Cormac Gahan (Boa Morte)
How are you? How have you been?
Not too bad thanks. Keeping busy recording tracks for a new album which will be out sometime in 2022.
Do you think we’re over the worst at this stage?
As I’m writing this news is coming in of the so-called South African variant so we’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure we’ll know more soon about the epidemiology and molecular genetics of this strain. There’s always the chance that a strain may emerge which is highly transmissible but less pathogenic in the host, more like the common cold. But it certainly looks like this virus will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future.
What music/albums did you particularly enjoy in 2021?
My own favourites for this year were great albums from Lambchop (Showtunes) and Low (Hey What). Both albums demand to be listened to in their entirety and are musically and technically complex. Encouraging to see bands we’ve followed for so long continue to make their best work. Somewhat surprising not to see the Lambchop album in more best-of lists this year as I think the songwriting and arrangements make it one of Kurt Wagner’s best albums.
A quick poll of the band shows universal agreement on the Low album in particular (it’s a masterpiece) with other albums-of-the-year (it’s a long list) including Alice Coltrane’s minimalist Turiya Sings, Linda Fredriksson’s Juniper, the new(ish) album from 2nd Grade, Black Country New Road – For the First Time, the collaboration between Last Dinosaur and Arteries of New York, Injury Reserve’s By the Time I get to Phoenix, three albums from Alex Somers (Siblings, Siblings 2 and the RSD release of the soundtrack to the film Audrey), The Bug – Fire, Vladislav Delay’s Rakka II, Nappy Nina & JWords – Double Down, Neil Young Archives volume 2, Jon Hopkins – Music for Psychedelic Therapy, Richard Dawson/Circle – Henki, Bonnie Prince Billy / Matt Sweeney – Superwolves, Burial, Four Tet, Thom Yorke – Her Revolution / His Rope. It was a year of some great Irish albums, from Adrian Crowley and Brigid Mae Power. In particular, 2021 saw some great Irish contemporary classical and electronica releases with excellent albums from Linda Buckley, Hannah Peel, Ordnance Survey, Mount Alaska, Strands, and an amazingly ambitious album from Sorbet.
How are things with Boa Morte, you are recording a fourth album, is that right?
Yes, we’ve been recording tracks at a studio in Dundalk called Black Mountain Studios with producer Daniel Presley who we worked with on our first two albums. For us, we’ve taken on a completely new recording approach for this album. Since the start of the pandemic, we worked up some complete demo tracks in our practice studio in Cork with a new array of outboard synths and guitar effects. Even during strict lockdown periods, we were able to send each other files and do a lot of individual recordings in isolation. We then re-recorded the basic band parts (pretty much live band recordings of drums, bass, guitar and piano) in Dundalk with Daniel and are now in the process of importing some of the pre-recorded STEMS into the projects. The flexibility of doing things at our own pace and switching between Protools, Ableton and Logic platforms has led to a new suite of sounds for this album. We’ve also just completed some extra overdubs with composer and producer Justin Grounds at his studio in West Cork. When all the elements are completed we’ll mix the album with Stephen Shannon in early 2022 and hopefully be able to release it in the calendar year.
How do you feel about playing/attending gigs?
As we’re concentrating on recording the album we haven’t considered playing any gigs recently. Our last gigs were actually in London in February 2020 – just as COVID was reaching Europe. The first lockdown happened two weeks later. Maurice has just come back from attending Le Guess Who in the Netherlands where a couple of bands pulled out due to rising COVID restrictions and risk. I haven’t been to any gigs recently as I just haven’t really felt like going to anything. It’s heartbreaking to see the live music sector potentially being affected again just when things were set to return to normal.
The arts have had a particularly tough time right through the pandemic, in comparison to other sectors. Is it difficult to keep going?
The live arts sector has probably been the worst hit by the COVID pandemic of any industry. It’s really heartening to see how much people missed it but soul-destroying now to see that it might be affected by yet another wave of the virus. As a band we’re unusual I guess in that we don’t rely on live shows too much but it must be devastating for artists who need these shows in order to earn a living. And it affects so many people, not just artists and actors, but everyone who works in theatres and live venues around the country.
Anything else going on with you outside of music?
We’re all working, so pretty busy outside of the band. But recording is a welcome distraction from reality – especially working on laptops and adding new ideas to the tracks which can certainly absorb huge amounts of time.
What are you looking forward to next year, musically?
We’re really looking forward to the new album coming out. It’s quite different from what we’ve done before so it’ll be interesting to see what people think.
Have you any plans for yourself next year?
Just to release the best album we can possibly make.