Adam Lawler meets a soft-rock force on the rise.
OTwo meets raucous soft-rock Stoneybatter four-piece, The Cretin Epidemic, outside an old building they frequent; apparently, a squatter community with “great vibez” [sic]. Frontman, Jacob Healy, rocks up grinning with his blonde dreadlocks swinging down the back of his hoodie, the rest trailing behind, says hello and goes straight into decrying gentrification: “it really sucks the authenticity out of the place.”
We make our way into the café next door to the building, where the entire band orders suspended coffees: “Yeah we know the lads who run the place; they love our music. They’re not here today, but you should meet them. Gas lads.”
Things weren’t always so rosy for the band. They speak of their time on the streets with true grit: “Oh yeah, the streets are rough man. The couch may as well be hard as stone when it’s not your own.” As for the early days of playing in guitarist Nate Matthews’ spare room, they lament the lack of support for their burgeoning careers.
“Our parents were always calling us wasters. It’s tough being on the outside, you have no idea how demonized you feel as a musician. There are no luxuries, no hand-outs, especially when you’re starting out. People just don’t give you a chance when you’re doing something that isn’t on the beaten track, y’know?”
Now it’s a different story; with a gig in the Sugar Club under their belt and an EP released to some praise, people seem drawn to their brand of AOR. Would they put themselves in the same category as bands like Travis? Perplexed, he asks, “I’ve actually never heard them. What are they like?” Soft rock. He stiffens, “I wouldn’t say we’re soft rock, man. What are you hearing?” He laughs, “I’d say we’re more Bon Iver by way of The Clash.”
“Why would I want a million shit songs at my fingertips?”
He also has some choice words about modern music, which he says “is shite. It’s a joke. The internet doesn’t help, with things like Spotify, like why would I want a million shit songs at my fingertips? You can use that as a pull-quote.” Thanks. “No bother, man. I’ve met some journalists that don’t know what a pull-quote even is, but you seem like you know what you’re doing.” I ask if they take inspiration from Father John Misty in terms of their sense of critic-baiting irony: “Papa John Murphy? I’m messing, but no I’ve never heard of him.”
For a band who said in an interview with Hot Press that they see themselves playing Wembley in a year, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They all agree their guilty pleasure is “Shania Twain, like there’s a reason she shares a name with good aul’ Mark. My girl friends get a good laugh out of seeing me twerk to ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’. It’s just banter though.
You never know, indeed.”
Self-released EP, “A Thousand Carpe Diems”, is available on vinyl, compact disc, cassette, SoundCloud, Tidal, Bandcamp, Deezer, Last.fm, MySpace, DailyMotion, and TorrentKingz.de. Just not Spotify.