Derry~Londonderry Prepares for Cut the Transmission
Fighting With Wire frontman Cahir O'Doherty on co-curating the one-day music festival in Derry~Londonderry on September 28
So Cahir, tell us about Cut the Transmission.
It's a mini music festival taking place in Derry on Saturday, September 28 as part of the City of Culture celebrations, showcasing some of the best alternative music out there. It's also the last ever Fighting With Wire show.
How does it feel to have co-curated with your bandmates such a big event for the City of Culture programme?
I don't know yet. I guess I'm still in the thick of it. I hope people enjoy it. It's pretty nerve-racking, but I feel the line up is strong and it's a great learning experience.
Will it be a bittersweet day for you and the other members of Fighting With Wire?
No. It's a party, a celebration of what we achieved over the years as a band. What better way to celebrate than in our hometown with all our friends?
Why did you decide to call it a day?
It felt like the right time. We had achieved more than we ever dreamed – ten years, two albums, countless shows and the support of some amazing people. We're proud of the music we've left behind, but we're also excited about the future.
Cut the Transmission takes place in The Venue at Ebrington, a cavernous space. Will it be the largest show you've performed at in Derry?
It will definitely be the largest show we've done in Derry, but I think we've put together a line-up worthy of a show this size, featuring headline act Frank Turner, And So I Watch You From Afar, Future of the Left, Fighting With Wire, LaFaro, More Than Conquerors, Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun, Little Hooks and the All-Star Choir, Droids, Making Monster and Wood Burning Savages.
Thinking back, what were the stand-out Fighting With Wire concerts in Derry in the past?
We've done many shows in Derry, particularly in the Nerve Centre. I feel that when we were starting out, that place was our home. We learned to be a rock band in the Nerve Centre, with its big stage and super loud PA. I'll always remember those shows.
Away from organising Cut the Transmission, you've recently returned with that other seminal band from the Maiden City, Jetplane Landing. The response from fans and critics to the band's return has been incredibly positive. What has it felt like as a member?
I am incredibly proud of everything we've achieved since the release of our new record, Don't Try. We worked hard over the last two years writing and recording it here in Derry, so the fact that people are enjoying it is fantastic.
You also performed as guitarist with Frank Turner at the recent Reading and Leeds music festival in England. How did that gig come about?
I've been working with Frank for the last year as his guitar tech. He recently injured his back and couldn't play guitar, so I was drafted in to play during his Main Stage sets at Reading and Leeds festival. It was great fun. Scary, but fun.
Are you enjoying those collaborations away from Fighting With Wire?
I've been writing and playing with Jetplane Landing from before Fighting With Wire ever existed, but I am definitely enjoying returning to that role, and I'm excited about what the future holds for me with both Jetplane and Frank Turner.
Is the urge to write and perform your own material still present?
I think I will always write and perform my own material. I don't think you can ever escape that once you start. But I'm also excited at the chance to play with other people and broaden my horizons. I've been in Fighting With Wire for ten years, there's so much more still to do.
What do you think City of Culture 2013 has done for Derry from a cultural perspective?
There has been such a divide in our culture, but I think that the events this year have successfully brought all our communities together and shown that we are a city moving forward, and that we can be proud of who we are.
Do you think young musicians keen to forge careers for themselves in the music industry will benefit from the legacy left behind by City of Culture?
I would hope so. I think that what young people have experienced this year will have lasting effects. I hope they pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.
What does the immediate future hold for you and the other members of Fighting With Wire?
I'm touring with Frank Turner and Jetplane Landing, Craig (McKean, drummer) is moving to Canada to start a new life, and Jamie (King, bass) is working on various design projects. The future is exciting and we have one last show to play, so we're going make it a show to remember.
Cut the Transmission takes place at The Venue at Ebrington, Derry~Londonderry, from 2pm on Saturday, September 28. Book your tickets via the Millennium Forum website.