I recently spoke to Irish indie rockers Walking On Cars shortly before their hastily-arranged show at Leeds Brudenell Social Club, to discuss how their album was recorded, and what they’re planning for the future.
We started out discussing their chart-topping single ‘Speeding Cars,’ with frontman Patrick Sheehy describing its conception fairly romantically: “We were back in a little cottage next to the town we live in, and we had Sorcha on the piano, and the fire was lighting, and then the riff started. I think when the riff played, everyone latched on to it and kind of added their own piece to it. It just grew and grew.”
The band was also adamant in their belief that “I don’t think we realised how much of a song it was going to be back then.” In other words, the Kerry-based outfit didn’t see anything special about the song, with pianist Sorcha Durham commenting that “even when we went to the studio and everyone around us was like ‘Oh, you need to record this song, it’s going to be great.’”
Speaking on how they recorded the album, they remarked that around “50 to 60% of it” was written in cottages on the peninsula near their hometown in Kerry. “Each house came with its own vibe and experiences, and I think we were all in different places mentally in each house as well. There was stuff going on in each of our lives that definitely impacted on the songwriting.” To that extent, Sorcha also noted that the cottage they recorded debut single ‘Catch Me If You Can’ in was “probably the most tumultuous time that we had.” Bassist Paul Flannery noted that they would “definitely do it again,” albeit for a shorter period than the last time, with Sorcha adding that “I think it’s important for us because we get distracted very easily, so we have to go somewhere that’s more isolated, without any distractions.”
Patrick was also keen to stress to me that while the new album did not have a complete concept behind it, many of its songs dealt with “the negative side of things,” and he assured me that “We’re not as miserable as our record,” a comment which then caused the band to break down in laugher.
Asking them about new material, Sorcha stated that while they were working on new songs all the time, “we just haven’t had time to flesh them out because we’ve been on the road since the album came out.” Paul also chimed in when questioned about how their new music will differ from their debut album, expressing that “It’ll be different, because we’re different.” Patrick agreed, saying that they had been “experimenting more,” and made clear his frustration that “the lads have bought so many new guitar pedals,” while he still relied solely on a Polytuner. This then led to a brief discussion about their favourite guitar pedals, with the final decisions being a Maxon Overdrive by Paul, and a Darkglass Duality for guitarist Dan Devane.
I ended our interview by asking them to describe the worst gig they had ever attended, to which Sorcha immediately remarked “the racing one,” to unanimous agreement. Despite being quiet for the rest of the interview, drummer Evan Hadnett recounted the tale, with a hint of anger-fuelled nostalgia in his voice: “We did the gig at a beach, so it was like point-to-point racing, and we performed in a TV trailer. There was some game on so everyone was in the trailer to watch the TV. It was just big enough to fit the TV, so we were all hunched over in this trailer that was like 5 foot tall, trying to play songs. And we had to play songs, but we also had to stop because of the races going on. So, we’d stop, wait for the race to finish, go back into the song, and so on. It was pretty shite.”
Walking On Cars are currently touring the UK and Ireland in support of their debut record, Everything This Way, which was released back in January.
Interview by Zack Moore