At their awesome show in Warrington (read our review of the night here) we caught up with Brendan O’Prey, the frontman of The Lagan, to ask him a few questions. Check out what we asked below!
Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the band?
We’re a band called The Lagan. We play folk-punk and we’re based in South-West London but we’re from all around the place and we try and play as many places as we can!
How did the band form?
This is going to sound like a cliché, but we all met in the pub. We all knew each other before; we were playing in different bands at the time and we all had this idea but it never really happened because we were busy with our other bands. Eventually, we managed to get ourselves together and that’s how it all started. We just used to go drinking with each other and then started doing this!
Where did the idea for your sound come from? I’ve yet to find a band that sound quite like you!
We all love punk and traditional folk music, so that’s where it all came from! We’re basically a punk band with folk instruments.
You released your debut album in March this year. Could you tell us about the writing and recording process of it?
We actually didn’t expect to record an album! We didn’t even start this band to start playing gigs as we just wanted to have a bit of fun. We played a few shows and it went quite well, so we got a bunch of songs together and a friend of ours, who is a producer, said he’d record us. So we did it and we ended up touring off the back of it, so everything picked up from there. None of it was intentional at all!
I love your version of Drunken Sailor where you changed the lyrics. How did the idea for that come about?
I’ll have to credit that to our whistle player Andy Mac. He’d just written the words to it on a scrap of paper and we decided to make a song out of it, and put it to that tune!
Which song is your favourite on it?
(laughs) I generally write them, so I don’t like any of them! The ones that we cover are my favourites!
My favourite is Same Shite. Could you tell me a little more about that? Is there a particular story behind it?
There is! We’re all based in a placed called Kingston and it’s a song about going out drinking with your friends and all that stuff. I started writing it on my way home from work, I was sitting in the van – I work a construction job during the day – and was gasping to have a beer and go down by the riverside and meet everyone! The thing about Kingston is that it’s a lovely place, but there’s dickheads everywhere! So it’s about drinking with your friends and running into trouble. The line is ‘trouble always seems to know who we are’ and it’s true, it does!
What can people expect to see at your live shows?
Well, we’re normally drunk! Just a lot of energy I guess and we all love to do this. We’re all friends from a long time ago so we enjoy doing it and people enjoy hearing it. We just get up and do it, and make some noise!
What would you say your best show has been?
The best one I can vaguely remember is…we played some shows for our label, Banquet Records, who are an independent label, they’re super DIY and are great, trustworthy people, when they did a festival last year called ‘Banquet’s Big Day Out’ and it had bands like Hundred Reasons, Wheatus, The Computers, The Skints. It was a one-day festival and for us, it was great and really sticks out in my mind.
And what about the weirdest?
Any show we’ve ever played in Brighton! Just because afterwards it gets so much worse! Last time we went down, our old fiddle player was driving and said “tonight we’re sleeping in the van, let it get weird”…and it got really, really weird. Strange shit always happens to us in Brighton. There was one where I went back to sleep on the car because I was locked out, so I got on top of the car. A friend of mine was asleep next to me and by the time I woke up, my friend was gone and he was sleeping in a bush somewhere. I didn’t know what the hell was going on, and somebody also stopped to have a piss in the bush when my friend was asleep in there! All sorts…yeah, there’s been some fisticuffs and all that sort of stuff. It’s rowdy, but not normally violent.
If you could play a show anywhere, where would it be?
Well the place I’ve always wanted to play, but never thought we’d get there, is America – and we’re playing there next March! We’re doing a little tour of the east coast and that’s more than I ever expected to do, so I’m really looking forward to that.
How did the whole “tour quotes” thing start? (Note: see here!)
It’s just us sitting in a van talking away! I’m in a band with a bunch of idiots and somebody says something stupid every 30 seconds or so, so we decided to record them all because we thought it would be fun for people to have an insight into what happens. Everyone thinks being in a touring band is all rock and roll, but it’s not and we spend a lot of our time sitting on our arses in the van, so it’s something to pass the time with! Seems to go down quite well, too.
If you could choose a band to cover one of your songs, who would you choose?
I don’t know, really! The obvious answer would be someone like Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly. Or maybe Against Me! or Gaslight Anthem. Those two bands are just brilliant.
If The Lagan could put their name to any product, what would you choose?
Guinness! We’d just have to rename Guinness! Andy Mac’s quite fond of cider and Alex will drink anything that’s free, so probably some sort of booze.
And to finish things off – what’s your opinion on marmite?
Love it. (laughs) Yup, that’s about it! I love it!