The Answer, a class rock outfit from Northern Ireland, releases “Wild Heart” on November 17. This follows an electrifying summer festival tour that encompassed more than a dozen performances across the UK and Europe, and The Answer found a way to squeeze in the creation of a brand-new single. This upcoming release, titled “Wild Heart,” was meticulously crafted during a recording session at the tail end of their eventful summer. It was recorded under the guidance of acclaimed producer Dan Weller, courtesy of Golden Robot Records. With that will also come the first ever vinyl release of their acclaimed album, Sundowners in the US!
Members: Cormac Neeson, Paul Mahon, Micky Waters, and James Heatley
Frontman Cormac Neeson said of the single,
“We had a fabulous time this summer playing some great festivals, and at the end of August, we just decided to charge back into the studio to see if we could capture the same vibe as our “Sundowners” session. It’s been so liberating just going headlong, no holds barred, into the studio knowing that we have tonnes of material to fall back on, and this is another of those tracks. The set list is going to be something very different from the last tour, so we can’t wait to dip into more of the catalogue as well as some of the Sundowners album that we have yet to play live – we can’t wait!!”
Listening to the single, it will be a treat for rock fans. It’s raw and funky, a strong blast of rhythmic rocking groove that should sound great on the upcoming tour dates.
Guitarist, Paul Mahon talks to us about “The Answer” in advance of their UK tour dates (see end of article).
The world is a troubled place just at the moment, and we have a postcard on the wall of the office here that says, “Civilization gets into trouble when it listens to its politicians more than it listens to its poets.” We think that music has such an important role to play in human well-being. Do you agree?
Paul: Music has a massive influence on human well-being, much more than we think.It has helped many people through hard times and can, in its own way, understand and mirror our feelings when no one else can and provide some answers.With the current state of the world, we need it more than ever!
Listening to your music, you often remind us musically of the band “Pretty Reckless,” and then again on the track “I want you to love me,” it has a boogie to it that seems to give a nod towards ZZ Top. They may or may not be an influence of yours, but where do you as a band draw your influences from, and do they change over time?
Paul: ZZ Top would definitely be one of our original influences when we started and continue to be.Our roots are in the blues: Son House, Muddy Waters, and Robert Johnson.The British blues boom of the mid- to late-60’s is also a massive influence.Fleetwood Mac,Cream, Taste, and, of course, Led Zeppelin We grew up in the early 90’s, so bands like Soundgarden,Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains are massive influences. Of course, influences shift slightly over time, butfortunately,y our original influences are quite broad and have given us plenty of inspiration to develop over 7 albums.
Let’s talk about the track “Blood Brothers,” because it has this amazing riff and beat, and then the harmonised chorus section with you all singing. Can you tell us a little bit about that track and how you reflect on the process of putting it together? It’s so effective and interesting.
Paul: “Blood Brothers” was an idea Micky brought in, and I immediately thought it had potential. It sounded familiar but also had its own character, something unique I maybe hadn’t heard in that context before.We started jamming on it together, added a new section in the middle, and gave all the parts some character.Cormac came up with the chorus lyric, and we knew we had something special!
Do you all contribute to the development of the songs in the studio, or do you have a main lyricist and a principal songwriter amongst you?
Paul: We all contribute in some fashion. The first way we write songs is to all get in the room together and jam and see what comes out. We record everything, then go back through it and see if anything grabs our attention, and then work on developing that some more.When we work this way, our roles are pretty defined. Another way we write is to bring in individual ideas we have developed in isolation; these may be quite close to being finished but need a better lyric or maybe only have a title to write from or a couple of lines. Then Cormac will write lyrics to these or develop what is already there in his own style.
The reception for the album “Sundowners” has been amazing. I believe you made it to number one in the rock charts. Have you been able to play the majority of the album live, and are there a few tracks that have yet to make it onto the live stage but that you think will?
Paul: .We have played most of the album live, but not all of it. “Cold Heart,” “No Salvation,” and “Get Back On It” have yet to grace the gilded stage, but we have plans to play them during our upcoming UK, Europe, and Scandinavian tours!
“Get Back On It,” is a track that we liked here from the last album. It’s kind of a sexy and vibrant track, with plenty of get-up-and go about it. Is it one that you guys enjoyed doing?
Paul: Yes, it was great fun to record in the studio, and one I really enjoy listening to still! When we were first choosing what tracks we would record for the album, there were 4 or 5 we couldn’t decide on until we got into the studio. “Get Back on It” was one of those. Each day we would sit around the kitchen table, have a beer, listen to the tracks we had recorded that day, and think about what other songs we had that would fit. As the recording went on, it became clear that ” Get Back on It” was exactly what we needed. It was a bit throwaway in a sense, but it had so much attitude and a sense of abandon that it was perfect to be the penultimate track on the album.
“Wild Heart,” the new single, wasn’t on the last album. Was it recorded separately, or is it an extension to those recordings but never quite made the album? What can we expect from it?
Paul: “Wild Heart” wasn’t recorded in the album sessions.It came after we had toured and were itching to get back in the studio to record.We had been away for quite a few years, so it was great to be back out on the road again, and it inspired some new songs right away!
And two fun questions to finish with! What was the last album you listened to from start to finish, and did you enjoy it?
Paul: The last album I listened to before writing this was “Wilderness of Mirrors” by the Black Angels. I really enjoyed its fuzzy blend of psychedelia.They have a knack for making things heavy, epic and tuneful at the same time.
Which musician, alive or dead, that you never were able to see in concert would you most like to see perform if you could?
Paul: Difficult question to answer but it would come down to left-handed guitar players from Seattle! Kurt Cobain or Jimi Hendrix.I’m going to go for Kurt as I feel his story wasn’t finished, I could tell he was maybe starting to feel he was at the end of what he could do creatively with Nirvana or maybe not; but it still intrigues me to know what he would do next.I was going to see Nirvana in Dublin on the In utero tour but sadly he passed away before that show.
As for tours, The Answer are heading out on the road in November for a few UK dates.
Upcoming UK Tour Dates:
Manchester Academy 2
London Islington Assembly Hall
Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill
Glasgow King Tuts
Belfast Limelight 1
By Benny (the Ball) Benson
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