Akrobat: “Ireland is an island, and I never wanted to be limited to it”

An inventive and original band playing off influences ranging from jazz to post-rock, as well as the mixed backgrounds of their members, Akrobat are making their way in a genre-realm they know isn’t going to hit the mainstream, but it is distinctive and original and a perfect incapsulation of the act.

Currently in their second incarnation with the addition of Turkish vocalist Selen Korkutan, and ruminating on the human experience, the band took a break from pushing forward twin EPs and gaining international attention to fill me in how it’s all going…

First of all, tell me a little bit about the backdrop to Akrobat – how did the band come to be, and how have things developed?

Akrobat is actually Akrobat 2.0! I first started the project 5 or 6 years ago, and we cut a four track EP with Rian Trench in The Meadow. Back then I was calling the act ‘Crow Airport’, and we released a self-titled EP. We had a song on it called St Denis, which I still consider one of my best and it’s about my time living in Montreal.

It got some nice plays. But I didn’t really understand how to play the game back then (still learning!). We were all set to go back into the studio with Rian to cut our first full record, and then Covid hit! It was a shame as we were playing a fair few gigs, on the jazz circuit of all places. But we got back in, and over a couple of recording sessions split between the summer and winter of 2021, we made Jammed Space Movement.

The record was finally released in late 2022, and we had a few singles. ‘Basquiat’s Widow’ is a real highlight on that album, and probably our most popular song at our shows. It’s got streamed a lot, and a live version of the track is our most viewed video on YouTube. But the studio video is awesome, and as you can guess, it’s about New York and the life of the great artist, and his muse. ‘Sappho’ was another
one, and The Thin Air (a great supporter of the band) had it in their top 50 releases of 2022.

But after that release, I felt the band in that format had reached the end. I needed new energy, a new perspective, youth and vitality. So I brought in a new singer, Selen Korkutan, bass player, Joan Paelez, and drummer, Peter Cahill (a student in BIMM). It was quite the change in tract, and soon after getting the guys on board we cut two EPs back to back, again with Rian, in March 2023. I was keen to get new songs down and move quickly.

We released ‘Zesty Terrestry’ last summer, and again, it was a featured by The Thin Air in their end of year list. And of course, we have just followed that up with ‘Shank’, which shows a very different side to the band. The more virtuosic side I would say.

I think these EPs are a stepping stone for another full record. All of ours are regularly featured by Hot Press, Golden Plec, The Goo and others. But we have another few gears to go.

‘Mosquito’, I understand, is a metaphor for human greed. Is there a story behind the song?

I was working on ‘Mosquito’ for a while, mainly on the musical composition side of things, and was getting inspired by a lot of Prince’s records. Records he was producing towards the end of his life actually, which I think are under-rated. But growing up I remember quite well Prince’s distaste of being ‘owned’ and ‘used’, and I used that as an inspiration for how lots of people are owned and used at all levels, everywhere.

Being taken advantage of basically, with money and power being the bottom line. Which I do find so pointless, considering the short time we have to live our lives. So as strange as it sounds, that was how that song to be!

How did the video come about and what inspired it?

I usually put a lot of effort into video making, and I think we have some really good material online now. For Mosquito I went with a live performance of the band in the rehearsal studio, to accompany the studio release of the song. Our mates in Beardfire Studios tracked the song and our long time collaborator, Ray Beggan, filmed the set and made the video. Peter actually mastered the live version. Not bad for a 19 year old!

Ray also made the ‘Verlaine’ video for us, which captured us in The Meadow studio over a day whilst we were producing the track. On that one I was going for a documentary style of video, trying to capture the band in the moment. Ray added his own creative take to it, and it ended up coming out as quite the
psychedelic style of video, like the song I guess! We actually shot the Air Station 2.0 video, for the ‘Zesty Terrestry’ record, the same day after we put all the gear away. It was an off the cuff effort, late in the evening, but it’s one of our most played songs!

Selen has a background in acting, and you can tell from that video. She owns it. Look them up!