Interview: Counterparts [October 2015]

By Lais

We had a great chat with Counterparts frontman Brendan Murphy when they were over on their headline tour of the UK and Europe just over a week ago. We went down to their Cardiff date at Clwb Ifor Bach to discuss how the tour went for them, how it feels to see so much progression over the past year, and how they feel their recently released album ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ is going down.

Hi Brendan! How’s this tour been going?

It’s been really good. It’s weird that we’re headlining and people are actually showing up. That’s really nice. It’s really cool. All the bands are awesome. We get on really well with Senses Fail and Capsize. The shows, especially the UK ones, have been awesome.

Oh yeah, you did some European dates before this…

Yeah, we did mainland Europe and then crossed over into the UK. Both aspects of the tour have been cool so far. There’s been a couple odd shows here and there but that happens on every single tour you do. You’re gonna have weird shows.

I haven’t seen you play in a while!

Yeah, last time we were here was with Your Demise.

What can we expect from the shows this time around?

Definitely a longer set. Every time we’ve been to the UK we’ve been opening the tour. Normally we play half an hour after doors and we get to play five songs and tonight we’re playing 15 songs or something, so a longer set, and we’ve brought our sound engineer from home with us, so at least we’ll sound good. It’s a good no nonsense show. We get up and play and we’re done.

You’ve only got a couple of shows left after this.

Yeah, tonight, Derby and Leeds, and then we’re going home.

And then you’ve got a big American tour after right?

Yeah, we’re home for three weeks, and then we’ve got that tour, and then we’re home for Christmas. I think that tour ends on the 13th and then we have a festival on the 20th, but luckily the festival isn’t too far from where we live, so that’s cool. Working hard, I guess. Keeping busy at the very least.

So, do you enjoy being on the road?

I don’t have much going on at home. I have friends at home obviously, but when i’m home for more than two weeks I start getting a little antsy and I wanna get back out again because touring’s fun. You get to see and do really cool things and you make money. I mean, I don’t make money at home because I don’t have another job, so definitely going on tour helps with that. Home life is boring. I like being on the road.

That’s a good attitude to have. Sometimes you speak to bands and they actually hate it.

That’s a little strange. I mean, yeah, there’s days when it sucks, but like I said, I’d much rather have to get up and play a show every day for a month than have to go to an office job every day for a month, because at least with this we’re our own bosses to an extent. Whereas if I got a job and someone told me to do something I didn’t wanna do and I was like “Meh, fuck off” I’d get fired and I’d be homeless. So, you know, it’s a lot easier to tour than be an adult.

You recently released your new album, ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’. How’s it been going down?

It’s been good. People seem to be really interested in it. With this tour especially we’re playing eight or nine songs from that record so it’s geared towards that record and people aren’t really complaining which is nice. I think most of our records have a slow burn to them. When they come out people aren’t necessarily as hyped but as time goes on they’re like, “Shit, this record’s cool”, whereas with this one we put it out and people seem to be really stoked on it. So I would say the reception to this record has been better than any other ones we’ve done.

Is this album number four or did I make that up?

Four, yeah, if you wanna count our first full-length in 2009 on a small Canadian label when we were in high school. I think for a lot of people this is record two for them because a lot of people started listening to us when ‘The Difference Between Hell And Home’ came out so they count it from that. I feel like a lot of people don’t really realise how many albums we’ve written as a band.

How would you describe this album compared to your previous records?

I think it’s just what we had to do as a band. As lame as it sounds, when you’re not confident – sometimes bands will release a record when they haven’t narrowed down what they’re good at or they don’t have a polished product yet – and I think it took three records for us to realise what we were good at. With ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’, we just went in and did it and the result is the record and I think it was an easier process because we were all on the same page with where the band had to go. Whereas with the other members on the other line up there was still some guess work and we had to try a few things to keep people happy but now it’s very straightforward and it’s cool. This is definitely my favourite record. What band isn’t gonna say that their latest record is their favourite one? But we’re at the point where it’s scary thinking about how to top it. I don’t know what we’re gonna do at this point. Jesse and I were actually talking about this last night, but I dunno, we might try and fail, and there might be no record five, but we’ll see.

I guess you don’t need to start thinking about that just yet.

It’s still very new for us. I don’t wanna start thinking about writing for a year. Like I said, we were talking about this yesterday, and Jesse doesn’t wanna write music, I don’t wanna write lyrics. We wanna focus on the record we just put out for a bit first. And then we’ll get started on record five.

You need to revel in this one first.

Yeah, you gotta enjoy the fruits of your labour. You gotta bask in it, like, “Look at this cool thing I did”. I’ll ride this one out for a couple months or a year or two years. Some bands do it for four years, some bands have been around 15 years and they’ve put out four records, and we just put out our fourth record.

Very productive!

Yeah, I guess that’d be one word to describe it. We’re a fairly productive band. Like I said, we keep busy. We’re always around. I think it’s because this is all we’ve got. If the band’s done, it’s like, shit, what are we gonna do now?

Where did the title – ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ – come from?

It’s from the song ‘Tragedy…’. Basically it’s a miserable line. No matter who you are or what you do for a living or how good your life is right now, at some point something really shitty will happen to you and you’ll have to deal with it, and that’s the meaning behind it. That’s the sort of message behind the record as a whole so when it came time to pick an album title, we thought that was the smartest one we could go for. We said it to our producer and he was like, “Yeah, that’s the name of the record. It can’t be anything else”, so we used it. It’s got a ring to it. It was a lot better than some of other album titles we had.

How has 2015 been for you overall?

Busy. Really busy. We’ve definitely noticed growth in the band which is really cool. Sometimes it’s really cool to take a step back and be like, “This time last year, look at the tour we were on, opening for this band” and then you look at it now and you’re like, “Shit, now we’re direct support for that band, and the shows are crazy, we’re selling double the merch and our guarantees are higher”. When you can take a step back and see that it’s growing and it’s actually getting better, that’s what we’ve been noticing. This year more than any other year we’ve been a band, so it’s been really cool. I think a lot of fields you get into you don’t necessarily see the pattern of growth as much as you would with a band so it’s cool. It’s so much easier to be like – for example, it’s like, we played Cardiff in 2013 with Your Demise and we were opening this room, and now we’re back and we’re headlining the room, and when you have real concrete things to compare with, it reiterates things like, “I didn’t screw up, I’m not a failure, and there’s still room to grow”, so we don’t need to get a real job, not yet.

What have you got coming up next year?

Next year we actually just confirmed a tour, another European run. I can’t really say who’s it with yet. So basically a European/UK run with three other bands, two of which we’re very good friends with, so that’s gonna be fun. March, April, we’re gonna be doing another North American run, US and Canada, with some really cool bands, and like I say, it sounds boring because I can’t give away too many details right now but we’re busy up until the end of May, and then if things work out hopefully our summer will be gone, so we’re just trying to keep on the road. It’s really cool. And just today we were talking about bands we’d toured with and opened up for and a couple bands Jesse and I had toured with have been messaging us like, “Hey, you guys are doing really well, this is awesome”, and it’s like, “Shit, people notice”, and it’s nice. It’s a really cool feeling. I never thought it’d get like this so it’s cool.


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Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]