Cyclefly – Interview


Guitarist and resident brother Ciernan of Cyclefly stopped by for a chat.

Where did you record Crave?

We recorded in England and Dublin.

You recorded the first in L.A., was there a reason why you wanted to do it in England?

We wanted to do it in a more residential environment. The last album we recorded in L.A. was crazy, we wanted it to be a bit more calm.

Did you go into working on Crave differently?

We shared a lot of this album between the five of us this time. We tried to make it more than just a two man team, and it made it a lot more fun.

What is the fan base like overseas?

It’s been happening in the UK. We are doing really well there. Hopefully in the summer we’ll go to the states. We are charted in the UK and we just came off a sell out tour.

Groups often talk about trying to break in the states, how do you look at the change in fan base and size of crowds in the states after selling out overseas?

We treat America different. It’s so much bigger. But it’s usually more fun and people are really into rock ‘n’ roll. But everyone here wants to tour America. It’s a childhood dream.

Where do you feel that you derive your sound?

We listened to a lot of stuff, everything. We go from Radiohead to Massive Attack to Smashing Pumpkins on to Badly Drawn Boy or Korn. We listen to music, so that means everything. Today I was listening to three albums in the background, one was a jazz album, one was a Deftones album and the other was the new Badly Drawn Boy (About A Boy).

When you first came together as Cyclefly, was the sound more influenced by the vocal sound or the music?

Everything really. We just tried to create something that sounded like no one else.

Is it annoying that other bands are mentioned in an article as much as your band because they are trying to compare you to those groups?

Yeah. If someone says we sound like Smashing Pumpkins or Janes Addiction that isn’t really that bad as compared to when we get something horrible like…

…A saw a Scary Spice comparison.

Yeah, that kind of stuff is like, fuck.

Did you have a lot of tracks and want to put the most diverse amount of tracks on there you could?

We had about forty tracks and then we narrowed it down to twenty-five and then we wanted the diverse songs. We didn’t want the songs on the album to sound like each other, we wanted each song to be individual. We took a lot of steps to try and make songs unlike others. That is kin do of why we recorded where we did because in L.A. you go down the hall and see some friends or to a show and you are luck ‘fuck they are great’ and it interrupts your cycle.

Did you grow up listening to heavy metal?

We were totally into metal in the ’80’s.

I was thinking Judas Priest.

(Laughs) There are some twelve inches around here somewhere that haven’t seen the light of day in years. I’m actually a little embarrassed to say so.

I was listening to the riffs and it reminded me of some ’80’s metal.

We like riffs. We are very riff oriented; we base everything around the riffs.

What is the beginning state of writing?

It starts mostly with riffs and then we put everything on top of the riffs. The other album did work different. But in general it starts with riffs, but it can happen in different ways on some songs.

Working on riffs, do they come from no where?

They do, they come out of the sky. It’s something that just happens. You can’t explain it.

How do you capture them?

Get out of bed and record them as soon as possible. Otherwise you are laying in bed going ‘that is a good idea’ and then you wake up and you forget it and you are like ‘fuck, I should have gotten out of bed’.

Kind of like Paul McCartney had “Let It Be” come to him in the middle of the night or Keith Richards saying the “Satisfaction” riff came while he was sleeping.

Exactly, it’s so true.

Is there a riff out there that you listen to that you wish you wrote?

“My Own Summer (Shove It)” by the Deftones. That is an insane riff.

Do you remember the first song you learned to play on guitar?

“Whole Lotta Rosie” (AC/DC). I think everyone tried to learn that one as a kid.

Over the years how did you progress as a guitar player?

I never got into the idea of listening to others and figure out what they were doing, I mostly learned just from doing our stuff. I learned it more by ear and some techniques. I just wanted to get to the point where if I had something in my head I could make it work with my fingers.

Do you remember what the biggest break through on guitar? I remember barre chords were the greatest thing ever.

The barre chords were the greatest thing ever.

Yeah the regular E and G chords just don’t have enough angst.

No. E and G have no power. Nothing beats two string power chords.

Speaking of guitar, I just got the old reissues of the Ozzy solo albums and I was listening to Randy Rhodes play and I’m so blown away still.

He was sick. I think “Crazy Train” and “Suicide Solution” were big.

Do you think guitar solos are a lost art?

Yeah. And we tried to put as many as possible on our record. But people call us cheesy. It’s good, whatever a song needs you put it in. We love Randy Rhodes as much as Jimmy Page.

Randy Rhodes was amazing. If he were still alive would we be talking about Eddie Van Halen or Rhodes?

Very true. He was the best possibly ever. At least one of the best who ever lived.

Do you want to flex your guitar muscle with some solos sometimes?

You do and it’s all about having a laugh and the emotion. It really gives you a hard on. (We both laugh) More riffage. We like that.

Do we miss out on seeing who are really great guitar players today because everyone says it’s cheesy to do now?

I think what happened in the ’80’s is everyone did it and it got over done. It was a bunch of Eddie Van Halen’s with no emotion even if I kicked them in the balls. (We both laugh) Randy Rhodes brought solos to the limit where it became very fast and emotional at the same time.

It did get to the point where everyone was tapping with their fingers just to prove they could.

I know and they’d work from the low E to the top.

What is it like to see your riff turn into a full song?

Oh, it’s fucking cool! It’s really beautiful, especially when you get the cd six months later and you hear it. It’s so exciting. It’s nice to think you’ve created something that a kid somewhere is like ‘fuck, this is great’.

+ charlie craine


  1. […] Hip Online spoke with Cyclefly guitarist Ciernan about where he feels the band derives its sound. Ciernan replied, “We listened to a lot of stuff, everything. We go from Radiohead to Massive Attack to Smashing Pumpkins on to Badly Drawn Boy or Korn. We listen to music, so that means everything. Today I was listening to three albums in the background, one was a jazz album, one was a Deftones album and the other was the new Badly Drawn Boy (‘About A Boy’).” Check out the interview here. […]

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