Two of the more raucous and verbose voices in the Irish music scene play in Bradleys on Barrack Street; Ronan Leonard spoke with both Jinx Lennon and Carl Plover of Wasps Vs Humans ahead of the gig.
Firstly, they have frequently shared bills around the country over the years, what drew each act to each other? Carl said of Jinx, “he’s uncompromising, tells it as he sees it and is unafraid to make a statement with his music, it’s message-led but not preaching; thought provoking with a lot of humour in there too.” While Jinx had this to say about his compatriot, “Carl is a fellow traveller on this road, fighting against the dying of the light, he is always worth watching”
As you’d expect with two strong worded writers when they describe their sound it isn’t a simplistic three word answer, Jinx considers his style as “folk music for people that are fraying at the edges, the shook up, the seething, the contrary ones who long to grab someone’s iPad and hit them over the head with it saying ‘wake up you sleepy bastard we are all plankton now!’ ”, Carl explains his style as, “evolving all the time. In the beginning, it was a vehicle for my writings. I’ve been involved in bands previously but wanted to try something new and having been drawn to the work of John Cooper Clarke, I decided to move on and be my own one-man word machine gun. I started out as a drummer, so I’m exploring drum vocal pieces and now I’m incorporating electric guitar in there, which I play myself, but essentially I’m a punk poet.”
That punk poet attitude has also led to Carl seizing opportunities so when reflecting on his highlights of 2013 he has several to list off, “curating a stage at the Indiependence Festival was a massive highlight (Jinx was one of the headline performers). It was a great opportunity to put the line up together, which featured some of the best in cutting edge spoken word. Another big highlight is my collaboration with Eat My Noise, we released a single ‘The Killing Of Celebrity Culture’, which gained considerable national airplay and a session on 2FM’s Dan Hegarty show.”
Jinx’s reflection on the past year starts on a more personal note, “Getting engaged to my girlfriend Sophie, music wise I had some really mad gigs this year. The best was playing the Rathlin Island Festival in August, I never saw so many people out of their heads dancing wildly to my music, and I felt I was in Studio 54! The Winter Antifolk festival in London two weeks ago was another one just one of those nights when you say to yourself isn’t it great to make the effort to experience these things.”
When asked about how he feels the general political atmosphere of the country, which makes up quite a lot of what Jinx writes about, he does not hold back, “I have the impression that nationally people by and large are turning anger inwards letting it evaporate through their fingers as they constantly type or yap into their phones to each other about f**k all. There are many many distractions that keep people occupied, a constant mind chewing gum that maintains an anaesthetic aesthetic. I get the impression that music is not the force that it was even ten years ago. It is irrelevant to most as an art form. People I work with would rather talk about boxsets of Breaking Bad and comedy. Comedy seems to be the only medium that people accept for any sort of political arena. The only anger energy I see for protest that actually achieves change comes from the OAPs, the youth can’t be arsed really.”
Carl has this to stay about contemporary political songs, “I was playing a Woody Guthrie song the other day and his songs are definitely still relevant today. There are still many protest singers out there; they’ve all got an angle on the current state of affairs, but very little action beyond singing about it. I’m not any different in that sense, but I’m not performing to change the world; I’m simply observing and putting it out there”, Carl continues to clarify that a political outlook does not mean to be deathly serious all the time, “it’s also important to see the funny side of life. There must plenty of laughing and growling.”
Jinx made sure to point out that it isn’t just a double bill, “we also have a great band News for the Deaf, two brothers from Tralee; they have a fantastic dark dub influenced sound a bit of Mark Stewart meets Cabaret Voltaire going on.”
Jinx Lennon, Wasps Vs Humans and News For The Deaf play Mr Bradleys Bar on Barrack Street on Friday 13 December at 9pm.