THE IRISH music scene has been littered with ‘next big thing’ bands since U2 broke through to international stardom in the early 1980s.
In recent years JJ72, The Thrills, Humanzi, and others have promised much but delivered little. When Malahide quartet Director released their debut single ‘Reconnect’ in 2006 it seemed they were capable of making an impact in Britain and beyond.
Director’s debut album We Thrive On Big Cities was almost a statement of intent and was released on major label Atlantic Records. The band battled it out with The Killers for the top place in the Irish album charts but eventually lost out to the Las Vegas quartet.
They did, however, secure support slots to The Fratellis and Hard-Fi. Yet for all their promise the writing was on the wall for Director when they won Best New Irish Act at the Meteor Awards. Twelve months later they were dropped by their record label.
“I suppose we have seen a lot of bands come and go before us,” lead singer Michael Moloney tells me. “It’s the classic thing of ‘second album syndrome’. You’ve got as much time as you want with your first album but only a couple of weeks to make your second.
“We were very young and didn’t really know what to expect. The first single did really well and it all took off for us. After we’d promoted the first album we got together and rehearsed for the next album but I guess we were afraid of moving too fast.”
With no major label backing behind them Director decided to go it alone. There had been a lot of hype surrounding them in Dublin. In order to escape some of that they relocated to a cottage in northwest Connacht.
“We were working away in Dublin on songs but getting a little bit depressed with our working environment,” says Maloney. “Our guitarist Eoin said his family had a small cottage in Leitrim and so we moved there. The location was fairly remote so we pretty much lived and rehearsed in the same room for three or four months.”
As their new environment began to impact upon them the new album started to take shape and Director found a refreshing honesty in their approach to writing.
“We got up every day and worked on songs all day long and that’s exactly what we needed to do,” says Maloney. “We weren’t really gigging and we didn’t have a lot of contact with the outside world and the result was that the music became a little more insular and a lot more personal.”
All this culminated in what became the band’s second album I’ll Wait For Sound, released on Crapshoot Economics. Lead single ‘Play Pretend’ is a stomping opener and other tracks illustrate a more progressive sound from Director this time around, such as ‘Sing It Without A Tune’ and ‘At What Point’.
There are elements of monochrome sounds such as Depeche Mode and Joy Division (and at one point even a bit of Duran Duran ) in their musical arsenal but Director’s country sojourn seems to have taught them what guitars and amps are really for.
“The second album came out a little bit heavier, a little bit rockier, and maybe had less short snappy songs,” Maloney acknowledges. “The title track is over six minutes long and the last track on the album is eight minutes long. I think now we’re open to a couple of different things that maybe we wouldn’t have been as comfortable with in the past.”
Director play the Róisín Dubh on Saturday October 17 at 9pm. Tickets are available from the Róisín Dubh and Zhivago.