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Interview: Adebisi Shank


With sold-out shows in London and their eagerly-anticipated Irish return on the horizon, Niamh Hegarty speaks to bassist Vinny McCreith of Adebisi Shank about everything from This is the Album… to the brand new, critically-acclaimed This the Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank.

So, your third album went on release here in Ireland, UK and US releases to follow this week. How have you been feeling about the reaction so far?

It’s really positive so far and thinking back, it makes me think back to the second release and a lot of people have it in their heads that a lot of people really loved that and they actually didn’t – it was more 50/50. I think this time, I think it’s like 99% positive which is really, really nice. I wasn’t preparing myself for that, which is really nice.

It’s great; I mean the Guardian gave ‘Big Unit’ best new track.

Yeah, and they streamed the album as well everything that’s been happening is almost surreal. I’m waiting for a piano to fall on my head or something to even it out.

Well I think you deserve it at this stage, you’ve been it at it so long,

Yes we are old.

Ye are old!                                                                                                                                

Thanks for reminding me. We are old.

I wasn’t actually touching on that but to me it’s actually quite different from your previous releases but still retains that Adebisi sound, how did you go about writing this album?

I guess this time around we didn’t want to start from a standstill and go from 0 to 100 miles per hour. We arranged things so we were worked on Lar’s solo EP, if you remember that came out. We arranged it in a way that we’d work on the EP first so when we began work on the album, we would hit the ground running. It really worked; I reckon we had enough stuff written over the year for about four albums or something.

How does it differ from previous releases?

I think it’s a lot more emotional, I think as you get older, that word again older, you get better at lowering your defences. It’s very out there; when I listen to it I feel real emotions and vulnerability coming through. I think there were a lot of things going on at the time, big life changes in all of our lives and in our families that really focused us to put everything we could into the songs. I feel every song represents every part of what we’re about.

For me, I think the album showcases how you’ve progressed as musicians over the years especially with Lar doing his own solo stuff that maybe he brought some of the things that he learned about programming to the album, does that make sense?

That’s nice of to say. There’s no way either production wise or song writing wise that we would have been able to make something like this when we started out seven years ago.

There’s one thing I wanted to clarify, how did you get that drum sound on the new album? It sounds like this massive stadium sound, like you have three Micks on the album.

It was something that we really strived for this time around, we recorded it in our house in Wicklow. There was this hallway leading up to the studio and we discovered after a while that the hallway sounded better than the studio. We love the drums on early U2 albums and Simple Minds, that kind of stuff so we were aiming for that kind of sound. There are one or two tracks that are programmed but by and large it’s all Mick on the album.

Can you tell us about how your label Sargent House has helped you over the years?

When we met Sargent House we had already gone through the process of recording the second album ourselves. This is our first time writing an album and presenting it to Sargent House, so it’s been scary. Usually when we write an album the only expectations we have are for ourselves, the only people we’re scared to let down are ourselves. We wanted to nail it as Cathy (Pellow) has shown so much faith in us from the start. When not a lot of people where interested, Cathy was such a vocal supporter of us and we’ve learned so much from her over the years. Not just music stuff, just the idea that when you believe in someone so much you’re actually giving them the key to unlock their potential. I’ve seen her do that with other bands on the label and with us, we’ve done more than we ever thought we could.

We love her and we love Marc as well, equally as much of a genius. Everyone at Sargent House is amazing.

This is the Third Album of a band called Adebisi Shank is available now via Sargent House. Stream it in full via Spotify below.

is also a presenter on RTÉ 2XM and contributor to the likes of BBC Across The Line and State Magazine.