Home > Music Interviews > Q & A With… Andy Cairns (Therapy?)

Q & A With… Andy Cairns (Therapy?)

Therapy Spoken Interview 2009-03-27

Andy Cairns(Centre) with bandmates Michael MacKeegan (Left) & Neil Cooper (Right)

Andy Cairns(Centre) with bandmates Michael MacKeegan & Neil Cooper

DPIK recruited the help of freelancer Ciaran Murray to catch up Andy Cains on the phone after the release of their latest album; ‘Crooked Timber’ to chat about what Punk means nowadays and of their 19 year career.

Questions: Ciaran Murray
Interview: Barry Montgomery

“From the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” So which one of ye is the philosopher in the band?

Andy: [laughs] There’s no real philosopher, we just like quotes. I was reading quite a lot of Samuel Beckett, the Irish writer at the time, and I found that a lot of the inspiration he got for his characters in his books came from reading philosophy and psychology.

And I was doing a bit of research and I saw that one of the people he mention was Immanuel Kant (18th-century German philosopher) so I got it from there. It was actually my mate Brian who directed me towards reading Samuel Beckett in the first place.

Ah I see, moving on from that do you come back to Ireland much?

Andy: I’m your typical Irish man; since I moved away, I’m actually back more. I come back to see my folks all the time and I come back all the time for gigs and all that.

And do you look to home much when scouting for bands to on tour with or do you leave that to management?

Andy: No, no. We’re always kinda looking out for bands. I mean, whenever we go to see a band that we like, sometimes the band will be up for playing with us for a couple of gigs and sometimes they might not be interested in Therapy? at all. We’ve asked a couple of bands in the past and they were like ‘Nah, we’re not really fans, we don’t want to do it’.

Normally we do it ourselves, but the only time it can come from management is if we’re in a country where we don’t know any of the bands, which has happened in the past, but even then we have a look and try help out.

We’re playing in Malta in May and the promoter sent us five or six links to Myspace sites of all local Malta bands that want us to do it, so we started planning that trip with the ones we liked.

Are there any bands you’ve heard recently that have made you stop and think “They’re really good…?”

Andy: There’s a band from the North at the moment, called ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’ that I really like. I really like their new record.

There’s also a guy, Barry Lynn, I think he’s called ‘Box Cutter’, and he’s kind of an electronic musician and I really like a couple of tunes he’s done. It’s really, really inventive electronic music like.

So many bands have changed and moulded to what’s popular at the time – you’ve been rocking out solid for the last twenty years, to my ears, you still play with the passion and energy you did way back when I was only about two – what’s the secret of keeping the same balls you had on ‘Babyteeth’, ‘Nurse’, ‘Troublegum’ etc.?

Andy: [laughs] I think part of it is because we listen to new acts and we go and watch new bands and another bit of it is

Andy Cairns: Moving into his 20th year as frontman of Therapy?

Sleeve of third album 'Infernal Love' ('95)

because, at the very start we loved doing it and that love has never died.

It always surprised myself, Michael and Neil and stuff that whenever we see people in bands that, after the first three or four years they lose interest in playing live. But for a lot of people, that’s easily done. I think they get bored of it, and I think with Therapy? we’ve been fortunate enough, we’re the musician type that kinda just loves playing.

When you look at it, there’s two types of musicians out there; the ones that absolutely adore it and that will go on and keep on making music because they just love music, but there will be ones who will get into it as a step into show business. And I think with us we’ve always seen it about the music really.

You’ve watched the scene change over the years, watched rock come into fashion, go out of fashion and come back into fashion in one form or another. Do you think the scene is as healthy now as it was when you first started playing, when you played with bands like Babes in Toyland, Fugazi, The Screaming Trees and that?

Andy: Aye, I think the scene is very, very diverse. I really like the way rock music… when you’re talking about rock music, I think it goes in circles and whenever Therapy? had started, you know, there was Therapy? And ‘Helmet’ and ‘Faith No More’ and ‘Nirvana’ and they killed off all the bands kinda like ‘Guns N’ Roses’ and ‘Motley Crue’. Ya know ‘Whitesnake’?

I do indeed…

Well if you told me 20 years later that ‘Guns N’ Roses’ or ‘Whitesnake’ would be bigger than ever. [laughs] I think everybody would of said Kurt Cobain did it all for nothing. [laughs]

But what I think is really good about music in 2009 is the fact that people are a lot more open minded. You know, I think that maybe a few years ago, a band like ‘Mastodon’ wouldn’t have been accepted because their songs would have been too long. Where as now, people are very open-minded, because they [Mastodon] have taken half of the present influences and melted them into one. I think it’s very good at the minute.

I think also because we’re heading into a recession, which isn’t good for people with work, but I think for music, historically, times like this has led to some great records.

Has punk and metal always held a place in your heart or is there any embarrassing trends from your youth?

Andy: Well punk has always been the big thing that I was into. Punk, post punk, and bits of the early gothic movement I really enjoyed like early ‘Birthday Party’ and early ‘Siouxsie and The Banshees’.

But the thing about punk that has got to me recently is that it’s so lucrative with certain types of punk.

You know, if I listen to punk music now I would listen to ‘The Murder City Devils’ or ‘Hot Water Music’, maybe even ‘The Gaslight Anthem’. I mean, I used to love ‘The Ramones’ and ‘The Buzzcocks’ and ‘Green Day’ when they started.

But I watch kids TV with my son and every single program has got pop punk on it, ya know? ‘The Jonas brothers’, ‘Mcfly’; they’re all pop punk, so its completely cheapened the currency of that melodic pop punk music, so I cant really listen to that sort of stuff anymore.



But I think early ‘At The Drive-In’ and those kinds of bands that influenced slightly more intelligent, more diverse, more hardcore (bands) I’ll always have a place for.

That’s enough about the past- what does the future hold for the Therapy? Are you lads just gonna keep rocking out until ye get sick and tired of us all begging for more gigs/ albums?

Andy: We’ve got this kind of really good year ahead, because we’re really looking forward to touring this album and I can honestly say it’s the proudest we’ve been.

We’re always been very proud of what we do, but I think this record, particularly, has a special feeling for us because we really like it.

We’re looking forward to playing the rest of the year and then just sort of treating ourselves, cause next year’s officially our 20th year of the band. We’re going to do stuff that we’ve never done before. We’re going to try do special releases, have parties, and put on a couple of special anniversary shows, and that kind of stuff.

We never really made a song and dance about anniversaries of any of our big records or we didn’t have a 10th or 15th anniversary, but we thought with our 20th, it’s a bit of an achievement so we’re really going to pull out all the stops so we’ll be doing little bits and pieces for that.

What can we expect to hear at the gigs – a little bit of everything?

Andy: This year what we’re mostly going to be doing is the new album, but it’s giving us the chance to look back into the back catalogue, because this album is a bit more intense with some the stuff.

If we do a few songs off ‘Crooked Timber’ and then play something a bit more up-tempo. It might sound weird so I’m going to have to try and put the set list together, nearly like a DJ set, something that explodes the whole way through, so we’ll be looking over the older material.

I mean alot of the stuff from around ‘Babyteeth’ and ‘Pleasure Death’ will go very well with the new album as well as stuff from maybe ‘Suicide Pact – You First’.

And then we’ll look at doing the set, maybe doing the set in like two parts, it is something we have been talking about recently, but we want to make this year’s tour about the new album and any golden oldies that complement the new album.

That’s about it so…

Andy: Yeah, nah that’s pretty the plan. I’m really excited about coming back. I’ve been back to Ireland three times in the last month and I’ve had a brilliant time seeing a lot of old pals and I’m really excited about coming over there and doing shows (see below). And, we’ve had a lot of support from our Irish fans, which is fantastic.

Therapy? Tour Dates:

Thursday, Apr 30th Sky Club, Paceville, Malta
Sunday, May 3rd 02 Academy 2, Newcastle, UK
Monday, May 4th ABC 2, Glasgow, UK
Tuesday, May 5th 02 Academy Islington, London, UK
Thursday, May 7th Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
Friday, May 8th University, Frankfurt, Germany
Sunday, May 10th Underground, Cologne, Germany
Monday, May 11th Kato, Berlin, Germany
Tuesday, May 12th Tivoli, UtrechtThursday,
Thursday, May 14th Nerve Centre, Derry, UK
Friday, May 15th The Academy, Dublin, Ireland

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