Formed in Dublin in 2008, Funeral Suits (the name is inspired by a love of the first Arcade Fire album) released a clutch of handmade singles before they came into contact with legendary Britpop producer Stephen Street, best known for his work with The Smiths and Blur. They worked together over a couple of years, bagging studio time when the band could afford it, on the songs that would form the basis of their debut album.
Step On first heard the band quite by accident in 2011 during a Canadian Music Week showcase featuring Irish artists. We were there to cover a different band entirely but Funeral Suits stole the night. The band recently announced the release of a brand new track “Tree Of Life” their first new music since the release of their debut album Lily Of The Valley almost four years ago.
We caught up with bass and guitar player Darragh Grant to run him through some questions about life and music inside and outside of Funeral Suits.
Step On Magazine: What are you listening to right now?
At the minute through my housemate, I’m listening to a lot of Afrobeat. Stuff that he tracks down on Vinyl. One record I want to keep putting on at the moment is Francis Bebey’s Fleur Tropicale. Such an incredible record with amazing hooks everywhere. Really interesting back story too.
What was the first LP/tape/CD you remember owning?
Oh god, really? It was a Texas single…on cassette…just awful. (See: U.K office and David Brent talking about Texas) “I’m sure Texas couldn’t run and manage a successful paper merchants. I couldn’t do what…actually, I could do what they do, and I think they knew it back then. Probably what spurred them on.”
What is your favourite journey?
The best journey for me is always when I’m making my way back to Dublin, either from London where I live, or from wherever we may be. Such a great feeling knowing that there are so many smiling faces waiting there for you, and making coffee in my mums kitchen listening to R.T.E radio 1 as is pretty much inbuilt into every Irish kitchen. The thought of that really makes the journey headaches fall away. I am excited now also as I’m making that said journey next week to start rehearsals for upcoming shows.
What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Easy. Having friends over to the house and hanging out in the garden chatting and listening to some records. Some beers and nice food, that’s pretty ideal.
What is essential to take on a plane or tour bus?
Wet wipes. Really.
What do you do with 4 hours to yourself in a new city?
Usually if we are in a city and we somehow have a few hours to spare I like to go for a walk just aimlessly really. You really get a feel for the place. Then go in for a coffee or a beer somewhere that you have maybe read about or heard about. Walking any city is the way to go. I also must confess, if the city has an underground system I will always go on that too, even for 1 stop so I can tick it off my list. I’m really cool…
What inspired you to take up music?
My dad always had guitars and mandolins and stuff around the house when I was growing up and I used to bash around on them when I was very young and pretend to play “La Bamba” to my families amusement, but never really tried to play it properly. Luckily, I had older brothers who were crazy into music so when one arrived home with Nevermind and blared it, it flipped a switch in me. I had never heard anything so cool. So I think he realized I was into that type of stuff and got me some Pixies records and showed me the ropes. I started trying to play that stuff on my dads guitar and couldn’t really figure out why it didn’t sound right. Then a brother’s pal came over one day and showed me how to play “power chords” and that was that. The floodgates opened and I was blasting that 10 watt Squier amp!
Most of the advice I have ever been given in my life probably.
What should everyone shut up about?
Rihanna “Work”. I really and truly wish that would stop, now.
What was the best live gig or music festival you attended?
Mogwai in Dublin a few years back. At one point I thought I was going to pass out from the sheer noise of it and the lights. It was utterly magical
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art.
The Northern Lights by The Earth are pretty mind altering!
What does the next 6 months look like for you?
Lot’s of rehearsals and then Shows in Dublin, London and then down to Italy. Hope to get a holiday in there too if possible.
Always meet your heroes or never meet your heroes?
Always meet your heroes.