Dream deal with Atlantic Records for Fighting With Wire

"It hasn't sunk in yet," front-man Cahir O'Doherty told 'Northern Beats' yesterday, "We've just got back from New York where we signed a huge record deal and we're still completely in shock."

Fighting With Wire, consisting of vocalist Cahir, bassist Jamie King and drummer Craig McLean, have earned this recognition, having worked tirelessly over the years to promote both their own band and Northern Irish music in general. Cahir explained that the wheels were set in motion thanks to new music site Shadowglobe and BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe.

“The Guy who runs Shadowglobe heard our song ‘Everyone Needs A Nemesis’ and loved the band and played it to Craig Kallman, the CEO and top dog of Atlantic Records!,” Cahir revealed, “Kallman is renowned as a maverick and loves his music and so when Andy played him our stuff, apparently he flipped out and got in contact with us about flying us straight out to New York for a showcase at Atlantic Records!”

“Around the same time, BBC Radio One DJ Zane Lowe contacted us to say he thought the music was “phenomenal” and that he’d back the band 100% so it kind of all came together at once,” he went on.

“Paul Samuels from Atlantic UK then flew to Derry last Sunday night to take us out to New York. Andrew Ferris from local independent label Smalltown America came with us to, as we would never have got this far without him, and Karl McCready our sound man, came too. So the six of us flew out of Belfast and the next thing you know we’re in New York, put up in a swanky hotel and treated like royalty!” he said incredulously.

Fighting With Wire then performed for Atlantic Records last Tuesday night, followed by another impromptu showcase on the Wednesday night, watched by around forty executives from the world-famous record label.

“We were panicking the whole time, but in a good way,” Cahir laughed, “And after five songs we’d nailed it and they said they’d heard enough. Then we were wined and dined and introduced to everyone before having loads of meetings about potentially signing a contract.

‘Brilliant deal’

Cahir went on: “Andrew Ferris from Smalltown America was key to getting us through loads of negotiations for the record contract and eventually they put a deal on the table. So we signed a brilliant deal and it’s all down to Andrew and Karl, who did such an amazing job with our sound and gave the music that Foo Fighters feel. We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without them,” he said.

Cahir believes that this move to Atlantic could help shine a spotlight on Northern Ireland’s thriving music scene: “There are so many good bands in the North and now maybe we can help turn some heads and get some attention focused on the music scene here,” he said.

Despite his excitement, Cahir remained tight lipped about the financial implications of such a high-profile record deal. But it’s sure to put more bread on the table than before!

Meanwhile, Smalltown America will still release their next record here in the UK on March 10, only now they have the backing of an industry giant like Atlantic.

‘DIY ethic’

“It’s great - the fact that they really believe in us and were so impressed with our sound and our DIY ethic. They loved it! For Fighting With Wire and Smalltown America it’s amazing as it proved to us that we’ve been doing the right thing all this time. It’s unbelievable, we’re still trying to take it all in. It will be a lot of hard work and we know it’s only just beginning, so now we have to get the heads down and concentrate.”

“Imagine, a team of mad Derry boys in New York, negotiating a record deal with one of the biggest labels in the industry - it’s hilarious! It was so completely random but worth every single minute,” he enthused, “We’ve imagined something like this all our lives and now it’s actually happened, we still can’t believe it.”