Features - Interviews

Premiere: Strength – Northern Ireland Yes


Set to play our Independent Venue Week show at/with Belfast’s Oh Yeah Centre on Saturday, January 30, Derry band Strength are one of sixteen Irish acts we’ve handpicked for our current 16 For ’16 feature. Ahead of a string of shows to mark its 7″ release, we’re pleased to premiere the video for their positively singular new single, ‘Northern Ireland Yes’, along with a revealing Q+A with the band’s main man, Rory Moore. Dig in.

Hi Rory. When and how did Strength come about?

Strength came about at the tail end of Red Organ Serpent Sound. I felt we were losing a lot of the live, creative energy whilst hauled up in studios in London & Wales; things seemed to be taken out of our hands. Strength was a reaction, a re-empowerment of creativeness and artistic principles. I became interested in the recorded representation of the work. When people listen to a song they are listening to the recording of the song, it became apparent to me that this was a blind spot in my work, and yet it was the final, most pivotal part of the creative process.

Solid monosyllabic music-making monikers are a rarity so congratulations there. But why “Strength”?

Strength is an ode to the widows of Karoshi victims in Japan.

From what we’ve heard so far you draw from a diverse well of influence. Which artists have made an imprint on your approach and sound to date?

James King, the Northern Irish performance artist, has been an inspiration throughout my whole life, whether you like performance art or not it is just another way of bending the creative frequency. I like Dundalk artist Jinx Lennon. I love the realism and observational misanthropy of his work; he reminds me of an ancient Greek philosopher; only wearing a t shirt and playing an acoustic guitar. Claude Debussy, Brian Eno, John Frusciante – anyone that employs a conscious willingness to celebrate their scars

You’re arguably one of the more progressive (pop?) acts in Derry right now. Do you think there’s any benefits of being from that neck of the woods?

Derry’s music scene has always been competitive, whether you’re a thrash metal band, a karaoke singer or an aspiring indie rock band; it has a reputation to up hold. It’ll keep you on your toes, which I think is a good thing.

There’s been some glowing reports from your live shows. How perennial is performance (and performing) to what you’re all about as a band?

We actually just really enjoy moving with the music. I’m not really interested in creating a spectacle or a show, it’s more important that we are delivering the songs with total conviction.

Northern Ireland Yes is your new single. Can you distil what it’s about in a couple of sentences?

Growing up in Northern Ireland I felt subjected to the Nostalgia and Historical imagery that comes with the territory, I wanted to embrace the cultural psyche of the North and send it back out through my own channel

It’s accompanied with a video. Who created it and what did you aim to capture?

Conor Mc Feely is the director, Conor is an artist from Derry who works a lot with installation and sculpture, his work is outstanding. I was honoured to be collaborating with him on the video, fire has always been associated with bombs and destruction in the North but we wanted the video to be a reclamation of fire for the purpose of friendship and survival.

It’s bound to be a busy months for you – what’s in the pipeline and can we expect more material soon?

We have a 12 date Irish tour planned for the Northern Ireland Yes 7” which starts this Friday. I hope to release an album later this year.

Strengthtour (1)

is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.