Rackhouse Pilfer describe themselves as ‘a fiery, exciting, Irish-Americana and folk-rock band from Ireland’. This month they embark on a tour of the UK and Ireland to promote second album Love and Havoc as they look to find a wider audience for their music. We caught up with them to find out more about the band ahead of the release of new single “Bright Lights” on Friday, March 11th.
Who wouldn’t like to hear “Space Oddity” played with bluegrass instruments?
2016. What is your goal?
Well we gig all the time, we do 200 plus shows a year, so we’ll definitely be doing that. But the big objective over the next six months is to get another album recorded. Last time we recorded we did a lot of pre production and then got the actual recording done in an intense three weeks in Nashville, and then the album was released a month later, so no time to even think, which may have been good in a sence. But this time we’re going to record in Ireland most likely, and do it blocks of sessions over the course of a few months, so as we can live with the songs a little before commiting and make changes if we need to.
Did you make any new year’s resolutions?
Leon our main singer quit the fags. We’re really impressed, he’s doing great so far, and this guy was a proper smoker. And it’s not easy to quit in this line of work, someimes all you have to keep sane is a cigarette in silence once in a while!
What was the biggest lesson you learnt in 2015?
Don’t give up. Right back at the start of the band four years ago, somebody who’s opinion we really respect said to us… “Guy’s you’re great, all you need to do is work hard and stay together”, great advice. We get on really well though, but it’s quite intense because we’re 100% independent and self-managed and all, so there’s a lot of work involved, sometimes you wonder is it worth it, is it paying off? But you have to keep going, we love what we do!
What was the musical highlight of 2015?
For us, being invited by Ethan Johns to be the session band on two tracks for Sir Tom Jones latest album Long Lost Suitcase which was released in Oct 2015. We were talking with Ethan about producing for us and he must of heard something he liked and thought we would suit what they were after for Tom Jones record, and so they invited us over to Church Studios London in March 2015 and we spent the day there recording “Honey, Honey” a duet with Imelda May and another track which was “Factory Girl” a Rolling Stones tune. That was a really insane musicial moment, not least to work with Ethan Johns who we all really admire.
Who are you excited to hear from in 2016?
I don’t know, maybe we’ll hear from Taylor Swift in 2016 to be the session band on her new album, that’d pay a few bills haha!
Tell us about the record you have just released…
‘Love and Havoc’ has been out a little while here in Ireland, but we feel like it wasn’t given a proper chance elsewhere so we’re breathing new life into it and trying to let people know about it in the UK, as we find ourselves touring there a lot more now. You’ve got a great gigging circuit over there, take care of that! But ‘Love and Havoc’ was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee in 2014.
It’s got a real rootsy vibe to it, we feel like it’s a fun record, there’s not whole lot of emphasis put on the love songs, there’s a few good old love songs on there, but we’ve also got some murder ballads, an eco song, an emmigration song, a quitting the drink song, even a jailbreak song. So quite a few topics touched on in that body of work. It was produced by Brad Jones who’s worked with Steve Earle, John Rouse, Bobby Bare Jr. And loads more like that. We recorded it very much live together, we weren’t striving for musical perfection, but more striving toward capturing the energy and moments that only playing together trying to get THE take can bring, and we were happy enough that we captured that, it was fun to make. It’s available from all the usual places online digitally and from our website for hard copies.
You have to keep going, we love what we do!
If you had to pick three artists to be filed next to, who would they be and why?
Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown – He’s kind of at the core of what we aspire to do even though we’re nothing like him really. We’re big fans, he’s an amazing artist.
Neil Young – He’s the complete artist really, and he cares so much for what he does. We’d hope we’d have some resemblence to his approach and so maybe a Neil Young fan might like Rackhouse too.
Iron Maiden – Most of us here were big into all kinds of heavy rock bands in our younger years, it definitely influences that way we play our acoustic instruments, there so much Rock in the mix!
What inspired the record?
Well to be honest Love and Havoc was written by three of us Fiachra, Willie and Leon, and the songs were brought to the band to put the Rackhouse stamp on them. So the inspiration came from a few different sources in it’s infancy. But again the main objective was to capture the raw live energy of Rackhouse Pilfer. When we play everything is free, everbody’s quite accomplished with their instrument, so there’s a trust that what they’ll do will be cool. We’re not the type of band to slap wrists for mistakes or anything, we abandon that approach in the hope that freeing it up may lead to some great moments, and it’s a lot more fun. And we’re best known for our live stage performances, so we wanted to try and capture that in the studio enviornment, that was probably the most relevant factor in the whole thing!
If the record were an animal, what animal would it be?
A Pig. Quite clever, yet it likes to roll in the shit!
Define your sound in five words…
Raw, energetic, harmonies, dynamic, real.
If you could jam with one artist alive or dead, who would it be?
Seeing as he’s just passed, let’s say Bowie. Who wouldn’t like to hear “Space Oddity” played with bluegrass instruments, haha. He was a true master, five minutes with him would probably be the biggest musical life lesson one could learn.
If you could have written one song by another artist, what would it be?
Right when we started we done, and still do our own version of “Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen. That song has been so good to us, it really opened some doors at the beginning of the band. So yeah I think we’d be proud to have the Rackhouse name below that one for sure.
Someone is making a film of your life, who will play you?
All we hope is that Tom Cruise isn’t anywhere near the set, his Irish accent stinks and he’s not very Rock ‘n’ Roll!
Lastly, tell us one thing you have never revealed in an interview…
One of us goes commando…
For the latest news on Rackhouse Pilfer go to rackhousepilfer.blogspot.co.uk.