Laid-back Irishmen Cane 141 have released a new album called Garden Tiger Moth. The band are Michael Smalle, Gerard Connolly and Shane Burke. musicOMH caught up with them for a quickfire round of questions and answers…
musicOMH: Firstly, the obvious one has to be, who thought of the name Garden Tiger Moth and why? What does it mean?
Michael: Garden Tiger Moth was the name of a compilation tape made by John Doherty. He also appears in the video for The Grand Lunar and Real Spacemen… It reminded him of Foxbase Alpha and us of Pere Ubu‘s New Picnic time, Captain Beefheart‘s Troutmask Replica.
Gerard: It’s a tribute to great three-pronged titles in rock.
musicOMH: People have perhaps unimaginitively likened Cane 141 to Kraftwerk, PaddyMcAloon (!) and (inevitably) Tim Buckley (some music hacks reckon everyonesounds like him). Who do you listen to and who influences your music?
Gerard: I listen to all kinds of stuff but I think only a couple of peoplehave influenced my own writing. I think Juliana Hatfield is a fantasticwriter and I guess I sometimes try to write really blunt, upfront lyricslike her. I would say the more melodious moments of Faust and The VelvetUnderground have influenced me. I love Royal Trux, Cat Power and also ahost of one-hit wonders from the last 40 or so years.
Michael: This year I’ve been listening to a lot of early electronic music -people like John Cage and Stockhausen. Also a lot of late sixties stuff likeThe United States of America, Joe Meek and The Silver Apples. I loved the lasttwo records by Broadcast and Saint Etienne. Apart from that, Northern Souland some seriously cheesy handbag……? Yes, we’re fans of Tim Buckley andKraftwerk – but not really Prefab Sprout. In fact, not Prefab Sprout at all… butnot in a bad way. You know a record we all really like? Love’s Forever Changesand Cardinal. They have been more than inspirational. Alsogroups like Can, Faust, Neu, Popul Vuh and the mighty Pere Ubu. Before makingScene from 6am I overdosed on Scott Walker too.
Gerard: Influences? Let’s not forget Blondie, Tim Hardin and American MusicClub (Mercury, to be specific); particularly around the time of our first album.
Shane: Mostly electronica type stuff these days, Aphex Twin and the likeand more ambient music like Labradford. The folk and country of yesteryear isstill loved but seldom seen on the decks of late.
musicOMH: How did Cane 141 form?
Gerard: It formed as a hobby one summer. Mike had just finished school andhe and I and a friend called Paul started trying to make up songs together.We had vague ambitions about making a mysterious Datapanik in the YearZero type of record. Of course, it was years before we were remotely ready.When we did, it turned into an album called Scene From 6am in 1997. Bythis time Shane Burke had joined the band. Then Paul Maye quit and Paul B.joined. Then, Shane’s brother Ronan and Paul’s friend Colm joined. That’sthe current line-up.
musicOMH: How do you go about starting to write/record a track?
Michael: We generally go into our studio and multitrack.Often we just record the bare bones of a track andthen leave the rest to serendipity. God, I’ve kind of forgotten how it’s beendone up to this point.For the next release we’re going to put down morestuff live. Yahoo!
musicOMH: Do you have your own studio – what equipment do you use in the studio (eg. Logic, CuBase, a four track…!)?
Michael: We kind of have our own studio. We use old Farfisa organs, Korg analoguesynths, Logic Audio Sequencer – tons of old gear and some new digital fandangledstuff. I have started to use more software and am doing some computer basedcompositions.
musicOMH: Which keyboards were used on the album?
Gerard: Farfisa organs, Philips organ, Hohner fan organ, Korg analogue synths, Rolandsh-101, Lorenzo fan organ and a very very nasty Casio.
musicOMH: The Frank and Walters‘ Paul Linehan once said that he’d earn more moneyfrom being on the dole than he would in a band. How do you feel about howmusicians are treated by society?
Gerard: I used to worry about playing in the band and making a living. Then,I thought screw it you know, Big Black, Guided by Voices, Silver Jews, allthose guys have jobs and make records, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll have to getback to you on how this works out because Cane 141 are only beginning to getthe chance to play in other countries and do more records and all thatshowbiz stuff.
musicOMH: Where would you most like to play live?
Gerard: American tour! Set it up! I can leave tonight!
musicOMH: Is there a tour on the way? Any new singles/albums?
Gerard: Tentatively, we’re playing in England, France and Spain around Junetime. The next single is New Day Parade and then some kind of mini albumwhich will be out in September maybe. We’ve just recorded five tracks forJohn Peel which are very groovy and will be broadcast in a couple of weeks.
musicOMH: What were you all doing before Cane 141 formed? What would you do if itdidn’t exist?
Michael: We were punk rock kids, then students and hardcore record completists. It’shard to remember a time when Cane 141 didn’t exist but you know I’m open tosuggestion…
Gerard: I would be working with people with literacy problems, but I wouldhave tried to get a visa to go and do it in America as I’ve always had adream about living in Northern California. I would also make non-speakingcameo appearances in various cool movies.
musicOMH: Where is your favourite place anywhere?
Michael: As David Thomas put it, “I want to see More Places Forever…..”