Saturday, March 31, 2007

Interview: Let's Get This Super Extra Bonus Party Started

Dublin based purveyors of jump up electronica, Super Extra Bonus Party have a name so full mouthed you'll be lucky not to choke on it. Made up of Cormac Brady and Mike Donnelly on all things machine like such as synths, samples, production and scratching, with occasional input from Sean Corcoran , then Stephen Fahey on bass, guitars, trumpet, with Gavin Elsted whacking drums and occasionally on guitar and the blogosphere's own Nialler9 on visuals.

Any time I've seen them, their fast paced live sets of swirling bleeps and beats were hyped on by the MC-ing of Brazilian Rodrigo Teles, but they are equally capable instrumentally - making
for stellar live shows at Mantua and left of centre electronic dealership Alphabet Set's Christmas party. After a string of positive reviews from both Hot Press and Mongrel, Super Extra Bonus Party have been hiding away in their bat-cave for the past few months working on a new album. Lured out with a trail of tepid Buckfast, we trapped Cormac Brady for a quick interview.

What's the background to the group? Don't most of you have a shared tragic childhood as part of some itinerant Newbridge travelling circus? Is it a continuation of the Illegal Kids and who were they anyway?

Nah it’s not a continuation of the Illegal kids, although we do retain some of the ways we used to write tunes then, we regard SEBP as a totally new thing. The first SEBP gig was in November 05, we wrote three songs to play at an open mic session in a pub in Newbridge, Mike played the sampler, fats played bass and guitar, and I played a shitty little toy drum kit and an equally shitty and ancient casio keyboard. That’s how the band formed, we got together to do that session, then we just kept writing together after that. The gig itself was all over the place, the kick pedal on the kit decided to work whenever it felt like it, and the effects on the sampler cut the ears off a few people, but the crowd liked it because we weren’t a singer song writer, and we took that as encouragement. And yeah, against all the odds we’ve all overcome the mental turmoil resulting from our childhoods with the Newbridge travelling circus, and that’s what all the tunes are about. Although Fatsy still has flashbacks, and I still do the odd nixer.

So how did a Dublin based music collective manage to stumble across a Brazilian MC in the gritty old town of Dublin? He quite adds soemthing to the live set, but you've played without him before so just how integral is he to the set up at the moment?

We put an ad in the Parish Bulletin for a Brazilian MC. The response was overwhelming so we held auditions in the town hall. Rodrigo just stood out from the rest. We were doing instrumental shows for a long time before he started jamming with us, so we still enjoy doing those shows when he’s not around, and when he is around, all the better. We find that our gigs work both ways, there’s always a lot of sound going on between guitars, bass and electronics. Rodrigo by the way is in Brazil at the moment, the lucky fucker, but he’ll be back soon.

The website and graphics for the band present you as an overly smiley bunch of gee eyed kids on a Smarties session - what the fuck is all that about and just where does that name come from?

Yeah, we’re really a bunch of depressed fuckers. We came up with the name for that open mic gig I was on about and then stuck with it. We wanted a name with balls. Whether it has balls or not is up for debate, but we like it none the less. Also we quite enjoy listening to people fuck it up when they introduce us at gigs, and explaining it to taxi drivers when we’re heading to gigs with all the equipment is always fun!

Its strikes me as unusual you have Nialler down as a member of the collective for doing visuals - are visuals and graphics important to ye?

Well, we’re calling ourselves a band now. Niall makes visuals specifically for each of our tracks, that’s a huge amount of creative input that comes through in the live shows. So yeah, for live shows he’s part of the whole experience and therefore part of Super Extra Bonus Party. He takes care of the visual side of things, and we do the tunes. We all collaborate on the artwork for sleeves and stuff.

Why do you call yourselves a collective as opposed to just a plain old simple band?

The collective idea stems from the fact that we love collaborating with people, and that so many people have played gigs with us, we’ve had had six people on stage at times. But we’ve since reverted back to calling ourselves a band, the collective thing was just throwing people off, and us too I suppose!

How do you lot feel about things in Dublin at the moment in terms of the general electronica/whatever scene?

Most of the electronic gigs I’ve been to recently have been packed out, which is encouraging. The recent Alphabet Set Christmas party we played in the Voodoo Lounge was an example, the place was jammed and that’s quite a big venue. Also, there are always innovative new acts coming on the scene, check out Nouveau Noise for example, I was introduced to their tunes recently by a friend. There’s a serious amount of talent floating around the country at the moment if you look for it I think, not just in the electronic scene, in general.

What's been the best gig you've played to date?

Hmmmm… It’s a throw up between Mantua Lives in August '06, Alphabet Set Christmas Party last December and the NCAD ball, they were all a good laugh. The mental ones are best.

According to your website you'll have a debut album out in April, how's work going on it? You seem fairly fond of the old collaborations.

It’s coming along really well, there’s a good buzz about it, there’s loads of interesting collaborations on it and lots of styles too. Right now we’re putting finishing touches to tracks we’ve done with Nina Hynes, White Noise (the human beatboxer), Paul O’Reilly from Channel One and Ian and Collie from Kill City Defectors. It’s a shitload of work, but it’s what we love, and we’re really happy that all those heads liked the tunes we gave them. We can’t wait until it’s all complete, if we could ditch the day jobs and do it for a living that would be fucking sweet!

The BBC have used you a track by you, Hot Press have recommended a demo - would you be happy to trundle around the Dublin scene with these few accolades or do you yearn for something bigger and better?

Speaking in terms of the upcoming album, we have a lot of confidence in it, so we want as many people to hear it as possible, and we want to get copies of the album to as many places as possible, and we want to do as many gigs and hopefully festivals as possible. That’s the plan.

The Super Extra Bonus Party album launch night is on April 13th in the Voodoo Lounge with Herv, noise-sters Terrordactyl and Kill City Defectors. €TBC. Their previous EP is in mp3 format on and their forthcoming album will soon be availible to buy there too.

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gig moved to the 13th...same venue

MCD are pricks..
Cool - I've updated that in the main of the article. Dish the MCD dirt Niall, dish the dirt...
ah some crap heavy metal gig that was on in the ambassador moved to voodoo. MCD have priority on the venue. screw the little band..
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