To endure is to triumph - When music is more than a hobby

To endure is to triumph - When music is more than a hobby
Cork band Boa Morte: Cormac Gahan, Paul Ruxton, Bill Twomey, and Maurice Hallissey.

As they stand on the brink of releasing their third album in 21-years, Boa Morte might not fit anyone’s measure of musical success, but in an increasingly uncertain industry to endure is to triumph.

The Cork alt. folk quartet may have little in common with Dublin rockers Otherkin but they have sympathy for the hyped young band’s predicament resulting in their recent announcement of calling it a day after two albums in seven years together, citing the pressures of mounting bills and struggling ticket sales.

“I suppose we’re in a nice position to be in where we’re not reliant on income from music to make a living,” acknowledges Boa Morte’s bassist and vocalist Cormac Gahan.

“I don’t know about these other bands. I’d say it’s very tough to make an income by being a member of a band.

It’s difficult enough as a solo artist I would imagine, but to pay four people a living wage would be almost impossible, unless you’re at a very high level of sales and whatnot.

“It’s not that it’s just a hobby,” he points out, “it’s more that we don’t have to rely on the income so we can take as long as we want and put as much as we want into it.”

Not all the delays in getting their previous albums out to the public have been due to taking their time — unanticipated changes in their record labels accounted for that — but their new album Before There Was Air has found its way into the world with nary a bump in its way.

“The last one probably was recorded three years before it came out whereas Before There Was Air was just recorded last year and has gone through the natural gestation period,” reports Gahan.

Originally slated for release on the American label MoodFood. Boa Morte’s debut was taken up by Scottish indie Shoeshine, which was run by Teenage Fanclub drummer Francis MacDonald.

It was expected their second album, The Dial Waltz, would also be released by them but changes at the label saw the band put it out themselves, a path they were reconciled to with their latest release.

For guitarist Bill Twomey, the main concern is just getting getting as many ears as possible to hear it.

“That’s why with the last album we had been hoping to get on to a label because it automatically comes with distribution and it just gets it exposed to a wider array of channels.

“This time, however, we were probably a bit more comfortable to go on our own if that’s what transpired. Because of the internet structure artists can now put their own stuff up on Spotify and Bandcamp is a great tool to get product exposed. Having said that there’s a lot more artists out there vying for attention.”

To the band’s satisfaction, London indie label Gare Du Nord offered to put it out and they now find themselves sharing a label with Keiron Phelan of late 1990’s post rockers State River Widening and Darren Hayman of indie act Hefner.

Where their first two albums found antecedents in the hushed and plaintive lo-fi folk stylings of Will Oldham and Neil Young, Before There Was Air is closer in spirit to the mercurial melodic sounds of former Sonic Youth guitarist and avant-garde artist Jim O’Rourke’s Halfway to a Threeway EP.

It reflects more expanded listening habits,encompassing ambient and modern composition while maintaining their core sound. The overall feel is of a patchwork of carefully knitted textures.

“One thing we tried to achieve with this album is to make it kind of seamless so there’s a kind of a flow right the way through the album,” says Twomey.

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