Hot Press: Ones To Watch 2005

Make no mistake, Mainline are shaping up to become one of the hottest properties in rock’n’roll right now. Formed three years ago by the Paxton brothers – Neil (voice and guitar), Conor and Daniel – and three friends, they’ve made impressive strides in the interim, progressing steadily at first and, in the latter half of 2004, with what’s beginning to look like unstoppable momentum.

Mainline are what Ireland has produced far too few of over the past five years: a real, dirty, dark and powerful, rock’n’roll band. They combine the sonic wizardry of Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain and the Velvets with ballsy, sexed-up sounds a la Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. And, live, they rock like fuck.

The Dublin six-piece made a formidable impression on the right people at the IMRO ‘Best of Irish’ showcase during 2004. They followed up this cracking performance with a triumphant appearance at the In The City festival. With legendary Dublin DJ Johnny Moy assuming the role of manager, the band have subsequently fulfilled expectations thoroughly by delivering stomping rock sets, and winning over audiences, alongside acts as diverse as David Holmes, The Walls, The 22-20s, Death In Vegas and Ian Brown. With Bob Harris championing them on BBC, and XFM and Virgin also beginning to get on board, giving their double a-sided single ‘Black Honey / Once More (Because Of You)’ precious exposure, things are really beginning to heat up, with an honourable mention in the Q magazine 50 essential tracks for 2005 listing being the latest feather in their collective cap.

In short, it looks like success, and a devoted army of female fans, is pretty much theirs for the taking. Just don’t hate Mainline ‘cos they’re beautiful…

Tanya Sweeney


Hot Press: You're So Vein - Feb 10 2005

With a little help from peers like Johnny Moy and Primal Scream, Mainline look like animating the Irish scene with some long overdue black-shades-and-scuzz-rock sleaze.

Mainline, it could be said, are enjoying the best of both worlds. Currently riding atop the crest of Dublin’s new wave of guitar-driven indie contenders, the six-piece have also found themselves rubbing shoulders with those of a more electronic persuasion, among them Andrew Weatherall and David Holmes.

This unlikely foray into dance circles could well be attributed to Johnny Moy, the DJ guru who recently became the band’s co-manager. Though they make an improbable pairing, the band concedes that meeting Moy has breathed new life into the outfit.

“We were doing the IMRO tour, and he was at one of the gigs and really liked it,” recalls bassist Conor Paxton. “He said he wanted to work with Dublin bands, and so he came to see us. We did the demo, and it kind of progressed from there, and everything just felt right after that.”

With their brooding, Spiritualized-influence vibe, Mainline have been making friends and influencing people in all the right places. Having previously declared their intention on the Today FM website to “rid the Irish airwaves of mediocre singer-songwriters and pissy-windy guitar bands”, they’re much more non-committal about this manifesto as Hot Press catches up with them in Dublin’s Morrison Hotel.

“It’s not about rising over anyone,” maintains guitarist Patrick McHugh. “We’re just doing our own thing and working to our own plan. It’s got nothing to do with anyone else.”

“It’s not that we want to put a size 13 cruddy foot into the face of singer-songwriters,” adds Paxton. “They’re doing their own thing and it’s not an issue. It’s not like it’s us against the scene. In saying that, it’s nice that there’s something different on the radio. This country doesn’t have an XFM that is dedicated to our type of music exclusively.”

Never mind the airwaves – Mainline have all but revolutionised the art of the support slot since their 2003 inception. Having already played with a mind-boggling array of acts, among them Ian Brown, The Bravery and Death In Vegas, the six-piece plan to give their own audiences a more uncommon sonic experience.

“With every show we do, we want there to be a sense of occasion,” explains drummer Daniel Paxton. “We’ve come a long way from just hauling in the gear, throwing it up onstage...there’s a lot more thought behind it now. We’re looking at bettering it every time. It doesn’t hurt anyone more than us when something goes wrong.”

Of course, they won’t be drawn on any antics that may or may not have occurred when they supported Primal Scream in Dublin.

“Ah, we saw nothing…what happens backstage stays backstage!” laughs McHugh.

“With Primal Scream, that was such a high point, and it came at such an early stage for us,” offers guitarist/vocalist Neil Paxton. “In fact, when we walked off the stage at Primal Scream, the whole band lined up backstage and gave us a round of applause. I think it’s all kind of downhill from there. It’s like, I’ve met Bobby Gillespie – I can retire now!”

With press and radio airplay in the UK coming along nicely (“When we heard Lamacq play our record, it was a total buzz”), Mainline are still playing cautious at the beginning of what promises to be their year.

“We’re nowhere yet as far as I’m concerned,” maintains McHugh. “By the end of the year, we’d still like to be comfortable with what we do. The more gigs the better; let’s develop the way we write songs. We don’t want to shoot our load right away.”

With a South By Southwest showcase and US tour already pencilled in, it appears as though noteworthy success is very much theirs for the taking.

“It’s weird how people love music over there,” muses guitarist Scott Glennon. “We’re hoping to make a few pairs of ears bleed over in Texas. It’ll be a virgin audience too…though some of them might not be afterwards!”.

Mainline play Whelan’s, Dublin (February 10) and Trinity Rooms, Limerick (11). Their debut single, ‘Black Honey’, is also out now on Loog.

Tanya Sweeney


Music Not March 30 2005

We Have A Few Projects In The Pipline: An interview with Mainline

Currently riding a wave of success with their debut 7" 'Black Honey' and getting loads of praise here in the US and in the UK, Mainline seems to be ready to tap into the music industry's vein and give it a well needed boost! Musicisnotdead had a chance to ask Daniel and Neil from Mainline some questions to see what the future has in store of the band and us -

How do you form?
Daniel: We formed as Mainline as it is now in 2003/2004.

What are your influences?
Daniel: We have a wide range of influences. There is six of us in the band but everything from: The Velvet Underground, MBV, Primal Scream, Joy Division, MC5, The Gun Club, NEU!, J.A.M.C, The Cure, Spaceman 3, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Lee Hazelwood, Depeche Mode, Spiritualized, Ride, Verve, The Clash, Galaxie 500, Echo & The Bunnymen, the list could go on and on...........

One meaning of the word Mainline is to:
To inject (a drug, such as heroin) directly into a major vein.
Since you have a Spaceman 3/Velvet Underground sound, is that the reason you choose the name?
Neil: We choose the name cause we felt in suited our music.

You can also hear Black Rebel, Jesus and Mary Chain in your sound, are they influences?
Daniel: We all like The Jesus And Mary Chain.

How many songs do you have written?
Daniel: LOADS!!!!!

What's the writing process like?
Daniel: We have our own little homemade studio so most of the writing happens there, then we just jam it out until it sounds right.

You played SXSW this year, what was that like?
Neil: It was great to be at SXSW. There was a great buzz around Texas and we were happy to be part of that.

How do you think America reacted to it?
Neil: Well judging from the reaction we got that night, I'd say we did pretty well, I'd say we won't know until we play again.

'Black Honey' was released only as a 7", will their be a proper release soon? Any albums plans?
Neil: Yes, we have a few projects in the pipeline.
Daniel: We are just writing away and getting ready for a summer full or gigs, things have moved pretty quick this year already.

If you could have anyone produce your debut album who would it be?
Daniel: Not sure yet, buts its something we would like to have a go at ourselves.

'Black Honey' was released on Loog, will their be any future releases with them?
Neil: We have not signed with anyone yet, we love Loog and they do as a label and just felt it was a good time to test the market while we ponder our long term future, Loog are cool.

Who’s one of your favourite bands on Loog?
Neil: Loog have some really cool band on their label. Soledad Brothers and The Bravery would be the favourites.

What other Dublin bands should we look out for?
Neil: The Things, an excellent rock n' roll band!

What is a Mainline live show like?
Neil: A Mainline live show is an experience!! We want people to walk away knowing that they've witnessed something special.

If you could take only one CD with you on the road what would it be?
Neil: That's a tough questions as I'm sure you'd get a different answer from everyone in the band, but I'd say 'The Best Of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.'
Daniel: 'The Last Waltz' by The Band

When out partying or after a show what is your drink of choice?
Neil: Bottles of Corona with lime!!!

What advice can you give to bands just starting out?
Neil: Find your sound that makes you most comfortable and stick with it!

What does 2005 hold in store for Mainline?
Neil: Two more trips stateside, playing loads of festivals in Ireland and the UK. As for recording, you'll just have to wait and see!!