(Editor’s note: The band changed their name to Hello Casanova. They still play music formerly recorded as Foreign Affairs)
There’s a new sound coming out of Ireland — it’s bold, it’s bright, it’s deliciously tasty ear candy and it’s being served up by Armagh lads Foreign Affairs.
The trio – Matthew Irwin on vocals and rhythm guitar; Ethan Williamson on lead guitar; and Martin Miller on drums – make up a tight, on-point unit. All they are lacking is a permanent bassist.
But they aren’t letting that hold them back. They have big adventures on the horizon, starting with a release party Friday for their “Heartline” EP, then the youbloomLA music festival & conference on Dec. 10-12 in Los Angeles/Pasadena, Calif.
As a preview to the release party, the band kindly agreed to a live Twitter chat to talk about the new EP, the L.A. trip and more. What follows is the question and answer session, word for word.
Tell me about how the 4 songs on the new EP “Heartline” came about — “Television,” “Heartline,” “Friends” and “The Jokes on You.”
That’s a question Matt can answer, only as he’d be the main “song come-abouter.”
Do you have Matt handy?
I generally write songs on acoustic guitar and then everybody filters in their bits at band practice. “Heartline” came about months after the rest and we loved it so much it had to be on there. The most personal song I’ve written.
I can honestly say after a few listens, it’s my second favorite song from you (“Familiar Faces” is first), but growing on me fast. Was “Heartline” hard to write, being so personal, or did it come easily?
Glad you like it! New songs I’m writing have a “Heartline” vibe. I can’t wait for the next EP, and this one’s not yet released, ha ha.
That is great to hear, that you are already writing more and are excited about.
I try to challenge myself every time I write a new song, and for “Heartline” I tried to talk about personal struggles, which wasn’t easy, but a challenge is always a great thing to overcome. I am super proud of it.
Actually, it’s more than “like” that I feel for “Heartline.” That is fantastic to hear that you are writing more songs. Keep them coming. How many more do you have up your sleeve?
I have a lot of songs. I am constantly writing. The furthest along ones with the band are called “Pennies” and “High Tide.” “Pennies” is about how the government favors higher class people and doesn’t do enough to help the working class.
However, I wrote my favorite song I’ve written lyrically the other day! It’s currently called “Monsters.”
So, is there a big party set for the EP release Friday?
Yes, it’s gonna be the best party in town! I am so excited to watch @R51broadcast and @Thenorthsea (support bands for the evening).
Matt has handed the conversation back to Martin: The next thing up is #youbloom2015 Dec. 10-12 in Los Angeles. Tell me how this came about?
It came about by finding about it on Twitter actually. We took a chance and applied. Next thing we know, we’re off to L.A. Ha, ha … unbelievable.
That’s crazy and amazing at the same time. There are only like 60 or so acts taking part? What all will you be doing at it?
It’s a festival/conference so we are going there to perform, but mainly to learn as much as we can fit in our suitcases.
Here’s a link anyone can check out the event http://www.youbloom.com/la-2015/
That’s great. Will you play just once or more? And video please, if you can.
I’m not sure about the video, but we will be playing just one night, yeah. The venue and time are still to be confirmed though.
How often do you play live? Are there many clubs and do you play strictly in Ireland right now?
We’ve yet to play a gig out of Ireland so we are looking forward to the trip.
We used to play lots of gigs and everywhere, but as an original band, money is hard to get so we pick more careful these dates. There are loads of great venues in Ireland. Some we’ve played and some we are looking to get into.
The perfect places to debut the new songs so they are ready for playing in the U.S. Did you find a permanent bass player yet?
We have not. We’ve great friends that help us out and our old bassist, Ben, is coming with us to LA. and yeah, we strongly feel that the USA is our market, for sure.
I can see you doing a college tour, the perfect demographic. http://vanswarpedtour.com/ would be cool too.
Sure, it’s only a matter of getting one sorted, as we are completely DIY we have limited resources.
Well, #youbloom2015 will be great exposure for you. It could open some doors. There will be promoters and labels there, right?
We are, first of all, grateful for the opportunity, and yeah, there will be industry people there so we hope to establish some contacts.
Ok, so everyone has some quirks … do you guys have any rituals you do before playing?
Yeah, we usually travel for hours, ha ha. But strangely enough, not really … tuning guitars or getting a pint is as extreme as it gets.
Ha ha, so no one has to pick out all the brown M&M’s? Are you picky on the beer?
Nah, we are down to earth — hopefully that never changes. As far as beer goes, as long as it’s free, we’re not picky. Martin is normally the designated driver, so he’s always on the alcohol free beer … yack!
Oh, I feel for Martin … he deserves at least one, I should think. Now, let’s talk about those crazy show moments … tell me some.
Lots of drunks. Not at the stage yet where we get underwear thrown at us, ha ha.
Our favorite ever moment was when we played at an open air festival and our last song was “Television.” There was a big “mascot” running around, so Matt tried to get him on the stage. “Television” is 2:30 long, and I think it took us about 10 minutes until this thing got on stage. Poor thing stumbled and fell, stumbled and fell … ha ha, there was Martin going like hell for 10 minutes flat, ha ha! There actually were some photos somewhere. We’ll see if we can dig them up.
Also, recently went to a gig using Google maps. Turned out we went passed the actual venue and drove for extra hour in the wrong direction.
Oh, now, if you could find those photos and email them to me … we could put them up in this story ha ha …
We will do our best, but if all fails, there’s always this one from same festival:
That’s a great one too. Even Batman loves Foreign Affairs. How can you go wrong?
We try hard not to.
What was the big mascot? That’s what I want to know.
It was something never seen before. Like a tall spooky thing …
OK, we are going to wrap up soon … so, what bands provide you inspiration?
There’s so many we like … @AllTimeLow @LTAmusic @bmthofficial and of course Green Day and Blink 182 plus some Gaslight Anthem.
Any thoughts to wrap up this fun interview? How soon can we be hearing all the new tunes and where?
Thanks for doing this for us. There’s been so much going on lately, you’ll have to keep an eye out for updates on the Twitter page here.
The new EP “Heartline” is out now. It should be on iTunes and what not soon enough. Support your local artists and BUY THEIR MUSIC, ha ha.
Cheers, guys. Sometime soon I hope to share a drink with you, and yes, Martin will drink too! We will get you a designated driver!
Foreign Affairs is online on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hellocasanovaa/, on Twitter at @Hello_Casanova and Instagram: hellocasanovaofficial matt_irwin96 ethanwilliamsonfa martinmillerfab .