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Ham Sandwich

The follow-up single to The Naturist & Oh-Oh from the band’s new critically acclaimed album White Fox. Gradually brushing off their ‘guitar-indie band’ tag, Ham Sandwich’s fan base continues to grow steadily as the band pushes the boundaries with their song writing, instrumentation, & arrangements. ANTS continues that trend and it just so happens to be damn fine pop song to boot! Check out the brilliant animated ANTS video by Marc Corrigan!

White Fox is Produced by Karl Odlum & mastered in Abbey Road Studios by Peter Mew (David Bowie, Beatles, ELO, Bob Marley)

"There isn’t a duff tune here, which makes it that very rare thing: an album you can listen to all the way through without being tempted to press fastforward"
~ Tony Clayton-Lea THE IRISH TIMES (The Ticket 4-Star Review of "White Fox")

Some rock bands fret too much about the successful fusion of commerce and creativity. Some rock bands think they can second-guess the music fan by blending strategies for world domination with mix-and-match, catch-all music. Ham Sandwich, however, instinctively react to rock music more than spending too much time thinking about it – which is nowhere near as bad as it might sound – and it is this that marks them out as one of the best Irish rock acts of recent years.

Ham Sandwich have been around and about in one very interesting shape or another since 2003, but it wasn’t until the autumn of 2005 – with the release of their debut single, ‘Sad Songs’ – that they began to be known outside their home county of Meath. The band formed, says singer/guitarist Podge McNamee, due to original member/bass player Johnny Moore’s creative urge to be always one step ahead of the posse. Balancing ambition and risk is a tricky thing to get right, but with Moore’s astute knack for understated, engaging craft and McNamee’s liking for juggling quirk, strangeness and charm, stability reigned supreme. “I’d always had an urge to be in a band,” says Podge, whose early ambitions lay in stand-up comedy, “and although up to that point I’d done nothing to show that I could be in a band, Johnny thought there was something about me that made him think I could be. I think he liked the fact that I could be anything at all.”

Alongside Moore, who has since left the band to pursue other projects, and McNamee were co-vocalist Niamh Farrell (whose experience at the time amounted to little other than singing in a few bands in Glasgow), guitarist Darcy and drummer Ollie Murphy. Chemistry has a curious way of working, and within weeks the band clicked through a mixture of varying musical influences, a singular love of kitsch, and a healthy distaste for anything within an ass’s roar of mediocrity.

“It was more the relief of being in a band than anything else,” says Podge of early ambitions. “I knew I wouldn’t have been able to learn for myself, so I had to have someone to get me involved. I mean, I literally didn’t know how to plug in a guitar. And for at least the first year of gigging, I had to borrow amps and a guitar. When we started the first rehearsals, we knew Niamh was going to be the singer, and not much else. You could say I showed up to be trained!”

“It was great, though,” recalls Niamh. “We were in it for being in a band, but it got serious quite quickly. We were still in rehearsals when a major record label came to hear us, so we thought, well, we could be on to something here.

”We were a total mess back then, though,” claims Podge, “and I think that was totally down to me because I was such a rookie. I wanted to go crazy on stage, but I didn’t have the skills to keep the music together at the same time. If I’d been boring I’d have concentrated on the music, but I didn’t want to be too po-faced on stage.”

Inevitably, levels of ambition and confidence grew as the band became more proficient. Each subsequent single release (including ‘St Christopher’ and ‘Click…Click…Boom’) received more positive responses than the previous one. In early 2008, their debut album, ‘Carry The Meek’, was released. Within days, the band was a recipient of the Meteor Music Hope for 2008 Award. The remainder of 2008 was spent touring the album, getting to know the songs inside out, and being aware of the difference between entertainment and novelty value.

“When I think about how I was at the start…” says Podge. “The band had such patience with me, because at least three out of five gigs would have been more or less shameful because of me. Yes, there would have been an element of entertainment at the same time, but now, personally, I’d rather be good musically and not shambolically entertaining. We never wanted to be a laughing stock...”

Fast-forward to 2010 and the release of ‘The Naturist’ and 'Oh-Oh, the first two single from Ham Sandwich’s second album "White Fox", highlights the classic intertwining vocal wordplay from Niamh and Podge and driven by D'Arcy's anthemic guitar playing thus marking a soaring return from one of Ireland's most popular bands.

Launched in Dublin's The Button Factory last October channelling the kind of pop smarts that most bands would sell their souls for, ‘White Fox’ is a new chapter in the band’s creative life: the application of even more craft with a double helping of musical eloquence. And there’s more of this in the pipeline.

“With ‘Carry The Meek’,” says Podge, “some of the structures of the songs are fine, but there’s repetition there. With the songs for the new album we wanted to be more crafted, more influential, perhaps. The one thing I’m happy with already is that I don’t think the second album will be anywhere like our first. At the same time, it’s more grown up, with a little bit more sophistication. The first album was practically all electric guitar; the new album is more musically varied – and not for the sake of it, either. It’s just that we’re getting our heads around different instruments. It’s a natural evolvement, and more texture is no harm.”

“We’ve definitely grown up since ‘Carry The Meek’,” maintains Niamh. “In terms of all of us getting involved in the song writing process and, I suppose, just maturing as people. Making the song structures more interesting is crucial for both the listener and the band, because it holds the attention for longer.”