Interview With The Hard Ground

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2014-5-8

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Over the last 3 years The Hard Ground have developed from a duo, singers Pat Carey on guitar and Marlene Enright on piano, to one of Cork’s most promising 5 piece bands. They have also become one of the city’s inventive and hard working, with them successfully raising over €8000 via a Fund:It campaign earlier this year, in order to record and release ‘Triptych’, a series of 3 EPS which will then make up a full length album.


They met with Ronan Leonard ahead of the launch of the 1st EP in the series, firstly Pat explained how they formed, “Marlene, Davie, Duffer and myself all came through college in UCC together and then met up with Hugh, so it’s kind of like a bunch of friends hanging out and getting to play songs too which is great. It’s not as formalised as some bands tend to be, we like each others company – it’s a really organic relationship. It helps that we like playing the songs too…”

Pat is very happy with how they have managed the next step of their career; “Fund:It has been great for us. It’s a costly exercise to record an album and produce all of the other bits around it – I think that’s kind of forgotten in this new age of free music and streaming. We got funders from everywhere, it was phenomenal. The album literally couldn’t be made without people’s support, so they are the patrons, and they have tangibly contributed to the album.”

This new model of a band managing their own output has made The Hard Ground reconsider their idea of “owning it”, Marlene developed the point, “in the sense that the project is self-initiated and we’re making all the background decisions ourselves, we feel completely in control. But this time around it also feels like the funders are owners of the project too, we feel like we owe them some good material!” Pat continued on that point, “the concept of ownership is an unusual thing. I reckon that as soon as you release or perform a song, the ownership thing passes to the listener. I think if anything, the Fund:It principle means we share that sense of ownership even more.”

While the album is being recorded in three separate stages Marlene is sure it won’t sound disjointed, “we’re recording with Christian Best who is fantastic; he gets the sound we’re after so it should be cohesive throughout. However arrangements could differ, as this is a real time project it’s hard to say right now, the second EP is being recorded in June and we could well find ourselves introducing brass or string for a track. We won’t know until we get in to the nitty gritty of the new songs.” Pat added, “we’re not afraid of changing stuff up at all for this project. We used to be hung up on one particular style but I think now we’re willing to embrace all musical options which is creatively liberating.”

Marlene remarked that the idea of a music career has evolved in keeping with this more independent hands-on model, “if someone asked me to describe what it’s like being in an original band that’s really trying to make something for themselves I would say most of your time is spent on your computer and phone! I really enjoy doing all that stuff anyway, it’s one hell of a fascinating industry but every now and then you have to remind yourself to practice and write!”

The Hard Ground play Coughlans on Douglas Street on Thursday 22 May, to hear their music or follow the band go to www.thehardground.com.

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