There could be a lot of phrases and motifs used to describe Bitch Falcon as a unit, but perhaps the most suitable adjective would be 'unforgettable'. Following their humble origins in 2014, the Dublin dream grudgers swiftly became a formidable force not just within Ireland but the entire alt scene as a whole, selling out and packing out rooms all across the continent and beyond on the back of just a string of singles. An incredible feat indeed, but now that the band have their full length debut Staring At Clocks under their collective belts, Bitch Falcon are set to imprint their namesake into the subconscious of fans of everything unconventional and contemporary everywhere
Released today via Small Pond, Staring At Clocks is a phenomenal debut full of atmospheric ambience, explosive dynamics, sublime experimentation and affluent creative articulation. Led by the alluring vocal delivery of frontwoman Lizzie Fitzpatrick, the band honestly detail tales of anxiety, guilt, desperation and unrest amidst a fuzzy and raw backdrop of hooking progression courtesy of Nigel Kenny (Drums) and Barry O'Sullivan (Bass). Simultaneously spine shatteringly heavy and spiritually ethereal, the band and record exhibit a level of musical charisma and enticement that's quite frankly irresistible.
With the record out now, Lizzie and Nigel got in touch to provide the meanings and stories behind the record, track by track.
I’m Ready Now
Lizzie: "This track is basically what the titles implies. I wrote this coming out of a patch when I showed no love for my partner. I didn’t express myself properly and was distant for a long time. I wrote this as a message to her, that I’m Ready Now! I suppose it’s also about myself and that I’m ready to start working on myself and start living fully. When we recorded the demo version of this song, I was trying to get the lyrics solid, quickly. In the bathroom of the studio there were newspaper clippings stuck to the wall. On it I read, “Vermont towns, Beware!’. I just loved it, it sounded so sci-fi for a headline, that I had to include it. I had been listening to a lot of Mount Kimbie when writing this. Although the music is quite different, the vocal harmonies were inspired by their track; ‘You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure)’."
Nigel: "One of the earliest songs written for this album and one of the first we wrote together with Barry. One of the more poppy songs on the album but a lot of fun to play. I love the break in this song, when it changes and lifts with Lizzie’s vocals. A real Aerosmith moment right there!"
Lizzie: "This song is about failure and the acceptance of same. For years I’d pine to be in the limelight while forcing myself down a path of self-hatred. Surrounded by perceived success of others while not considering my own. To want something so much, just opens you up to a vulnerability that can be too exposed. The exposure then twists itself into a negative defense and I became very jealous and bitter at one point. The ending of the song really describes a pathetic figure that’s so desperate to be relevant; “what stood as a protagonist bears a fleeting trend”."
Nigel: "I think this song had a working title of ‘Police Song’. Around the time we were writing this, we kept falling into these Police-tinged musical jams for some reason. There was a real vibe of The Police in the chorus and it became a bit of a joke between us. There is a little nod to Stewart Copeland on the ride in the chorus. It used to be played on the bell, but I pulled it back so maximum points to anyone that can hear it in the mix."
Turned to Gold
Lizzie: "I’m a nurse working in Ireland and one of my patients inspired me to write this. It’s about a young boy who’s addicted to heroin. The pressures of growing into a man are weighing on him and he turns to ‘gold’ for support. He was such a sweet kid and he really wanted to get clean, but it’s very common to see young men and women getting sucked into the dark charm of escape. This kid had a really lovely girlfriend that was so supportive of him. I wrote the last part of the song in her point of view, of her commitment to him."
Nigel: "This had the working title of ‘Deftones’ on our whiteboard for a while. Not sure what it was about it because listening back to it now I can’t hear it anymore. This was one of the earlier songs written for the album along with ‘I’m Ready Now’. Once the shell of this started to form in the room quickly enough, we all had that kind of “Fuck Yeah!” moment like we did with ‘Gaslight’. We knew it was a special song and one we loved playing ever since."
How Did I Know?
Lizzie: "I wrote ‘How Did I Know’ as an expression of frustration around someone I love and their problems. Although I suffer from my own demons, sometimes it can be frustrating to see someone you love give up everything they are and what you love about them. How did I know refers to not knowing what to do in these circumstances, perhaps a childish defence to dire situations. When someone you love is at the edge of your grasp, it can be so terrifying that your reaction is to let go."
Nigel: "Back in to pop territory with this one. Lizzie’s vocals and Barry’s bass on this are whopper. I love the staccato vibe off this song and how we open it up in the second verse. When we were in the studio with Rian and Scan (Deaf Brothers), Rian was straight in there with “put a stacker on that” so underneath those hi-hats in the verse there are about six broken cymbals adding some flava. It’s a small detail but it adds a lot of clacky aggression to the verse and shines a light on the interplay between the hats and the bass. Also love that pure Italia ‘90 riff Lizzie has going on in there."
Staring at Clocks
Lizzie: "I wrote this to describe my experience in numb hell. There was a point where I didn’t feel anything and it was strange to lead a life through bland grey and beige. Guilt and anxiety were weighing on me through most interactions and sometimes it was easier to give into it. ‘Staring At Clocks’ came to me as that’s what I did. Sat and stared, waiting for time to pass."
"This was the most difficult song to write. I just couldn't get anything to sit with the intensity of the song. I’d walk around parks, museums with the instrumental blasting in my ear to try and get some inspiration. Finally, I was able to get something that sat right. Influences for this song were Just Mustard and Protomartyr. When writing the music, I wanted to try and get the saddest chords possible."
Nigel: "When we’re writing this one, we’d loop sections for maybe twenty minutes or more while we were trying to find the right pieces for each section. I remember looking over at Barry and seeing him wincing in pain and laughing as he was breaking through the pain barrier playing that riff. It’s so intense, I still don’t know how he played that song for so long sometimes. I love Lizzie’s guitar in this and the amount of space it creates in the song."
Lizzie: "I wrote this about the explosive nature of sex, attraction and its misuses in places of power. I wrote it in the position of a woman in the working field that was constantly harassed and degraded by upper management. I wanted to describe the guilt of using your femininity at all, feeling like maybe you’re asking for abuse if you show any confidence in your sexuality. It’s also describing the kink of power and the sexual energy from submissiveness. Although it might be a little sexy to play the role of the sub, in reality it’s your job and your self-respect at stake."
Lizzie: "When I was young, I used to threaten to run away all the time from my parents. It was always a test to see if they really loved me. Obviously it was very childish and dramatic. I used this to describe the constant pulling and pushing of a relationship in adult life. Emotional manipulation to try and get your way, or just because deep down you’re not confident of their love. ‘Test Trip’ means to take a trip as a test on your relationship and maybe if you catch a sight of the grass, it’s probably not that much greener. Cocteau Twins were a big influence on me for the vocal performance. I really enjoy how Elizabeth Fraser’s voice jumps octaves in a slinky way. I wanted to try and perform so the verses sounded like I was right up to your ear, like a loved one speaking to you in the middle of the night."
Lizzie: "The track is about a person who is using their sadness or depression as a personality trait. Gatekeeping that they're the worst off and no one around them could possibly imagine their pain. Which is a bit like a boy cried wolf situation, while people are annoyed by his behavior, he is hurting inside. When writing the music, I had been listening to Cork’s finest, The Altered Hours. I was inspired by Elaine Howley’s intensity and wanted to achieve something similar. There’s one song, I can't remember the title, seeing it live was intense. Elaine was just rolling around yelping into a ping pong delayed mic and it was just so cool. I love vocals that nearly lose the run of themselves and just spin out of control."
Lizzie: "An expression of the obsessive oversharing of the artist and the intense draw from the limelight. The quest to be constantly relevant is a soul degrading one. The more you ‘try’ to be current, the less you are. Social media and ‘connectedness’ is a two faced demon. People love to share and be together, but in the format of social media, your worth is being sold in every post. Many people get sucked into the delight of numerical worth (myself included) and it’s a mentally disabling addiction. In terms of the music, it came together so fast. Barry was playing around with this bassline and I started just rhythmically making noise. We all looked at each other and you could feel the excitement! Vocally I wanted to achieve some of the effects Bjork has achieved on ‘Crystalline’. I love the intense harmony stacked up that sounds like a synth. When recording the backing vocals, Rían and I had the idea to record them at all different times, so when one would end another would take up the air, so it started to stitch together into a living breathing thing."
Nigel: "I remember coming back from a break at one point while some additional layers were getting tracked on this. Rian had chopped in a sample of Tim Curry saying “SPACE!” right at the end of the song. It was pretty funny and we ended up leaving it in there. Listen closely and you’ll hear it."
Lizzie: "I wrote ‘Harvester’ about becoming alienated from your peers so much that your whole appearance changes. Everything that you had once known has suddenly vanished at the point of realising that you are not who you thought you were. I love the music in this song so much. Writing it reminded me of Massive Attack and Portishead; my two favourite bands when I was in school. When recording the vocals, I wanted to try and achieve a hazy dreamy effect like in Beach House. I love how Victoria Legrand’s vocals soothe over the wall of sound. We layered up the vocals so they would have a heavily blanket like effect. I remember when I was recording, the guys weren't convinced as I was singing so softly. Once we stacked up each take with reverb and delay it created a dreamy effect that really suits the song."
Nigel: "This was mostly written on a writing retreat in County Tipperary in a recording studio that used to be an old bar back in 2018. It was right on the side of a main road in a very rural area. There was nothing around, so we basically locked ourselves in there for nearly a week and just wrote this, ‘Gaslight’ and a few others. Once it all got tracked sometime later in the session for this album, Rian went mental with some synths and he did this thing right at the end that made it sound like a dark sci-fi sequence and that is the very last thing you hear on the album. We were all losing our minds as he was playing it and it stuck"
Staring At Clocks is out now via Small Pond.
Bitch Falcon will be performing at PWER Festival in Cardiff next year.