‘I’m just very excited to get back performing in front of real humans again’

Kyle Thornton of Liberties-based band Nerves speaks to The Liberty about the lockdown, their creative process and Dublin’s music scene. 

From artists to authors to bands, the Liberties a hub of Irish talent. One band with Liberties roots, via their connection to the BIMM musical college in Francis Street, is Nerves.

We spoke to the band about their music, how Dublin is changing, and what is next.  

“I suppose we started off as an Indie rock band with a bit of that Joy Division or The Cure sound – but far less good – then after a while we started writing heavier and slightly more post-punk styled tunes.” 

Nerves have evolved, from the band they once were when they were 16 to the noisy, electric music we hear from them now. “Our main influences now I suppose are My Bloody Valentine and Slint which is already a weird combination but I guarantee you we’ll be saying something different two years from now.  

“I suppose I chose to go to BIMM originally as a way of having an excuse to leave Mayo for a bit and insert myself into the Dublin music scene and begin playing shows up here and around the rest of the country.”  

Our main influences now I suppose are My Bloody Valentine and Slint which is already a weird combination, but I guarantee you we’ll be saying something different 2 years from now”

Kyle thornton of nerves

 Nerves formed in 2016 and have gone from strength to strength since then. They have gigged across the country and released multiple well-received singles. The band’s members include Kyle Thornton, Charlie McCarthy, and Adam Nealon, all Mayo and Galway natives.  

 “Sometimes, though, a whole song can come from an improvised jam session, like our most recent single Leigue,” Thorton says. The band released Leigue alongside Chromatic Ireland and Nialler9.

This performance was on top of a hill on Achill Island. A structure built there by local man Joe McNamara, ‘Achill Henge’ created a beautiful rocky backdrop to match the boys’ noisy new single.  

Kyle Thornton, frontman of Nerves. Photo by Robert Collins.  

“It started off with an idea to do something with a repetitive bassline and drum groove, then more noisy sections were added, and the second half of the song started as a joke because Adam started playing this jazzy shuffle beat right after a ridiculously heavy section and after spending about five minutes laughing at it, we decided it sounded pretty good.”

The band has a Dublin 7 as well as a Dublin 8 connection: Leigue was recorded locally at Sonic Studios in Stoneybatter.  

Over the past few years, Dublin city and the Liberties have both been suffering and changing through gentrification. The loss of the Tivoli Theatre was a major blow to bands of the area.

The same is now threatened with the Cobblestone in Smithfield. Younger bands are having to find their own ways through the industry with fewer supports from venues than bands that came before them.  

“Dublin has lost a lot of important venues in the past and the scene seems to continue to bounce back regardless which gives me some sort of hope, but the level of greed and soullessness we’re seeing from developers and An Bord Pleanála these days makes me wonder where new bands will be able to cut their teeth coming out of the pandemic,” Thornton says.

 “Seeing venues like Tivoli get hotels planted on top of them and watching your friends being priced out of the area wondering when you’re going to be next is a bit unnerving.” 

The Liberties foster creativity, but as students and young creatives become priced out of the area it is hard to imagine what comes next. 

“Makes for great fuel for an angry aul’ performance though, so I suppose that’s another positive,” Thornton jokes.  

With the world reopening again and Dublin becoming a hub of late-night antics once more, what is next for Nerves? 

“The plan is to release an EP sometime next year and get back to touring Ireland again, hopefully, our first UK and European shows will happen next year as well. I’m just extremely excited to get back performing in front of real humans again.”