Features - Interviews

Album Premiere and Q+A: Ships – Precession

Ships-Press Shot1-2017

The product of two long years of writing, demoing, debating and recording, Dublin electronic duo Ships will release their debut album – and one of the Irish albums of the year – on Monday. Ahead of its official release, have an exclusive first listen to Precession and read our interview with Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath from the fast-rising outfit below.

What was the writing process like for the album? And are there are any overarching main themes?

The songs were written over the space of two years or so and the idea of the album gathered momentum over time. Some songs got a workout through live shows as we went along, and some others were born in the studio and their first outing is through the release. The themes revealed themselves once we knew what was going on the album.

You’ve said that you’ve drew on the music of your youth. What kind of stuff is making an imprint there?

The more we played together the more we realised how much crossover there was for us in our musical loves of the past. Without giving the game away, our early experiences listening to music was in the 80’s. We can say though, that we’re both driven by a hook and song writing within Ships writing. There’s a clear penchant for a groove and we’re drawn to creating moods for narratives with a sound pallet.

You’ve also said the album is reflective of “the subtle shifts over a long arc of time”. Can you elaborate upon that from a personal perspective?

A lot of the narrative through the album addresses cycles of mistakes, cycles of learning and a slow gathering of understanding of our human experience over time. These are songs of personal experience but it’s not lost on us that they are also shared experiences of those that have gone before us.

The album has been in the works for the last couple of years. How has it been decided upon which material to include, and which to leave off the release?

A lot of songs that we’ve written and played over the last few years didn’t make it on to the album, those that got included just spoke up for themselves in an organic way.

Looking at it objectively, can you view your own evolution as an act when listening back to the record?

Listening back now there’s definitely a feeling that we each work out themes on a personal level yet the way we’ve voiced each one feels cohesive and firmly of our Ships sound.

What modern influences have made a mark on the sound of the record as a whole?

We’ve recently enjoyed playing really striped down versions of the songs, just taking the kernel of each one and using just guitar, keys and voices. This exercise has highlighted the heavy element of experimental sounds we used on the record itself, so in essence the modern element is the confidence to blend our song writing with a sound pallet that sounds as current as anything else out there.

Is there a sense of relief that it’s going to be out there soon?

A big yes to this. It’s been a long gestation.

What plans are in the works to coincide with the release and further into 2017?

We’ve a couple of videos in the works and a few gigs and festivals on the horizon. A bit like the shaping of the album, we’ll just take it as it comes.

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