We caught up with The Answer guitarist, Paul Mahon to talk about the Northern Irish quartet’s cracking second album, Everyday Demons, touring with the mighty AC/DC and trying to avoid Japanese meat.
What was it like touring with AC/DC in America?
“My brother played me ‘A Whole Lot Of Rosie’ and I totally got it and then I wanted to play guitar. I’d never seen them live until the first night in Pennsylvania so it was a dream come true.”
How did you cope with playing arenas every night?
“It was our first tour in the States and what better way to do it than playing to 20,000 people every night? At the start it was quite nerve-wracking and very much the case of, “Let’s not mess this up.” For a few shows we played within ourselves but then it became our second home. Now it feels easier playing arenas than playing clubs.”
What is your favourite thing about America?
“Definitely not the beer. The beer was terrible. We renewed our love for American Football. We watched the Superbowl and when we were in Chicago we went to a Bears game when they played Detroit. When I was a kid my father used to watch a lot and he was a Bears fan so I grew up with that and I hadn’t really watched much for ten years or so.”
Everyday Demons is a pretty sinister title for an album.
“Well, lyrically, Cormac’s dealing with the darker sides of life while the first album was all about hope and having a good time.”
What is your favourite song on the album?
“‘Why’d You Change Your Mind?’ is completely different to anything we’ve done before. I think it’s the first song that sounds like The Answer and you couldn’t say it sounds like Led Zeppelin or Free or all those tags from the first album. It’s very much our own thing. There are specific elements from each member of the band and it all came together in that song. It was a great song to start with – it wasn’t just a cool guitar solo or a cool drum part – but it’s also a great signature song.”
What do you hope to achieve with this record?
“The big thing we have to do is make the move from being an opening band to being a headlining band. We’ve had a lot of acclaim, a lot of good gigs and a lot of people know about us but we still haven’t got out of the rock audience. We want to cross over a little bit… without selling out, of course!”
How does it feel being bigger in Japan than in your homeland?
“It’s very strange. I remember when we sold 10 or 15,000 records in one day and then we went to play to 3,000 people. In Japan, while they’re obviously still very fashion conscious, it doesn’t affect their music taste. They like music because it’s good and because it excites them.”
Maybe you should adopt it as your new home!
“It was hard the first time because James and myself are vegetarians. We got there after a long flight, tired and starving. We went out in Tokyo under all the lights and everything but we couldn’t find anything to eat. Coke and crisps tided us over until we found an Irish bar that served European food.”
Everyday Demons is out now on Albert Records