Fight like Apes
One of the bands of 2009 look back on a year to remember
‘I certainly think there’s a very different scene in Belfast than in the rest of the country,’ says singer and frontwoman Mary-Kate Geraghty of Dublin based alternative rockers Fight like Apes. ‘Bands there seem to be a lot more fearless in their writing and performance, but we love that and have always felt quite at home amongst it.’
The group have certainly made their presence known in the North, having performed in Belfast numerous times, recently opening for New York hipsters the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at St George’s Market. ‘That was a great gig,’ says Geraghty, whose stage name is MayKay. ‘The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are wonderful people, and no-one went on fire once.’
Fight like Apes are renowned for their offbeat sense of humour. Their first two EPs, in 2007, were called How Am I Supposed to Kill You If You Have All the Guns? and David Carradine Is a Bounty Hunter Whos Robotic Arm Hates Your Crotch, while their debut album, released in Ireland in December 2008 and in the UK in January 2009, is entitled Fight like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion.
A compilation for the American market goes by the even more unwieldy title of You Filled His Head with Fluffy Clouds and Jolly Ranchers, What Did You Think Was Going to Happen?
The band spent much of 2009 on the road, criss-crossing Ireland, the UK and Europe, with acclaimed festival performances at Glastonbury, Oxegen, T in the Park, Leeds and Reading. They toured with the Ting Tings and the Prodigy, and were nominated for the Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year.
‘It’s very hard to say what has been the highlight of all that,’ laughs Geraghty. ‘One of the best things we’ve done this year is to take time off to start writing new songs. It’s been so long since we’ve done that, and it’s been really fun. It’s such a relief, as well, to know we can do that without running out or killing each other.’
The four-piece are promoting a new remix of ‘Lend Me Your Face’ by Tokyo’s 80KIDZ, which was released on December 4. Geraghty says the three-piece DJ unit heard Fight like Apes’ album when it was released in Japan, sent on the remix and ‘we absolutely loved it’, adding: ‘We’ve had a few dodgy remixes done in the past, so it was quite a relief to hear something this good. I actually wish we’d written the song this way.’
On December 17, the quartet put out a free, 11-track live download exclusively from their website. Geraghty says she feels it is important to offer fans exclusive content in the ever-more-demanding 21st century: ‘I think bands are being forced to be a little more innovative these days because of all the file-sharing going on. There are more ways of doing things now, and you just have to go with it. I don’t think there’s any harm in demanding a higher standard of creativity from bands these days.’
In the USA, one of the group’s songs, ‘Something Global’, has been featured in the MTV reality series The City, a spin-off of The Hills. ‘That was weird,’ says Geraghty. ‘Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to have the exposure, but, God, it’s an awful, piece-of-shit show.’ Closer to home, it is said that even Jonathan Ross listens to the band. ‘I don’t know if Jonathan Ross is a fan,’ remarks Geraghty. ‘He’s played us before, so he mustn’t hate us. I’d like to think he loves us. Yeah, we’ll go with that. He’s a massive fan.’
Name-checking Le Galaxie and Grand Pocket Orchestra as two of her favourite acts on the current Dublin scene (‘I’ve seen them live a million times and they never get boring or old’), Geraghty reveals she has a love-hate relationship with Fight Like Apes’ hometown: ‘I love gigs in Dublin, but I find it amusing that people who were wishing us the sun and the moon at the beginning now publicly wonder how we’ve gotten anywhere with our petulant noise – which I think is a great description, incidentally!’