After two and a half years of bullshit and a change of label, Northern Ireland trio Fighting With Wire have finally got their career back on track with the release of their second album, Colonel Blood. Adam Keys caught up with frontman Cahir O’Doherty.
After the huge success of debut album Man V Monster, Fighting With Wire were always going to have a difficult task producing an album as good or better, but as it turned out it was not making the album that was the challenge, it was actually getting it out.
When asked why it has taken so long to unleash Colonel Blood an exasperated Cahir O’Doherty said: “Where do I begin? It was just mountains of bullshit. It was really weird. We recorded the album and our label just went quiet on us. There were all these rumours going around that rock was dead and they lost interest in us.
“The problem is the music landscape has changed, especially in America where rock has always been dominant. Now people are listening to all this fucking horrible electronic music, R n B and Hip Hop, so the label started to freak out a bit and sign a load of these artists rather than getting behind the unknown rock trio they signed from Derry.”
Despite the neglect from their label the band believed they had written a great record and kept pushing to get the album on the shelves. This push eventually saw them leave their label Atlantic Records and sign for Xtra Mile Recordings.
“After we finished recording a year passed and they still didn’t want to release the record,” added O’Doherty. “I kept pressing them and eventually I said to them ‘let us go and get our careers back’ and they did. We had lived up to our side of the contract by getting the album recorded, but they wouldn’t release it so we started looking about for a new home for the record.
“We ended up at Xtra Mile. They really believed in the band and got our confidence back. They have acts like Frank Turner and Swellers who we know and have toured with so it’s a really cool place to be.”
With it finally hitting the shelves on Monday, the new album has received excellent reviews across the board – a great boost to the band’s confidence with Cahir admitting they had started to doubt themselves following a couple of years of uncertainty:
“We’ve had an amazing response so far,” he added. “You start to doubt yourself when you go a couple of years without releasing an album, so it was a massive relief just to get it out. But the response from our fans just puts a smile on your face.
“I don’t really listen to the music press because everything just gets all messed up in there but when fans email, Facebook, or Tweet you saying they like it, it’s really great.
“We always knew we had written 11 great songs, but we had the pressure of our first major label release so we had to sort of outdo Man V Monster. I don’t believe in putting out any sub-standard shit and a lot of the tracks we wrote didn’t make it. We have a full album of good songs, no single, no album fillers, just an album of good songs.
“We’re over the moon with the response we’ve got, especially when we thought this record was going nowhere. We even considered breaking up and giving it away for free but Xtra Mile stuck by us and got it out there.”
The recording of the album, which was completed two and a half years ago, was a world apart from the debut, which was recorded by Neil Calderwood for around £4000. This one saw them head to Nashville to work with former Foo Fighters and Velvet Revolver producer Nik Raskulinecz.
“This was the first time we had worked with a proper producer producer,” added O’Doherty. “Neil recorded Man V Monster, but essentially produced it so it was great to sit back and let someone give their ideas.
“Nik had some great ideas and it was like he was part of the band, like he’d be in playing air drums along with Craig and he really believed in us. He got us doing what we love – the big sounds and big drums.
“He was an absolute pleasure to work with. We’d love to work with him again, and now the record is out we can actually think about a third album, which a year ago we couldn’t imagine.”
The band’s biggest problem with recording was the amount of time they had on their hands, with boredom creeping in as the label continued to throw money at them.
“There was just far too much time,” added O’Doherty. “Big labels just keep throwing money at you and that isn’t the way to record a good album. We had six weeks in one studio and six in another – we only took two to record Man V Monster.
“When you go into the studio it’s in pre-production so you should be ready to record straight away. You don’t need all this time. We had that much time we ended up building a shooting range out the back of the studio in Nashville and we were just sipping beers and shooting these BB guns and air rifles just to pass the time. There was a lot of time and money wasted, but we did have a chance to work in some great studios.”
The band will kick of a 12 date tour in Hamburg on 31st October with renewed hope and visions of a third album.