Post-Burnout’s Exclusive Interview with Lego Indiana Jones (Part One)

Named after a nostalgic momento, Lego Indiana Jones are one of the most unique, interesting and idiosyncratic acts in Irish music. With a perfect balance of silliness, eruditeness, gallous humour and introspection, the trio – consisting of vocalist and pianist Pierce Comerford, guitarist and bassist Thomas Kerr, and drummer Tom Dapoar – seem to have been a perfect combination, being on the exact same wavelength in terms of their musicality, sensibilities and whimsy, and penning songs that on a dime can go from expressing sincere emotion to hypothesising about an existential nightmare, as Jim Halpert from the U.S. Office realises that he is in a sitcom and is forced to relive the worst days of his life every time someone watches the show.

Tomorrow night, the band perform for the last time as Lego Indiana Jones at The Grand Social, with special guests Last Apollo. A few weeks ago, Post-Burnout‘s Aaron Kavanagh caught up with the band at Vice Coffee Inc, just around the corner from where they’ll give their swan song, to conduct what is to be their only interview as a band before they dissolve.

In this first part of the interview, discuss their music, their formation, their name, their upcoming album, their writing process, and more.

You’re on tape now, so be careful. [All laugh]

Pierce: That’s cool. We just enter, and…[Gestures toward recorder]

So, Barbie or Oppenheimer?

Pierce: I’m going to see Oppenheimer tomorrow night. I’d like to see Barbie, as well.

Tom: I saw Barbie.

Pierce: I haven’t seen either, yet. So…

Tom: I’ve only seen Barbie.

OK, so we have no opinions yet?

Tom: Yeah.

Pierce: I like the idea of Oppenheimer. I like, eh…I had a dream that I met Cillian Murphy, last night, at Oppenheimer. And I also had a dream that I was best friends with the bassist in The Brave Little Abacus, and that Chris Evans helped me design a poster for The Brave Little Abacus, and it was really bad. It was like an art project from second class…

Thomas: Chris Evans? [Laughs]

Pierce: Chris Evans, the actor. And I was like, eh…I was trying to make it…eh…I was like, “Oh, my God! Chris Evans did this!” but it was actually mostly me; he just did the design. I was trying really hard to make sure that I credited Chris Evans, even though he didn’t really do a whole lot of the work, he just, like, stuck some pieces of paper together, and it was really bad. Like, they were all over the place and really slanted. And then we went to a planet that was blue. So, that was one of the crazier dreams I’ve had in the last week.

So, you’ll get back to me on Barbie and Oppenheimer?

Pierce: Yeah, yeah. I’ll watch Oppenheimer tomorrow. [Aaron and Pierce laugh]

So, I thought that would just be a good means to start the convo! So, I guess the more conventional first question would be, how did you guys meet? What was the kind of impetus in starting the band?

Pierce: Hmmm….

Thomas: Hmm…

Pierce: Complicated, a little bit, I think. I mean, the way I would tell the story [Thomas laughs] is that I had a SoundCloud…

Thomas: Yes.

Pierce: …with a load of stuff on it, and Thomas followed me on Instagram and was like, “Hey, I’m going to make a [Rate Your Music] page for your…

Thomas: Yes! True!

Pierce: …really, really shitty EP that you did in one day.

Thomas: Yeah!

Pierce: Like, I did the whole thing in one day. I recorded it on my phone and uploaded it on the same day.

Thomas: I didn’t think it was shitty, but I did give it a seven!

Pierce: Yeah! 3.5!

Thomas: I gave it three-and-a-half stars! [All laugh] But I did really like it. I did really like it.

Pierce: I was like, “That’s pretty damn good.”

Yeah, that is good.

Pierce: So, I don’t know. What was it…? We were like, “Let’s make music together. Let’s kind of bring this…make this into an actual thing.” And then you knew Tom from…

Thomas: The Kaj.

Pierce: Yeah. You can tell…

Thomas: Oh, well, me and Pierce were getting very excited about, like…We were just hanging out a lot and having conversations about albums and, like, album form, and Ants from Up There had come out, and – we might as well just say it – we really wanted to make something that was kind of cohesive like that, and felt like an album, and, em, flowed nicely. So…

Pierce: And be Black Country, New Road.

Thomas: Yeah, and literally just be Black Country, New Road, but, like, smaller, so it’s more manageable. [All laugh] And, so then, I was like, “Oh, like, we’ll just record some of these. We’ll just, like, write and record them in, like, a week.” Because Pierce had this rule for his EPs on SoundCloud, which was amazing, which was, like, just write and record everything in one day, which meant that he had…like, what? Like, four or five of them? Three of them?

Pierce: Well, I had three EPs, and they were all a bit shit, but it was, like, I couldn’t do anything unless I had an unbelievably arbitrary time constraint. Because I was in secondary school. I had no motivation, really, unless it was like, “I can get this out of the way, and I don’t have to think about it again.” So, we did want to put a small time limit on it, because things get done better under restraints, I think.

Thomas: And that turned out to be true, but we kind of kept extending the time limits for when we’d record by a month, and then a month, and then a month, and until now.

Pierce: Yeah. We aimed to have it done by the end of last summer…

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: …and we’ll have it done by the end of this summer, because it’s mixed and stuff, basically. So…

Thomas: We got together with the plan of doing the album, like, last March [2022], and then we didn’t start doing anything until June, when our exams were done, and then we wrote…well, Pierce really wrote the album over, like…what? Like, June, July?

Pierce: Yeah. I mean, we got toge…like, I wrote a lot of songs at home and then I kind of brought them…and then Thomas and me worked on them a lot, and that kind of…You know, you added a lot of stuff…

Thomas: I would say my role was mainly editorial.

Pierce: … structurally. It was editorial and structural in arrangement.

Thomas: Um.

Pierce: Yeah. It was a good process because it was like you had a fan and a critic and someone who was also actually…[The end of his sentence gets drowned out by the others laughing] No, really! It was an excellent process, overall.

Thomas: Thank you. And I was definitely a big fan, because, actually, the way I met Pierce was, I saw his old band, In Altitude, performing – and, at the time, I was in, like, a really, really serious harsh noise band, where everything was, like, über-serious and we wanted to be, like, insane artists and stuff – and then Pierce was wearing a Burger King hat on stage, and I was like,…

Pierce: I was! I completely forgot about that!

Thomas: …”He doesn’t take himself seriously, at all! Like, this is the best shit ever! I want to make music with this guy!” So, then I was talking to him afterwards, and we just ended up talking and stuff, afterwards. And, then, me and Tom were in a band beforehand called The Kaj, which was kind of like…I don’t know. Like, an awesome, like, jazz fusion…

Pierce: It was. I was a big fan of The Kaj.

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: That was the thing, it was, like, mutual fan…I was like, I always thought The Kaj was great, I always thought Thomas and Tom were, like, some of the best musicians I’ve ever seen. So, it was a really good kind of…everyone thinks they’re really good at doing stuff, so…Two In Altitude songs, my last band, are on the album. We kind of reworked them a lot.

Tom: Yeah.

Pierce: So, there’s a bit of history. So…

Pierce performing with the band
Image courtesy of Lego Indiana Jones

And, sorry, what kind of year or month are we talking about, roughly, when you guys started the Lego Indiana Jones project, then?

Thomas: Oh, this would have been last year.


Thomas: We’ve only been doing this for si…nine…twelve months? I can’t count.

Tom: I joined in about October.

Pierce: Oh, no. We’ve been doing it for more than a year…

Thomas: [To Tom] August.

Tom: August?

Thomas: Our first gig was in September.

Tom: Excuse me.

Thomas: We, em…this was last summer, that – me and Pierce – we were in a practice room in Trinity, just, like, putting stuff together. And then, in August, we got Tom in, and then it became a trio, and then we did our first gig on, I would say, August 15th [sic] or something, in Fibber’s? It’s on our Instagram, anyway.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: Something like that.

Pierce: It was, eh…I’m in another band called Tvashtar Paterae, and the first gig we did as Lego Indiana Jones was down…was upstairs in Fibber’s, while I was also doing a gig downstairs with Tvashtar Paterae. So, we did the gig downstairs with Tvashtar, and then I brought…Thomas… – there’s another Thomas in the other band, and he’s called Thomas Geraghty – I borrowed his keyboard and brought it upstairs, so…That was…that was really good. That was a fun gig. We got hecklers. We got people like, “This is shite! What the…? This is…!” Yeah, it was really good.

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: I love people hating music! Like, it’s great! ‘Cause, I went to a band, recently – I’m not going to say who it was – but, I was like, “This is the worst music ever!” and I was getting so into it because it was so bad! People have fun when they hate the music, though, I don’t mind.

Thomas: Who were they? I mean, like, you can’t say it on tape, but, like, can you give me an indication? Like, no, don’t bother. [Pierce mouths their name] Oh, them? OK, fair enough. [All laugh]

I won’t take note of that! [Laughs] Yeah, actually, when I first saw you guys it was an upstairs at Fibber’s gig. I forget when; it was probably February or March of this year, probably. I think it was just you guys [Thomas and Pierce] as a two-piece, though…

Thomas and Pierce: Oh!!

Pierce: That gig!

Thomas: Yeah, yeah!

Pierce: That was our worst one!

Thomas: That was curious!

But I loved it…

Thomas: Thank you.

…because I was like…it seemed so, like, very idiosyncratic; it was like nothing you’d ever seen, and especially because, like…I was just…I think I was going to, like, [the Fibber’s club night] Sabotage that night or something, and me and my friend were just, like, up having a drink beforehand, and you guys came on. And it was so different and unique, and it was like…I don’t know. I really appreciated it, because of the venue it was in, too…

All: Yeah.

…you know, because Fibber’s is, like, a real hard rock, metal, grunge bar…

Pierce: That’s what we were thinking, yeah.

…and then I just loved how, like a sledgehammer, it was just something that was completely the reverse of that! And I thought that was so cool, and I was really into it. Like, you did that “Elijah Wood” song, I remember, and I was just like, “This is really silly and goofy but very, like, cerebral and, you know…”

Pierce: Well, thank you. That is what we’re going for.

…and, yeah, or “pensive,” I guess, as you guys would say. [Laughs]

Thomas: Oh, thank you.

Pierce: I can’t believe you listened to the lyrics. That’s amazing.

But, no, I was really into it, so, yeah. And I don’t know how appreciative the other people were, but the person I was with at the time, she was kind of like, “What?” [Laughs] And when you guys said the name of the band was Lego Indiana Jones, I loved that, because, like, it kind of goes to that sort of attitude you guys were talking about, of doing everything very quickly. Like, I just had the idea of, like, you guys, just like, “Fuck it! It’s Indiana…Lego Indiana Jones! That’s the name of the band!”

Pierce: There is a bit of a backstory behind it, but it was essentially, like, “I want to call it this,” and then [to Thomas] you weren’t necessarily going with it at first, for pretty good reasons…

Thomas: I remember what I said…

Pierce: …and then one day you just came to me.

Thomas: …I’m not really sure…I’m not really sure…I don’t remember what my reservations were. I’m sure I had them because that sounds like me, but, em, I remember when you said it, you kind of laughed, and I was like, “Oh, well that’s kind of it,” because, like, it’s too good an idea and it’s too funny, and no matter what I say, it will inevitably become to be the thing because it’s just too good.

Pierce: We may have to change it for legal reasons, though.

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: Like, the album might not be able to be rele…like, it might have to be, like, “LIJ” or something.

Oh, OK.

Pierce: Or, like, “LIJ is Dead” or, em…[Laughs]…other kinds of things. I would love if it was called “I’m Going to Beat You to Death with a Brick”! [All laugh] I think that would be…would be a great name for a band.

Do you think that’s reflective of the music you make? [Laughs]

Pierce: Not at all, no! [All laugh]

Thomas: It’s deeply violent music.

Tom: I think it is!

Pierce: The album…the first…

Tom: If you’re talking about yourself.

Pierce: The first album…the first name we had for the album was You Will Explode in 9 Seconds.

Tom: Which I still really…

Pierce: I still like it.

Tom: It’s really good. I think it’s really good. I wouldn’t mind that, still.

Pierce: Yeah. I don’t know. I mean, we haven’t made the cover art or anything yet. So…

Thomas: Yeah. Which we really should, because I feel like it’s…Like, those are the first mixes, but I’d say…I mean, I don’t…we’re going to have a talk about it, afterwards, but I think…

Tom: We are.

Thomas: …we have very few notes on those.

Pierce: Yeah. I have one or two, but mostly like, “Oh, this is just cohesive.” Like, I was listening to most of it on the way over here, again, just to…I wanted to clear a few days and then listen to it like it was just an album. I was like, “OK, heard this. This is one of them.”

Thomas: Yeah.

That seems kind of antithetical to your “Rush it and get it done” attitude, doesn’t it?

Pierce: Eh, yeah, but I consider what I’ve needed to do to be done, basically.


Pierce: Em, I…Yeah, I think…I wouldn’t necessarily impose the restriction on other people. Not everyone…like, I’m not going to tell Daniel de Burca, who’s mixing the album, like, “You have to do this in a day…”

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: “…or, eh, we’re going to someone else who will do it in a day.” Like, I work well under arbitrary restrictions, I don’t nes…and we did! We recorded the whole thing in two days…

Thomas: Two days, yeah.

Pierce: …in the studio. So, there was still an element of, like…

Thomas and Tom: Yeah.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: ‘Cause, like, we figured it would just be painful if we went and tried to make everything kind of perfect. And, also, like, by the way, part of the idea was, like, we would…OK, this is really baring us out, but because it was, like, Ants from Up Here was really inspiring to us, we were talking about making the whole thing cohesive. We figured we’d write all the songs in one period, like a Stage One; then perform them a bit, maybe, and do a few gigs, that would be, like, Stage Two, get them kind of tight and together; and then just record them as they were. Like, mistakes and all. And, also, like, for me – I mean, in my head, not for the whole band, but for me – I always thought, like, Please Please Me by The Beatles was recorded in, I think, like, 868 minutes or something like that. Something tiny because they just went in and played their setlist twice. And I think it’s kind of the most cohesive-feeling Beatles album because it’s just their setlist.


Thomas: And, so, like, for us, our first Fibber’s gig that Pierce was talking about, like, we just did the album tracklist…

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: …as we thought it was then, from start to finish, and all of our first, like, four or five gigs – ‘cause we did a headliner after that, and then we did a few more – were all just the album tracklist, and we’ve never done…like, one or two new songs have kind of appeared, and we’ve done a couple of covers, I think.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: But it’s just always been the tracklist. Trying to get that down.

Pierce: Yeah, because we only started doing gigs to practice the songs for recording. The gig thing wasn’t meant to be the main thing, it’s kind of…Turns out, performing is fun and people like it, so that’s…Who would’ve thought?

But then, like, that seems like real trial by fire, then; just, like, performing your stuff live just to get the chronology, I guess, of the album. Do you guys feel that way, or…?

Thomas: “Trial by fire”?


Thomas: In, like, what way?

Well, you’re throwing yourself out in front of an audience…

Pierce: Oh, yeah, definitely. Yeah.

…and doing it, when you could just be in the safety of the studio.

Pierce: Yeah, but I love…like, Tom and I definitely agree on this. If the equipment is falling apart on stage…

Tom: Yeah.

Pierce: …that’s the best possible scenario for playing. Like, if the mic…if I’m trying to fight the mic off me, or…like, I love terrible conditions.

OK [Laughs]

Tom: I agree.

Pierce: I, I…yeah. Like, the drum…the last gig we played, the entire drumkit fell apart while Tom was playing.

Thomas: Yes!

Tom: Well, I think discomfort really just breeds creativity.

Pierce: Yeah. Yes. Discomfort…

Tom: I think a lot of the emotional kind of weight of the songs kind of come from your own discomfort,…

Pierce: Yeah. Yeah.

Tom: …and I think it’s kind of…the best way to play those songs are actually when we’re actually uncomfortable and when there’s something at risk, and I think that was a really good way of actually practising the music, was kind of actually…

Pierce: Yeah. Exactly, yeah.

Tom: …was on the stage. Like, frightened by the stage. Presenting yourself.

Pierce: It is a trial by fire, but it’s good. It’s…the fire is…it’s breathing fire into the music, you know?

Tom: It’s super-hot fire!

Pierce: That was corny!

Tom: Yeah. [All take a break to laugh]

Well, I noticed a little…

Tom: We’re the fire extinguishers! Sorry, go on.

No, it’s good. [Laughs] In the transition between “Elijah Wood: Part I” and “Part II” on the mix that I received, I noticed that there is…you can hear the mic drop at, like, one point…

Pierce: Yes!

Tom: That’s right, yes!

…and you keep those little things in that, I guess, other producers would be like, “No, remove that,” you know what I mean?

All: Yeah.

But, for you guys, that’s what makes the music, those imperfections.

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: Well, that was the thing, Daniel…

Thomas: Daniel really got that.

Pierce: …Daniel de Burca, who we worked with, really got that. Like, he heard…after…as soon as we did that take, he was like, “Did someone knock over the mic?”, and we, like, examined it. It had been knocked over in some way; it definitely fell over. He was like, “That’s perfect. We need to keep that in.” Like, he got what we wanted to do. Like, he really…Like, yeah, even the way we recorded “Part I” was, like…Yeah, we just all got around and had, like, one guitar each. Eh, [to Tom] you had the twelve-string, [to Thomas] and you had the…

Thomas: Yeah. I had the guitar that was in Nashville tuning.

Pierce: Nashville, yeah. And then, I just had a normal…

Tom: And it was just one mic, picking everything up.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: Yes. Well, another one…

Tom: Two.

Thomas: Two overheads and then a vocal mic.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: [To Aaron] Because we were using, like, the drum space.


Thomas: It was really good. I remember I was chatting to – if you know The Lovely Good – I was talking to Naoise [May] because he was in…he’s also in the band for Last Apollo, and they were recording with Daniel, and I remember when I was telling him about our experience working with him, he was like, “Oh, yeah, he’s down for anything.” It was his first, like, thing he said about him, and it’s totally true, like. Daniel’s a really nice guy, and he’s very, eh…he’s very…I don’t know, he’s very good at kind of understanding the music. ‘Cause, like, we were worried that the person who did it would not, like, receive it and output it correctly, but he’s like…I don’t know. I think he really gets it.

And it seems for me, like…obviously, I don’t know you guys, but just from the brief interaction we’ve had today, it seems like you guys are really kind of simpatico. It seems like you’re really in concert with each other, and, like…I don’t know. Do you guys feel fortunate in that sense, that you get people who have the same kind of…I guess, same kind of sense of humour, the same musical interest, the same goal and passion, working as a collective?

Pierce: Oh, it’s incredible. Well, yeah, [to Thomas] you were going to say something. Go ahead.

Thomas: No, I mean, I was going to say something that’s a bit…I was going to say something else, but I’ll let you speak first.

Pierce: Well, like, it is great. Like, the last band I was in, we didn’t necessarily all agree about everything. We don’t agree about everything in this band at all…

Tom: No. [Thomas snickers]

Pierce: …but, in terms of creative things…

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: …we have been…the disagreements have been minimal. There are things that we do disagree on, but I think it is amazing to be able to have…everything has gone…What we’ve created here can only be done through a level of cooperation that is really fortunate, I think.

Thomas and Tom: Yeah.

Thomas: I think there’s a fun thing about, em…I think because all of us have learned about music through the same way, through the internet, I feel like we have a lot of the same reference points, because we come from the same spaces on the internet, and, like, I think when we do something musically, we all kind of understand what it’s a reference to or something like that, I guess. And I also think that’s one of the reasons that people really like our music, as well, is that…I mean, I think it’s very referential. I don’t mean that in a negative way; I think it’s just kind of…

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: Do you get what I mean? I think there’s a better way to say it…

Pierce: Oh, no, no. I think you’re right; it is, like, em…Like, I like all those…I was watching that movie, last night, with Nic Cage, where he plays himself.

Oh, Adaptation? [Editor’s Note: Upon rereading, I think he may have meant The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent]

Pierce: I like all that kind of meta stuff, and, like…Like, I think the album is very aware of itself and is aware of the context that it’s coming from, and does…it does reference…the “Elijah Wood” is, like…I wanted to have something that had the same hit you in the face with an actual person, like Being John Malkovich, or that kind of thing…


Pierce: …of this is literally…and it’s not…For legal reasons, and because it is actually true, this is not about Elijah Wood, the actor. [Aaron laughs] Just in case it’s…It’s using his name, but it’s got nothing to do with him. It’s purely fictional…

It’s about his character in Eternal Sunshine, maybe?

Pierce: Well, it’s not even about him, actually. It’s got a few layers.

OK! Ohhhh!

Pierce: Ohhhh! It’s got precisely three layers, actually, yeah.

Tom: At least two!

And I’m on none of them!

Thomas: A modest wedding cake. [This sends Aaron into a laughing fit] Um…I also think something that helps us kind of be cohesive is that, um… [He stops his sentence when he sees Aaron still laughing at the wedding cake joke and joins in]

I liked that joke!

Thomas: Oh, thank you! I think something that really helps us be cohesive is the fact that we’re a trio.


Pierce and Tom: Yeah.

Thomas: Like, I remember when me and Pierce were kind of, like, scheming and daydreaming and stuff about what the band could be, me and Tom were in that fourpiece, and it was wonderful, but you notice that, like, there’s more ingredients that could go awry. Not even in people being weird or whatever, but who can get to what space in what time and, uh…hmm. Who can get to what space in what time, and stuff like that. And I remember listening to, like, Bill Evans’ trio and stuff like that, how amazing it is, not even that that’s only three guys and there’s so much sound coming out because there’s a piano, but also that a trio is really friendly, mix-wise.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: Like, having two guitars in a band makes a kind of hellish live sound situation. And also, then, you have one person that’s entirely in a kind of harmonic, melodic universe – especially because Pierce is also singing – and then I’m the bass clef, and then Tom is just doing drums.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: So, it makes it really easy for all of us to have a lot of freedom. And, like, I think especially for Tom – because he plays so kind of ecstatically, and he plays so much, kind of in a way that sounds like almost listening to Aphex Twin or, like, listening to Zach Hill or something like that – we don’t really get in the way, because we’re sort of playing different areas on the score or whatever.

So, there is a kind of anarchic quality to your music, then. [To Tom] As the kind of rhythm section, I guess, of the band, how do you feel trying to keep up with the rest of the band, then?

Tom: Well, it was kind of, eh…The initial challenge, the kind of great feat of starting to play with the band was actually playing drums to piano. I was not sure how that would work because, obviously, piano is already a very busy instrument, melodically.

Pierce: Yeah. And percussive.

Tom: And percussive. Exactly. So, it’s really, you know, two percussive instruments in the band. And then, em…So, that was kind of quite challenging at the start. We’ve kind of managed to make it work, where I can still do my thing, I suppose, you know what I mean?

Pierce: Oh, yeah! Yeah.

Tom: Because I don’t really, eh…I can’t really sit still on the drums, for better or worse, but we’ve, I think, done pretty well to incorporate all of the craziness…

Pierce: I think, yeah. Yeah. I think it all works very well together.

Thomas: I’m really pleased with the natural balance of it. I think one of the nice things about a trio is that you can…one person can draw back and another person can draw forward…

Tom: Yeah, exactly!

Thomas: …really easily. But…

Tom: But I think there’s kind of…it’s kind of nice because there’s really, eh…it’s kind of a strange position to be in, as a band, because we’re all kind of frontmen, in a way.

Pierce and Thomas: Yeah.

Tom: We all kind of…It’s like, you know, the Beastie Boys doing their thing! [All laugh, which drowns out the end of his thought]

Pierce: Tom was literally at the front of the last…

Thomas and Tom: Yeah.

Pierce: …one, there. Yeah.

Tom: Yeah, but it still works. You could have you [Thomas] at the front because there’s been loads of gigs where, you know, you’re the only one standing.

Thomas: Yeah. Yeah, that’s true.

Tom:  Pierce is sitting and I’m sitting, and it still works, so you kind of have this interesting dynamic, where we could all…

Pierce: Yeah, “anarchic” is the right word, actually.


Tom: …be our own thing, and actually work as standalone performers.

Thomas: Trios are crazy like that, because you can really easily…If two people are doing one thing, then you have a situation where one person is inherently contrasting that. Like, because I’m the person who doesn’t have a physical…like, I don’t have, like, a station, like a piano or a drumkit…

Tom and Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: …like, I take it upon myself to move around a lot more, so that the stage isn’t, like, dead looking, you know?


Thomas: ‘Cause there’s only so much that they can do behind there. Even though Pierce is, like, the frontman and is singing, and even though eyes are on him…

Pierce: Eventually, I’ll get a keytar.

Thomas: Yes! I mean, that would be the goal, really. Like, Herbie Hancock, but, like…cooler? No, not cooler. You can never be cooler than Herbie Hancock.

Tom: I think, maybe, harmonica?

Thomas: Yeah, dead right.

Pierce: I got a melodeon, recently. [The conversation briefly diverts into two separate discussions from here. One between Pierce and Tom, the other between Thomas and Aaron. The latter is much clearer on the recording, so that’s what makes the article]

Thomas: [To Aaron] Did you know Bob Dylan’s first recording gig was actually on harmonica?


Thomas: I didn’t know that [The other conversation stops here], but I was reading his Wikipedia page the other day, and, apparently, he said…he, eh…in, like, 1960 or something, really early, he, like, stepped in for someone else and did a whole album on harmonica.

Pierce: Really?!

I didn’t know that, actually.

Thomas: Crazy. Yeah.

Pierce: The best thing about [being a trio] is, like, if everyone’s in college or doing other things, the schedule…the number…like, the clashes are going to be minimised.


Pierce: If you have five people in a band, the likelihood of getting them all together for a practice regularly is, like, zero. It’s really bad.

But even that show that I saw, like, Tom you weren’t able to be there for that night…

Tom: No.

…so, it’s like even as a two-piece, you can kind of still make it work, you know?

All: Yeah.

Thomas: I think part of the thing of wanting to do that music together, first – which I’m also thinking about when I’m doing more stuff when Pierce is away and stuff – is that, like, I think if you can make the songs stand on their own two feet without drums then they’ll be much stronger, because I think everything is much more exciting when drums are added and everything just explodes, and you can, like, play a two-chord loop for ten minutes and then, if the drums are interesting, you can listen to it forever. Which is why LCD Soundsystem are amazing, but, em, I guess, like, we wrote the songs to work harmonically on their own first.

Pierce: Yeah. It’s important to have a game plan before you start…

Thomas: Yeah, definitely.

Pierce: …doing anything. You’ve got to know how the book ends and stuff.

Thomas: Especially because we really knew that we were working on little time, because Pierce was saying from the start that he wouldn’t be able to do much during the academic year, because his degree is very busy. Then, of course, we did, which was a lot.

And then I think when you listen to the pieces that you guys wrote, it’s actually a lot more…it almost seems like to me – I don’t know if this is a comparison that you guys even think about – but it seemed like free jazz at times…

Thomas: Um.

Pierce: That’s cool.

…it, like, felt very freeing, and, like, yeah…

Thomas: Thank you.

…it had that kind of – like I said – that kind of anarchic kind of, I don’t know, kind of “do what you want” kind of attitude. I don’t think Lego Indiana Jones really sits in any kind of neat genre or…I don’t think there’s many….what would you call it? There’s many peers, necessarily, that you could say are comparative. I was wondering, do you guys even care about that, fitting into any “scene” or anything like that?

Pierce: We never had a genre in mind.

Thomas: No.

Pierce: Even after gigs we sometimes…like, people are like, “What genre are you?” and we’re like, “That’s a question for you to answer,” you know?

Thomas: ‘Cause, like, genre names are about communication.


Pierce: Yeah. Critics invent genres, not bands, you know? [Aaron and Thomas speak at the same time]

Thomas: Sorry.

No, go ahead.

Thomas: No, you go ahead! Sorry!

No, you go ahead. Sorry. [Laughs]

Thomas: Especially nowadays when, like, I think everyone listens to…like, I remember when me and all my friends were fourteen, we would be like, “Man, no one listens to this shit I do!” but then it’s like, now that we’re all older, it’s like, “Oh, actually, no, that’s normal.” Like, post-Spotify, everyone just listens to everything, and everyone likes everything, and the only way that you will only like one genre is if you’re, like, some weird, you know, exclusionary person. Like, everyone loves everything.


Pierce: Even metalheads listen to lots of other things nowadays.

Thomas: Yeah. Like, Pierce’s other band, Tvashtar Paterae, are so great, because it’s like, eh…

Pierce: Ostensibly a metal band.

Thomas: Ostensibly a metal band…

Pierce: It’s constructed to be a metal band, but it does lots of other things.

Thomas: Yeah, but there’s loads of, like, surf rock progressions and, like, surf rock kind of guitar tones, but not in, like a…not in a way of just like, “Oh, let’s just fuse these things together;” it’s like two trees growing into one another and warping around, but that’s kind of what everyone’s music is like. Like, even like, you know, iNNUENDO, you did their interview and they were talking about, like, their influences and their genres and stuff, and I think they’re also awesome because you can hear that they all listen to and appreciate different kinds of music but kind of think of it all as equal, because I think that’s what everyone our age in this era does, and that’s, like, class, I guess. I think that’s why so many things are labelled as “postpunk,” is because the only thing you can say they have in common is the mentality of being after punk, and kind of having clean sounds or whatever, but I don’t know.

No, I agree. But it seems like…I was kind of thinking about this the other day, like, ‘cause, you know, I’m interviewing a lot of people and there seems to be…the music is kind of diversifying a lot, but when you look at the clubs in Dublin, it still seems kind of fragmented by genre.

Pierce: Yeah.

You know what I mean? It’s like Fibber’s is the rock bar; Workman’s is kind of indie; I guess The Grand Social would also fit that bill; Sound House is kind of more hip-hop, you know? So, it’s like, do you guys feel when it actually comes to booking gigs, that you have to kind of…I don’t know, justify your merit in playing that place, or do you kind of go…?

Pierce: Oh, not at all. The more incongruent, the better.

Yeah. [Laughs]

Thomas: I was going to say, we do like Fibber’s.

Which is why I liked it when I saw your band, actually. The kind of incongruity.

Thomas: And, also, the people in Fibber’s, like, they just like rock music and they like the music, because they have to be passionate about it to be there. Even if they’re kind of, like…they don’t look like us, because they’re kind of like old guys with beards and stuff [All laugh], like, they really care. And, like, at that gig, there was someone heckling us, but, at the same time, people will get into it, which is nice.

Tom: Yeah, I’ve seen some skinheads dancing.

Thomas: Yeah! That was great! There were…yeah, yeah, yeah.

Pierce: [To Tom] What were you going to say?

Tom: Well, I think, kind of…the real kind of fun of the band is that it’s always referencing genres and then pulling back. Like, a song like “People Like You” has two false starts.

Pierce: Yeah.

Tom: At first you think it’s, like, a jungle, drum and bass song, and then it turns into kind of this sort of…

Pierce: Elton John!

Tom: …like, Elton John song!

Pierce: I literally just stole the beginning of “Candle in the Wind.” [All laugh]

Tom: Yeah! And it turns into a kind of snarky pop song.

Pierce and Thomas: Yeah.

Tom: It’s…and I think that happens a lot throughout the stuff we make…

Pierce: Like, Jim Halpert is, like…

Tom: Exactly!

Pierce: …suddenly dealing with a parallel mind, or whatever.

Tom: Yeah, that’s right. Something that is always kind of, I think, playing with genre and playing with the references, that kind of stuff.

Thomas: Like, even “Understanding…,” me and Pierce…like, Pierce had some really cool piano ideas that he really wanted to put together, and we ended up just kind of collaging a couple of bits, and it ended up having a form that was a bit post-rock-y. And I remember we would complain a little bit about the form of the songs. We would worry about the form of the songs being too obvious and too, like, ‘90s, 2000s post-rock for some of them, but, for that one, we were like, “Oh, fuck it, let’s just…”

Pierce: I don’t know. I wanted that…for that one, I wanted to make a post-rock song because…

Thomas: Oh, same, yeah.

Pierce: …I was listening to a lot of Swans at the time…

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: …I was like…Basically, I was like, “Oh, I’d love to be like…I can’t do it because I don’t play guitar,” and then I listened to Anna von Hausswolff, and she’s basically doing what Swans was doing but with, like, pipe organ, and I was like, “Oh, OK. You just have to be loud and repetitive and then you can make a song like Swans,” so that’s what “Understanding…” was, basically.

Thomas: Yeah, and that was very much a reference, like, it was like, “OK, let’s do a post-rock song.” But then it was cool, because then we were like, “Oh, well, how will we make it good?”

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: So, like, I play…for me, the moment I was really happy was when I started playing on the end because then it kind of had more of a reggae feel which was kind of…well, not really, because I don’t play like a reggae player, but, like, it wasn’t…it didn’t feel like straight rock anymore, and that was nice because then it was a bit twisted, a little bit shifted and a bit more kind of cheerful. I like that song lots because it’s kind of a post-rock song in a lot of ways, but it’s super cheerful and it…

Pierce: But it starts off with a piano that’s kind of…I wanted to be…I realised recently – because I started playing Minecraft a lot – a subtle influence has actually been the Minecraft soundtrack, definitely. Like, I’m always thinking about it when I’m playing it, I just didn’t even really realise that, yeah.

Thomas: That’s so fair.

I think about what you were saying about the heckling, and what I think is kind of interesting, like, for most artists, I mean, heckling would be ego-destroying, for some people it may even kill their entire potential career. But, in a way, if you think about it, I mean, like, when someone’s heckling, they are kind of engaged.

Tom: Oh, yeah!

And it is kind of like investment, in a weird way. I was wondering, like, how do you guys deal with that, then? Like, why do you guys enjoy the idea of, I guess, being sort of Dadaist about it?

Pierce: Well, that’s like that black midi quote, right?

Thomas: Yeah, what is it? You know better than I do.

Pierce: “We either want everyone to love us or everyone to hate us; the worst could be the middle of the road,” or something like that.

Thomas: Yeah, it’s something like, “We love to divide people,” yeah.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: Yeah. And that’s very fun.

Pierce: Yeah.

Thomas: I def…like, we’ve only got heckled a few times. I think, like, that gig that you saw us at was the only time that I remember the heckling being audible because there was only like four people there. [Editor’s Note: From my recollection, I think it was more than four. At least double that!]

Yeah, I was clapping, just for the record! [Laughs]

Thomas: Thank you! Oh, yeah, I remember that. Were you…?

I was the one guy, probably! [Laughs]

Thomas: Yes, I remember you! I was so happy about that! I thought it was so fun. That was during “Cloudy…,” right?

I can’t remember, but…

Thomas: Never mind. Did you put it on YouTube?

No, I didn’t, no.

Pierce: No, I know who you’re thinking of.

Thomas: OK.

Pierce: There was one guy who was just like, “Wow! I need to record this!”

Thomas: But that’s the thing, is like…

But I was really into it, though.

Thomas: …I don’t care. Like, even if we do have bits like that, or, like, sometimes, like… or, like, whatever…there are people who will be like, “That was awesome!” and they will really give a shit.


Thomas: So, it’s like, whatever. Like, if someone’s happy about it, then it’s good. And, regardless, like, we know that we’re really convinced that we are happy with what we’re doing. Not like it’s like, “The best art ever!”, but rather that it’s like, “This is a pleasant collage of aesthetics that we enjoy,” and, like, that’s just objectively true for us, is that we enjoy the collage of aesthetics that we do. And, so, we never…like, I don’t think we’ve ever walked away from a gig being like, “Oh, shit. People felt weird about that.”

Pierce: Yeah, that’s the thing, like. I love it, I know people will love it, and, if people do hate it, great. Some of the music is angry and sad, if you come out of it angry and sad, I’ve done my job.

But, then again, I do think you’ll get people who’ll just stumble upon you guys, and it will resonate. In a way you’re kind of, intentionally or unintentionally, engineering the kind of audience you want, by playing [and] being authentically yourselves.

Thomas: Yeah.

Is that fair to say?

Pierce: Yeah, I suppose. Em, “engineering…”

Maybe that’s the wrong word, but… [Laughs]

Pierce: I don’t know if it’s the wrong word. I think, like…

Thomas: Incidentally engineer.

Pierce: …we will accumulate the audience that…Like, I want to make music that’s kind of sincere and, if people relate to that, they’re relating to what I want to be doing. So, it’s…you know, it’s…yeah, I do…I suppose. I mean, people like it for reasons I would never have expected. Some people, like, take completely different things from it, and that’s also great. Like, I like that it can be more than what I thought it was going to be.

Thomas: [Singing along to Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” which is playing on the café’s speaker] But she never lost her head, even when she was giving head. She says, “Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side

Pierce: But, yeah, I suppose we engineer our audience to a certain extent. [Looking at Thomas, who is grooving along to the song] Are you shaking your head? [Laughs]

The poster for tomorrow night’s show
Courtesy of Lego Indiana Jones

I wanna talk a little about the lyrical content. And it’s actually interesting because you mentioned a few films here: you mentioned Adaptation, you mentioned Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine, and I do think there is a very kind of Charlie Kaufman-esque sort of play on the lyrics. The biggest example would probably be “Jim Halpert.” I love the idea of the character from the U.S. Office – specifically the U.S. Office!– realising he’s in a sitcom and [Starts laughing] reliving the worst days of his life. Yeah, I was wondering, like, you know…I do think there is a real playfulness to your lyrics that’s also very cerebral and introspective and thoughtful, and, at times – I don’t know if you agree with me on this – but do you ever feel like you’re expressing sincere emotion but kind of sheltering it in a kind of post-ironic sort of humour?

Pierce: Eh, I wouldn’t quite say “sheltering it.” I also don’t…I’m big into David Foster Wallace, and he’s into, like, you know, not…like, being sincere. I think packaging it, maybe, in funny ways, at times, but I don’t…I don’t really think it is that. I think it’s just having things that are funny and having things that are sincere together and realising that things that are funny can also be sincere, and things that are sincere can also be funny. Like, life events will happen to you, and they’ll be insane, and you will just kind of laugh at them because they’re so absurd. They’re really serious and they really affect you, but they’re just so absurd that they have to be funny.

Thomas: Yeah.

Pierce: I think I wouldn’t…I would like to think that people don’t listen to it and go, “Oh, he’s trying to mask how he feels about these things by laughing at it.” I try to express, sincerely, how I feel about things and some of it is unhappy and some of it is “This is really funny,” and it can be the same at the same time.


Thomas: That’s true.

Do you think overintellectualising emotions can be a bad thing, though, in terms of songwriting?

Pierce: Em…

Not that I’m accusing you of doing that; I’m just asking, in general.

Pierce: I don’t know…I think…I think the…I don’t know. Could you give an example of overintellectualising emotion?

Well, I think it’s more so trying to detach yourself, so you’re trying to use emotion in terms of…this is a weird example, but the band I’m thinking of is, do you know Bad Religion? They do that a lot.

Pierce: Oh, yeah.

And I try and think of…I don’t know why they’re the ones that are coming to my head, but there’s definitely other artists who I feel have a layer of detachment, where it’s like they’re trying to express their emotions but in a detached, academic kind of way, or sometimes it can kind of mask itself in a kind of humorous way, I guess, but sometimes…like, I appreciate a lot of the times when artists are very…almost childlike with their expression of emotion.

Pierce: Yeah.

I don’t know. That’s just my personal preference, though.

Pierce: I think emotions are really complicated.


Pierce: And there’s lots of different ways of looking at them, and all of them can be helpful as long as you use all of them. So, I think it can be good to look at emotions clinically, because that’s kind of what meditation is, right? You’re kind of stepping back and looking at things analytically, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but I think it’s also important to, like, actually feel stuff and…Like, a lot of my favourite lyrics are ones that I haven’t been thinking at all, I’ve just been feeling a certain way and I start singing and that’s what comes out. And I think there’s lot of…those are kind of the ways of writing songs, are being very analytical and setting up what you have, and then creating something based on that, and then just feeling it, and I think they’re both good ways of doing things. I think a lot of the songs are a combination of those two things. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either one. I think it’s good to be able to do both of them.

Yeah, I get what you’re saying, because even I sometimes…as, like, a hobby, I do a lot of, like, personal writing and stuff; stuff that I’m not really going to publish. But I try to write in a very prosaic, kind of non-romantic kind of way, just, like, talking as I would to you guys or anyone. And it’s funny, often when I review what I wrote, I’m like, “Shit, man!” Like, I don’t know. I didn’t know I felt that way! Does that make sense?

Thomas: Yes, a hundred per cent.

Pierce: Yeah.

And I think is that sort of what you’re kind of getting at, too? Like, sometimes when you look at the stuff you wrote, you…I don’t know, it almost feels like…it almost feels like it wasn’t even you who wrote it. [Laughs] Does that make sense?

Pierce: Oh, yeah. All the time. Yeah, I think that’s part of why I like to write songs, is that I’m able to…when you’re thinking about something, there’s so many different things going on at the same time, and so many conflicting views, and so many justifications and arguments with yourself, that you don’t really know how you actually feel. You know lots of feelings that you have. And I think writing a song is, basically, giving yourself kind of a linear idea of what’s going on. But, even then, like, in “Find Me Now,” there’s a bit…it’s kind of a shitty lyric, because I wrote it when I was seventeen, but it’s, “Underneath the bushes of the morals of despair,” which is silly but the idea is that you do do a lot of moralising about how you feel. Like, there’s a lot of thoughts about thoughts about thoughts about thoughts, and they get so nested in each other that you have no idea what’s going on, and if you write a song like that, where you just write out what…or write…I’ve also written creatively, like, not music, and it is the same kind of idea, where you write out something, just based on what you’re feeling, and that gets rid of all the nested thoughts about thoughts and you just get the pure kind of “This is specifically what I feel about it,” and it is good. And get some of the contradictions, but once you have them written out in front of you, it makes them easier to resolve, so…

One thing I wanted to pick your brain about a little bit is, em, you were talking about how, like, Lego Indiana Jones started during your academic career, and I noticed when I was in college, I was actually doing a lot, lot more creative writing on the side because I was getting kind of sick of the academic writing of the very detached, kind of professional…So, I just needed something that was completely the opposite, and I actually wrote a lot during that time. I was wondering, do you think maybe, for you, academic writing has maybe influenced your songwriting, or…?

Pierce: Oh, definitely, yeah. But, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” I wrote…I was doing my exams and I didn’t want to study, so I just sat and wrote that instead of studying, basically. Or was that “Cloudy…”? Maybe that was “Megamix,” actually.

Thomas: That was “Megamix.”

Pierce: That was “Megamix.” Sorry. But, em, yeah, they do…it is good to…like, the academic writing I do…like, I do a STEM degree, so it’s more like any writing I do is just, like, lab reports, and it’s all passive voice, it’s all, “…and then the atomic bomb was…” We don’t…yeah. But it is that kind of…it is kind of like…

[Laughs] What are you working on? [The others laugh]

Pierce: There’s not too much…we do a bit of nuclear physics, actually, it’s kind of cool. But we haven’t made an atomic bomb yet.

Hopefully theoretical.

Pierce: Yeah, yeah. No, it is all theoretical. But we do lab work and we have to write about it, and I do think…I think being able to…I don’t necessarily know that they bounce off each other as much as I thought they would, but it is good to know how much of a contrast there is between those two things, and I think any writing at all will help you write. The more you write, the better you get at writing. It’s unavoidable.


Part Two of this interview will be up on Wednesday at 10AM, Irish time. Lego Indiana Jones will play their final show tomorrow night at The Grand Social, with special guests Last Apollo. Tickets are still available from Eventbrite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *