Having once been described by a music mag as “The most exciting band to come out of Northern Ireland, possibly ever”, it came as a shock to hear that after seven or so years on the road, Axis Of were going on hiatus. Whilst still very much bosom buddies (thanks in part to their shared ‘The Prospect Roads’ podcast), its members decided to take a break from the actual band.
With their last full-length ‘The Mid Brae Inn’ on regular rotation at our gaff, it was splendid news to hear Axis Of vocalist Ewen Friers has returned a year or so later with his next project on the go – His solo effort CATALAN!
Not such a leap from his previous outfit (which is a good thing), CATALAN! sees Ewen continue his love of travel, with the music written in France, the lyrics in North America and debut single ‘OKA’ wrapped up in London, creating a sound described by Ewen as a “‘Sandinista era’ Clash in the 2017 landscape”.
Speaking exclusively with Birthday Cake For Breakfast about the birth of CATALAN! is Ewen:
“In my previous bands we wrote songs at home and in practise and all recording and demoing was put in hands of friends and local producers. Writing and demoing for CATALAN! has been a completely new experience for me. Firstly, I caught up with the rest of the music world and invested in a decent laptop, a small interface and taught myself how to record at a very basic level.
The day after the last Axis Of show before hiatus, I disappeared off to France for a couple months, by the first day I was working out how to program drum beats, recording guitars and vocals. This new more personalised take on writing was really fresh and useful to me and proved prolific from the get go. One thing that was similar to my previous writing was that the more I travelled the more creative I felt. My time in France, inter-railing around Europe, working on an Island in the Hebrides and two months on tour driving ASIWYFA around North America all proved endlessly inspiring. The difference was that I now had my mobile studio stuff and rudimentary skill in recording and could write, record, mix as I went. That’s why I feel like CATALAN! has this new more immediateness and preciseness about it, particularly the lyrics, which are really just me with all my interests trying to make sense of that world I was presented with on these various travels.”
Check out the video for OKA below and keep an eye out for more from Ewen and CATALAN!