Dublin dream-grunge trio Bitch Falcon have been riding on a wave of hype with their must-see live show for years now, with many a coveted support slot - alongside the likes of Girl Band, Fontaines DC, Black Peaks, and Pussy Riot - under their collective belt.
Now, it's time for their debut album. Thankfully recorded long before the tumultuous events of 2020 took hold, this is the band fully realised, charting themes of mental health, existentialism and personal relationships.
Frontwoman Lizzie Fitzpatrick and drummer Nigel Kenny tell us more.
Congrats on finishing your debut album, how does it feel to have it done?
Nigel: Exciting! It's nearly time so definitely very eager to have the whole thing out there for everyone to hear.
Lizzie: It feels so great to have it done. We're really happy how everything has turned out and excited to show it to the world. We have taken a good while to record our debut, and it really feels like the music we're supposed to write.
Are you guys good at drawing a line under things, or do you like to go back and tinker?
Nigel: It's hard not to look back on it and want to change, add or take away something. There comes a time, though, when you have to just let it go and let it off into the world. Everyone has a 'Chinese Democracy' [Guns'n'Roses infamous very-delayed album] in them I reckon.
Lizzie: Nothing is ever finished! I guess you just have to put things to bed and be happy with the way they turned out.
Does it feel as though the record's been a long time coming?
Nigel: Yeah, for sure. We've been around for a while now playing a lot of gigs and drip-feeding music, so it's nice to have ten songs out there, on a record which no one has heard (apart from the singles we've released in the lead up).
Lizzie: Absolutely! We were always behind I thought in the releasing of material. It feels good to have a solid piece of work that we're really proud of ready to go. I know in our audience that people have been waiting and asking for so long.
How fully-formed was your vision for the album going into it? Are you very pre-planned in the way you work, or is it all more spontaneous?
Nigel: Structurally everything was prepared by the time we went into the studio. Once we did, we allowed the studio and the two lads from The Meadow [Rian Trench and Robert Watson] to inspire and foster a creative situation where some unplanned stuff was added. We had a map for how it would go before we went in and that got torn up a little after about three or four days.
Lizzie: I think when writing the songs, we wanted to have a very full sound, that would adopt the listener into the mix. I love albums that take you deep down sonically, and so the production in studio was approached in that fashion. I took a lot of inspiration from Kevin Sheilds [My Bloody Valentine] with the layering of feedback and reverb to create an immersive sound.
How was your time in the studio? Did you record while social-distancing was in effect?
Nigel: This was recorded over ten days beginning at the start of May 2019, so we weren't where we are now. We went in on day one with an idea to record a song mostly live and finish tracking and starting a mix of a song in each day. Once we started to track on the first and second day, we started to just lash out songs and scrap the song a day approach as it was moving pretty quickly by itself. I think most of the main elements of the album were recorded in less than five days for all of the songs and then we engorged ourselves on the toys available to Barry and us, and Lizzie started to go a bit crazy with the pedals and synths.
Lizzie: Yeah, it was recorded a year ago or so, so no distancing was in effect! We got the main parts of the songs done quite quick, and the layering of extra sounds was lots of fun. I found it quite difficult to get my vocals polished enough for studio, so I did a bit of home recording. I'd say the neighbours are sick of me screaming next door.
'Staring At Clocks' feels like a really apt title for 2020, what does it mean to you?
Lizzie: Yeah, I guess it is! Well, the title is one of the songs on the album that is really that numbness that comes along with depression. I was going through a bit of a low stage when writing, and I was just waiting for time to pass, the low to pass.
Is your music impacted much by 'the state of the world'?
Lizzie: I think that political situations can always influence a person. This record is mainly a personal reflection on my state of being, existentialism and personal relationships.
Do you have a favourite song on the album?
Nigel: Probably 'Gaslight' for me, even at this stage. It was one of the first songs that came together for this album. I can still feel the energy from the first time it locked in our rehearsal space in the recording that's on the album. After all that time, it still had a vibe by the time we recorded it, and I still get it every time we play it.
Lizzie: 'Staring At Clocks'. It was one of the most difficult songs to write lyrically and melodically. I had such a hard time coming up with something to match it. The music is so intense that I get such a buzz out of it. I think all the production and mixing on this track is excellent and it really fleshed it out to a fully-formed beast.
It must have been really tough not being able to perform live this year, do you have plans to get back out and play?
Nigel: I think you have to try really, right? By now we should have played our last major festival for the year and been teeing up the tour for the album, but it wasn't to be. There is some solace in the fact that we're all in the same boat, which has allowed for some space to take a breath from a pretty full-on few years. That being said, I'm really itching to get back to gigs. That's what it's all about for me, and as soon as we can do it safely, we'll be back out there. Plans are in progress to put us in the best position as possible to do this once it is safe to do so.
Lizzie: Yeah, I'll be so excited to get back to playing, because I think that's a big part of what we do. Our live shows are so much fun, and I really miss expressing myself that way.
What do you think the hurdles are going to be for live music, and bands, over the next year or so?
Nigel: Keeping gig-goers safe and making it viable for everyone in the industry to put on gigs. It's going to be a challenge for a promoter, venue and a band put on a show and keep the lights on. Luckily it's a very creative industry, and I'm sure we'll find a way out of this soon.
Lizzie: Exactly as Nigel said, I have faith in the industry to find an escape route. Hopefully, it'll be a hiatus and not an end for most people; it'd be great if we could all get back to where we are when this is over. I guess it's just about finding different ways to do it.
Have you guys started to think about your next move yet? A lot of musicians seem to be cracking on in the absence of shows.
Nigel: Assuming everyone likes what we did on this, then we should put out some more songs I reckon.
Lizzie: Luckily, I have an introverted side in me that loves to stay indoors and write music. I think this pandemic has maybe shown that albums are still works of art, not just promotional materials. I like to think the challenge of making a mark sonically might lead to more creative and weird sounds.
What are your hopes for 2021?
Nigel: Just the simple things like getting back to gigs in sweaty rooms with loads of energy. The last six months have really put everything into perspective, and I don't think I'll take playing and watching gigs for granted again. It'd be sweet if a lot of people liked the album too.
Lizzie: Live bodies thrashing amongst each other. Sweaty pits of collective energy. I want to be back where we were.
Taken from the November issue of Dork. Bitch Falcon's debut album 'Staring At Clocks' is out 6th November.
Featuring iDKHOW, Laura Jane Grace, Black Foxxes, Salem and more.