After the success of their debut EP Waving at Strangers alternative rock band Pocket Promise are back with an as yet unnamed debut album and single, 'I Burnt the Roller Disco' with additional B-side track 'The Sum of the Parts'.
Anne-Marie Marquess catches up with lead singer, piano player and guitarist Cormac Fee to talk about their forthcoming releases and to try to find out who really did burn down the roller disco.
What's the story behind 'I Burnt the Roller Disco'? Was there some kind of deep-seated hatred for colourful rollerskaters and 70s retro music at play here?
The song was written around a phrase that was scrawled across a solitary standing, run-down, old wall on a piece of wasteland near my house in Dungannon. Although hard to see at first (given the condition of the wall and area), the wall was decorated with impressive spray paint pictures of the planets and stars. The phrase had marred what appeared to be a big moon with large letters - 'I burnt the roller disco ha ha!'
As far back as I can remember I would pass the wall on my way into Dungannon town and think, what does that mean? When I later found out that the wall was the last existing wall from a building that had actually been a roller disco and had burnt down, it made more sense. The wall's not there any more - in its place is a big car park and a block of flats.
The song lyrics are completely fictional and based on the idea that someone would do something like this entirely for the attention of a loved one that they may have fallen out of favour with. It's the concept that a person would burn down somewhere that everyone loved just for some kind of revenge or attention-seeking motive.
I liked the idea too that the incident would bring everyone out of their houses in the middle of the night to watch the horror unfold but none of them saying a word - whilst the perpeptrator would watch from a distance secretly revelling in his accomplishment 'silently screaming out'. Why did you choose to release this as your debut single?
We chose the track as it always been a crowd favourite. We've blown hot and cold with it ourselves at times but it's nearly always been in the set. We also love the fact that it just goes in there and does what it does and leaves. It's the kind of song that exits with a lot of unanswered questions. Maybe I've given too much away with my explanation of where the idea all came from! It's also very different from the last material we made public, so it's refreshing for anyone who hasn't heard our other sides before. Can you tell us more about your debut album, due out summer 2009?
The album is going to be available in early summer and there are ten songs on it. We recorded it at the very wonderful Blackbox Studios in France (Last of the Shadow Puppets, The Frames, dEUS, Archie Bronson Outfit) with David Odlum (The Frames, Gemma Hayes, David Kitt etc). We're really excited about it coming out. We recorded 15 songs with David and released five of those as an EP last year.
The EP was quite a calm, meloncholic, after hours affair - moody, lowlit and pensive. The album will bring together that side of what we do with the louder, bigger, more forward side. We tend to indulge in instrumental aspects as much as vocals so there are some longer tracks throughout the album that build and breakdown with numerous instruments involved. We became well acquainted with toy pianos, synthesisers, glockenspiels, rhodes and battered old wood logs whilst we were recording! Where did the inspiration for the songs come from?
The inspiration for the songs mostly came from personal experiences. The usual thing - the ups and downs of relationships, loss, happiness, sadness, self-doubt. Cliched maybe - but then I would say that's why we write music; to express the things that affect us in everyday life. We all have similar traits when you boil it right down and I guess that's why a lot of people can relate to the themes in the songs. Everything we've been through as a band has shaped every lyric on the album - the good and the bad of our time together is all in there.After your album is released, have you any plans to tour? What is the future for Pocket Promise?
We're really hoping to just keep doing what we're doing to be honest - but more! We're looking forward to progressing our music, doing more videos, experimenting, creating, having fun. In regards promoting music, the way everything seems to be going really favours the whole DIY approach at the minute and it's been heading that way for some time. There's no end to how much you can create and show people with an instrument and an internet connection.
We've already begun writing lots of material that we've been playing live and we're looking forward to getting out there to people as soon as we can. We're really aiming to support some of the bigger bands coming to Belfast and playing our music to new audiences. For now though, the focus is really on the album - we'll be making the biggest effort we can to getting it out there to the people that we want to hear it.
Pocket Promise play The Stiff Kitten, Belfast, Wednesday March 25. 'I Burnt the Roller Disco' is released on Friday April 3, available from www.pocketpromise.com and download sites. Additional B-side track 'The Sum of the Parts' will be available from March 20 for a limited time for free at www.musicglue.com/pocketpromise.