Cinemartyr’s new release, Death of the First Person is out July 24, but you can hear it with us now.
Exclusive Blurb About Album from Shane Harrington
The city I grew up in, Limerick (Ireland,) is a great place full of great people, and in 2020, it is a relatively safe place. But, there was a time in the ’90s, when I was growing up there, when it was referred to as ‘Stab City’ by the media due to its problem with knife and gang crime. It had also taken the unfortunate title of ‘The Murder Capital of Europe’ due to it’s per-capita murder rate.
I grew up in the middle of all that, in the Southill housing estate. I saw my first attempted murder at age 11, had my house and family car set on fire at age 8, experienced my first burglary around 12. Just some of the stories from my time there. I filter a lot through this lens, including how I see my adopted home of New York City as well as America at large. And, whether I like it or not, it also informs my music.
Death Of The First Person is, for me, a sort of pouring forth of what can’t be said in daily conversation. An attempt to reckon with personal history and integrate it. Previous Cinemartyr output dealt with the more morose and contemplative side of mental health. This new album is an intentional step away from all that towards a more expressive, a more loud, a more physical chant or scream.
I wanted to make music that my body would be happy to play live. I wanted to make music that would wear my body out live. Music that was awake and not asking for permission. My heroes always embodied this aliveness-of-performance. So I restricted myself from keeping any riffs or chord structure ideas that required me to freeze up and stand still to perform them. I was operating under the mantra ‘The body dictates the note.’ It was a self-imposed restriction that allowed me to only come up with ideas that were fluid, often staccato and, I guess, fairly immediate.
I also wanted to look at noise as a concept. Noise is kind of the landscape we live under now in our daily lives—noise, a-tonality, disruption, saturation. I wanted to look around inside of that and find some beauty or coherence in the static. It was time for me to move onto something vicious and loud, and in many ways, even though this is my fifth album, it kind of feels like my first again.
I started on this album in 2019. The majority of the song writing and arrangement took place in the space of two weeks. Once I had the drums (performed by Luke Folger of Ero Stratus) recorded at Continental Studios in Brooklyn, I took the files home to Harlem and got working on everything else.
I performed and recorded the other instruments on the album, excluding the drums. Finally, after vocal takes were done, I mixed the album while assembling and practicing with our new live band. Amber Moon, Aaron C-T and Dave Goldman—vocals, bass, and drums, respectively—are the Cinemartyr live band, and I feel so lucky to have such awesome people in my corner.
This new incarnation of the live band started playing shows in early 2019. The previous lineup played their last Cinemartyr show in 2017, so it was great to get back out there again with new blood. Of course, things have taken a strange and uncertain pause with the pandemic, so we are working on new material now as we look ahead. Death Of The First Person was a labor of love. I hope you enjoy or get something out of it. Thanks.