The Murder Capital on new album ‘Gigi’s Recovery’: “We had to find our sound’
The Murder Capital have announced their second album ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ and shared lush new single ‘A Thousand Lives’. Check out the new track below, along with our interview with frontman James McGovern.
After playing their first headline show in over two years last night (September 22) at London’s Lafayette, the Irish five-piece have also announced a UK and European tour for early 2023 to launch their new record.
‘A Thousand Lives’ follows on from The Murder Capital’s comeback track ‘Only Good Things’, with McGovern telling NME that “people obviously think they know what the record is going to sound like – but they don’t. I’m excited to get more out.”
“‘A Thousand Lives’ started as a poem and it’s not hiding itself in any way,” McGovern said of the unabashed love song. “Lines like, ‘A thousand lives with you and I won’t be enough’, can evoke a feeling of sadness but it’s also about the immediacy of now, and putting aside everything to look at who or what is filling your basket.”
It’s a different side to The Murder Capital whose debut album ‘When I Have Fears‘ was driven by grief, loss and pain. “We’ve only got one record, so there’s a lot left to write about,” explained McGovern. “I feel like the sky’s the limit, really. When I strip it all away though, my writing is just an endeavour to empathise, whether that’s with myself or with others.”
He went on to say how this different lyrical approach “certainly wasn’t difficult to write”.
“To me, being vulnerable is at the forefront of what I do, to allow other people to actually relate to or project upon whatever it is I’m expressing,” he said. “Love is a face at the party that you can’t really ignore.”
The track is from ‘Gigi’s Recovery’, a “loose concept record” written over the past two years and due out in January.
“The whole record was a slow-burn,” said McGovern. Writing started in May 2020 when COVID lockdown restrictions were first eased. “At the time, we were heavily focused on this search for tones and textures,” he explained of the band experimenting with new instrumentals and pedals. “We needed to find our sound, or at least a sound that had more room for growth than some of our first record was headed and the zeitgeist that was surrounding it at the time.”
When The Murder Capital released ‘When I Have Fears’ in 2019, they were part of an exciting rising post-punk scene that included the likes of Fontaines D.C. and IDLES. However away from their peers, McGovern explained how the band’s “identity early on was formed around the idea of pushing against everything and seeing what friction that created”.
“We knew we didn’t want to do that again,” he admitted. “It wasn’t about losing what we’d built with ‘When I Have Fear’, it was about the necessity to evolve. Our motto was, ‘The evolution will not be compromised’.”
He also told NME that he didn’t feel “wholly represented” by the post-punk scene back then, but “felt very close with the bands that were a part of it”.
“It wasn’t like we wanted to step away from being a post-punk band, it was more a totally natural, organic change that came about from everyone in this band creatively trying to find their own path,” he admitted. “Long may we be bundled into articles with bands we fucking love though, there’s nothing bad about it.”
McGovern describeD the writing process as “intense to start with”, with his bandmates “coming in with crazy sounds”.
“I just wanted to sit down with an acoustic guitar and build it up from there,” he recalled. “I also didn’t really know what to write about. I had been so engrossed in writing about pain, grief and everything else that was that first record, and then we were living through this emotionally intense time, everything I wrote or felt just seemed silly.”
At one point, the band emerged from an eight month stint of living and writing together at a place near Wexford with what they thought was a finished record – until they were told how “fucking depressing it sounded.”
The band “reworked it but also changed our environment,” moving to London for six months to finish the process.
“A lot of life came into the record during that time,” McGovern said, as “the narrative started to expose itself accidentally” and The Murder Capital “just pushed through, seeing how far we could go with it.” The end result was a record “about returning to a place of strength.”
McGovern continued: “The album is asking the questions about the life that you want to take part in, but it’s also posing the reality that you are responsible for that life that you’re in. It’s less wishful and naïve. This album definitely asked me those questions. This record is more grounded in itself. ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ is a story of deep introspection, pulled out of necessity and it culminates in a point of surrender.”
In the studio, the Murder Capital didn’t talk about specific references “except when we feel like we’re stepping on someone else’s toes”.
He went on: “But now having made the album, we definitely can see which of our influences have come through. There are feelings that I get from bands like Radiohead and Alex G across ‘Gigi’s Recovery’.”
Talking about the pressure of following up ‘When I Have Fears’, McGovern explained: “There were different intrusive thoughts that needed to be swatted away throughout the process. The weight of knowing that you’re doing what you love is in itself pressure as well.
“What I’ve realised working on this record though is that the world doesn’t give a fuck that you were working on it for two years. It’s not about what went into it, it’s about the outcome. There’s peace to be found there.”
With two hopeful singles released from ‘Gigi’s Recovery’, people might assume the record is made up of pure optimism – but McGovern told NME that “it definitely gets dark”.
“The last record went to so many different places emotionally and that’s the tentpole of what a Murder Capital record is,” he said. “I love albums by bands like The Strokes, where tonally and emotionally it sits in a very decidedly designed room but I don’t think that’s the sort of record we’d make. With ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ we’ve built this much larger house and now we want to invite everyone in and throw a party.”
Luckily, the band will get their chance to party shortly after the release of the album, with a European and UK headline tour kicking off in February 2023. The tour features the biggest venues The Murder Capital have ever headlined, with McGovern saying he “cannot wait to get into those rooms”.
“The stages were constantly getting bigger when we were touring the last album and it always felt natural,” he said. “I always felt like the sound of the band and the theatre of the show belongs on a bigger stage.”
“I just saw Nick Cave for the first time at Rock En Seine a couple of weeks ago and I now understand where the bar is for a live show. I don’t think there is a room too big for The Murder Capital though.”
The Murder Capital’s upcoming tour dates are below. Tickets go on general sale at 9am on Wednesday September 28 and will be available here.
4 – Trix Club, Antwerp
5 – Luxor, Cologne
6 – Molotow Musikclub, Hamburg
8 – Lido, Berlin
9 – Hansa 39, Munich
11 – Laiterie Club, Strasbourg
13 – Le Trabendo, Paris
14 – Paradiso, Amsterdam
16 – Albert Hall, Manchester
17 – Northumbria Student’s Union, Newcastle
18 – SWG3 TV Studio, Glasgow
20 – Stylus, Leeds
21 – The Mill, Birmingham
23 – The O2 Forum Kentish Town, London
24 – The Marble Factory, Bristol
26 – Vicar Street, Dublin
The Murder Capital release ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ on January 20, 2023.