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Three years, three albums- Dropkick Murphys interview with Ken Casey

On 30th of Septermber, the band Dropkick Murphys has came up with something new, they released the This Machine Still Kill Facists-album, which is the band’s eleventh album and the first to be a full release of acoustic songs. Another interesting fact about this album, that some of the lyrics were written decades earlier. We spoke to the band’s frontman Ken Casey about the released and the forthcoming next album, as well as their concert in Budapest on 7th of February.

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You have gave out eleven albums, but this is your first acoustic album. Why did you decidet o do it now, and why didn’t make an acoustic album before?

We don’t really know why we didn’t do it sooner. I think we’re comfortable enough as a band to try something like this before. After ten records, let’s do something different. And then obviously because it was Woody Guthrie lyrics we wanted to try to make it a little bit more playing homage to his era. I don’t know that Dropkick Murphys would have done this, if we were just doing a normal Dropkick Murphy-songs but it just seemed as a project. Kind of record that it seemed appropriate to try something different.

You have songs being prepared in acoustic version, but doing a whole album is way more different. What was the biggest difference in the method of working on an album?

When you’re just doing one or two songs, the particular song might call for that, might say well this song should be kind of more mellow, but with this out, when you went from the start, you know you’re only gonna use acoustic instruments limits your options, so you have to be more creative, when it comes to writing and arranging the songs. But we wanted to make sure it wasn’t mellow, we wanted to make an album even though it was acoustic that still has like an edge to it. It was very challenging to do that, but I think we feel like we accomplished, what we were trying to do.

Your last album was released in the 2021 and now you have come up with a new album but there is only one year between these. Have you been working on this album before or was it easier to make an acoustic album?

I think it has more to do with like in the pandemic without the touring. After two years off, we had more energy to go whereas a lot of times over the years. You’re so busy touring and then when you finally get time off, sometimes it seems challenging to try to ride an album, but I think with the two-year-break from touring, we have had our energy and enthusiasm really restored to try to make music. So, we’ll actually have another album in 2023 because we’ve already recorded another ten songs acoustic from this project so we’re gonna release that in March of 2023.

Is it going to be a full acoustic album or acoustic songs and some other?

Yeah, full acoustic because we recorded it all together at the same time. Having an album in ’21 ‘22 and ‘23 is definitely excited, to be working at that kind of pace.

Enthusiastic is a beautiful word for this method of working. What is the message you want to give with this album?

I mean from a musical perspective, I think it’s nice to just let people know, that Dropkick Murphys can do other things, besides just aggressive, fast music, but at the same time, we don’t want to change who we are. I think we’ll always make fast allowed Dropkick Murphys records, but this is a good way to let people know, that there is another side to us. From a lyrical perspective, a lot of these lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie in the 1930s and 1940s, when the world was in a very terrible place, due to the rise in fascism, and it’s kind of scary, how these lyrics seem very similar to what’s going on in the world today. So hopefully, people read deeper into what the lyrics are about the anti-fascist message that is behind them.

Did you get bad critics, for the This Machines Still Kill Fascist? I mean for giving out the full acoustic album which wasn’t common things for from you before?

No, I think most people knew, that it was like a project, it’s not like we were saying well we’re gonna change how we are as a band. People understood, that this was like just to do something different and fun and it wasn’t an official new direction from the band. I think that even though it’s acoustic, it’s not mellow, it’s still kinda angry, so I think the fans have been pretty supportive I actually expected that there’d be more fans that might not like it, because it’s acoustic but it’s been very positive so far.

You have mentioned the pandemic. You were supposed to play last year here in Hungary, but it was cancelled so the next date when you come to Hungary is going to be the 7th of February. Are you coming with your whole setlist or with the new album only?

We will come with a regular electric show, but we will maybe stop in the middle of the show and do three or four of these songs. And then there’s a few of the songs on this acoustic album, that do sound really good played electric, so we’ll probably do three or four songs acoustic in the set and then we’ll probably do two or three songs that are acoustic on this record would play them electric.

You have been playing in the Budapest Park, Barba Negra, Sziget Fest. Is this going to be the first time when you play in the Papp László Arena.

Yeah, it definitely is the first yeah so that’s exciting.

What is your expectation of the Hungarian audience?

It’s always been really fun to play. Hungarian people have been super welcoming to the Dropkick Murphys. I think we’ve been coming there for over twenty years, so we’ve built a loyal fan base in Hungary. It’s such a beautiful city and we have some great friends there, so it’s exciting to come back.

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