Electro-pop duo Le Boom must be one of the most talked about acts in Ireland right now. If you’ve experienced the infectious energy of one of their live sets, in a sweaty club or from a festival stage, you will know what all the fuss is about.
A Hard Working Class Heroes showcase slot in the Autumn of 2016 gathered praise and kicked things off for the band. Together a matter of months, Christy Leech and Aimee Mallon, went through a frenetic period of activity from here, including playing Airwaves festival shortly after in Reykjavik, picking up a manager in Niall Byrne (nialler9) and blitzing the UK and Irish festival circuit both summers since. Their combination of feel-good synth pop and indie hooks makes the duo as radio friendly as they are dance-floor friendly. They headline District 8 on November 9th for their biggest show yet. Grabbing a ticket if you can for another guaranteed cracker comes highly recommended.
Christy took time out of the band’s busy summer schedule to talk to First Fortnight for our regular #FiveOnFriday feature.
Q1. You guys are together just over 2 years. Are you where you wanted to be by now? And what would be the next steps planned?
Our first year was a whirlwind. It was very early on when we started getting booked for nice shows in Ireland and the UK like Electric Picnic and Latitude. We even got to fly over for a show at Airwaves in Reykjavik – that was the 5th show we had ever played together, we barely even knew each other but it was great fun. Everything felt really exciting. It was so fast that I think we never got much of a chance to really take it in. Our second year was less frantic and I think we planned things out much better – our manager Niall helped massively with this. We’re definitely very happy with how far we’ve come but I guess a big part of what drives us is that we are always looking to the next step and right now, we are focused on breaking into mainland Europe.
Q2. You’ve played some far flung gigs by now too. What would be your favourite foreign gig and why?
I think Latitude in the UK was one of our favourites. We expected no one to be at the show at all – it’s such a big deadly festival and we were a tiny band from Ireland but somehow we managed to get a late slot on a stage in the wooded area and five minutes into our set, the woods were packed. The crowd were so up for it. It was a great one.
Q3. Traditionally, guitar bands have always seemed to do best from Ireland. Though at the moment there is a very diverse music scene here. Do you think it is an advantage to be an electronic act in Ireland right now or not?
The scene is definitely more diverse now but I think guitar bands are still killing it at the moment, it’s possibly still our strongest music export. The Fontaines are one of the most recent signings in the scene and they are class – to be honest I’m still a big indie head so I’m really into the guitary stuff as well as the dancey stuff.
Being an electronic band definitely has advantages. Because our sound is quite upbeat, our live set suits the festival buzz so we get put on big stages late at night which is great for our profile- it’s probably where most people hear us first. If we were solo singer/songwriters, that just wouldn’t happen. I guess the other big advantage of being an electronic act is that we can record most stuff at home in my bedroom. We don’t have studio costs so we can release without spending a huge amount.
Q4. You touch on some interesting topics in your lyrics. I know ‘What We Do’ deals with feeling overwhelmed on arrival in New York, not typical fare for dance music. Do you think lyrics are an underused resource in a lot of electronic music?
Up to a few years ago I would have mostly written lyrics-based songs- all my previous projects were more song-driven but I feel like when I started getting into writing dance music, it all changed. Writing dance-songs can feel like a completely different art form. I started to see lyrics more as nice sounds that add rhythm and shape to the melodies, I became more concerned with the overall vibe and its rhythms to be honest.
I had a little notebook that I kept when I went to NY first. After I wrote the music for What We Do I started slotting in lines from it. The lyrics were basically a mish-mash of stuff I had written.
I had a love-hate relationship with the city – it was somewhere I was fascinated by and addicted to but yet very scared of. When it was good it was great but when it wasn’t, It could become a very lonely place. Like any enormous city, it was easy to feel overwhelmed in it and to feel like the city didn’t give a shit about you. I guess this theme has crept into a few of the Le Boom songs without me ever consciously sitting down to write a song about it.
Q5. Can you tell us 3 tracks you use as musical comfort blankets, for when you’re feeling blue?
Kiasmos – Blurred, The Blaze – Virile and Caribou – Back Home are three decent ones for blue days.
Kiasmos – Blurred
The Blaze – Virile
Caribou – Back Home
Le Boom play Cyprus Avenue, Cork on October 20th and District 8, Dublin on November 9th.