By far one of the biggest highlights of my year at home in Cavan was the first year of the Cootehill Arts festival. In its first year, the festival had made me feel more at home in my hometown in one week than the entire past 12 months combined.
In one Saturday, in a town akin to country jives and cover bands I might add, we had acapella folk blues at dinner time, followed by an intimate pre-gig warm-up by Glenn Hansard in a family run pub, and a packed out bar taking in the grooves of a Six Piece, high voltage Funk Jazz band.
Trumpets et al.
In a town that submerses itself in the safe and mundane, the Arts festival weekend did invoke a strong feeling of pride. It was as if the vibrant, acidic, electrifying and bohemian city scene I had left had came to visit the homeland.
But back to that high-voltage-funky-Six-piece-horns-included band.
It’s not often I come across a group that can seamlessly flow through Daft Punk & Head hunters without anyone batting an eye, but it’s even rarer to find one that also captivates the audience in a way that forces them to dance like big brother is watching and truly embodies what the band, the gig, the festival and the music are collectively all about.
So naturally I caught up with Cooks, But we’re Chefs to find out what makes the perfect French Stroganoff.
An Interview with Cooks, But we’re Chefs
First off, I have to ask about the name. Where did it come from?
Yeah, the name invites a lot of questions, to which we don’t really have any answers. The group of us were sitting around a table one night spit-balling ideas. After hundreds of suggestions falling flat, the scum finally rose to the surface and Cooks, But We’re Chefs was born.
How or why we ended up on the cooking theme is a mystery lost in the annals of time.
How long have you guys been on the scene and what is your mission as a band?
The band started in December of 2015 when a group of us wanted to enter our school talent show to win the grand prize of €100. Although we did win, our prize was 24 cans of coke. The band in its current form came together this Christmas with a new face on the drums bringing some extra heat to the kitchen. As a band we prioritise our live performances and hope to get ourselves out there by putting on energetic shows that make people want to dance.
Do any of you study music in college?
Each of the band members has some musical education and experience. Three of us are studying music in college with Luke studying music and piano in TCD, Dougie and Daniel study bass and drums respectively in Newpark’s jazz school.
Chris studies trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music and is a member of Trinity Orchestra. Our other trumpeter Jesse, has less formal music tuition, and has been self-taught for the last 5 years. Malachi’s played guitar since he was 10, and now does lessons at Walton’s New School of Music. We’ve found that our broad musical backgrounds have helped us to play as wide a range of music as we can.
Of the small section of your set I managed to catch I picked up some clear Herbie Hancock influence. Have you any other big influences?
We have a collective love for the music of Daft Punk, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Yussef Kamal as well as Disco royalty like Chic and Sister Sledge. As a six piece band we all have an input into the creative process of our music so it draws from each member’s own influences which varies wildly from funk and jazz to house and electronica.
Some groovy original material from Cooks, But We’re Chefs.
Soul Jazz vibes with an inescapable Hip Hop beat.
What artists are you guys listening to right now? Are there any other acts in the Irish music scene you’re digging?
We love bands like Le Galaxie for their sound and the energy they bring to their live show. We caught King Kong Company at Electric Picnic this year and were blown away by the performance. Booka Brass Band is another group whose dedication to live performance is really inspiring.
Have any of you got other ongoing projects?
Our drummer Daniel is a part of another band called Weather Underground who are a four piece rock band who are making some pretty cool music at the moment. Luke and Dougie are also collaborating on their own project called Master which is more a synth orientated hip-hop sound.
Have you any upcoming gigs where people can find you and soak up the live Cooks, But We’re Chefs experience?
Yes we do. We’re headlining the Garage Lands gig in The Button Factory on October 19th, tickets for which can be found on our Facebook page. We’ve been working on some funky new stuff so we’re sure it’ll be a groovy night.
If you want to keep an ear to the kitchen door, you can follow Cooks, But we’re Chefs on their Facebook page.
Also, save the date. October 19th; Son House’s anniversary, Pras’ birthday, The 38th anniversary of Prince’s self titled second album (the 2nd out of 39 in total), and Cooks but we’re Chefs headlining Garage Lands in the Button Factory.
I promise you’ll at the very least snap your fingers and go “I get it”, and dance your ass off like this guy.
As always, I hope you guys enjoyed reading this and if there is anything else you want me to talk about, discuss or anything at all, please contact me through the blog’s Facebook page or via the Contact page.
In the mean time, keep it saucy and hold out on the seasoning.
Ok, I’m done with the cooking puns, I swear.