Cessna Deathwish – Interview – 2015

Cessna Deathwish are a band well and truly in their infancy. George McCanna (vocals/guitar), Alex Cockburn (guitar), David Harding (bass) and Jack Greenwood (drums) came together at BIMM College to create an indie folk that is reminiscent of the Bright Eyes. I met the lads after an extremely impressive live show (especially as it was only their third ever gig) at Worthing’s St Georges Church supporting Kassassin Street, to find out more about Cessna Deathwish.

How did you all get to know each other?


[George] I met Dave and Jack when I was 17 at college, but we didn’t really speak. Not that we had fallen out or something, just we lived very far apart. I met Alex because he started going out with my best friend, and we became best mates. [Dave] I’ve known Jack since 13, we went to school together, and we have probably been in bands since then. [Alex] I lived with George for a couple of years in Worthing before recently moving to Brighton.

When did you decide to start making music together?
[Alex] It was quite recently. At the very end of summer or beginning of autumn we got together as a four and started making music. Its’ all been very quick. The three of us, not George, covertly said we should do some songs around some of the stuff he already had done. We had a plan that we could enhance his music.

How did you come up with the name Cessna Deathwish?
[Alex] I was in bed and I thought it was a good image to imagine a Cessna, a light aircraft, in a situation that is not fitting with its dynamic abilities. A Cessna is a good plane, but it isn’t the most able. Imagining it in an eye of a tornado or a crest of a tidal wave in the air and it surviving, just getting by but doing it my choice. It’s a representation of something that is fragile in a difficult spot – the frailty of man’s ambition. It’s also a great name to say.

What are you influences for your sound?
[George] I love Connor Oberst and the Bright Eyes, especially the Cassadaga album which has been a huge influence. Paul Simon’s instrumentation and the band he had around him is incredible. We like to keep it sounding pretty classic, having quite a traditional format. There is a great thing Josh Homme said about song writing – a song is “like catching a fish …. It's the fish that's beautiful, not the fisherman” and his skill. We like to work in that respect and the people we like, work in a similar fashion where everything works to serve the song. Not like, say a Guns N’ Roses guitar solo.

How do find the recording process?
[George] We love it. There’s no egos, we all have a say in everyone’s parts and no one gets funny about it. Everyone’s part is the strongest we can do, not just what the individual can do. Every single part of the song has four minds as opposed to one, which in a sense gives us more brain power.

Tell me a bit about the new single ‘The Bends’?
[George] We recorded the three track EP with our friend Joe Denis, who is an amazing engineer, we wanted to get something online that’s free to download. It was the first track we properly wrote all together. The song is about when my uncle was living with me and my family. I watched him go through this struggle of cancer, and eventually he killed himself because of it. This was only about 4 months ago. He and I were close, so my mum asked be to say something at the funeral which I didn’t really know how to do. So I wrote a song. It was a really quick song to write, it all happened in one evening and it just wrote itself. We all like driving songs, so we also wanted something that would sound great whilst driving. There is a very comforting feel to the track, but it is also very sad – we love it for that

What are your future plans?
[George] We are going to be locked away in a room smelling of vinegar for 6 months that we have just brought. We always wanted, like loads of American bands, a garage that we can go to whenever we want and play music – somewhere that we have complete control over. It has a Nintendo 64 with Golden Eye, a TV, even a shower – it’s everything we need. We will be doing the odd gig, but that will be just to try out new material. Mainly we are just going to be writing and working on the sound, then after 6 months, emerge as a Phoenix’s with beards and smelling really badly of vinegar.