Speaking over Zoom ahead of their upcoming run of UK gigs to support the album, the lads are in a reflective mood about the album’s release and the response it received from critics and new listeners aside.

“I still feel really good about it, which is very good, because normally I don't feel very good [about records],’ says vocalist/guitarist Jake O’Driscoll. “I'd be really happy, when we're writing and recording it, and then it'll come out, and you'll go, 'ah fuck, could have done that with it', but I think that this one is still holding up in my mind.

“It was a very nice response, because the album is a good bit different to our previous bits. So when we brought out the first single for it ('TSKTSKTSK'), people didn't really know what was happening, and we got some very funny responses from it. As more singles came out, people kind-of got on board, and realised what we were actually going for with it. By the time the album came out, it was received really well by critics, and our friends, which is much more important.”

That aforementioned live experience was brought around the country on tour to support the record, including a hometown headliner in Cyprus Avenue in front of a jam-packed crowd, and support slots for North Shore post-rock legends And So I Watch You From Afar.

Cian Mullane (bass/vox) discusses how that reception translated into live spaces: “I think there's some songs on the album that we've been playing for years now, like Kung-Fu Treachery, which was written in, like, 2019 or something. The album launch and ASIWYFA tours were the first time we ever played the whole album in full, and we wore the red polos for it, which was cool. I think they translate well live, and people really vibe to them, more than our older stuff, I think.”

“We wrote these songs so that they would be really fun to play live, and that's kind of why we started getting more dancey and everything - because it's just so enjoyable to do,” adds O’Driscoll.

God Alone: Off to UK. Picture: Shane J Horan
God Alone: Off to UK. Picture: Shane J Horan

On the nature of touring Ireland after Covid, Mullane reckons it’s a matter of seeing what way the various cities’ scene have recuperated from the crash: “I think the DIY scene is brilliant around the country, like, Limerick's especially strong, and there's good promoters in Dublin and Galway.

“We just deal with our friends, whenever we're putting a tour together, people who are sound and will let us sleep on their floors. So, it kind-of didn't change much, like, we're a bit older now than before, so we're not as inclined to sleep on the floor. I much prefer sleeping in a bed [laughs]. That's what was really nice, it's just hanging out with our friends.”

“Ireland was still basically the same,” adds O’Driscoll. “There is a bit of a difference, when you're selling merch to people after gigs. I get to chat to people, and a lot of the people are different to when we started gigging. You'd kind-of recognise a few people Belfast or Dublin, and they're still the same people that would have went to our gigs all the time.

“But there's newer, younger people that seem like they've been to loads of gigs, are seasoned gig-goers, but we haven't seen at all. I thought it was cool because we haven't been around since before Covid, we haven't done a big tour, and we get to see all the new heads on these scenes.”

An appearance at 2022’s Arctangent progressive rock festival in Brighton, as well as the album’s release via US label Prosthetic, has seen the band begin to build a higher profile across the water, after appearances in UK rock mags like Kerrang! and Metal Hammer in the band’s pre-Covid running giving them a head of steam as they began their body of work.

This April, they’re set to undertake their longest UK tour to date, after getting a booking deal signed, including a run of small-venue gigs, and a brace of festival appearances to round things off - including a fairly prominent spot at the StrangeForms weekender at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club.

“At Arctangent, there was a few different agents there that the label helped us get in touch with, and Hayden, the booking agent we currently have, was very interesting,” says O’Driscoll. “We had great chats with him, and he was definitely on the same page with us. It's great to do this tour with someone else that's an actual booker of gigs, and actually knows promoters.

“The way it used to be is, I'd go on Bandcamp, find math-rock bands or post-rock bands in whatever city, and then Cian would email all of them, until one of them said 'we want to do a gig', and then book loads of busses. But it's good now, that someone actually knows promoters to get on to, instead of getting onto some Bandcamp band and going 'can I sleep in your house as well?'.”

“In fairness, we never got killed, or robbed, or anything,” quips Mullane in response.

While the Common Travel Area means that greater Brexit woes are yet to affect Irish artists travelling off the island to the UK - yet - there has been a difference in the other end of the touring equation - getting out in front of new people and getting the chance to ply your craft to an appreciative audience, which, Mullane says, has begun to find them in earnest. “We've never had anybody come up to us and be horrible. Like, they'd be talking to you about football, and stuff, which is good. They do have funny accents. They're sound, they're nice people. In fairness, like, anybody who's into math-rock is probably kind-of sound, anyway.”

“People are really happy, as well, to see bands that are... not from England,” adds O’Driscoll. “Sometimes, they really make an effort, if a band is travelling over, to come out even if they don't know us. They'd be, like, 'I saw a poster down some back alley, and it said ye were from Ireland, so I thought I'd come out', which is nice.”

God Alone head for the UK in April. Stream and download the band’s music at https://godalone.bandcamp.com

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more