Interview with dapper band The Burma

The Burma, Glass Animals, MGMT, Foster the People
The Burma, Glass Animals, MGMT, Foster the People

Image credit: Ciara O’Toole

Back in their black suits, Irish band The Burma have released a new video, but it is not just any video. No, they have filmed a live performance of 4 tracks from their previously released album, their debut project Sucker For Stars, at The Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, Ireland. Watch it below!

Read our feature on Sucker For Stars here

Speaking of live shows, they will be performing live in the UK for the first time on August 19th. The event will take place at Canal Bar in the Dingwalls building in Camden, London. You can now purchase tickets here. But before then, we decided to have the band on for an interview:

The band mentioned a new album. Any hints or tidbits you can offer readers?

We started recording our second album a few weeks after releasing our debut. We were eager to start working on new songs as quickly as possible, and we’re very happy with how it turned out. Where the first album was a mix of songs from a long period of time, the new album is made up of all brand-new songs. We’re planning on releasing it later in the year.

Recently, fans got to watch you perform live in Lisdoonvarna, but what preparation went into filming the performance, what happened behind the scenes that fans don’t get to see?

We didn’t want to just play the songs exactly the same way we did on the album, so we added new parts here and there. One thing we added was a short cover of ‘Blinded By The Lights’ by The Streets because it was a song we referenced in ‘Mike And Simone’. From what I remember it was a last-minute decision that we hadn’t rehearsed, so it could have gone either way, but it’s one of my favourite parts of the video watching it back now.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

The easy answer is “Indie Rock”, but we’re also very influenced by pop and electronic music which are just as apparent in our sound.

Which three albums have influenced you the most creatively?

Suck It And See by Arctic Monkeys and Phrazes for the Young by Julian Casablancas were huge for me around the time we started writing songs, and I still hear certain influences from those two albums in our songwriting today. Hot Fuss by The Killers is a collective favourite in the band too.

Tell us about the key pieces of equipment that you use to define your sound?

We all use Ableton Live when we’re writing and making demos of songs, so our music ends up with a much more layered sound than just a three-piece rock band. Monique Studios, where we record, also has any guitar pedal/amp/synthesiser you would ever need, and we used all of them.

Is there any “non-musical” ingredient that is essential to crafting your sound?

Walkers Deep Ridged crisps and pink gin were essential to writing the song ‘Mike and Simone’ on our first album.

Studio work and music creation, or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

At the moment, I prefer songwriting and recording. It’s something that we’ve spent most of our time doing over the past 2/3 years as a band, and it feels like we’re more confident with it now than when we started. 

What has been your most memorable performance so far?

We did a small tour in Ireland last year in support of our debut album, and we were blown away by the support we got. The crowd turnout and the reactions to new songs were all a league ahead of what we had seen before. All of those shows stand out as memorable for me.

And which performance would you prefer to forget?

At the beginning of 2020 we were doing as many gigs as we could find to promote our Sugar Moonlight EP. I remember one in particular we were performing in a small bar halfway across the country, and we were reminded to keep it down every few songs. I think we had to do a raffle during the gig too. Definitely one to forget!

Any new or emerging artists on your radar?

Colin Andrew is an Irish singer-songwriter who we’ve played with before, and hopefully we’ll do some more shows with him in the future. His tunes are great and he has an unbelievable voice.

If you could collaborate with, or perform alongside any artist, who would it be? And why?

I’d love to collaborate with Johnny Marr or Bill Ryder-Jones. Even if it was just an excuse to watch them play guitar up close.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

A roadie, maybe?

Tell us about any upcoming shows or releases you have in the pipeline.

Our new single ‘23’ comes out on the 12th of May. As for shows, we have a few festival dates in Ireland over the summer and our first show in London on the 18th of August in the Canal Bar @ Dingwalls.

‘Live in Lisdoonvarna’ Video Set List:

1. Hard To Say

2. Mike and Simone + Blinded By The Lights by The Streets

3. Don’t Believe Your Dreams

4. Sleepers

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