We got the chance to talk to the NO ENCORE team about their musical education, how the Podcast came to be and of course, Kanye West. You can see the results below…
“Three grizzled journalists – Dave Hanratty (Drowned In Sound), Colm O’Regan (Hot Press) and Craig Fitzpatrick (Newstalk) convene once a week to try and make sense of the noise that finds it way into their ears. All the news, reviews and previews – along with plenty of wild and wonderful tangents – are packed into one of the most entertaining podcasts to hit the net this year.”
What are the albums that got you interested in music, and how did you come across them?
Craig: A family affair for me. The Blue Nile’s Hats from my mother, Led Zep vinyl from my father, Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks from both. Then I was exposed to acoustic renditions of ‘Lucky’ and ‘Psycho Killer’ at family gatherings, so OK Computer and Remain In Light were early favourites. I heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on the radio in primary school and immediately went out and bought every Nirvana CD… except for Nevermind.
Is This It by The Strokes was probably the first new release that felt like it was mine as I hit my teens. I heard and saw the future – and it looked and sounded a fair bit like The Cars and The Modern Lovers did in the past. I was being mocked for wearing skinny jeans and suit jackets with the sleeves rolled up pretty shortly afterwards. My Miami Vicephase, which never really went away.
Colm: Unlike Craig, my family is pretty non-musical; we didn’t own a record player, or a CD player, so a cassette tape of A Woman’s Heart is probably the only album I recall around the house as a child. Apart from studying classical performance, the lustre of which wore off pretty quickly, my musical education was a typical combination of clichéd peer pressure, trial and error, and whatever radio DJs decided to play.
I remember some copies of Oasis albums being something of a revelation, hearing something with a bit of bite. Actually starting to go to gigs, aged 12, was the main turning point. I saw Ash and Muse play, and then came a rush of big Irish acts emerging at that time. I got hooked pretty quickly.
Dave: I’m going to have to be honest here, aren’t I? I remember getting a Walkman for a Christmas present as a kid and having some kind of nervous breakdown instead of it being some wonderful ‘coming of age’ moment. I’m still pretty ashamed of that, even if I was about eight years old. I recall a tape with The Shamen of ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ fame on it called Energy Rush 2 – first one was presumably killer – and it most definitely wasn’t that. Instead it was something even more objectionable; nu metal.
Having listened to the radio for years, making tapes of songs I liked, I eventually graduated to the perpetually malfunctioning world of the Mini-Disc before finally getting into actual albums. I’m going to be completely up-front and state that Limp Bizkit’s Significant Other and KoRn’s Follow The Leader were hugely formative because they genuinely made me focus on bands and their overall output, which snapped me out of the playlist culture that currently dominates the world. So, essentially, I was ahead of my time. If I was to pick five albums that have hit me the hardest in life, it would be:
Converge – Jane Doe
M83 – Before The Dawn Heals Us
Brand New – The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth
Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak
How did the Podcast come about? Have you known each other long?
Craig: NO ENCORE is pretty much Dave’s brainchild – a pretty gross sounding term. Even down to the name. I wanted to go with The Aesthetic Revue.
Dave had wanted to do a podcast since I met him when he arrived through the doors of Hot Press five years ago. He then waited until the month I stopped being a full-time music journalist to tell me we were actually doing it and that I’d have to continue listening to a shit-tonne of new music.
Colm entered the Hot Press picture a couple of years ago and seemed an agreeable sort – we got drunk with him, essentially. He also claimed he had broadcasting experience, so that was good, but we can’t verify that because they don’t keep those kind of records down in Cork.
Colm: They don’t even know my real name.
Another thing – and I hope the others will agree here, even though I’m trying to be delicate – is that most established outlets are a little bit lacking; reviews are too short, news coverage is either shallow clickbait or hysterical overreaction, and any criticism is toothless. The chance to do it our way was too good to pass up. We’ve spent a few years talking about music the same way as we do on the podcast when we’re in the pub, or online, or whatever, so it’s a pretty good fit.
Dave: Hey, I also wanted to go with ‘The Aesthetic Revue’ but our editor/overlord Alan Bennett was having absolutely none of it. On a night out I came up with two options that I wasn’t really committed to; ‘Pause Silence’ – a reference to American Head Charge and their incredible song ‘Just So You Know’ and ‘NO ENCORE’, which was throwaway enough but I’ve actually come to love it. And it has to be in capital letters like David Lynch’s INLAND EMPIRE. Why? I’m not telling.
The show came from me popping up on The HeadStuff Podcast a few times and annoying Alan so much he felt it was probably a good idea to give me my own baby with a focus on music. It’s pretty much the raucous yet considered distillation of three ex-Hot Press journalists who survived said experience and emerged as brothers. And yeah, I fully agree with Colm’s above observation. Criticism can be art, too.
Craig: We’ve elevated bickering about past-their-best guitar bands to the realm of High Art, for sure. Joking aside, NO ENCORE offers a really unique platform for digging that little bit deeper.
The Podcast also discusses Film / Live Music / Politics. Is there anything you won’t go into?
Colm: Honestly, nothing is off-limits. Music doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and nor do our opinions on it. There’s all manner of influence and context at play, so it’d be ridiculous to try avoiding anything.
Craig: Alan tactfully cuts out the lengthy discussions about Dave’s love life before his intro every week. Probably wise.
Dave: Definitely wise.
Craig: The microphones are still on and the audio is in the vaults, so maybe we can release them as some boxset decades from now. Could be a nice retirement fund.
Colm: Well we talk about my girlfriend a lot, which we can do because she never listens – makes her feel like she’s eavesdropping, apparently.
Dave: Which really calls the nature of a podcast into question, I guess. Craig and I are both single – orderly queue please, ladies – so we don’t share Colm’s affliction in that regard. As the man says, nothing is really off-limits. We try and keep it as upbeat as possible but I think we balance veering from a bizarre news story to a serious issue or piece of work quite well. I love when tangents crop up, it’s my favourite thing. And it’s great when something like a really weird Henry Cavill interview about living a lavish lifestyle can naturally fall into the conversation as it did on the very first episode, but those moments don’t come along every week, much to my chagrin.
Craig: Coming soon to NO ENCORE: ‘Craig On Cavill’.
Who decides what is included? How do you avoid discussing Kanye every week?
Colm: Fistfights. A lot of them.
Dave: The occasional WWE-style brawl with steel chair shots and dramatic revelations.
Craig: It’s all very collaborative really, emails flying back and forth all week. Imagine the way Robbie Williams and Ed Sheeran must have worked long-distance to put together their recent, appalling non-hit ‘Pretty Woman’ and you get the gist.
There are plenty of Kanye stories every week, but we tend to ignore the Kanye-by-proxy non-stories now. He has to be talking or doing something. Which is most weeks. Which is fine, seeing as he’s the patron saint of the show.
Colm: Kanye and NO ENCORE is the weirdest patronage in music since St. Hubbins and quality footwear.
Dave: Initially I had asked the guys to be semi-regular individual co-hosts but I honestly couldn’t imagine the show without them, nor would I be as excited to do it. We have a good dynamic at this stage, but sometimes you have breaking news to contend with like the day Prince died as we were en route to the studio. That was a rough one. We just did our best not to burst out crying, really. Big events seem to happen hours after we record, too. Whole world’s against us, man.
The Kanye thing is interesting. We really don’t try and crowbar him in for the sake of it any more and yet he keeps popping up. Some people hate that he’s a constant and they’ll tell you as much, which I find quite fascinating. I hope he’s a subscriber, I think he’d dig what we’re about.