INTERVIEW: Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs

Hot on the heels of the band’s new, self-titled album, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs are coming to Vancouver to rock the Rickshaw on October 12. I chatted to the eponymous Sam Coffey about the new album, the show and studded onesies.

The new album is a much more polished record than the previous release, 2014’s Gates of Hell — something that Sam is quick to recognize, saying: “It was our first time in a proper studio, first time with a producer (Alex Bonenfant). We took our time and recorded it three different times. We were lucky the big songs showed up for it.”

Led by the foot-stomping, radio-friendly ‘Talk 2 Her’ and released on Dine Alone Records, the new record is a banger. As Sam says, it’s full of “big songs” sure to be great fun live, but he is also keen to ensure listeners don’t miss the songs’ deeper levels.

“This record is packed with themes and morals and layers,” says Sam, “way more than the press have previously reported on. I’d need several pages about what i want people to take away from this record, but I mainly want people to rock out.”

Beyond the initial impression of blistering power-pop, the album certainly has lots to offer and rewards repeat listening. These are fun songs, bringing a glam sensibility to the traditionally gritty power-pop genre.

Sam’s personal favourite track from Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs is opener ‘Talk 2 Her.’ “Because it’s crawling up the charts, baby! Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs, baby,” he exclaims.

He adds a request to “Call your local rock radio station now and request ‘Talk 2 Her’ because it’s a big tune.”

Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs have played in Vancouver once before, supporting labelmates The Flatliners and The Dirty Nil at VENUE. Sam enjoyed that visit, telling me “I smoked a loooot of weed with Vanessa from Ballantynes, and I don’t think I’ve ever been that high in my life. It was mental. Then we had to play. Bad idea.”

In addition to that renowned BC bud, Sam is also a fan of Vancouver’s musical output, telling me that he’s a big fan of “Tranzmitors, Ballantynes, Corner Boys, Dead Ghosts, Courtneys, Doug & The Slugs, Needles//Pins — pretty much anybody who is making the riffs.”

It says a lot for the band’s rapid rise that they will now be headlining, rather than third on the bill.

“It feels good to be playing a big headliner at Rickshaw, I must say,” says Sam. “You won’t need to eat before the show — there will be plenty of riffage for everybody.” He also promises that fans can look forward to seeing the band in costumes.

Sam enjoys a bit of dress-up, as evidenced by the album’s cover and his pre-show routine, which runs as follows: “Don’t smoke cigarettes and do a vocal warm-up in the van. Put on the studded onesie. Don the vest. Smack my own butt. Then, I go out there and give the people what they want.”

See Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs in all their costumed glory
at the Rickshaw Theatre on October 12, 2017.

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