“We’ve al­ways wanted to di­vide the crowd. We like the idea of be­ing a Mar­mite band. You ei­ther like us or hate us”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Oxegen 2009 -

sound en­gi­neer ev­ery night, ba­si­cally”) and re­turned to per­form at the Hard Work­ing Class He­roes fes­ti­val.

Geraghty: “We played in Craw­daddy to a home­town crowd and we weren’t rub­bish. Peo­ple used to be all ‘oh, you’re so cool’ and ‘you’re cute when you scream’ and ‘Jamie is so mad looking’, but that gig was the first time peo­ple re­ally got it. It takes a long time for peo­ple to get what we do and re­alise it’s not gim­micky.”

THE AL­BUM AND FOR­EIGN AF­FAIRS

In early 2008, Fight Like Apes headed to Seat­tle to record their de­but al­bum with John Good­man­son. “We picked him be­cause he had a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence with heavy bands with fe­male singers,” says Geraghty. “He was very di­rect with us, he said he wanted to make our al­bum sound good. We’re suck­ers for a straight talker.”

The rest of the year was spent tour­ing, tour­ing, tour­ing and then go­ing back to tour some more. They played with The Von Bondies, Kasabian, The Prodigy, We Are Sci­en­tists and The Ting Tings.

“We ba­si­cally stayed in the UK and played ev­ery fes­ti­val or venue that would have us,” says Fox. “One sup­port tour would lead to an­other and it was just busy all the time. We’d come home once a fort­night for a day or two and then head back to Eng­land again.”

Geraghty knew it was work­ing, al­beit slowly. “We knew we were com­ing across re­ally well and that it would be worth stick­ing with it, but I don’t think we no­ticed a fan­base build­ing. You’d meet the odd per­son who’d seen you a few times, but it took a while.”

At home they played Ox­e­gen, which can­celled out the lin­ger­ing bad mem­o­ries from their other Ir­ish fes­ti­val show.

“We’d done loads of English fes­ti­vals which

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had gone well,” says Geraghty, “but we’d never done an Ir­ish fes­ti­val show which had been a huge suc­cess, so we had to make amends. We said be­fore­hand that it couldn’t be an­other one of those shows.

“We thought we’d get a good crowd, but we hadn’t played here for ages be­fore that gig, so you never know. To walk onto that stage and see all those peo­ple was a big high point for me.”

Fox: “My stage­div­ing went down well. I went nowhere.”

Geraghty: “I spent some of the gig bang­ing my head off a key­board. My mum [ Ir­ish Times jour­nal­ist Kathy Sheri­dan] was in the au­di­ence watch­ing, and af­ter­wards she said: ‘I trust you, but I hope you know where you’re go­ing with this band’.”

THE BACK­LASH

The al­bum, Fight Like Apes and the Mys­tery of the Golden Medal­lion, was re­leased in Ire­land in Septem­ber 2008. It got great re­views and so-so re­views. And then, there was the on­line re­ac­tion from fans and de­trac­tors.

“We laughed about it,” says Fox. “There were peo­ple we knew who’d say one thing to us and then say the ex­act op­po­site on some in­ter­net thread or blog. I don’t know if it’s an Ir­ish thing or an in­ter­net thing, but peo­ple are ob­sessed about hold­ing onto this thing they own, and when it be­comes big­ger there’s this back­lash. Find me some­one who likes the Ar­cade Fire’s sec­ond al­bum and ad­mits it in pub­lic.”

Geraghty: “I to­tally un­der­stand peo­ple who pre­ferred the old DIY side of the band and weren’t too keen on the more pol­ished, hor­ri­ble word that it is, sound of the al­bum. I’ve no prob­lem with that, but peo­ple were just so con­tra­dic­tory and hyp­o­crit­i­cal. The same peo­ple giv­ing out about us and the al­bum were prob­a­bly the same ones who were telling us we were go­ing to be huge at the very start. You can’t please them.”

Geraghty claims not to bother with on­line fum­ing. “When the rest of them are looking up stuff about the band, I never get in­volved be­cause I think it’s a waste of time and, be­cause I’m a girl, shit gets per­sonal. I don’t want to un­nec­es­sar­ily worry about stuff. We started this band for our­selves and that’s all that mat­ters.”

At least, ven­tures Fox, they’re get­ting a re­ac­tion. “We’ve al­ways wanted to di­vide the crowd. It wasn’t hap­pen­ing at the start so it had to hap­pen at some stage and it did. We like the idea of be­ing a Mar­mite band, and you ei­ther like us or hate us.”

THE WEIRD­NESS AND THE FOLKS

There’s a lad out there with a Fight Like Apes tat­too on his arm.

“A guy got a mas­sive tat­too on his arm of one of the skele­tons from the al­bum cover,” says Geraghty. “Rock’n’roll! He came to the gig in Water­ford and showed it to us. We thought it was amaz­ing and it looks re­ally cool. He wants to get Fight Like Apes tat­tooed be­side it and we were like ‘no, don’t do it, man’. I wouldn’t see a prob­lem if it was a band like Smash­ing Pump­kins, but a band like us are so fresh and we could turn into neoNazis next year and where would he be then?”

More weird­ness: the Apes’ par­ents are read­ing the mu­sic rags. “They read the NME and Un­cut and tell me what Bon­nie Prince Billy is up to,” says Fox.

That said, they ac­knowl­edge there have been times when their folks have sim­ply had to grin and bear it. “Our mu­sic is not par­ent­pleas­ing”, says Geraghty. “I re­mem­ber my­self and Jamie started scuf­fling on­stage dur­ing the first gig that my dad went to and he was . . . ” she grits her teeth “ . . . ‘I’ll fuck­ing kill him’. I think if we were Damien Rice and Lisa Han­ni­gan, it would be a lot eas­ier.

“Some of the re­ally vi­o­lent, hor­ri­ble lyrics were writ­ten be­cause we never ex­pected our par­ents to hear them. If it had been the case that we thought peo­ple might hear them, we might have toned them down, which is why I’m glad now that we did things the way we did them.”

Their fu­ture will bring even more gigs (the de­but has just come out in Ja­pan and the band are rel­ish­ing the prospects of a trip East) and a sec­ond al­bum. Much to their sur­prise, Fight Like Apes are in this for long run.

Geraghty: “I sup­pose we re­alise we’re in this by the skin of our teeth. We find it funny that we’re al­lowed be in a band or that peo­ple will pay to see us, so we want to hang onto this for a while longer.”

“We’re still ab­so­lute mup­pets,” grins Fox, “but we’re pro­fes­sional mup­pets now.”

Fight Like Apes are (from left) Jamie Fox , MayKay Geraghty, Tom Ryan and Adrian Mul­lan. Pho­to­graph and cover: Brenda Fitzsi­mons

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