Sunday, June 16, 2024
GeneralCROMACS ROCK AND ROLLING INTO 2024

CROMACS ROCK AND ROLLING INTO 2024

ROCKERS The Answer are
excited to see where they
will go creatively in 2024,
following a very successful
2023.
Last year saw them release their
first album in five years, ‘Sundowners’,
which led to tours across the UK and
Europe.
Lead singer Cormac Neeson
explained that they expect this year to
be even bigger.
“We are looking forward to seeing
where we go creatively from
‘Sundowners’ because The Answer is
in a really good place creatively and
from a live perspective, we have never
been better.
“That is exciting and bodes well for
2024.”
The band’s ‘Wild Heart’ UK and
Europe tour continues with dates in
Sweden in February, a number of
European countries in April and they
will be in Spain in May.
They also have a string of music
festivals to play in the summer.
Cormac explained why he thinks the
current tour shouldn’t be missed by
any true fan of rock and roll.
“I think we are definitely playing the
best we have ever played.
“We have been at it for a while now. I
think we finally have got good at it!” he
added with a smile.
One of the reasons why he thinks
things are special is that there is a new
dimension to the band.
The band – Cormac, Paul Mahon,
Micky Waters and James Heatley –
who hail from Downpatrick and
Newcastle, have added a new
Hammond organ player called Cara
Burns for their live shows.
“It has brought a whole new
dimension to the sound on stage,”
Cormac said.
“The sound of the new record is
definitely threaded with really great
Hammond textures. It was moving
from the new material backwards.
“We wanted to make sure that the
new songs captured the power of the
record, we felt that on a few of them
that the organ would really make a
difference.
“We also found that it was great fun
reinterpreting some of the older songs
to account for the extra
instrumentation.”
He explained that the introduction
of a new instrument illustrates how
the band are always keen to try new
things.
“You are just trying to constantly dig
deep when it comes to your live shows.
You want to keep things fresh and
exciting and keep that edge. Having an
extra player in the band has made that
easy this time around.
“When you are playing the set list
you ask ‘What I am going to do to make
this unique for this type of audience?’.
“You do always get there, but having
a keys player makes it easier this time
around.”
Last year’s ‘Sundowners’ album was
their first in five years. They released
it on St Patrick’s Day.
“It marked the culmination of our
regrouping and getting together to
write some great songs and launching
the next chapter for us,” Cormac said.
“We released it in the middle of our
first UK tour in quite some time. We
headed over to Europe on that same
‘Sundowners’ tour.”
But he said that before they
released the album they had a feeling
it would be well received.
“What I was sure about was the
quality of the music and the amount of
fun that we had writing the songs and
getting into the studio to record them,”
Cormac said.
“So anything after that was always
going to be a bonus. But it has gone
down great.”
The year was also filled with lots of
big gigs for the band, which was very
much welcome, according to Cormac.
“We did 14 major festivals over the
summer and we continued to tour until
our sold out show in Belfast (midDecember).
“We were able to release our brandnew single ‘Wild Heart’ at the same
time.”
One of their ports of call on the tour
was Germany, where the album was
really embraced.
“We have played Germany from the
beginning. People know about us.
“But the first single from
‘Sundowners’, ‘Blood brother’ just
seemed to strike a chord over there. It
was amazing getting great radio play
and then going to tour in Germany the
following month and having full venues
to play in front of after the groundwork
we have been doing all those years and
the recent radio play.
“The traction we have got over there
has been great.”
But perhaps the highlight for their
Irish fans was the visit to County Down
when they headlined the Eats and
Beats Festival in Newcastle in early
September.
“There was a whole lot of love in the
crowd that day. That positivity and
good vibes that were present for that
festival was very reflective of the
warmth and love that we felt in all the
different territories that we brought
our music to last year.”
And the band remembers the day
well.
“It was amazing. We had played in
Switzerland the night before and we
had travelled through the night. So,
none of us had any sleep. So we were
tired during the day. As soon as we got
to Newcastle you just felt the buzz
backstage.
“We were getting messages from
people who were out in the crowd
waiting for the gig.
“It was the perfect setting. The
weather was great.
“I played the festival a couple of
times the previous year, and on the
Saturday it rained from start to finish
but on the Sunday it cleared up and
was beautiful, so I knew that if we got
the weather it was going to be a very
special night. And it definitely was
that.”
So, it was a busy year for The
Answer.
Cormac and his band mates also
had to manage their solo work.
Cormac’s other band, the Unholy
Gospel Band, played sold out shows
throughout 2023. He also has a second
solo album ready to go.
“It has been quite hectic, but Covid
is quite fresh in the memory.
“Compared to a couple of years
sitting round the back garden, it’s been
exponential the difference between the
two.
“My life is busy anyway but having a
major album release in the middle of
the year and all the stuff that comes off
the back of that makes it particularly
busy.
“But as any self-employed musician
will tell you it is good to be busy.”
And The Answer plan to stay busy in
2024.
“Getting new music together is an
ongoing thing.
“You no longer have to be in a room
together to get a tune started.
“You have to be in a room together
to finish it but it is a constant work in
progress and it is a lot of fun.
“We are going to continue to get our
heads together and keep writing good
music

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