London based Stick In The Wheel are that rarest of things – a modern folk group devoid of flouncy nonsense. Daragh from Dublin’s own trad troublemakers Lynched caught them ahead of their new album being released on the 25th. He couldn’t think of any good questions, so he got his drunk mates to help.
You lads have your first full length album coming out this month. Can you give us a quick lowdown on that?
We recorded it over about 4 days in the warehouse/offices where Si works, we used conference rooms as vocal booths and the big warehouse rooms to record the percussion and to use as reverb chambers. We cut all the songs (including vocals) pretty much in one or two takes, doing a bit of overdubbing during the mixing process. It was important to get the performances right before we recorded it. Song choice was all about using songs that either resonated with us personally or had relevance to whats going on around us, the albums about 50/50 original/traditional.
You can buy it via www.stickinthewheel.com.
Do you find many people getting into your music who might not necessarily listen to folk music generally?
Yeah I think so, we get that at gigs sometimes, people say they don’t listen to folk music but they liked us. I mean my mates like it.
Do you reckon there may have been a trend in recent years (or decades) for people to make folk music that is over-polished and inoffensive?
Yeah, I don’t know whats its like for Ireland but over here folk music is historically treated like a anthropological study, music collected from “the people” noted down, sanitised and only to be performed in the manner of a academic recital. I mean its been like this for hundreds of years so it’s no surprise then when you get the stuff thats mainly around nowadays being overly polished and seemingly lacking in any real meaning. That and everyone wants to be famous, the cunts.
How are you lads finding it playing bigger and more high-profile gigs these days?
It’s just a bigger crowd of people that don’t understand our accent but really it’s worries, its easier if anything. You just rock up and do your thing innit.
Do you have any plans to come to Ireland?
Yes we do.
Do you lads get nerdy about looking into songs or researching them, and who is the biggest nerd if so?
YouTube. Fran is the biggest folk nerd since she’s been into it since birth because of her parents, who met in a folk club. She’s always cussing out bad morris dancers. Otherwise, well we just steal what we need and make sure we do it right.
What is the first rap album you ever got into?
Si – Public Enemy – Yo! Bum Rush The Show Nic – Bizzare Ride II the Pharcyde Fran – Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle Ian – Company Flow – Funcrusher
Have you ever come across Patrik Fitzgerald, the 1970s punk poet, and if not, will you google him now?
No we haven’t and yes we will… We did that, he’s alright.
Can punks play folk?
What did you call me? Yeah if they like. I wouldn’t tell anyone what to do.
One of the most refreshing things about SITW is the complete lack of affectation in the vocals. Why do you think it is so uncommon to come across people singing in their own voice, especially these days? Do you think it has to do with an inherent fear of and estrangement from the self in the modern hyper-capitalist age?
Maybe. But being bland is easier to monetise because it’s less risky. People live through their phones innit, they’re not interested in real experience. And they’re afraid of being themselves. People just wanna be famous and will do anything to achieve that, if that means copying everyone else then so be it. That’s why everything sounds the fucking same.
In what manner would you like to die?
Like we’re gonna tell you that sunshine.
Have you ever had someone put a stick in the spokes of your wheel, perhaps in childhood?
Si – As a kid, I did it to one of my friends when he was on his BMX and was actually surprised and amazed when I saw him go flying over the handlebars. You don’t forget shit like that.
Are you aware that a ‘stick in the mud’ is a term in Ireland for someone who is no fun?
Yes. Isn’t it also worth two in the bush or is that something else?
Is folk music sexy? If so, how?
Whats wrong with being sexy?
Barbara or Barbary Allen?
Have you or anyone you know ever used the clay pipes that come with your EPs to smoke hash, crack, DMT or any other drugs, and if so, are they fit for the purpose?
Not personally, theres a chance you might catch some 17th century ailment like consumption or summat, but go for you life, it might be a laugh. Thanks guys, looking forward to catching up with you in November.
Check out www.stickinthewheel.com for more music from the lads, along with info on gigs, downloads, merch etc. The new album From Here is released on September 25th. Thanks to Ian, Radie, Cossie, Ruth, Tessa, Amelia, Harry and Alan for help with questions. Some of the more braindead ones have been removed.