Le Galaxie are Ireland's best live band. This is a notion that I've held on to for some time and it finally seems that, after a furious few months of touring and giving their all on stage, the rest of the country is starting to fall in line with my sentiment. A now legendary performance at last year's Electric Picnic was followed by the exhaustive FMC Tour across the length and breadth of our island. Then there was that show at the Olympia and a brief sojourn over to Gronigen to be part of Irish music's contribution to the Eurosonic festival. It's good times in Camp Galaxie and things are looking at getting even better as the band put the finishing touches to their second album, which you can apply directly to your brain and ears sometime later this year.
Your next chance to see Le Galaxie will be at The Button Factory on Thursday January 30th when they headline The Erics alongside O Emperor, Gavin James and Cave Ghosts. Tickets are still on sale now priced at measly €12, so make sure to snap yours up quick-smart to avoid tears and a general feeling of abandonment.
I caught up Le Galaxie frontman and beard enthusiast Michael Pope for an interview ahead of the gig and below is how it went down.
Words: John Balfe
Every time I've seen Le Galaxie play it's been a pretty unforgettable experience. The music, the feeling in the air, the showmanship on stage; it all combines into this overwhelming cacophony of fun. What's a Le Galaxie gig like from your perspective, though? What's going through your head up there?
'I can't believe nothing has gone wrong yet. This is amazing. I hope these people are genuinely enjoying this and they don't just think I'm on drugs or something. I don't even do drugs. I only had one Bavaria before this and it's made me gassy. Really looking forward to 'Put The Chain On'. How many songs to go to that one? Two more. Cool. This is so amazing. Then 'Love System'. That's a great one. Although if there's no cheer when we play the first few chords then this night is an absolute fucking disaster.'
It seems to me that Le Galaxie's music has really begun to take hold more-so that ever before over the last 12-18 months. Would you say that's a fair assessment? For example, of all the international bands playing at the last Electric Picnic everyone went home talking about your slot on the Body & Soul stage where maybe that wouldn't have been the case two or three years ago.
After this year's EP show things felt particularly different. With everything that followed (Meeting House Square, The Olympia, FMC Irish Tour) there was a fresh kind of CRAZY in the audience. Crowds have always responded nicely to our absurd brand of thirtysomething nonsense, but now wherever we go in Ireland you can actually feel traces of that midnight Electric Picnic energy. Also, I had burning, agonising nerve pain in my shoulder for that Body & Soul show so I don't really remember much about the gig itself. How did it go?
I understand from a piece that Una Mullally wrote in the Times that you've hooked up with a manager in the last few months (Joe Clarke). Did you resist that up until now, or was it just the next logical step for you to take in the transition of things?
I managed Le Galaxie to the point where I'd exhausted my skill set, if you could call it that. I never wanted that job but we've always had momentum and I was good at managing that, especially touring and the PR side of things. The other factor is that we never really trusted anybody enough to give them any meaningful control of Le Galaxie, until now. Having a proper, effective, passionate and competent manager is as liberating as it is exciting. You can stay up til 5am working on synths rather than staying up til 5am invoicing. Invoicing is for dopes.
"A beautiful night in a beautiful building full or beautiful people acting beautiful" - Image: Ruth Medjber
I have heard that the second Le Galaxie LP is in the final stages of mixing. And that the mixing is being done by Eric Broucek? As someone who is a big fan of all things DFA, I have to know how that collaboration came about.
We desperately wanted the mixing of our follow-up album to be out of our hands. Laserdisc Nights II was only a moderate success for us, creatively speaking. It's hard to remain objective about a record when you're so deeply involved in every single aspect of it. When it came to the end of the mixing of LDN II we were completely fried and unsure if it was even what we had set out to make. We'd been fans of everything Eric had done, from his LCD Soundsystem stuff to the more recent Holy Ghost album, so as soon as we got word that he was into Le Galaxie's music, we just started crying. We do SO MUCH crying in this band.
Of the mixes you've heard thus far, what has Eric brought to the table that wouldn't have existed otherwise?
He heard the songs as we heard them, but just knew how to make them better. Livelier. Richer. Better than anything we've ever had on record. The first mix we got back was a new one called 'Carmen', which features Mary from Fight Like Apes, and it was a game-changer. Literally. We stopped playing football and started playing tennis.
Will tracks like 'Lucy Is Here' and 'Love System' be on the next record, or will they just exist as their own things as they are?
COMING SOON! LE GALAXIE'S SECOND ALBUM!
1 - Put The Chain On
2 - Humanise
3 - Chauffeur Of Love
4 - Le Club
5 - CNNXN
6 - A.M. L.A
7 - P.M. L.A
8 - Carmen
9 - Tell Me Twice
10 - Lucy Is Here
11 - Streetheart
12 - Who, us?
13 - Freeway Flyer
Was your recent gig in the Olympia a pretty big moment for you all?
It was the biggest night of our careers. A beautiful night in a beautiful building full or beautiful people acting beautiful! It was the kind of show you just wanted to do again, night after night. The Coronas played SIX nights in a row there, that must be bliss. I wish I was in The Coronas.
In terms of inspiration, who are some pretty important bands for you?
We only listen to Michael Jackson.
Finally, why is Jurassic Park the best movie ever made? Just try and convince me that it's better than Jaws. Go on.
Jaws is better than Jurassic Park. Jaws is better than all movies.