The Story Behind Every Song On Silverbacks’ New Album Archive Material

The Story Behind Every Song On Silverbacks’ New Album Archive Material

Back in the summer of 2020, the Dublin quintet Silverbacks released their great debut Fad. It was an album full of infectious hooks and addicting guitarwork, coalescing in a sound that was a fusion of various classic strains of indie rock. At the time, you could already imagine Silverbacks taking these songs on the road and winning legions of new fans. That didn’t happen then; like many upstart bands, Silverbacks’ plans went on hold during the pandemic. But they also used that time well. The band — the core songwriting duo of guitarist/vocalist brothers Daniel and Kilian O’Kelly, bassist/vocalist Emma Hanlon, guitarist Peadar Kearney, and drummer Gary Wickham — are prolific enough they were already talking about a sophomore album before Fad was even close to coming out. Now, that sophomore album, Archive Material, has arrived.

In many ways, Archive Material will hit a lot of the same pleasure centers as Fad. The O’Kellys very much envisioned it as a part two, continuing to hone the core elements of Silverbacks’ songwriting and producer Daniel Fox of Gilla Band (formerly Girl Band). There are tracks like “A Job Worth Something” and “Wear My Medals” that sit right in the group’s wheelhouse, driving and sneakily, incredibly catchy rock songs with little hints of art-rock or post-punk along the way. At the same time, they subtly branch out, as on the groove-driven and synth-dappled “Different Kind Of Holiday.”

While Fad had certain go-for-the-jugular instant hits like “Dunkirk” and “Just In The Band,” Archive Material finds Silverbacks refining their approach. The album is overall more consistent but also slightly more exploratory, while sacrificing none of the sly charm or bulletproof hooks the band established with their earlier releases. More than ever, they have songs that are easy to love on first listen, but then steadily lodge themselves in your head. In the eight or so months I’ve had this album, I have woken up with every single song from Archive Material stuck in my head one morning or another.

Ahead of Archive Material‘s release, we caught up with the O’Kelly brothers over Zoom — Kilian calling from his apartment in Dublin, and Daniel from his newly adopted home in Paris. They walked us through the songwriting and inspiration for each track on Archive Material. Now that you can hear the whole thing for yourself, check out the album and read along below.

1. “Archive Material”

The title track began with a drum sample from Jean-Pierre Massiera’s “Bonne Annee.”

KILIAN O’KELLY: I sent Daniel a song that was on the Finders Keepers, they put out records that are hidden gems people haven’t discovered. [“Bonne Annee”] was one track I sent Daniel, and because it was an instrumental drum opening he just stuck it straight through GarageBand and we went from there, building tracks on top. When it came to actually learning the song once we’d finished the demo, Gary did his own thing.

DANIEL O’KELLY: Gary made it a little more Bo Diddley and Fred Flintstone sounding. That song came together very quickly, it was one of the more collaborative ones between me and Kilian. I think we did it in a day just popping in and out of the room dropping tracks over each other. The idea of including the French lyrics in it was probably influenced by the idea the drum sound had come from this French musician.

KILIAN: I don’t know if we changed the BPM or not for the demo, but when we were putting guitars on top, it started to feel a lot like a Les Baxter song. He’s got a movie soundtrack based on an island or something, and it’s got these grooves.

DANIEL: The demo is down that route, a lot more tropical.

The song has this imagined scene of government workers in a sort of secret documents room. What popped that into your head?

DANIEL: I have no idea really. [Laughs] I have a WhatsApp group with myself where if I come across pairings of words or a line or a story I find interesting [I write them down], and then if we have a few demos that need lyrics I’ll scroll through my phone while I’m listening to stuff. “Archive Material” just matched well with that song — so I was thinking about what “archive material” is and landed on that. Maybe I’d been watching a lot of FBI thrillers.

When we spoke in late 2019, Fad was done but you guys were saying you basically already had a second album figured out. Is this still that album? I was wondering if the title was sort of a sly reference to this backlog of songs.

KILIAN: For whatever reason, when we were thinking of an album name the two that came up were Rolodex City and Archive Material. I thought Archive Material seemed like a cool album name, maybe because a lot of Daniel’s lyrics seemed to be inspired by living in a pandemic. One thing I liked was that, in years from now, people could listen to this album and would see, “Oh, this was created during the pandemic.”

A lot of the songs aren’t as road-tested as Fad. That’s one thing. It’s music of that time, it’s recorded during that pandemic, like a historical artifact. Daniel, I don’t know about you. There’s an It’s Always Sunny episode where Mac and Charlie get jobs, Charlie’s looking for Pepe Silvia and he’s losing his mind looking through all the envelopes. The pandemic forced a lot of people to work over time and that might’ve triggered some craziness in us all. [Laughs]

2. “A Job Worth Something”

Speaking of the pandemic, this one is very directly inspired by it. Daniel, you were living with your sister who’s a nurse, and you were doing copywriting.

DANIEL: At the time I was working at an agency where you’re given clients and you pretty much work full-time wherever you are needed, so I pretty much worked with a French car insurance company. That’s what I was doing for the majority of the pandemic, writing copy for them. Just like banks do, they all go to the exact same PR companies, the same marketing companies. And they all tell them the exact same thing: “Be human.” So any time there’s something that’s effecting humans, they’re all like [robot voice] “How can we turn this into an opportunity?” You know? Sorry the robot had an American accent.

A lot of the stuff I was doing was just, bullshit really. Just lies. And my sister was actually going in every day and doing something I felt was very worthwhile and visibly took its toll on her as well. I felt a little bit embarrassed, so that’s what the song is about. Feeling proud about someone who’s close to you, but at the same time questioning your own life choices.

I’m assuming this is more peak lockdown phase in 2020. You were going through this as a band who were trying to put out their debut album, get their name out there, and couldn’t play live. Did the phrase “a job worth something” also interact with your artistic pursuits at all? Like you’re not able to be doing the thing you’re keeping these shitty day jobs to allow yourselves to do.

KILIAN: That’s what I take from it, anyway.

DANIEL: It’s nice to hear people take different things. On my end… I sometimes justify doing certain jobs and not being more principled by saying, “Well at least with my art I’m trying to do something better.” But really I’m doing art for myself. So there’s still that layer of selfishness. I’d like to think I’m a decent guy, but — 

KILIAN: You’re not.

DANIEL: Even now I live in Gare du Nord in Paris, at an apartment just off one of the main train stations. I come out every morning and there’s guys who’ve hit really hard times. I might give them a Euro or two but I don’t go out in the evenings and talk to them and give them food. I could, they’re only 30-40 meters away from where I’m sleeping. It’s kind of about that as well: Why don’t I do more than what I’m doing?

In late 2019, it seemed the second album was already in the works. What’s the timeline of the songs that did end up on Archive Material? Did a bunch of new songs come about during the pandemic?

DANIEL: Kilian and I tend to try to write as much as possible. I’ve been slacking — I apologize Kilian — in the last year. We try to churn it out, both because it makes us happy, and we want to get better. And we’re worried if we’re not constantly striving to do what makes us happy, we’ll start getting less good at writing songs. On all future albums, I think there will always be a song or two from the back catalog, where we think it’d fit nicely with the collection of songs.

On this album, that kind of happened. Because of the pandemic, we had a lot more time to write songs and a lot less time touring. We had a much larger collection of songs to choose from than we anticipated. A lot of the stuff was veering towards songs we wrote more recently.

KILIAN: When you were talking about Archive Material before, I forgot to mention — our dad and our uncle had a chat and were like, “Jesus what are they doing calling it Archive Material, everyone’s going to think it’s a bunch of B-sides put together.” But Daniel and I just kind of laughed it off and continued. [Laughs]

3. “Wear My Medals”

Another thing that came up when we talked in 2019 was that both of you wanted to have more songs Emma could sing lead on. When “Wear My Medals” came out, you even referred to trying to specifically write “Emma songs.” Can you tell me a bit about why a song becomes an Emma song vs. a Daniel song?

KILIAN: Oh, that’s hard, that’s a good question. It’s not always the case, but certain times we’ll write in a certain key. Or it’ll be something Emma gravitates to when it’s in an instrumental stage. Before Daniel moved to France, we were piggy-backing off each other’s demos constantly, so the line of what was a Daniel demo and what was a Kilian demo was definitely more blurred than it is now.

A month before the pandemic started, Emma and I moved in together, and it made this geographic separation between me and Daniel. I’d have a demo for longer, and Emma could come in and work on it when she wanted to. That’s what happened with “Wear My Medals” and “I’m Wild.” They were both written during the summer months of when the pandemic kicked off. There’s plenty of songs where Emma sings with Daniel, and I always like that because it’s the sweet vs. the sour. Daniel, you’re not sour, don’t worry.

DANIEL: I’m bitter.

KILIAN: Yeah, bitter. [Laughs] “Wear My Medals,” the idea was it’d be a song with a bit more grit and attitude in the guitars this time. On Fad, Emma sang “Up The Nurses,” which we’ve always referred to as a Blondie rip-off song. Emma singing on a song like “Just In The Band” was one of the things that spurred [“Wear My Medals”]. I know we said [we wanted more Emma songs on this album], but I’m not going to crack the whip. Emma knows she’s the boss. I’m going to really, really plead with her that she has to sing more. [Laughs]

Tell me about the meaning behind this song.

KILIAN: A lot of the lyrics I write, there’s usually a love relationship angle. I don’t think I’ve told Daniel this yet. I always thought it would be very funny if someone who’d won medals told their loved one, in a sexual context, to wear them. The idea of wearing my medals being a turn-on was behind that phrase. Maybe don’t publish that because I’ll be killed. [Laughs] The other idea was there were a lot of sports references. “Dirty Phelps eats his gold eggs raw,” that was an idea about Michael Phelps — apparently when he was a prime Olympian he was digesting cartons and cartons of eggs. The other one was “I’m the heel to every fight,” the idea that not all people who win medals are good.

4. “They Were Never Our People”

This song was inspired by a YouTube comment, right?

DANIEL: There was the Netflix series Last Chance U. It’s about college lower division football in America, people who showed a lot of promise as young kids and then hit on hard times making the transition to college and struggling to make ends meet. It’s about how a lot of those kids were being used and so on. I was quite interested in it less for the sports, and more about the kids in it.

The series goes to these different towns in the middle of the States. One of the towns they went to was one that used to have some pretty good business trade because it’d have lots of passing traffic. All the business there was built around the truckers coming through. Then they built a bypass, and they lost all the business. They interviewed this old dude about it, and he had a few great one-liners. I think I looked him up on YouTube, and there was a comment that inspired the rest of the song. The song is about towns “fallen prey to a bypass.”

In that instance you’re talking about a different country and cultural context, but with a lot of the changes that have gone on in Dublin during our lifetimes — with tech companies coming in and such — was there a way this was also reflecting back to Ireland?

DANIEL: I thought it was good subject matter because it’s something that’s relevant to everywhere. Specifically in Ireland: When Kilian and I were living in Brussels, we’d drive over and we’d stay in Dublin with my dad’s parents and then we’d drive from Dublin down to Cork. That drive used to take about four to six hours — slightly exaggerated because our parents had four kids. Now that journey is cut to two and a half hours because of a new road that was built. We used to have our routines, stopping by all these towns. Everyone else there would be people going somewhere else. Us doing tours, we saw a lot of parts of Ireland we hadn’t seen before, and we’d go through those towns. They looked like a shadow of themselves.

Is there a reference to the Workman’s actually the Workman’s Club in Dublin or like, a generic bar?

DANIEL: It’s ambiguous, but the line “Barred from the Workman’s” came about because Kilian actually was barred from the Workman’s once.

What did you do to get barred from the Workman’s!?

KILIAN: You can absolutely print this. Not my finest hour. There was a wet table and I was ass-sliding, in the way you run at a table with pace and grind it out with your ass.

As one does.

KILIAN: I did that a couple too many times after being warned not to do it and then I was kicked out. [Laughs] At the door, Daniel was saying to the bouncer, “Don’t mind him, you can let him back in.” Then I apparently said if they let me back in I’d do it again. Then he said, “That’s it, he’s barred.”

DANIEL: In that case, what I liked about that was there’d be a small pool of people in the world that’d be like, “Ah, that’s probably the lads talking about the Workman’s.” But to most people, traditionally the workman’s was — if you worked in the local factory, the place after work on a Friday, they’d go for a few pints. The Workman’s in Dublin is something that’s very far from the other kind.

5. “Rolodex City”

This one is about a property mogul who’s basically trying to run a grift in a new town, right?

DANIEL: On the musical side, we were getting close to a final shortlist but we felt we were missing something — a little more of a rocker. We were messing around trying to think of rock-y riffs, go with something kind of Southern influenced. The lyrics, yeah… again, at that point as well, since we were far along with the album Kilian and I were toying with the idea it could be a concept album almost. In which you have a journey of this guy who’s in this town and makes friends and falls in love. We were trying to work out the order. “Rolodex City,” we thought it could be one of the openers, where the hero arrives at the city.

It started with the word “rolodex.” I wanted to write a song where the title was “Rolodex” and something, because it’s a word that’s going to die out. That’s how it fell on this idea of this guy rifling through his contacts, and just as the rolodex is dying out, how useful his contacts are is dying out as well. I can’t remember where the original idea came from, though, that he’s trying to ply old tricks in a city he hasn’t been to.

In the press release for this, it referred to the idea that it was “Silverbacks’ latest anti-hero.” I think about that or something like “Archive Material” — do you find yourself gravitating towards character sketches of less-than-savory people or scenes? Like, “Dunkirk” is sort of that way too, someone on a resort in this old warzone.

DANIEL: I’ve never actually seen it that way but that you’ve said it, I’m connecting the dots.

It seems like there’s a mixture between these figures like the guy on holiday in “Dunkirk” or this guy in “Rolodex City,” who are sort of fractured or shitty figures of power and privilege. Then on the other side, a sort of mundanity in scenes like “Archive Material.” Observing society from funny angles altogether.

DANIEL: It’s hard to explain, I haven’t thought about it too much.

KILIAN: You have a lot of short stories. I think that’s where the ideas will come to you for lyrical content. Technically, this could be the basis for the start of a story sometimes. One way or another, maybe because we’re a five-piece band, some ideas don’t get the start and the end. They veer off into mad angles. Maybe that’s what I take from certain songs. We don’t have to stick with Daniel’s lyrical content in the way that makes sense from start to finish.

For instance, one of the things I love about “Dunkirk,” it veers off into this mad instrumental territory at the end. In “Rolodex City,” you almost have that in the lyrical content. Out of nowhere, Emma comes in and gives line-dancing instructions. Those worlds in the songs, which seem random at times, it’s something I like in music.

DANIEL: In general, even in films and books, I’m interested in things that are maybe a bit ambiguous. I’d say I’m quite optimistic, but one of the things I’m cynical about is when people say they are doing something for the good of others. I find a lot of the interesting subject matter for our songs so far have been, the setup is something you see anywhere and that anyone can relate to. A property mogul with new business. A guy on holiday with his kids and wife. But then the backdrop has its own story.

In “Dunkirk,” it’s the context of a historical period and where we are and what it’s becoming and the moment where they are at that time in their lives. In the case of the “Rolodex City,” this changing of times and he’s a bad guy. Are you meant to feel sorry for him? Ummm… no. But you do, because he’s the anti-hero. I don’t know why I’m drawn to those things and why I don’t write things like “Imagine” or “Heroes.” That would be cool. [Laughs]

6. “Different Kind Of Holiday”

I almost imagined this similar to “Dunkirk,” some shithead on holiday. But I was surprised to find this was sort of an earnest pandemic song.

DANIEL: That’s about the camaraderie and getting to know your neighbors. I’d been living in the apartment block for six or seven years. Kilian is a much friendlier human than I am, so he got to know a lot more of our neighbors than I did. During the pandemic, you start seeing them during the day, eventually in their pajamas walking outside. It’s about that.

So it’s a rather warm sentiment.

DANIEL: In essence, but then it becomes we work together to try and build our own modern version of Babylon. That’s the “We can talk to God from here.” In the second verse, things escalate a bit, and maybe become a bit more sci-fi and eccentric.

Even when it starts out earnest, everyone starts to lose it a bit.

DANIEL: Yeah, and I think it works well with the music. Like Kilian touched on, I think a lot of my demos would be a little more middle of the road when they start off. Plain-stated. I get Kilian in there, and he’ll bring something a bit more interesting sonically or rhythmically, or even a riff where it’s like “Whoa, where did that come from.” When I come to drop in the lyrics, I try to work along with those little things Kilian has added.

I did want to ask about this one musically as well. It has this funkier element to it, like it was picking up where something like “Sirens” or “Muted Gold” left off, which were some of the most recently written songs of the Fad era. Is that dancier element something you want to play around with more?

KILIAN: For sure. That’s going on in the background for Album Three. Just to speak honestly, this is the one song for me that kind of sticks out on the album. Not the ugly duckling, but the one that’s different to everything else. I’m looking forward to hearing the remixes. There was one bit we were trying to do Hot Chocolate guitar riffs. I thought that stuck in nicely with some of the Lizzy guitarmony that’s on the album. We put in a few synths as well. It’s definitely a Daniel demo.

DANIEL: Maybe that’s why you don’t like it.

KILIAN: No, I didn’t say I didn’t like it! I love it. It just come out of left field, now that we’ve had time to sit and listen to it.

DANIEL: It’s the song we struggled with the most in the studio. It’s the only song we’ve done where the drums aren’t one take, live recorded. They’re different samples of Gary’s drum kit and we had him play one bar and looped it. We wanted to make it sound a little bit like a dance song a bit of a polished Hot Chocolate jam, meets Gang Of Four and maybe a bit of LCD Soundsystem.

I get those things from it, I feel like you guys are being too self-deprecating.

DANIEL: Well, that’s great to hear. But definitely this album as a whole, I tried to be less attached to the demos, be less controlling, more open to, for example, Daniel Fox’s suggestions. Everyone’s really. Make it more collaborative. Not that the first one wasn’t, but I wanted to make an active decision to be less vocal.

Less frontman-y?

DANIEL: Maybe, or maybe less big brother-y. [Laughs]

7. “Carshade”

KILIAN: I was doing mellotron versions of some of the songs we had been working on — just for the craic, probably out of pandemic boredom. This one’s got a good bit of mellotron on it, but it’s not a version of another Silverbacks song. One reason I like it is we’re big record nerds. I like the idea when you flip a record it’s now time for something completely different. You’re off your arse, you’re flipping it, and you’re like, “Oh, Jesus, what’s this?” and maybe it gives you time to make a cocktail before you sit down for Side B. All the mellotrons are in D and that’s the first chord of “Central Tones,” which is the next track. It’s a nice way of setting up that big flush opening chord.

8. “Central Tones”

This was another one on my mind in terms of the characters you choose to highlight, this one being about a person coasting on past glories.

DANIEL: I think everyone knows at least a few people are doing that. I think it’s something internally most of us try to fight as well. You try not to look back on what’s happened and think of those as the glory days. We were really happy with how this one ended up sounding. It’s quite different than the demo, it really came into a life of its own. The lyrical content itself, it was slightly inspired by Kilian’s job at the time. He was working at a call center, long hours, facing really difficult customers. Also some of the people he worked with had some quite interesting personality traits.

[I was] just listening to him talking about that kind of stuff, and then at the same time I was watching Toughest Pubs In Britain. They were really glorifying the regulars there and they were just harping on the amount of time they spent drinking in the pub and loving their moment in the limelight. It was guaranteed they were going to be telling the same thing to people for years. “One day there was a TV crew in here and guess who they spoke to? Me. Now get off my fucking chair.”

With the outro, we tried to make it sound like this overbearing call center, with a lot of Kilian’s really cool harmonics. Musically, as a whole, we wanted to give this album more breathing room. I think it was Kilian who said the first album is fairly condensed. This one, we wanted to mess around a bit more.

9. “Recycle Culture”

KILIAN: The term is from a shop in Brussels called Pêle-Mêle. You go in and sell records and they give you money and you usually end up buying loads of secondhand records in the shop. This is one of the older songs on the album. Which is a good thing, because in a sense it’s archive material. Whoooooa, got it in! [Laughs] But anyway the slogan for the shop is “Recyclage Culturel,” “Recycling culture.” I thought, shit, that’s a really cool fucking catchphrase for a secondhand shop. So all the verses are built from snapshots and memories of living in Brussels. That’s what the song’s about. Recyling memories, recycling culture.

That’s also a much more earnest perspective than I expected.

KILIAN: Shit! [Laughs]

I didn’t mean it in a bad way.

KILIAN: Let’s use your answer.

Well, there were one or two lyrics that maybe made me think this, but even just screaming “Recycle culture!” had made me wonder if there was some snarky take on the post-punk trend or the scene in Dublin as it’s been presented.

KILIAN: There will always forever be hints in the lyrical content and the music. Like, today we were talking about “Barred from the Workman’s.” That suggests a fuck you to quite a lot of bands and scenesters that can be found there. Nothing against the Workman’s, or whatever, but… Daniel says it isn’t, I don’t give a shit, it’s still something other people might take from the song. The idea of recycling culture is the same thing. There’s a wave of fucking post-punk. And it’s a pretty post-punky song. [Laughs]

10. “Econymo”

DANIEL: This was the other challenging one. Dan Fox, he’s got the patience of a saint, but I think this is where his patience wore thin a little bit in terms of me and Kilian’s “Oh, maybe we’ll try this.” “It’s 2AM lads.” A lot of the more collaborative songs, I still see the copy and paste and splices that Kilian and I did in GarageBand. I know Kilian came in with this really cool riff over the chords I had started with. He had this crazy loop for the “Econymo” part, and that used to be one of the main parts of the song and then we added this new chorus. It’s one of my favorite songs on the record, I think.

KILIAN: Sometimes with songs I’ll write a block and Daniel will write a block. “Just In The Band” is a prime example of that working in our favor. “Econymo” has that too. You got a groove and then it changes into this completely different idea which has clearly been thought up by someone else. Because “Econymo” does it quite seamlessly, you can never quite tell where it’s going to go. The opening groove, with the double Lizzy guitar — upon reflection, I could fucking listen to that for another two or three minutes. There’s so many different parts of the song, everyone probably has one they’d like to continue longer.

DANIEL: “Econymo” could’ve been just that riff and chords. I don’t want this to sound cocky or anything. I think in a lot of our songs, there are things we could extend three or four minutes if we wanted to, if we wanted to focus on textures. The lyrical content — there’s the odd funny stuff but we try not to have any shite in there. The hard thing is to make it sound texturized so you can listen to that thing for three or four minutes straight. With “Econymo,” we had a few opportunities to make a few songs out of that song, and we just used it as one.

The lyrics came from a few words I wrote down that I liked. Like “econymo,” I don’t know if that’s a word. It’s the idea of economy plus on planes. It’s a funny concept. Initially there was business and then economy and then they were like “Let’s invent this thing in between for the bourgeoise,” you know? A lot of it is just about absurd things people have done for money. The absurdity of media. It touches on a lot of things.

11. “Nothing To Write Home About”

Speaking of stuff you’d like to go on longer: “Nothing To Write Home About” is one of my favorites on the album, and that outro was something where I was like, I love that they’re doing this and I wish they did it for two more minutes.

DANIEL: I think this is another one a bit like “Econymo.” Kilian was playing around with those chords for ages before he locked in on it.

KILIAN: I was listening to songs with some jumpy chords… I think it was David Byrne’s “Home.” It was one of those ones where every time I picked up the acoustic guitar, those were the chords I was playing, but there was never really something to sing over.

DANIEL: We had a few variations of you playing those chords and you were trying different rhythms and then that double lead guitar. [Sings guitar line from chorus] In the demo I added bongos and distorted them up. You were right in that Tony Allen, West African…

KILIAN: I’m not sure if it came out in the studio, but it’s meant to sound like a Konono Nº1 track. You’re messing with that distorted kalimba sound but you can get it on guitar if you fuck up the gain and turn down the tone. I’m not sure what your stance is on Khruangbin, Ryan, but their guitarist is fucking next-level good. I was watching him talk about these different techniques he does and how he fits them into songs. The tremolo in the background, that angle was what I was going for there — it’s a guitar but it doesn’t sound like a guitar. Then the outro, it was actually initially two basslines on top of each other. I’m just going to give you all the train of thought shit that comes into my head now. I really wanted to call this song “Elvis Ex Machina.” The idea that Elvis turns up last minute to save everyone as Daniel comes up with the Elvis impressions. [Laughs]

DANIEL: It’s a bit of a sad love song. It’s someone either trying to convince his partner or the person he loves that he’s worth the risk, but really not sure if he is. There’s not much more to it. Just someone trying to say, “Hey, take a chance on me.” But not ABBA style.

12. “I’m Wild”

Why was this the grand finale?

KILIAN: End on Emma.

DANIEL: Cuz it fucking kills! [Laughs] Kilian and I, if we had to criticize the tracking order, the fact that “Wear My Medals” is the third song and you don’t hear another Emma song until the end — I think, ideally, on the next album there’ll be more Emma songs in a row. When we started messing around on “I’m Wild,” especially on the outro, we thought it’d be a nice end to the album. I felt if we put it anywhere else it’d slow the pace down a bit too much.

KILIAN: Not to talk about what I’d fix on an album during an album campaign, but I would’ve liked “I’m Wild” to end Side One. It’s not something I’ll lose sleep over. “I’m Wild” came about in a similar time to “Wear My Medals.” One of the things we really wanted was these big dirty gain-y guitars on the chorus. I wrote the lyrics for this one. I think it’s about love and desire in a relationship. Daniel has all the mad wacky stories and characters covered. Sometimes my lyrical content is boring. It’s just a simple love song. [Laughs]

DANIEL: I find Kilian’s lyrical content to be more personal. Just because I know him well. I can read it and know he’s writing about our dad, or… when I see “I’m Wild,” I see a relationship where both sides of a couple are really good for each other, but one side of the couple maybe has a little screw loose and it’s up to the other half to keep them on the straight and narrow a little bit.

KILIAN: I kind of had this idea with “Up The Nurses,” as well. Emma’s voice is, in my opinion, so sweet-sounding. There’s almost an innocence with it. Then the lyrical content doesn’t match the tone. On “Up The Nurses” there’s almost this stalker or possession attitude in the chorus. It’s the same in “I’m Wild” — no matter what you throw at me I’ll be able to fucking handle it anyway. The soft sweet voice is singing these lines you’d maybe associate with this macho man.

DANIEL: I read a review and I really understood what he said about Archive Material and Fad being different sides of the same coin. Going in, Kilian and I wanted this to be a Part Two to Fad, but with some different ideas.

The idea that those two are related — does that end with these albums bracketing the pandemic era, with a different vision coming in for the third album?

KILIAN: I think so, anyway.

DANIEL: We’re still writing, but I think we have enough to choose from. I think the direction we’re leaning towards, we need another month or two of demoing. And getting Emma to sing on a lot more. We haven’t had too many conversations about it but I know we both want to incorporate more instrumentation. Pianos and strings and some woodwind stuff. Maybe put a bit of that Brad Pitt money to good use.

Roisin Murphy O’Sullivan

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