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Q&A | Montauk Hotel talk to TLMT about what they’re listening to now and their latest single ‘Hands’

montauk hotel

Montauk Hotel have recently taken the time to talk to the Last Mixed Tape about what they’re listening to, their brand new single ‘Hands’ (which was also remixed by Beauty Sleep) and upcoming gigs.  

What’s the last record you bought?

Aoife: If we’re speaking strictly (as in vinyl) it was probably something awfully dodgy to add to my collection. I have a habit of picking up cheap records in charity shops and random markets. I think my last purchase might have been a Jackson 5 LP! I want you back.

Cloud: Listened to Beach House’s new album ‘7’ for a good few days on repeat!

Shell: I’ve been building up my vinyl collection the past few months so I’ve been buying my favorite albums. I recently picked up ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ which had been on my to-buy list for a while!

What song or artist do you have on repeat the most at the moment?

Aoife: I’m listening to The Breeders and Kim Deal’s solo stuff a lot at the moment. I saw The Breeders play Vicar Street recently and it’s gotten me on such a Kim Deal buzz. There’s a wonderful 90s nostalgic vibe from their music and the gig was class. The Deal sisters are absolutely hilarious on stage. Very refreshing to see a band just having a laugh and being completely loose on stage. One of the highlights was a spot on performance of The Pixies “Gigantic” – it seriously brought me back to my Pixies days.

Shell: I usually have The Smiths on repeat at some stage during the week. There’s a song in their catalog for every mood! I’ve been listening to a lot of early Yeah Yeah Yeahs recently too. There are a lot of underrated guitar melodies in their earlier songs! ‘Turn Into’ is one (of many) songs I wish I had written.

Tell us about how your latest single ‘Hands’ was written and recorded?

Shell: I brought the main riff into rehearsals and we jammed on that and made it into the tune that it is! The riff came together using a lot of open string chords, which I usually lean towards to create our lush and shimmery sound. Writing is very much a collaborative process with us and we all build the song structure together.

Aoife: We got to record with the lovely Ryan from Beauty Sleep up in a beautiful studio in Belfast, which was an exciting day out. Ryan is so much fun to work with and I love what he brings out in the final recording.

Shell: Recording with Ryan was an absolute dream for any guitar player! Start Together Studio in Belfast has a studio room with a wall of beautiful amps. Ryan was also very patient with our love of experimenting with vocal layers and guitar overdubs.

Cloud: Pretty much everything was born in Montauk-land. We just jam and things bloom from there. We really bounce off each other’s ideas in the writing process.

I keep a mini bank of ideas, words and notes which end up being lyrics in the songs we’re jamming or else I’ll write lyrics based on what the music itself is inspiring me. At that particular moment, I was reflecting on how things in life can be so charming and hard, enjoyable and painful at the same time, and how that contrast makes them unique and beautiful.

You just released a remix of Hands with Beauty Sleep. How did this come about?

Cloud: We’re good friends with Beauty Sleep, we recorded the single up in Belfast with Ryan and the idea of a remix came out as a joke – the minute Ryan suggested that we said “okay that’s totally happening”. It’s a really interesting process, letting someone play and mold something new with your instruments and voices and we definitely trusted them to do it.

Shell: Beauty Sleep have an unreal sound so the idea of having them remix our tune was so exciting. We actually couldn’t believe it when we heard the remix! They did an unbelievable job turning Hands into a synth-pop-disco hit and still stay so true to the original song.

Aoife: The Hands Beauty Sleep remix is off the charts. I challenge anyone to listen and refrain from dancing!

With festival season just over the horizon, what are Montauk Hotel’s plans for the summer?

Cloud: It’s definitely going to be a great summer. We have some very nice gigs lined up and new venues and festivals to explore.

Shell: We are really excited for this Summer! We are playing lots of new venues, festivals and with acts we have never played with before. There are some festivals we are heading back to this year like Sunflower Festival and we are taking our first trip to the Roisin Dubh in Galway too. There are also some brand new sparkly tunes in our set too so it’ll be great to play these over the Summer too!

Aoife: We’re playing in some exciting venues outside of Dublin such as Spirit Store in Dundalk and Róisín Dubh in Galway and we are really excited about these. Part of the reason that I love getting out and playing around Ireland is the road trip element. We usually have the craic and get to make a wee holiday of it! There’s a few festivals over the summer too. I’m particularly looking forward to playing Groove Festival in Bray in July. I’ve been before and there’s a lovely atmosphere. It’s also on my doorstep, which is always a plus!

What is your favorite Montauk Hotel live moment to date?

Shell: There are a lot of venues in Dublin who have been really good to us, especially Workmans and Whelans. We played one of our favourite shows over Paddy’s Weekend in Workmans and a technical mishap turned into the best part of our show! My guitar cut out towards the end of the last song of our set in front of a packed and energetic crowd, which could have been a disaster… But everyone seemed to think it was part of the show! So we just went with it and while I was frantically swapping the leads, the girls kept everyone in suspense by creating a big build up and it only made the atmosphere more electrifying. And sure the song got finished… Eventually!

Aoife: With so many epic ones, it’s hard to pick really! We recently played on the Whelans main stage as part of a fundraiser event and it was one of the good ones. We played to a lovely crowd and were among some impressive acts on the lineup. All of the event organisers and staff at Whelan’s were very sound and appreciative. It really makes a difference. I would have no issues if all of our gigs going forward were on Whelan’s main stage!

Cloud: I’d say the best live moment is when you finish playing the first song of your set in front of a crowd where not a single person has a clue who you are, and you hear them cheer and applaud like fans that came to see you. We had the chance to play a few nice support slots for international bands like Goat Girl and PINS. To interact with great audiences that take the time to listen to you and appreciate you even though they didn’t expect to see you in the first place. It really makes a difference. It’s like giving someone a surprise and receiving one at the same time and sure, that makes everyone happy.

Upcoming Shows:
28th June – Roisin Dubh
7th July – Groove Festival
10th July – Spirit Store
28th July – Sunflower Festival
24th August – Grand Social

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