Interview: Otherkin

Otherkin’s polished grunge sound does not sound the stuff of students who formed just over two years ago and have had to juggle their burgeoning music career with exams and assignments. Despite this the foursome, from Dublin, have already established a distinctive tone that is both stormy and dynamic, earning them a slot on Raglans’s upcoming tour of Ireland in November.

“We’re going on tour with Raglans in November and it’s every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so I’m kind of looking at my load for the masters thinking, ‘How the fuck am I gonna do this?’” says guitarist Conor Wynne, who has just started a post-graduate degree in digital marketing in DCU.

As well as making some pretty good impressions in the Irish music scene over the past few years, lead singer Luke Reilly and bassist David Anthony both study medicine in the Royal College of Surgeons, while Drummer Rob Summons is doing design in DIT.

The band are relatively new, having formed just over two years ago, but are already earning high praise for their heady guitar-laden music, which bears similarities to the infectious sound of Interpol or The Strokes. There are other moments, like on “’89” and “Anotherkin”, when comparisons could be made to The Libertines or early Arctic Monkeys.

Otherkin’s sound is a mixture of tastes, with each member offering something different to the finished item. Indie, rap, hip-hop, punk and grunge are just some of the ingredients that go into influencing the band’s style.
In terms of the band’s lyrics songwriter Luke Reilly has a tendency towards attacking the topic’s he sings about, using plenty of metaphorical description to get his emotions across.

“Our singer is our lyricist and his themes are all attacking something. Our single that we’re going to be putting out in January is actually just about having a problem with the modern state of radio.” This single is yet to be named, though the band have been playing it for audiences as well as asking for some title suggestions from their fans.

Otherkin seem to be on the edge of attaining a wider audience. They had a successful summer, headlining their first National tour alongside fellow Irish band Colour//Sound, which took in gigs in Cork, Bray, Galway, Tipperary and Dublin. “The tour was mayhem, it was absolutely insane. People were getting left behind and for two of the gigs we had to source beds off people in the crowd because we hadn’t organised anything ourselves.”

“It was a brand new experience, very different to how I imagined it. It was good to get out to other areas of Ireland. All the gigs were pretty full as well which was really surprising. It’s good to see local music is doing well.” They appeared at plenty of festivals around the country, including Longitude and Electric Picnic which Wynne named as his personal highlights of the summer.

The band were shaped mostly by chance as Luke, David and Conor met in the summer of 2009 while in Toronto. “We were just jamming out on the porch for the whole summer, talking muck about how we’d start a band together.”

They hit it off instantly but only really got together in 2012 when the trio decided to form a band while drunk.They found drummer Rob Summons online and started writing songs not long afterwards.

With a shared appreciation of bands like The Strokes, Blur, Nirvana and Queens of the Stone Age, Otherkin gelled together with ease, hurdling the difficulty of securing a first gig after just a few months together.

“I suppose from the get go it’s difficult for anybody to get gigs, but we just abused and heckled people into letting us play.”

“Lockjaw”, their first single, was released in March 2013, with EPs Broken English and II released by the end of the year. Their most recent EP, As a High, was released in March of this year.
They have no plans for a debut album as of yet but are focusing their efforts on the next few months, with a group of songs written and planned for release after the New Year.

“We won’t be releasing a new album until it’s right. We want to make a statement with it.”

“We’ve always had pretty big aspirations in terms of what we want to do. We’re not even happy with how it is at the minute. We have our six-month plan and we’re sticking closely to it.”

They continue to sound more assured with each release, overlaying tones of noise rock with a funky, high-pitched rhythm guitar to create catchy, reverberating rock music. With such aspirations, in conjunction with their talent, Otherkin look set to stand out in 2015.

Otherkin’s tour in support of Raglans starts on Friday November 14th in PJ’s in Portlaoise.

Bryan Grogan

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