Combining traditional Irish folk with the brash swagger of punk rock, Flogging Molly wrote their latest LP in a Detroit basement and recorded it in an old church. The result is the band's fifth album, Speed of Darkness, a song cycle steeped in faith, resilience and community. We caught up with guitarist Dennis Casey to find out more about the record, which the band will bring to the Paramount Theater on March 13th. Here's what he told us:
This record seems like your biggest leap, both in terms of its production and with songs stretching into new places, like into Springsteen territory, for example. Was this evolution or intent? We've been doing this since 1997 and you can't be a band that long and that tours 200 nights a year and not be a different band than 10 years ago. You're not even the same person. I defy you to find anybody who is not different in 14 years, whether physically or mentally. I think the same thing happens with a band musically. You get inspired by different things. We essentially try to make a record of the band at that point in time. And by record I don't mean a thing that turns on a turntable but a document of that time, like an audio photograph.
Where did the title Speed of Darkness come from? The title came from a friend of Dave's, who's a Croatian, and when he was growing up he was in the middle of the Balkan Wars. He had a quote from a book that goes, "I was taught as a young man in school what the speed of light is but I want to know what the speed of darkness is." And that just resonated with Dave. It went perfectly with Detroit because you see how fast things get wiped out -- the speed at which that city, which isn't even 100 years old, has so much in ruins.
Folk and punk seem to thrive during tough times. With Dave writing the album in Detroit, a city long plagued by hardship, do you think Flogging Molly could exist in a more prosperous era? A good song is a good song and if you look at our music, not all of it is about one thing. There are songs about losing someone, songs about war, losing your home, love. Dave knows how to bring a song from the heart which can touch people in any circumstance.
Do you have a favorite song on the album? I like "The Power's Out" because we took a sort of dirty blues song and combined it with a very traditional Irish riff and sound and instrument -- and if we would have talked about we probably would have laughed, but it just sort of happened. There's a certain amount of magic to that and I think it just works. To me, musically, I'm just really proud that we fused these two great types of music.