Once referred to as up-and-coming, Dublin-based rock band Inhaler has solidified their place as fresh new faces on the dynamic Irish rock scene. Following the success of their debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, Inhaler spoke at a press conference about the unique challenges of recording during the COVID-19 lockdown, their diverse, youthful sound, and what we can expect from the industry-disrupting quartet in the near future.
Inhaler was formed in 2012 in Dublin by Elijah Hewson (vocals and guitar), Robert Keating (bass), and Ryan McMahon (drums), with guitarist Josh Jenkinson joining in 2015. Almost six years later, their debut album, It Won’t Always be Like This, reached #1 on the UK charts, making Inhaler the first Irish act in 13 years to reach that position with a debut album.
It’s felt like forever, but we're so pleased to have this out in the world for you to experience. Our debut album It Won't Always Be Like This is Out Now! Get it on your headphones, get it on in the car, get it on your vinyl player – hope you love it as much as we loved making it pic.twitter.com/FtHu3rU1Ss
— Inhaler (@InhalerDublin) July 9, 2021
Inspired by bands such as Oasis, The Strokes, and Joy Division, Inhaler shows up with post-Britpop and indie-rock sounds, though they don’t really care about fitting into one specific genre. Inhaler often refers to the music they make–and like to listen to–simply as “guitar music.” The members themselves have a few other favorite styles outside of rock, such as rap and techno.
Making the Album
A mix of re-recorded singles and freshly written songs, It Won’t Always be Like This gives us 11 tracks, all written by the members, with the support of legendary musician and producer Antony Genn.
Tuning in from their own homes over Zoom, the quartet spoke about the experience of finishing the album during the pandemic, and focusing on making enjoyable songs that would give fans hope, and sound great live when they return to touring overseas in November.
Reminiscing about recording during the lockdown, Elijah says it was a really dark time. “A lot of bad stuff was going on and we didn’t really know if we were gonna be able to play live again for some time.”
In such uncertain times, the band focused a lot on creating a joyful album, with a feeling of hope, which explains the title track choice. “We wanted to portray a sense of hope and positivity with the album, so we picked that title because we thought that it did it the best,” says Ryan. The song was written by the band long before the recording of the album, but it definitely took a new meaning through the pandemic.
While in quarantine, the band faced new challenges and new opportunities, like writing more on their own as opposed to doing everything together as they’re used to. However, they miss being out on the road, touring, and performing on stage. They already had a taste of it by performing in a few festivals such as Reading & Leeds, before their North American tour.
Rock in Ireland
When asked about the local Irish music scene and who inspires them, the boys mentioned the Fontaines D.C. a few times. “It’s quite inspiring to see that, you know, a guitar band from the city that we’re from, being able to attract such a large audience.”
“There’s a growing community of young inspired musical artists that, once again, they’re not really shoehorned into one style of music,” Ryan said. “There’s a lot of hip hop artists and bedroom pop artists that are coming out of Ireland at the minute.” Other artists mentioned by the band were The Clockworks and Sam Fender.
— BBC Scotland (@BBCScotland) September 11, 2021
It’s impossible to ignore the growing interest in rock again in the mainstream. But Inhaler don’t feel like they’re on the frontlines of this movement. “We’re definitely riding off the wave of other artists.” Even then, it’s hard to ignore the moves that the band is making in the contemporary rock scene.
Defining Tracks, According to Inhaler
When asked what song they’d pick to represent the band to someone who had never heard of them, the group had a few options. “I’d pick “My Honest Face,” because that has the most streams,” Elijah jokes. “Maybe ”’Who’s Your Money On?” That’s a good one,” Robert suggests–that earns him the agreement of his bandmate, Josh. “Maybe “In My Sleep,” too.”
A question familiar to young musicians is about how their family reacted to their chosen career path. But luckily for Inhaler, this was hardly a big issue. “They were always supportive,” Elijah – whose father is none other than U2’s frontman, Bono – said. “It’s not like they were like ‘you will never make it, kids.’”
I Won’t Always Be Like This is the perfect soundtrack for the current post-pandemic days we are living. The album features songs that go from reflections about the mundane parts of life, with a nod at the beginning of adulthood, to what the world has gone through in the past almost two years.
It’s clear that Inhaler is passionate about their music and how they came to be, giving us the impression that they could talk about it for hours. With a diverse array of tracks and tours in the works, Inhaler most definitely has a bright future ahead, and we can’t wait to see it.
Thumbnail courtesy of Polydor Records.