The G-Man Interview w/ Family Planning

Parts of the below were published earlier in the Downtown supplement of Cork's Evening Echo.

A new genre of music is born every day but I cannot be anything but intrigued by the tag bestowed (albeit by themselves) on Dublin babyblockers Family Planning.Truthfully, who in their right mind would not want to get caught up in the craze that is contraceptive rock?

I briefly attempt to pick the collective (and obviously far from sterile) mind that is Shannon, Jason (Jay) and Aaron before their triple dates with Chirps and The Great Ocean Divide in Dublin tonight (Thursday 24th in the Lower Deck), Waterford tomorrow (Friday 25th in Sals Bed & Breakfast),  Cork on Saturday (26th in An Realt Dearg) and Galway on Sunday (27th in The Cellar).

Family Planning formed in 2010 is that right? How did FP come to be?

Jay - What now feels like a small army of us started out as Slurps. Then the hangover kicked in and everyone legged it. The three of us decided to keep playing as Family Planning.

Shannon - First there was Slurps. And then the sauce ran out.

Aaron - We found it a bit challenging starting out as just a three piece but we soon found our groove and it's all systems go now.

Where did the name come from? In some ways it is like the band name ‘Free Beer’ but may attract a whole different kind of crowd?!

Shannon - Haha. It took us 9 months or so of tossing ideas around before we all agreed on the same one. You wouldn't think it'd be that hard, and neither did we! Myself and Jay were totally set on a different name, but Aaron wouldn't agree to it so when he said ok to FP we just went with it to move the hell on. (But if you're asking me, the band's true cosmic name is still HOG.) Plus, Family Planning leaves lots of room for "interpretive" gig posters!

Jay - Personally, I think the name is shite.

Aaron - You love it Jay

The only recordings online are the demos on your bandcamp. Are there plans in place to record an EP/album anytime soon or are you still in midst of the songwriting/sound-finding process?

Aaron - We've a load of songs written but some of them still need lyrics because the music was written first but yeah, we plan to record them all with vocals hopefully in February or March which will yield an EP for the start or the summer and maybe a single / split 7" too.

The first Talkcha Productions compilation is released on November 24th featuring tracks from eleven independent Irish bands. What track from Family Planning will appear on the compilation? Was it a case of submitting a track yourselves or did they spot you playing live somewhere or online?

Aaron - We played a Hallowe'en party last year with a 90s cover band called 'Total Winners' that two of the Chirps lads (Bobby and Bres) are in and i think they liked what they saw. Bobby is at the helm of Talkcha Productions so, last month, he asked us could he use one of our demo songs that we had online for the first compilation. we of course jumped at the chance and are delighted to be featuring on it.

Compilations are still alive and strong these days with Popical Island releasing a few of their own and recently drop-d released Cork Rock City volume II featuring music from 40 Cork bands. How do you feel these comps help independent bands?

Jay - Well, first and foremost, they spread the tunes. Getting to hear and hook up with bands from around the country is really important for the future of Irish independent music. The Popical Island comps are all handmade, too. That DIY ethic needs to be embraced.

Shannon - Yeah, any exposure is good exposure, plus, getting similar bands together on a comp gets your tunes out to like-minded folk.

What bands/albums are you listening to these days?

Jay - Enablers, Shabazz Palaces, Julian Cope, Melvins.

Shannon - Going through a bit of a punk and hardcore revival these days. Oh, and Hella!!!

Aaron - My Disco, Cheval De Frise, Squarehead, Back & To The Left, and Helios.

Your coming mini-tour features both Chirps and The Great Ocean Divide. Have you played/toured together before and is there anything specific that Family Planning hope to gain from the set of shows?

Shannon - Nope! This is our first set of excursion gigs! We just want to play to new ears and wreck shit a bit, and hopefully not fuck up too much.

Jay - Never played with either band before. Seen the Chirps lads in the Lower Deck though, should be a great buzz. We're hoping to work on the balance of our tunes over the few nights - get it right while on a run. Textured heaviness can be hard to achieve when you're locked with a big muff at your feet.

Aaron - Yeah we really just want to get out and gig the arse out of it for the experience and we're lucky to be playing alongside such heft-laden bands

What can all four venues expect from Family Planning as a live act?

Jay - Riffs and attempted "singing".

Shannon - Confusion, hearing loss, and a rekindled love affair with Marvin Gaye?

Aaron -Yep. Confusion, a lick of melody, a bit of noise, maybe a few songs too.

What does 2012 hold in store for the band?

Jay - More gigs and hopefully an EP. I've got a mad soft spot for split 7-inch's, too.

Shannon - Hopefully? Burritos.

Ever played the animal game before? (Basically you begin with one letter, eg. 'O', and everyone has to name an animal beginning with this letter. The person who cannot name an animal beginning with 'O loses one life).

The easy animals such as 'Owl' are always taken quite early so can ye give me a rare animal beginning with 'o' that I can use as back up for the next time I play the game myself?
A description of the animal would also be helpful as people tend to try and make up names as well as using mythological beasts! The Wilderness of Manitoba said 'Degu' (a small rat) to 'D' which was far more imaginative than Megafaun's 'Cougar'.

Aaron - I used to play the game as a young fella but not with animal names; I think it was bands or countries for us.

For 'o'? How about............ The Peruvian Inca Orchid?
It's a dog that's mostly hairless. I think it's one of the oldest dog breeds and the Inca's used to keep them as pets.

- Family Planning, Chirps and The Great Ocean Divide play An Realt Dearg on Saturday, November 26th

- Doors are at 10pm and entry is free