Deep with in the bowels of the Manchester Ruby Lounge I meet proud-as -unch Fighting With Wire singer Cahir O’Doherty. On one of the warmest days of the year, it is swelteringly hot, humid and sticky and a basement pub isn’t the best place to be stuck in. Cahir doesn’t mind though as he does a radio interview before speaking to me.

Cahir and the band have gone far since I last interviewed him in the front of his car back in 2006. Having just released their excellent debut album, 'Man Vs Monster', Cahir and the other members of the Derry-based punk trio, bassist Jamie King and drumer Craig McKean, have a lot to smile about as their hard work is beginning to pay off.

Always busy, Fighting With Wire have recently signed to home of Led Zeppelin, Atlantic Records. I speak to Cahir backstage.

PB : So 'Man Vs Monster' was two years in the making. What happened ?

CO : It actually took us four years!

PB : Last time I interviewed you, you said it would be released around Xmas 2006.

CO : The last time we spoke must have been two years ago. After that tour we recorded the album in September. We then parted ways with our agent and our management company and we were basically on our own. We then thought fuck it; we need to do this album on our own. We funded the recording with whatever money we could scrape together and recorded it in Neil Calderwood’s Manor Park Studios. We basically did the album in two weeks.

We then sat for a year trying to find a distributor. No one gave a shit. No one got back to us.

The album sat for full year before we went on tour in December 2007. It was horrible but we were playing to smaller crowds and because we had no distributor still we were at that point at the end of our tether.

Luckily, Andrew Ferris from Jetplane Landing runs a local Derry-based label called Smalltown America who said they could put the album out. We were just so glad we were finally getting the album out so that people could have it and the finished thing. It was supposed to come out in December, but it was released in March and so finally it is out there now.

PBM: What’s the story behind the title, 'Man Vs Monster' ?

Cahir: Our band wasn’t getting any notice. I felt like we were in an un-winnable situation. The idea came from a poster by an artist called Tom Gauld. It shows a small stick man with a sword up against 26 alphabetised threats. As a band it kind of how we feel. It is basically us against the industry.

PB : How did the Atlantic Records deal come about?

CO : We really did not expect it at all. We didn't send them any stuff. Even though we had been negotiating for almost a year it actually came out of nowhere. The chairman of the board of Atlantic in New York, Craig Kallman, heard us through an internet radio site called Shadowglobe run by Andy Ashton who used to run XFM.

It has a MySpace feel about but it’s just for unsigned bands. We uploaded three songs and Andy liked it. He forwarded it on to Zane Lowe, who used to work at XFM and Craig Kallman of Atlantic Records. Zane contacted us and said he would play the songs. I think it was 'Everyone Loves a Nemesis', 'All for Nothing' and 'My Army'. When he said he would play them on his XFM show we thought that in itself was amazing. Then Craig Kallman phoned us. He was really excited and wanted to hear the band. So we said why don’t you come to Belfast to see us ? He said that he would fly us to New York so, twist our arms, we went to New York.

So literally a week later we are on flight to New York to do a showcase for Atlantic. We didn’t know what to expect. Carl, our sound engineer and Andrew Ferris came over with us. We did the showcase and they took us out for dinner. We met everyone at Atlantic, did a day of meetings and two days later Warner Chappell offered us a publishing deal. We got a lawyer and within five or six days negotiated a deal. We asked ourselves what the fuck had just happened. It is cool though because we managed to retain our DIY ethics.

We are not essentially an Atlantic Records project just yet. We are still on our own indie label. We still put our record out through Smalltown America. This is funded by us.

Atlantic does not feel like a major label. We were basically smitten by the fact these guys took such an interest in music. They were passionate and it was really cool. It almost felt like an indie label.

We are basically still at that level. It think it would be ridiculous everything calling ourselves an Atlantic band. I have seen too many small bands signed to massive labels dropped within a year. They were thrown into that massive machine that caters for bands like Linkin Park, Coldplay and U2 and basically disappeared.

We want to keep ourselves on Smalltown America really. If bands were on a scale of one to ten, U2 being the highest, we are at one. An indie can get you to five, but a major can get you to ten. If you come in at five and would rather be one you are fucked. You have missed all those other stages and it just does not work. So we are staying indie until we are ready to move.

PB : Did Atlantic have any problems with the album ?

CO : The album is done and they love the way it was so it is a great thing. They would spend 100 grand on an album with the producer, studio etc and then we come along with the finished product which has been done for three and half grand. They were shocked.

PB : It isn’t 'Chinese Democracy'.

CO : Yeah or has taken 15 years to make.

PB : Zane Lowe has definitely given you a lot of kudos.

CO : The weird thing is we never did anything to get him interested in the band. He heard the songs. He only knew us through Jetplane Landing. He only heard the songs on Shadowglobe. He just started pushing us off his own back and people could not believe it.

PB : Cahir, thank you.











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