Interview Project #11: Super Extra Bonus Party


Super Extra Bonus Party are a band from Newbridge, County Kildare. Their first, self-titled album was released in 2007, a selection box of sounds cribbed from jazz, ambient music, electronica, indie rock, alt hip hop and more. It won the Choice Music Prize in 2008. Clumps of shit hit nearby fans on the comments sections of certain blogs, but in retrospect the SEBP album has no difficulty fighting its corner as one of the best of the last half-decade, never mind that year alone. This year, maintaining the selection box vibe and enlisting the help of such luminaries as MayKay (Fight Like Apes), Heathers and Cadence Weapon, they released a follow-up, Night Horses. Super Extra Bonus Party are, in the best way, using every piece of musical inspiration available to create something genuinely eclectic.

Super Extra Bonus Party feat. Cadence Weapon – Radar Super Extra Bonus Party feat. Captain Moonlight and White Noise – Tea With Lord Haw Haw

Q 0.5 How are you?

Fat and glistening.

Q1 Nowadays, when everybody has a decent computer and gear is more available, it’s much easier for anyone to make music and have it heard quickly – does the bedroom music explosion devalue music at all by making it so easy to do?

I’m not inclined to think of it in that way, I don’t see the point in overanalyzing the fact that there is a lot of stuff out there. I just like getting tunes and listening to them on recommendation or whatever. It’s heartening that there’s plenty of music out there and that we all have the means to push the boat out creatively. I don’t think it’s possible to devalue music by making it. Naturally enough there’ll always be a mega-tonne of stuff you won’t like. Maybe if you’re one of those people that feels the need to be right on the crest of every new musical wave, the quantity of shit to sift through might make it all seem like a bit of a chore I’d imagine. It’s all down to the individual I suppose, it doesn’t matter how much music is out there, you can only absorb so much. If you’re taking on too much or trying to have an opinion on everything I figure it’s a case of the music being underappreciated as opposed music being devalued by the quantity of stuff available.

Q2 Is downloading a good thing? Does the fact that it’s possible to get so much music so easily and for free make it more disposable at all?

I figure it depends on how much the person downloads. If someone is downloading everything and anything just because they can, then I reckon the excitement of getting new tunes will just disappear. It’s nice to look forward to something for a while, and then get it and spend some time with it, as opposed to getting it, and putting it in with a pile of other shit you’ve been meaning to get through and then giving it a quick listen whenever you get the chance.

Is downloading a good thing? Yeah, I think so. We get our shit heard that way, and I hear lots of deadly shit that way too.

Q3 Is there anything that makes your music quintessentially Irish? Is it intentional?

The music just ends up the way it ends up, I can’t really equate the finished article with the country I live in to be honest.

Q4 Do you find it difficult to self-edit, or to take a step back from your music and look at it objectively?

I enjoy being fully immersed in writing a tune, it’s a nice place to be, mentally. I suppose throughout the process of writing something you’re continuously refining what you’ve done, and that’s taking a step back in a sense.

Q5 Is there a Dublin scene, or even smaller genre-based scenes? Are you a part of one?

We’re from Newbridge in Kildare, and we did our first gigs there. Speaking in terms of our own experiences, initially when we wanted to do shows in Dublin we played at nights put on by the Alphabet Set, they’re a collective of electronic musicians. They put on some great nights and have had some quality acts over in the past. They were always really supportive of what we were at and we ended up releasing our first album with them. They hooked us up with our first festival show at Mantua Lives which is in some ways a festival representation of a lot of the alternative nights around Dublin, like !Kaboogie, Alphabet Set and Rootical Sound System. If you check out our remix album “Appetite For Reconstruction” you’ll find a lot of artists form that particular scene remixing on there. I wouldn’t see us as part of a scene ourselves to be honest.

Q6 Name a non-musical influence on your music.

Cycling and running helps clear my head.

Q7 Take one of your songs and explain the process of writing it from the beginning to the finished article.

We wanted to write a tune for Captain Moonlight because we reckon he’s the best emcee in the country and his lyrics are brilliant. Plus, in terms of representing who you are and where you’re from, he keeps it completely fucking real. There was a core idea floating around so we stuck our heads together on it, took out the acoustic guitars, the MPC, the korg, the bass, the drums, a deck and a Kaoss pad and just jammed it out. We asked Cian (White Noise) to do some beatboxing on the demo because we thought it would really fit, and he did an amazing job. Once we had a rough demo recorded we sent it to Kevin (Captain Moonlight). Luckily he was into it and started on a lyric for it.

We kept refining the elements of the track while he was working on the lyric. Eventually when we were happy with the music we recorded it. We did the drums in the hall of the house we rent, and recorded the acoustics and all other elements into Pro Tools in Sean’s bedroom. Kevin called up to the gaff to record his vocal for a couple of nights. The end result is called “Tea Time With Lord Haw Haw” and it’s on our new album “Night Horses”.

Q8 Has music criticism ever influenced your music, or at least made you think about it differently? I mean proper reviews, but also blogs or even just hearing someone you don’t know talk about you.

It doesn’t have any effect on the music no. They’re two completely separate things, your own creative endeavors and what people say about them. We’ve had our fair share of positive and negative attention. The only way it ever comes up between us is if we’re at practice and someone mentions something that has been said or written about us and we all have a laugh about it really. I don’t think there’s an ego there to be damaged or inflated, any attention we get or don’t get is a funny experience for us all.

Q9 Have you ever felt guilty for trying to get other people to take an interest in your music, if you aren’t making the effort with new music yourself?

No, I’ve never felt like that to be honest.

Q10 Would you call yourself a traditionalist with regard to music, either as a listener or in how you go about writing/recording/performing?

I don’t think the way we record would be seen as traditional, there are a lot of us and we collaborate a lot. We love keeping it fresh for ourselves, in some ways it can be daunting, in other ways it can be liberating. If it becomes formulaic or predictable then I reckon that’ll be time to throw the hat in.

Q10.5 What’s something you’re listening to right now?

Karen Dalton – In my own time
Buck 65 – Secret house against the world
Flying Lotus – BBC Essential Mix
El-P – We are all going to burn in hell mega-mix 2 / I’ll sleep when you’re dead
Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity
Vordul Mega – Megagraphitti
Dj Krush – Jaku



9 responses to “Interview Project #11: Super Extra Bonus Party

  1. Pingback: Interview Project #12: Jon Dots « Those Geese Were Stupefied

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