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Our Glorious Leaders
One year on from their Play On The Day triumph, Leaders Of Men have the world at their feet. Frontman Brian Ashe explains why success won’t change them.
Dave Hanratty, 03 Oct 2012
Perhaps it was fate? You christen your band ‘Leaders Of Men’ and six months later you’re standing tall, having vanquished all around you. You pause for breath as you’re officially crowned Ireland’s Next Big Thing. Then again, these five Tallaght natives don’t do cute coincidence. As the name suggests, they do not follow the pack, either. Instead, they excel at taking what’s expected and turning it on its head. The result? A compelling fusion of NYC gloom and good old-fashioned Irish vitriol that refuses to be ignored.
We saw their potential when they won the inaugural Play On The Day competition last September. So, they’re good. We know this much. They know it too. After all, it takes some confidence to rock up to your very first Hot Press cover shoot clad in the world’s most beat-up pair of red Converse.
“I knew this was coming!” laughs frontman Brian Ashe. “Would you believe, I actually have them on right now? I was in another band and I played at Oxegen in 2008 and the Cons got rightly fucked up, as they do at a festival. I left them in a wardrobe for about two-and-a-half years. I’ve got about ten pairs. I dug these out, gave them a little wash. I love Cons with character. I hate seeing a fresh pair. I think people look like children’s presenters when they have fresh, bright ones on. It just reminds me of The Den or something.
“For me, mine have to be as scruffy and worn as possible. That’s the way they were designed to be. So, it was very important to me that they got into the photoshoot. I think they were the stars, really. People talked more about my runners more than anything else. ‘Have you seen the fuckin’ state of your runners there, chap?’ Yeah, they’re meant to be that way! I can afford a new pair, I’m not a hobo; I just like them that way.”
It makes sense. Some things just aren’t meant to be pristine. Ashe and his comrades are unlikely to compromise on their rough and ready aesthetic in a bid to impress the company they keep. Speaking of which, how did it feel rubbing shoulders with the stars last Arthur’s Day?