We Are Aerials


“I like the word silences. I like how it looks written down; I like how it sounds; I like the feeling of the word in my mouth; I like the peace it represents.”

writes the vocalist for post rock collective We Are Aerials. He's softly spoken: His Derry accent gently melts into the backdrop of delicate guitars and keys of his music. Perhaps that's why a name like Silences might seem apt for their fourth album, but it's almost certainly a contradiction given the volumes they have to speak: Domestic abuse, the mica crisis, a hostile encounter with Colin Firth. These are just a few of the topics covered throughout Silences, an album that is noticeably more restless and agitated than its predecessor, yet still introspective and empathetic. We Are Aerials continue to prove themselves as one of the most emotionally intelligent acts in Ireland.

“I like that it can mean different things in different contexts. The apathetic silences that let governments get away with all kinds of skulduggery; or the things we hold inside and don’t talk about; the silences that can break a relationship, the type that lets problems fester; or the sweet, settled silences we have with the people closest to us, a comfort in their presence; a silence that doesn’t need broken.”

We Are Aerials break down the stories and inspirations behind the tracks on their latest album below.

Happy Pills

“Years ago, I switched on the tv to some game show where a contestant was about to answer a question worth £60,000. The host asked him what that kind of money would mean to him, and he said that it was about the amount left on his mortgage. “A life-changing amount,” commented the host. And that phrase stuck in my head and made me think of the whole idea of life-changing and how it’s used as a marketing tool. There’s a whole economy around escape and I’m not sure it’s healthy – from the lottery to betting to temporary escapes like holidays or even drink. Is nobody happy? Also, I can’t remember if the guy won the money.”


“A simple song about minding your mental health and working at it so things don’t weigh you down. I named the song Oscar as I’d just finished reading Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda.”

“Art, to my mind, is not about waiting for inspiration; it’s about engaging with the world around you.”

Turn the Screw

“A pop rock song about toxic, manipulative people. It’s fun to play and it’s got a noise guitar solo because who needs melody when you’ve got feedback?”


“This is a spoken word track about embracing the work ethic and craft of song-writing or making any type of art. I wrote it after visiting Seamus Heaney’s Homeplace in Bellaghy, Co. Derry. Art, to my mind, is not about waiting for inspiration; it’s about engaging with the world around you.”

This is the Last Time

“A song about domestic violence told by the abuser. I don’t really have anything to add about the song except to say that it isn’t autobiographical. I need to mention the beautiful piano and Wurlitzer parts by John McCullough here and the masterful production by Paul Casey. Those guys took this song to a new level.”


“Dave is a conspiracy theorist. He watches TV and goes online and somehow thinks he’s cracked the secret codes and found the truth. Of all the people to find the elusive answers of the world, who would have thought it would fall to the neighbourhood dunce to set us all right? It’s kind of a mean song but it made me laugh.”

“It’s weird to go out into nature to find peace when nature itself is so brutal. I mean, the animals literally eat each other alive.”

Dear Mr Firth

“Back in the day, an email went round my work. I don’t know who sent it or how they knew, but it said they were looking for extras to be in a film called The King’s speech. I was living in Leeds at the time and my friend and I decided it would be good craic to give it a shot. So we take the bus up to Bradford, leave our names and numbers and get our pictures taken. I get called back, she doesn’t (hard lines, Magda). So, back up to Bradford I go and get fitted for a costume and the on-set hairdresser gives me a haircut. Apparently, I have lovely hair to cut; who knew? Two weeks later I’m at Elland Road, Leeds, and I’m in a crowd nodding and murmuring, as per instruction, as King Colin Firth struggles and strains his way through his public speaking duties. Take after take of this, and eventually they cut and give everyone a break. We’re ushered through to this great big hall with a table full of light refreshments – teas, coffees, and plates of biscuits. So, I grab myself cupán tae and help myself to a biscuit. I get talking to a couple of people who were standing near me on set when a furious roar cuts through the chatter and the place goes silent. “Who ate the f**king Digestives? Are these stupid f**king people f**king blind?” Mr Firth is livid, and I’ve frozen, rooted to the spot with half a Digestive hanging out of my mouth. I had indeed taken the last one. Then, horror of horrors, he spots me and starts cursing and yelling about how stupid I am. “Can you not read the f**king sign?” he fumes pointing violently towards the refreshments table. Right enough, there is a folded A4 sheet with “Digestive Biscuits Reserved For Mr Firth” written in thick black marker. I had NOT noticed this. Much more cursing and screaming ensues before some “behind the scenes” types escort a very emotional Colin back to his dressing room leaving me wondering what to do with the rest of my Digestive. I couldn’t exactly put it back, but at the same time, I didn’t really want it anymore. Presently, the hum of conversation began to rise back up in the room. After that, someone from the crew explained to me that Mr Firth was very upset indeed, and their primary responsibility was to keep their stars happy, so I had to leave.”

“Anyway, the Mr Firth story isn’t true but the real reason I couldn’t be an extra was so boring. Also, I'd already told everyone I was going to be in a film with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, so I had to make up something better. This song is basically an apology to a man I’ve never met for something I didn’t do.”



“The lyrics are an extract from a short story I wrote called Foil Boats. They’re low in the mix as what’s being said isn’t that important; I just thought a spoken word vocal with plenty of delay would work well over the guitars. The song is named after Akira Yoshimura as I’d just read his beautiful novel, Shipwrecks.”

Worry Lines

”Worry Lines is about going out into a beautiful place to clear your head and try to rid yourself of anxiety. I was out walking around Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire (Bram Stoker is believed to have modelled Dracula’s Castle on it). The area is gorgeous, and it definitely did me good, so I decided to keep walking. I went along the beach only to find there were dead guillemots strewn across the sand. A quick Google search told me that they were starving to death due to global warming driving their prey deeper into the sea. So, I started off with internal worries and left with external ones. Nice.“

Robbing Peter

”I wrote this on Christmas Day after going for another “head-clearing” walk. It’s weird to go out into nature to find peace when nature itself is so brutal. I mean, the animals literally eat each other alive. And the weather…bhí sé gaofar that day, lads! Bloody freezing too. And the whole time, I kept thinking that I’d forgotten to pay Paul Casey for the last studio session. That’s why the song is called Robbing Peter; it’s how you pay Paul. “

We Are Aerials
  1. Happy Pills 2:53
  2. Oscar 2:55
  3. Turn the Screw 3:36
  4. Dig 4:19
  5. This is the Last Time 2:49
  6. Dave 2:29
  7. Dear Mr. Firth 3:16
  8. Akira 4:18
  9. Worry Lines 3:46
  10. Robbing Peter 4:05