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Cork, Ireland four-piece Bailer ready for first Scotland shows with Highland visit on the cards when they headline inaugural Neckfest metal and hardcore all-dayer at the Tooth and Claw, Inverness

By Kyle Walker

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The nights are starting to get darker now – and Saturday night will be darker than most, with the launch of new metal/hardcore all-dayer Neckfest at the Tooth and Claw. Ahead of the mini-festival's first outing this Saturday, we spoke to Chris Harte – guitarist for the headliners, Irish hardcore four-piece Bailer – about the festival, the band, and the noise.

Hi Chris, thanks for answering these! Whereabouts are you answering these from?

My pleasure, currently at home in Cork, Ireland.

You’re coming over from Ireland for a bunch of Scottish shows – including the headline slot at Inverness’s inaugural Neckfest! How are you feeling about your gig in the Scottish Highlands? Have you ever been up this neck (ho ho) of the woods before?

We can’t wait, this is gonna be our first time playing in Scotland, and we’ve heard great things! The line-up for Neckfest is stacked and the venue is apparently 70 cap, so we expect things to kick off and get sweaty.

So tell me a bit about Bailer – how did the band kick off for the four of you? What first brought you all together and started you down this heavy path?

We had all been involved in many bands before Bailer, but it started with us finding each other though wanting to do something very different and way more intensely heavy than anything we had done before. We wanted to do something explosive that grooved hard and we’re more excited about what we’re creating now than ever before.

Irish metalcore band Bailer headline the inaugural Neckfest. Picture: @jgvisuals
Irish metalcore band Bailer headline the inaugural Neckfest. Picture: @jgvisuals

How would you describe your music to somebody to whom this interview might be their first introduction to you? What do you try to achieve when you’re setting out to create a new Bailer song? And what are your influences?

We play energetic, aggressive, and passionate music that we want to feel the slap from when it’s experienced live or on record. It’s all about capturing a vibe or a spark that makes something feel “special” to us, while still feeling crushing or off the wall. Our biggest influences would be bands like Converge, Every Time I Die, Gallows, The Dillinger Escape Plan, but we honestly listen to hundreds of heavy bands and we’re always looking for new music!

I see you first started making music together in 2014 – five years ago now. Can you remember your first gig and how it went? How has your performing/music evolved since then?

Yeah, it was in a little 80 cap venue called Fred’s in our hometown for an event called Noisefest. Things really kicked off, we wanted to make a statement about what to expect from us, and to stand out from every other band around us at the time, so we gave it everything to get the place moving. The music has changed quite a lot, but the intent is exactly the same. We just feel we’ve gotten better at creating the energy we’ve always wanted to put across the longer we’ve been doing it.

What has been your favourite gig together as a band so far? And what has been your weirdest gig?

Our favourites are probably three shows collectively that would be right up there as our highest rated to date; Siege of Limerick Festival 2019, Knockanstockan 2018, and our hometown Christmas show in a venue called Dali last December.

There have been many weird shows, haha! A few of the shows in Russia last year, and some of our first few UK shows were weird in terms of the venues and stuff but they were also sick at the same time so it was cool!

You’re coming to blast some tunes in Inverness from Cork, of course. How is Cork’s heavy music scene? What do you feel is the state of play at the moment for metal and hardcore across the Republic of Ireland and the places you’ve travelled and gigged across? Where do you see the scene going?

Cork’s music scene is booming at the moment compared to say five-to-10 years ago. There are tonnes of diversity in the style of heavy shows being put on and they all do well for the most part! Any of the international bands we’ve brought over here have all loved the vibe. And shows in Cork, there's something special about it – it always seems to kick off in the best way possible!

Metal and hardcore are bigger than ever, and growing faster than ever – it’s never been a better time to be a band in my opinion. There are plenty of negatives for sure – like the money obviously – but it's truly an exciting time to be trying to push ourselves further than Ireland and into the bigger international scene. In another five years I think you’re going to see a lot more success in bands playing heavy music, it's becoming less of a thing to do well now. And people are really supportive of music they love, no matter how big or small.

What can Neckfest expect from a Bailer live show? What do you always hope that your crowds take away from one of your gigs?

Expect a real energetic, raw, emotional show. We always hope people leave liking our music number one but hopefully also feeling a connection to the energy and emotions we let out during our show. It’s all a bit of fun really!

What are your plans for the rest of 2019 and beyond?

After this weekender of northern Scotland we’ll be home for 2 weeks before flying back to Scotland again to play in Edinburgh on the 25th. From there we head south to play Birmingham and Leeds in the lead up to Castlefest 2019 in Luton on Saturday the 28th. Then we’ll be locked into our jam room again for a couple months to finish writing our debut album which we hit the studio for at the start of December. We can’t wait to head into 2020 with the album in the bag and ready to tour as much as possible.

Bailer headline the inaugural Neckfest at the Tooth and Claw on Saturday. Doors open at 4pm and tickets cost £11 (including booking fee) – go to https://ihmrpromotions.bigcartel.com

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