June/July 2014

by Maddie McIntyre

Fresh Talent: Cecil and Hercules

by Maddie McIntyre

Fresh Talent: Cecil and Hercules

The music industry could use more musicians like Liam O’’Brien and Sean Burn. Quiet, warm and modest, everything about this Wellington-based duo is understated and unassuming.

You might have difficulty picking them out of a crowd, seeing as they choose to forgo the traditional uniform of Wellington musos, involving long unruly hair, thick glasses with or without lenses, and women’s jeans. However these lads are both talented multi-instrumentalists and released an EP in March under the pseudonym of Cecil and Hercules’.

Formed back in Year 11 at Wellington College, Cecil and Hercules was born from the pair’s mutual love of “crappy pop punk””. Their sound has grown and matured with them, resulting in an interesting marriage of blissed-out psych-pop with electronic surf-drum tracks and a bit of ’’80s-inspired synths and production. Not to be mistaken with the plague of average Horrors-wannabe psyche revival bands, Liam and Sean’’s music is in a category of its own. Unintentionally, they seem to uphold the experimental values that ‘’60s psychedelia was all about.

“We kind’’a started out just making stuff for ourselves”,” Burn, the band’’s drummer and some-time guitarist, explains. “We just enjoyed playing around with poppy, fun sounds.””

Experimentation aside, the duo have been productive, recently releasing an online four-track album called ‘Ylliba’ – explained as ‘a billy’’ backwards. All of the songs off ‘Ylliba’’ were written by lead-vocalist and guitarist Liam O’Brien, and produced in a DIY studio set up in Sean’’s bedroom.
“The recording process basically involved really small amps and mics. We didn’’t really knowing what we were doing,”” he admits.

Despite the humble origins, ‘Ylliba’’ is a well-constructed, enjoyable listen, particularly for those with a penchant for moody post-punk vocals or Beach Boys-inspired drumming. Previous recording efforts have been mysteriously removed from the duo’’s Bandcamp, having being judged “lacking in quality control”,” but O’’Brien promises more ‘Ylliba’’-calibre recordings in the near future.
“We’’re working on some new stuff, two 2-track releases we reckon, and it’’s sounding so much better than anything we’’ve done before.””

Along with their efforts in the studio, the pair are polishing up their live performances, and learning to incorporate the new electronic elements found on ‘Ylliba’’, which you can download for free off their Bandcamp. They look forward to taking the band to the next level once Burn is finished with his design degree.