Hailing from the Emerald Isle, The Cast of Cheers recently embarked on their first headline tour in the UK and are busy making a name for themselves. Wowing the fans with their Irish charm and electrifying live set, the Dublin four-piece have already received support from the likes of Huw Stephens, Zane Lowe and compatriots Two Door Cinema Club.
Debut single ‘Family’ was released last month, and with an album due later this year, we caught up with Conor, Neil, Kev and John before their Sunday night stint at The Deaf Institute to talk about cocktails, the vibrant music scene in Dublin and find out the elusive reason behind that band name.
First things first, I’m going to start with the question you probably get asked more than any other, your name, how did that come about?
Neil: Well myself and Conor used to live above a pet shop in Donnybrook and there was a fair few birds in the shop and a parrot that used to talk.
Conor: We used to hear this noise every night and we were like ‘what’s it saying?’ and we thought it sounded like it was saying ‘The Cast of Cheers’. We don’t actually know what it was saying but it stuck.
You released your first album ‘Chariot’ online free of charge, that’s pretty rare these days. Did you do it to gauge reaction?
John: I think originally we put it up for our friends really.
Conor: It sort of came about really quickly, we wanted to see what people thought. We contacted a few blogs and our manager plays in a band called Adebisi Shank and they posted a link on their Facebook and that really got the ball rolling. It wasn’t this big scheme, it just seemed to happen.
Neil: There was the option of whether we wanted to charge for it and we just thought no, we can’t expect people to pay for it when they don’t know us yet.
So have you all given up your day jobs now and are doing this full time?
Neil: Yeah we had to, when we got signed last summer we did the album and it just made more sense to move to London rather than commuting from Dublin.
Conor: It would have cost a lot of money and it’s easier to be based there when touring the UK and that.
Neil: We quit our day jobs last summer, moved to London and have been eating beans ever since.
Conor: You can have money, work your day job and dream about being in a band or you can be in a band, be kinda poor but enjoy it.
Kev: We still have everything we need. We still have cocktails.
Most bands that seem to have gained success recently have been from Northern Ireland. You guys are from Dublin which tends to be associated with more traditional styles of music. What’s the music scene in Dublin really like?
Neil: We played over in New York at CMJ at an Irish night and a lot of people came along and thought it would be all traditional, with bells and stuff. The scene’s really good, there’s a label called The Richter Collective and they sign acts based on the fact they like the music, not just if they can sell it.
Conor: There’s Popical Island too, that’s another indie label that signs bands on the same premise, so the music that’s actually produced in Dublin is really cool.
Kev: Groups like FMC are really pushing things across the board and really helping people out too.
Conor: I think in the last five years it’s really thrived, maybe 10 years ago it wasn’t so vibrant.
You’ve supported fellow Irishmen Two Door Cinema Club on a few dates. They’re really blown up over the last year, have they given you any advice?
Conor: Yeah definitely, they’ve gone massive. They’ve not given us advice as such but more set an example, when you’re at their gigs you see how they conduct themselves. Their crew and everyone, they’re just so cool and down to earth. We’ve seen them play with massive crowds at Brixton Academy and stuff, there’s no egos about them, they’re just three normal guys.
There seems to be a nice camaraderie between Irish bands, all helping each other out and supporting each other?
John: Well we didn’t actually know Two Door, they kinda found us on Twitter and started tweeting us and within a couple of weeks we were offered a show with them.
Conor: They invited us to support them at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, it was the biggest gig we’d ever played and it was mind blowing to be part of it.
Neil: We got on so well with them and became good mates, going out drinking and having a laugh, as you do!
You’re currently on a co-headline tour with Theme Park, how’s the reaction been so far bearing in mind it’s your first UK tour?
John: Really good reaction yeah.
Neil: This is like the ground work tour.
Conor: We’ve only had one single out, so we’re kinda doing the ground work, getting our name out there.
You’ve been getting some great feedback from the likes of Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens, that must have helped get people along to check you out?
Neil: If it wasn’t for that we’d have empty gigs. It’s cool though because we’re so different to Theme Park. If you don’t like one band then you’ll definitely like the other band.
Conor: And if you hate both bands, get out!
How are you finding life on tour? Is it as glamorous as you imagined?
Kev: This cocktail is the highlight, it‘s the highlight of the whole tour. We‘ve saved for this.
Neil: It‘s all good fun, except when I crashed the van this morning reversing, Kev got angry at me. I had to get out of the driver’s seat and let him do it.
Kev: We do have a very sweet van to be fair.
Isn’t there a thing about tour buses and them being a sign of how well you’re doing?
Neil: Ours is like the A-Team van.
Conor: It’s called Battle Cat.
John: We did a tour around Ireland and drove to the Two Door gigs over here in this van called The Pink Chocolate Express. It started out red but the paint weathered. It did us well but it was draughty and rickety.
Neil: Showing up in it really wasn’t cool. The brakes then failed before we were due out on tour again and we got this new cool one which is two tone and has big lights.
You’ve got some European dates coming up, are you looking forward to getting over there?
Neil: Yeah we’re looking forward to it. Our tour manager is French and we’re playing in Paris. So he’s going to show us around and probably make fun of us and tell us to say things in French which don’t mean what he tells us they mean.
Kev: We really love Berlin so we’re really excited to be going back there, also we’re playing Barcelona which will be cool.
Conor: The place is called Razzmatazz, which I think is just brilliant, worthy of a mention alone.
After that you‘re off supporting Blood Red Shoes on their UK tour, how did that come about?
John: They were looking for support , they tweeted about it, and Sam from Two Door actually suggested us. They wrote back and it all happened.
Conor: The nice thing about this tour is we know they’re going to have a lot of people come see them across the whole of the UK, especially because they‘ve been away a while. Playing to a crowd that’s definitely going to be there is is a different ball game, it’s going to be awesome
Neil: I think also Blood Red Shoes fans are more likely to get that we’re doing. We’re a loud band and they’re a loud band.
Conor: I definitely think people that come to see them will be interested in us.
You’ve described your sound as ‘robot rock’, what does that actually mean?
John: It doesn’t actually mean anything. I think we chose that because it was the first thing that came into our heads, ‘yeah it’s robot rock’.
Conor: Queens Of The Stone Age call themselves robot rock.
John: We can’t really be pigeon holed, we’re a bit dance, bit guitar and rock.
Neil: We are dancey but not 'dance dance', more like ‘move your hips’ dance. We recorded our album which is due out later this year with Luke Smith, he’s taken a different take on things and brought us into a more… I don’t want to say 'indie' or 'alternative' orientated, but the free album we did, the structure of the songs were mental.
Conor: This time round we wanted it to be more accessible for no other reason than the fact that’s the kind of stuff we like really.
What music are you into at the moment? Do you all have similar tastes?
Neil: Us three have but Kev listens to everything.
Kev: I try not to discriminate.
Neil: This year we’ve listened to a lot of Metronomy.
Kev: SBTRKT too they’re really cool.
So you’ve got a new album coming out later on this year, what are your plans for the summer, any festivals lined up?
Conor: We’ve got one confirmed which is Belsonic.
John: The rest are completely secret!
Conor: It’s gonna be cool to play Belsonic with Two Door and Noah and The Whale, it’s in a really cool area of Belfast too.
Neil: I think the festivals over here are still in talks at the moment, I think we will definitely be doing some though.
And finally, St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us, any plans yet?
Neil: I think the rugby’s on that day, England v Ireland so we’ll probably watch that.
John: A friend of our ours is actually putting on a night in a bar and some bands from Dublin are coming over to play which will be cool.
Kev: Yeah rugby then head to the pub I think.