Hot on the heels of their recent track ‘Oh’, Dublin folk duo WE CUT CORNERS have just released their third album The Cadences Of Others. Entranced by their whimsical sound, we caught up with the band to find about about writing and self-producing the album, recording in a church and collaborating with Villagers’ Connor O’Brien.
You’ve just unveiled the new video for ‘Oh’! The track itself is rather bittersweet; was there a moment in particular that you were drawing from when writing it?
We’d always wanted to write a song with an “oh oh oh” refrain but never had the gumption to do so until we realised that the “oh” in question could refer to the moment of clarity when you realise that a relationship is destined for oblivion! So we really built the narrative of the song around that germ of an idea.
‘Oh’ follows ‘On Avoiding People’ as the second single from your forthcoming album The Cadences Of Others. Tell us a little about what we can expect from it.
The Cadences Of Others is, to our minds at least, the most fully realised piece of work we’ve created. We allowed ourselves every artistic indulgence imaginable from tracking the album in a chapel, to enlisting collaborators like Conor O’Brien (of Villagers) and gilding the album with rather opulent string and brass arrangements. I guess the album is underpinned, though, by our signature song-writing style which allows it to sit comfortably in our canon of works.
It will be your third album; what do you feel that you have learned as musicians between this and your previous album and how do you feel it has influenced your song-writing?
To be honest, we’ve approached each record with a sense of abandon and allowed the songs to wilfully mutate as the process has unfolded and this album was no different. We’ve probably learned a modicum of restraint in some regards.
‘Oh’ is a double A-side with ‘Mandinka’, a cover of a Sinead O’Connor song. What made you choose that track? Is it a special one for you?
We’ve been playing that song live for a number of years and quite honestly, it has never grown old for us. It’s something of a forgotten gem from Sinead O’Connor’s debut album and crowds really react effusively to hearing it live and re-contextualised. We had some time left over after making the record and tracked it with the help of an ensemble called Booka Brass, from Dublin.
You self-produced The Cadences Of Others, which was recorded in a church in Dublin. Did recording in a church influence the atmosphere of your sessions and in turn, the songs?
Well the songs were effectively written when we entered the church but bizarrely yes, some of the songs took on an atmosphere of still and serenity that might have been missing in the demos. Working in a building that is purpose built for contemplation, and being allowed to make a lot of noise there is a juxtaposition we enjoyed while making the record.
Was this your first time self-producing? Was it liberating having full creative control?
Very much so. There were incidences on the first two albums that we may not have spoken our minds as vociferously as we should have and those regrets really niggle for years to come. It was amazing to walk away from this record knowing that we had signed off on every last detail of the work.
As previously mentioned, the album features contributions from Villagers’ Conor O’Brien, members of Booka Brass and also the Fratres String Quartet. Did collaborating with such a variety of musicians deliver surprising results?
In regards to Conor especially, we genuinely had no idea how he was going to approach his bass parts for the record so, in that sense, it was a total surprise. Mere moments into that session, it was very evident that he was going to imbue the tracks with profound musicality and endless groove.
You were previously teachers. Do you still teach? If so, how does maintaining a full time job affect you as a band? Is juggling the two worth the struggle?
Is the juggle worth the struggle? Absolutely. In fact, it’s not a struggle at all! We both love to teach and music is the perfect foil to that lifestyle – a place you can focus your creative energies and make art that excites you.
We Cut Corners new album The Cadences of Others is available now.