“I think we’re always afraid of writing the same song,” says HamsandwicH guitarist Darcy ahead of their highly anticipated return with Magnify on September 30th 2022. Their forthcoming fourth album, released via their Route 109a Recordings, heralds an exciting new chapter for the trio.
On Magnify, the band incorporated an array of fresh influences and electronic soundscapes whilst maintaining melodic motifs integral to their idiosyncratic style. Of their latest body of work, Niamh reflects, “We’re a band who have constantly evolved over the years and this is our biggest evolution yet.” Initial steps towards this evolution were made when the trio entered the studio in Autumn 2019. Immediately HamsandwicH embraced the concept of making music for themselves; unconcerned with commercial success. “We’re always happy to push ourselves and take risks because we have to keep it interesting. Since we didn’t put pressure on ourselves to write songs for the radio, we felt that we could really do whatever we wanted. ‘The Next Contender’, for example, has a few different movements within the arrangement. That was a really refreshing way to write music because it gave us a great sense of artistic release,” describes Darcy.
The writing and recording of Magnify encouraged new ways of working for the band, notably collaborating with producer Michael Heffernan (Dermot Kennedy, Ailbhe Reddy, Thumper) for the first time. Working with a different cast of collaborators, including Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) as well as Emily Lazar and Chris Allgood (Beck, Haim) who mastered the record, also facilitated the band’s renewed perspective towards making music. Elaborating on their renewed artistic approach, Niamh says, “We realised during the making of Magnify that songwriting doesn’t need to be so rigid. It can be freer and that the sounds of the words you sing can be just as important to a song as the meaning behind them. It was about having fun with music and the process of it. It’s all about challenging yourself and keeping things fresh; not letting things get stale because it’s very easy to slip into a formula. That’s not something we can do, we’ve always sought to try new things. Music is so eclectic; there’s so much out there and we want to bring a similar variety into our own music and for people to connect with it.”
The application of this sentiment across their latest material has culminated in some of the band’s finest work. Writing remotely in different parts of the country (Dublin, Meath and Monaghan), swapping ideas over voice notes and recording between studios and Niamh’s kitchen over a staggered timeframe, the band’s adaptability is woven into the tapestry of Magnify’s essence. Their ease of moving from propulsive rhythms to introspective and sweet soundscapes is effortless and a testament to their remarkable musicianship and unwavering chemistry as a band. Opening with a bang, ‘Electro Wave’ hears HamsandwicH embrace an infectious 80s synth-pop arrangement, the sonic setting immediately re-contextualises Farrell and McNamee’s synonymous vocal pairing. “Do you still feel like your life’s a Saturday night?” McNamee poses throughout the track. Throughout their career, HamsandwicH have never cowered in the corner. On Magnify, they’re the life and soul of the party. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Playing with the timbre and tempo of the arrangements ultimately informed the enveloping world of the songs, as Podge reveals. “We got really inspired by the sound of the music. Tonally, ‘Fired Up’ is really intense and angry; it drew out a lot of the feelings that steered the lyrics and it came together quickly.” Impassioned performances and exhilarating instrumentation lay a solid foundation for HamsandwicH’s future, yet nostalgia and a celebration of important personal connections are crucial to Magnify’s essence. Nestled in ‘Good Friday’s’ luminous synth-laden arrangement is a recording of Derek Nally, their former manager who passed away in 2010. “‘Good Friday’ is a little bow that ties everything together on the record,” says Niamh. “A lot of the themes across the album recognise different connections between people who have been friends for a very long time and the dynamic that creates within a friendship who are all musicians. Including the snippet of Derek Nally in the middle of the song felt like we were making a kind of love note to that period in our life and paying tribute to how important he was to us, as well.” Those connections extend to friends and family lending additional backing vocals on single ‘Le Soleil’ and McNamee’s school friend, the artist Derik Smith, creating the remarkably eye-catching album artwork. Magnify is a testament to HamsandwicH’s spirited and assured artistic voice, of their penchant to be daring with their music.
Magnify is out September 30, 2022 with focus track ‘Julian’.
Vinyl Listening Party Dates
October 2 – The Red Church, Kells
October 1 – Unitarian Church, Dublin (SOLD OUT)
October 2 – Workman’s Club, Dublin
October 31 – Puca Fest, Trim
November 5 – The Copper Tap, Omagh
November 12 – The Spirit Store, Dundalk
November 18 – Dolan’s, Limerick
November 19 – Monroe’s, Galway
November 25 – Sea Church, Ballycotton
November 26 – Set Theatre, Kilkenny
December1 – Cyprus Avenue, Cork
Connect with HamsandwicH