A chat with Orla Gartland

For my last interview as Byline Editor of University Express, I had the opportunity of a brief but lovely chat with Orla Gartland ahead of her Cork gig in Cyprus Avenue in April. I saw Orla Gartland perform in Cyprus Avenue way back when in 2013 for the tour of her EP, Roots, so this was a nostalgic interview for more reasons than one.

Hi, Orla! How are you?

“Good, thanks. Currently sat in Manchester facing up to 2 weeks of neglected admin. Rock & roll.”

You are currently on tour with Dodie. How is it going?

“Really well, thanks. Dodie’s crowds are the best I’ve played to. I’ve learned so much about touring & feel more confident now about my live performance than I ever have before.”

You recently released a new single, ‘Why am I like this?’, it is a heart-wrencher in the beginning, and then picks up for the chorus (reflecting your bubbly self), and so relatable. What is behind this song – the thought process that brought about its creation and what you were expressing through it?

“THANKS! You charmer. The verses detail a couple of brief, regular real-life moments where I wish I’d acted differently, where I’d said or done something else in the moment. That’s me all over. Springsteen once described his song-writing with ‘The verses are the blues, the chorus is the gospel,’ – I wanted to try that with this song – the verses are specific to my own experiences, but I think the chorus line is something that rings through for a lot of people (especially the overthinking anxious types.. hey).”

You talk about moving to and living in London in a lot of your songs. How was that transition? What about it was daunting (if anything), and in what ways do you feel it was good for you?

“It was daunting but the best thing I’ve done. London is big & sprawling & terrifying but if you’re cut out for it I think it makes you work hard & fight for a career that you love – being around so many creative people really helps. I think if I stayed home I would have sat back and been content being the Most Talented Female Artist In Drumcondra, North Dublinwhereas now I feel more ambitious than that. I’m not quite set on world domination, but I’ve worked hard these last few years in London & built a great team around me – I guess the idea of a long career in music doesn’t seem so out of reach anymore.”

Patreon is something you use, a platform where fans can pay money to artists to receive extra content – in what ways has Patreon benefitted you? Do you feel it is important?

“Yeah, it’s a great platform. It works off the concept of patronage, an idea that’s been around a lot longer than I have. I run my Secret Demo Club on patreon – it’s a place where I send around original demos made in my bedroom to about 1000 people, who naturally are the people who care about my music most. So as well as a way of testing new songs out I can use the funds to tour and release more music without the need for a label – it’s a pretty revolutionary model for independent artist.”

It was the tour following the release of your EP Roots back in 2013 that I saw you perform in Cyprus Avenue. How do you feel you as an artist have changed since then, since Roots, and also your music – in what ways do you feel it has developed? What is the same, if anything, and what has changed, if anything?

“Ah cool! The core elements have remained the same – guitar is my main tool for writing & performing, I’d like to think the song-writing has remained honest & true to my character.. naturally I think I’ve just grown up as a person and with it I’ve had a chance to hone my live skills & my writing skills. I’ve learnt to produce my own music which has really helped me refine my sound, too – back then I was proud of the songs themselves but confused about what kind of artist I was. I feel a lot more set on that now.”

What are your plans for the future? Can we look forward to more music soon?

“Yes! My next single is coming the first week of April, and I love it. That song and my last single ‘Why Am I Like This?’ are part of a project I’ll be announcing soon!”

Orla Gartland, photo by @emilymarcovecchio via instagram

Published in the 2018/2019 University Express, Issue 10, by Byline Editor, Ciara Dinneen.

A chat with Tim Wheeler of Ash

Having recently released the seventh studio album of their 26-year long career, Islands, in May, Ash are still around, are still touring Europe and Asia, and still going strong on all fronts. If you haven’t heard of them, Ash are a three-piece rock band from Northern Ireland whose endurance and consistency has won them the quit-but-firm position as one of Ireland and the UK’s most loved rock bands. Giving a whole new meaning to the concept of never changing, Ash have remained steadily on their particular wave and style since day one. Delighting their fans with yet another trustworthily great album, described as “an open-hearted set of songs dealing with love and loss, friendship and betrayal, identity, salvation, redemption and rebirth… all the important stuff” and promised to be “the strongest, most exhilarating long player” of Ash’s career, Islands certainly delivers, reaffirming the trio’s status as one of the most idiosyncratic and singularly thrilling guitar bands to originate from Ireland.

We got to speak with Ash frontman Tim Wheeler while the band were in Milan on their tour back in November. Although Ash’s album came out in May, their touring was a little later than it usually would be after an album release, it being the beginning of festival season.

You guys played at a few Irish festivals this summer. Which one was your favourite?

“Electric Picnic, that was really fun. We played on the Friday this year. We only played there for the first time last year on one of the smaller stages, but this year we played on the main stage so that was great! We played a festival in Belfast, The Biggest Weekend, and that was on a Titanic slipway – that was cool because that was like a punk band show.”

You originate from Northern Ireland, but where are you all based now?

“I’ve been in New York for thirteen years now. Mark lives there too, and we’ve got a studio in Manhattan as well. Rick lives in Edinburgh, so we get together whenever we need to.”

You guys go way back. How did Ash come about all those years ago?

“We started in school. Myself and Mark started a band when we were twelve years old. It was a heavy metal type band, we were trying to be heavy metal… We struggled with that for a few years and then we discovered more alternative rock stuff like nirvana in ’92, so we started ASH with Rick then. So, it started in school and we’ve been playing ever since really! We were fifteen when we formed, and then we were seventeen when we got a record deal and started getting away and touring the mainland, and then it all kicked off in ’95 when we brought out ‘Girl from Mars’ – that’s when we started touring all over the world.”

Do you think the music industry has changed much between now and then, at least from your experience? Do you think it’s harder nowadays to make it?

“I think so, yes. I think there was more of a music industry, as in there was more money, I think in it that would help bands and young artists to develop. I think now you have to be quite clever and economical. Touring when you’re beginning is really expensive – you can lose a lot of money. We’re lucky that we had different companies to support us back then. Having said that, there is a way – you can promote yourself on social media, you can do a lot more stuff yourself these days that you would have needed record companies and press agents to do for you back in the day. It is probably harder to sustain yourself as a young band these days.”

Do you think streaming sites like Spotify have made it harder for artists to make money out of their music and what they’re doing?

“I think Spotify is starting to bring more money into the industry, just that it doesn’t necessarily go to the artist. It’s definitely better than no income coming in. As opposed to people downloading for free, at least it’s still bringing money in. It’s probably the next best thing to when people bought a lot of records. People are willing to spend a lot more money on vinyl nowadays and that can help a bit, the way vinyls have come back.”

Who were your influence back when you guys were getting started with the band? Once you got signed to the label and started working in studio, what material were you drawing inspiration from?

“When we started out as ASH we were really big into Nirvana, Pixies, Teenage Fanclub, all that kind of scene. Then we started getting into more classic stuff, like when we started working with our first producer Owen Morris he got us into Bowie a lot, The Beatles and Beach Boys as well. I like a lot of punk stuff like Ramones, Buzzcocks, Undertones… so we’re kind of like a hybrid of all that stuff; pop song writing with punk and alternative rock energy.”

At what stage in the bands career did you go from national to international and start touring all over the world?

“After we got signed we started touring all over the UK and Ireland, with maybe the odd weekend in Europe. And then as soon as ‘Girl from Mars’ hit and we left school – it was a hit two weeks after we left school, pretty much – at that point we did our first US tour, and Japan and Australia. From then on we toured Europe a lot as well.”

You toured the States with Coldplay in 2002. How was that?

“That was good. Coldplay were actually really big ASH fans from when they were at university. When we first met them they were really big fans, and then we became friends and they wanted us to come on tour so we did! That was just as their second album came out – they were getting really big at that point. We did a lot of support tours in the States that year, we were really trying to break the States so we spent the whole year pretty much supporting people.”

You supported David Bowie at one point too! David Bowie, Coldplay, Moby – was this year of touring with these artists a highlight for the band?

“It was good, but we definitely prefer when we’re headlining and touring on our own success as opposed to supporting people to be honest, but it was good fun! Maybe some of our shows in ’96 when we were at our peak or in 2001 when we were at another peak, when 1977 went to number one in the UK and when Free All Angels went number one, the tours of both those albums were our peaks – those are probably the best times really.”

You guys are known for the particular attention you pay to the lyrics in your songs. I wanted to ask you about your song writing process – what is your approach, and if you had to give advice to aspiring song-writers, in terms of dedication and attention to lyrics, what would it be?

“I have a lot of different approaches. I guess it’s often best if it is something that came from personal experience in the lyrics, y’know if it rings true and there’s a bit of real feeling in there, even if it is disguised a lot… Sometimes I write a lot and realise later what it is I’m trying to say, or sometimes my feelings will come out in the lyrics a lot. Say like ‘Girl from Mars’; I wrote that not long after breaking up with my first girlfriend and I think it was the loneliness and sadness I was feeling about that that somehow came through in a song about a girl from outer space, y’know – it wasn’t literal at all but I think there was some real feelings in it, that went into that song. I think don’t be afraid to take chances and write some weird shit because it’s way better than being boring – take risks and don’t be afraid to look stupid.”

You guys released albums in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Will we be seeing a release in 2019?

“I think so! We may have a new single, possibly, and I think an album out in early 2020. Half-way through recording the album already but we’ve been doing so much touring it’s been on hold for six months. If we hadn’t been doing so much touring it would be finished already… We’re looking forward to getting back to the studio and finishing it up!”

Originally published in University Express 2018/2019 Issue 9, on Tuesday 12th March 2019, Byline Interview by Byline Editor, Ciara Dinneen.

An interview with Wild Youth

I had the pleasure of speaking with Conor and Dave of Wild Youth the day before they headed off on a European tour with Kodaline. Very excited about playing in many cities, Conor explained how he was looking forward to Paris the most, “My brother got engaged in Paris and I’ve never been. He always talks about it, so I can’t wait to see Paris. I’ve also heard that Lisbon is one of the coolest places in the world.” Bands on tour move around from place to place fairly quickly, but the guys were hopeful that they would get to spend a few hours in some of the cities at least. “In some cities you get maybe two or three hours in the morning,” explains Conor, “and then maybe two or three hours after soundcheck to go out and get coffees”, to explore a little bit. Conor and Dave joked about going to the Eiffel tower and then going to put a lock on the bridge; “Conor and Dave [on a lock] haha”.

I wanted to know how Wild Youth came to be. Dave explains how himself and Conor have been friends since they were teenagers, “We’ve always been in the same circle. We always wrote music and played music.” Dave and Conor were both in a band, but not the same one, for a while. It was when each of the bands the guys were in started breaking up that Conor and Dave, while on a night out together, decided to go back to what they use to do together; “when we would just sit in the house and play music and see what happens, so we just did that,” explains Dave. “Then we were approached during our first ever gig together. We were playing at a fundraiser in school in Dunleary that same week we decided to play music together. One of the speakers was a music manager and he approached us. He was like, ‘you guys are amazing, I’d love to work with ye’,” but the two guys explained how they weren’t really a thing, just friends playing music together.

But at their second gig together the two lads were approached again, “Then we were like ‘fuck maybe this is actually something’, so we put our head down then and started writing songs”. All of their favourite artists were bands, “we always wanted the electric guitar, drums, and everything”, the whole band ensemble, so they approached Cal; “Cal came to rehearsals and he just fit in perfectly,” explains Conor, “then Ed came along and the dream just clicked straight away.”

It was during a rehabilitation period after a bad accident that Conor get really into his music; “I played a bit before; I played bass guitar and piano before, but when I had my accident I was house bound and couldn’t leave for a couple of months, and it was actually around that time Dave used to just call up. We would watch music documentaries, mess around doing covers and try write songs on piano. It was great for me because it kept me occupied, kept my mind off everything, and it got us so much tighter and closer as musicians and writers. It’s funny because back then Dave was playing guitar and I was playing piano, but now in the band I’m playing piano and Dave is playing the guitar!”

Wild Youth

The origins of Wild Youth is undoubtedly organic. Conor and Dave explain how they were just two friends enjoying playing music together; “There was no big plan or intention to be a big band – we were just doing it cause we loved it, and it just mapped its way from there”. They believe that “forcing it” just doesn’t work – “we never got into it because we wanted to be famous. We just did it because it was genuinely just our favourite thing to do all day; to just go into my front room where we had the piano and play songs all day.” You can definitely tell the difference between a band that are doing it for the love of it, and a band that are pushing themselves for the sake of making it big; “People can see through things easily.”

I was curious to know what kind of music, what artists and bands, these guys were listening to and covering in those days. “Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, The Script, and some old school stuff like Prince, Bowie, The Beach Boys… a bit of everything, Mumford & Sons too, a very eclectic, big giant pallet of music. We don’t really have just one particular genre that we love.” Dave spoke about how they would have to know a wide range of stuff when they used to busk; “When you’re busking you do everything you can. It’s great because, now, it gives us so dynamic when it comes to writing and being in studio, the fact that we never stuck to one particular genre when we were messing and writing. We did so many different genres; we incorporate Bee-Gee’s harmonies with Prince guitar on top of a Script piano melody, or whatever! It gives us dynamic when it comes to writing, that we’ve got a broad knowledge of music and instrumentation.”

Conor and Dave revealed that Wild Youth are currently working on an album. Are there more singles to come before the album’s release? “We’re going to release a new single in January, then we’re going to do an EP at the end of January, and after that EP maybe there’ll be an album or another EP and then an album, we don’t know, but we’re going to go with the next single and the EP anyway, and decide from there.” There is no doubt that these guys have lots of material up their sleeves, that’s just there and waiting to be released – very exciting news for all Wild Youth fans. “Everything is in really good shape. We’re so excited about how our new stuff is sounding. We really feel it showcases who we want to be, and who we want to continue to be as a band.”

I asked Conor and Dave to tell me about their favourite gig, but I may as well have asked them to pick a favourite song; “We have honestly the best time ever when we play on stage so we look forward to every single gig we do.” As they are from Dublin and have fond memories of going to see some of their favourite acts in the likes of The Academy and Workman’s, if they had to answer they would probably pick a local venue. They’ve played Cork many times, “We supported The Script there”, and say that the crowds here are always insane (up the rebels), “but we’ve never played our own show there.” So naturally, the guys are excited to be headlining their own Irish Tour and to be playing these places as the main act for the first time.

Taking a different approach to this question, I got the guys to describe their dream gig: “Red Rocks, or else the Hollywood Bowl in LA. Or Croke Park of course, that’s always been the dream since we started the band.” When it came to deciding who would support them, the lads were hesitant and didn’t want to seem egotistical, but I encouraged them that they could pick anyone, dead or alive – describe your dream gig, no matter how apparently improbable; “Kings of Leon, Imagine Dragons.. can we have a few people play with us? Make it like a Wild Youth Festival? We’d have The Script, we’d bring The Beach Boys back, would definitely have Imagine Dragons playing, Anderson .Paak, King Princess, Maggie Rogers… this would be an unreal festival! Arctic Monkeys, Niall Horan, we’d have them all”. Hell yeah it would. Can we make this happen?

To round off a great chat with Conor and Dave of Wild Youth, I asked where they would like to see the band in 5 years’ time. “We’re super ambitious, without being cocky. As we said, we never got into this for fame or anything like that, but we’re super driven and we want to try play the biggest music venues all around the world. We love playing live, we talk about how we map out the stage, the lights for shows, and everything we want to do and achieve will be possible on the biggest stages so that’s always been our goal and our aim – to not ever take our foot off the peddle, and to not stop writing music, making music, to not stop touring. We’re not the kind to take a two-week break after a tour; as soon as we finish a tour we are like ‘when’s the next one? When are we back in studio?’. We just wanna keep going all the time. We just hope that in 5 years’ time we’re still as close as we are now, playing the biggest stages.”

Wild Youth

Some Quick Questions:

Favourite current artist: “We love King Princess at the moment. Hozier’s new single is absolutely stompin’, like, all over that like. The 1975’s new stuff is great. A Star is Born soundtrack is sick, phenomenal.”

Least favourite current artist: “I don’t know. I like what I like and I don’t listen to what I don’t like. I don’t linger on it too much; music is a choice for everyone, it’s not my place to say [what’s good and what’s not]. One thing that bugs me is current pop songs; y’know the one’s that start off as a nice song, and then goes into like a dance song, this clubby kind of house – it’s no one in particular, it’s just a certain style. Other than that we love all genres, we really do.”

Other hobbies, apart from music: “I love fashion and clothes. We love movies, we’re movie addicts; our favourite thing is to go to the cinema. We love coffee. I love computer games. (Conor reveals that Dave is a computer game addict.) I’m a nerd when it comes to computer games. Right now I’m obsessed with the new COD. I don’t leave the house unless I have to, for the band.”

Favourite Netflix series: “Making a Murderer, Ozark, any kind of crime-thriller. One with Jessica Biel, can’t remember what it’s called. 13 Reasons Why, as well, very eye-opening. Makes you think about the times you saw stuff in school, you ask yourself what if I had said something or done something, asked them if they were ok… There is stuff that you see in it that you’ve seen in real life in school before, people acting a particular way – it does go on.”

Originally published in the 2018/2019 (Volume 22) University Express, Issue 4, by Ciara Dinneen, Byline Editor.

The rise of whenyoung band

Originating from Limerick, this trio have made their mark on the music scene both in Ireland and the UK from the great city of London which they now call home. University Express were lucky enough to get to see whenyoung on the last date of their UK and Ireland tour in back in November in Cyprus Avenue, Cork. Chatting before their set, Aoife Power (singer & bassist) and Andrew Flood (drummer) revealed that the three were well and truly wrecked after a thoroughly enjoyable tour, and that they were looking forward to getting to head back to Limerick for a bit after their set in Cyprus Avenue. The appearance of guitarist Niall Burns signified that it was time for the three to hit the stage.

Despite being at the end of a long and tiring tour, whenyoung pulled off an energetic and highly impressive set. It was clear that they love what they do, constantly connected, smiling and interacting with each other, and with the audience, while performing, encouraging the audience to dance and thanking them for coming along. Aoife’s voice strikes a unique balance between rock-power and angelic delicacy, Andrew and Niall showcasing impressive technical skill and energy while never overpowering Aoife – each bringing their own vibe that blends so nicely together.

Before the show, we sat down with drummer Andrew to ask him a few questions.

How did whenyoung come to be?

“Limerick is a small town – we got to know each other from hanging around town, through mutual friends and house parties. There was a place called Costello which we used to always go to, and we still do when we’re back. This music was a bit different and the crowd was a bit different. We had a shared love of the same music, so that was our in.”

Had you a very musical upbringing?

“We all kind of grew into a love of music. I would have played a bit when I was younger, Aoife played a bit of traditional music. It wasn’t until we were teenagers that we found bands that we loved, older bands like The Clash or Blondie, and other bands around at the time like The Libertines, The Strokes and The Killers. It wasn’t until then that we made our way in music.”

When did ye start playing gigs?

“It wasn’t until we all moved to London within six months of each other – moving to London and not really knowing anyone, not really having a big plan, we found our arts studio and just started playing together and writing songs together. After a few weeks we booked a gig wherever we could find one – that’s how we started out really.”

Was the move to London a tactical one, for the purpose of starting a band?

“No. Niall moved over first, he always wanted to go. I took a break from university because I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to continue what I was doing, and came over and just never went back. Then Aoife came over a fee months later. Myself and Niall where already playing together so we were trying to get Aoife on board – it wasn’t really premeditated, it’s just the way it happened for us.”

Have ye an interesting story about how ye got one of your first major gigs?

“Aoife used to do gardening for the manager of Florence and the Machine, and she had a café/record shop so she gave us a gig there and started managing us for a while then. It was after that we hit a good streak and started getting good gigs and stuff!”

Biggest musical influence?

“Patti Smith. She’s someone we always come back to as an inspiration. Not just for her music, but for her whole ethos, her poetry, her writing and literature and everything.”

whenyoung’s latest single ‘Pretty Pure’ was released by Yala! records, the recording label of Felix White, formerly of The Maccabees, and Morad Khokar, music publicist. “It was amazing, because obviously we’re big fans of The Maccabees,” explains Andrew, “but also just the fact that as an independent record label they’re so incredibly supported of new music and are such an important part of the UK scene at the moment.”

‘Pretty Pure’ was a one-off single with Yala! records, however, as whenyoung have signed with Virgin TMI. “We’ve just released ‘Given Up’ as a single [with Virgin TMI], and that’s going to be part of an EP,” Andrew reveals. This EP was released on the 9th November. “Our first big release with Virgin, and we’ll be going in to record our album in November too. We’ve been ready to record an album for a while, we have a load of songs, so now that we found our producer and have got a label we’re really excited to go in and actually record it!”

Sounds like whenyoung have done a lot in the last year, and that there is lots more to come. Definitely a band to watch.

This interview was originally published in the 2018/2019 University Express Issue 7 on Tuesday 29th January in the Byline Interview section by Byline Editor, Ciara Dinneen.

You just can’t Uppbeat the Irish music scene – an interview

Originally published in the 2018/2019 University Express, Issue 8, on Tuesday 19th February 2019 – Byline Interview by Byline Editor, Ciara Dinneen (that’s me).

Ireland, it seems, is currently moving through an experimental development in regards to its music scene, producing an increasing number of artists that are veering away from the more general singer-songwriter vibe (there is nothing at all wrong with this genre, of course, but it did become the typical for a while), breaking into an interesting blend of hip-hop, rap and techno music that is contributing to the creation of a new, uniquely modern Irish sound. While many deny rap music’s place in an authentically Irish music scene, it is no surprise that rap has become a genre through which Irish artists are increasingly expressing themselves; when we look back to our root traditions of sean-nós and story-telling ballads, one cannot deny the close connection to a rap style of musical expression.

One such artist is Uppbeat, undoubtedly a name to watch in 2019. Originally from Mayo but currently living in Dublin, Finn, the man behind Uppbeat, began writing at age 11, inspired by his parents who are both painters; “because I’m really bad at any other form of creativity, I tried writing. I used to listen to a lot of punk and rock music and eventually that developed into rap. When I started listening to rap, I said to myself ‘shit I should try that’, because I used to write just pop songs. Now I’ve moved even beyond rap – I don’t know what you’d call it.” In his latest works, most notable the hit-single ‘Tsunami’ and the EP Enter Aquarius, Uppbeat displays a unique blend of rap and an intensely atmospheric vibe.

Having heard and loved Uppbeat’s ‘Tsunami’, and been excited by hearing about Uppbeat’s release of his EP Enter Aquarius, which so successfully delivers on its promise to take you on an intimate journey through the thoughts and feelings of a young person in Ireland, I was anxious to talk to Finn about his music and what Uppbeat has in store for the future. Describing the EP as “a little glimpse inside who he is as an artist”, Uppbeat explains the meaning behind the name, Enter Aquarius; “I am an Aquarius, so the EP is basically me giving you a glimpse of who I am and where I am from. It’s an introduction to Uppbeat, what he is and what he sounds like.”

You address aspects of growing up in Ireland in your music. What is it exactly you address, and what is the message you are trying to get across?

“A lot of Irish artists are tackling a very specific side of things, like one certain path, whereas a lot of the music on the EP, [Enter Aquarius], is relatable to anyone in Ireland. Like, ‘Irish Blood’ is talking about a lot of people in situations they feel they can’t survive, like in college with issues like housing, and obviously mental health, all that – basically a very mainstream person’s experience of life in Ireland. It’s not too in depth or in detail, it’s just your average day to day stuff. The EP was more music driven, it wasn’t that conceptual – I had a lot of the songs already done before, then I just pieced them together as an EP. The main idea was to capture the majority of Ireland in one vibe as opposed to one very specific walk of life.”

Where did you record the EP?

“Most of it is recorded in a studio in Swords, in North Dublin, which is run by producers Chilli and Shortcut. I stumbled across them this year – they’re absolutely incredible. ‘Tsunami’ was recorded by a guy called Tunde (mixedbysimba) – he records a lot of the urban, hip-hop stuff in Ireland, he’s based in Tallaght. One or two of the tracks were recorded with a guy called Kreo Ghost, he’s from Waterford. So between those three places, but most of it was recorded in Swords.”

What do you think of the music scene in Ireland currently?

“I absolutely love the Irish scene. I’m a fan of so many of the people in the Irish scene. I think it’s such an extraordinary scene compared to any other scene at the moment – I actually think it will be on the same level as say the UK or America; it’s got its own sound. Very few other places in the world actually have as many artists that are as developed as ours, look at the likes of Jafaris, Kojaque, Chasing Abbey and Rejjie Snow, people that have already made it, they’re all not just semi-okay artists, they’re all very, very good artists; I’d call them all top-tier artists. They’re creativity is extraordinary. In Ireland there are very few average artists; everyone is at a very high level. Their exposure may not be, but their actual music and videos and everything is top-tier, I feel.”

It is so true that the music scene in Ireland is really kicking off and seems to be going somewhere new and great…

“I think it’s in a really healthy place and that it’s going somewhere incredible. There is so much to it; it’s not as basic as it looks from the outside. There are a lot of stories. We even have an Irish drill scene, which is like the rawest strain of street music coming out of the UK. There are so many niche scenes within the Irish scene and that’s what I think it making it a healthy one; it’s not just the one sound, everyone has a completely different sound, and that’s healthy. I feel like that’s how you know a scene is going to grow. Like, there’s only about two or three sounds coming out of the UK, whereas in American there are thousands of different sounds, and the same in Ireland; there are about four or five, six, maybe ten different sounds coming out of Ireland and it’s good to see that.”

Do you think streaming sites, such as Spotify, are making it difficult for artists to make a living?

“I think Spotify is a great thing. It’s actually so easy to get your music out there on Spotify. Yeah, it is rubbish that Spotify only pays like 0.006%, but also if Spotify wasn’t there, there probably wouldn’t be any way to monetise it, so at least it’s something. One of the amazing things about Spotify is that it is so easy to discover new artists and people are actually looking for new artists. In terms of making money, that’s more of a gigs thing; that’s across the board, not just in Ireland. So it’s definitely more of a performance-driven industry than it is sales and streams.”

It’s so great to hear how positive you feel about being an Irish artist in Ireland.

“I actually feel blessed. This is the perfect time. We are so lucky to be making this music at this time in the world, because it’s only just becoming a cool thing. Like, obviously we were here before, and it was cool then, but it’s becoming so much more so; people are actually looking for new artists and loving what is coming out of Ireland and I think the Irish scene really is going to become something that people look to. They already are, like blogs wise, there is a lot of exposure coming in for the Irish scene. We just need to keep delivering and keep actually stepping up to that mark. I think we’re in a really great place and that it’s just a matter of about two years before things are at a really high level.”

Have you ever received any negative feedback, claiming that rap isn’t an authentically Irish thing and asking you why you’re doing it?

“I think that’s absolutely mental, like. We’re writers. Irish history, and going back to Irish mythology, we’ve always been writers, so I think the fact that we make rap music couldn’t make more sense. The amount of poets and the amount of different creative writing artists, and there are other amazing artists in Ireland doing others things too, but we are champions for our writers. Obviously we didn’t grow up with a culture of it in the same way that America has, but we have our own culture. If you go to Limerick, for example, it’s just a bed of culture when it comes to hip-hop; if you go there on a night out you’ll bump into someone, just a lad, chilling there, rapping or spitting bars or whatever. There definitely is a huge culture here. In terms of feedback I get, nothing too bad. Obviously it’s not all positive. Everyone around me is involved in what I do, so there isn’t anyone in my life that would be negative about it. You do get shit, like, but that’s all part of it.”

Apart from Irish traditions, are there any other cultural influences that you experiment with in your music?

“Something I find really interesting and what I’ve been playing around with a bit recently, and you can probably hear it on the EP as a lot of people would say that my accent on the EP is very African sounding, are the tones of voice that are in say afro-beat music or scat style. It’s very similar to sean-nós singing; it’s all in the same space vocally. That’s another thing I find very interesting: if we actually use that whole tonality of sean-nós singing over hip-hop music – I think that’s something that could be played around with as well, if it’s done properly. Blues is another thing: blues is huge in Ireland, and hip-hop comes from blues. It’s all connected! Where I grew up in Mayo it’s all blues bands, rock bands, and it just makes sense that that progresses into hip-hop, we’re just a few years behind the rest of the world.”

Hip-hop is incredible, but some of it does get a very bad press…

“As much as it is great, a lot of hip-hop is still incredibly sexist and homophobic; it just isn’t really saying anything. You get this over-saturation of everyone talking about the same thing and it really pushes certain stigmas and makes them stronger, which isn’t great.”

Who are some of your favourite current artists?

“I really love J. Cole, Flatbush Zombies, I love a lot of the UK scene. I literally grew up on grime, since I was about ten I’ve been listening to grime. That was a really interesting scene to see grow. A guy called Yela Wolf, he’s from Alabama, he’s incredible. On an alternative buzz, I also like the Horslips, they’re an Irish band, they’re absolutely incredible. I like so many people. Like, Irish wise I like nearly everyone on the scene. I actually don’t think there is anyone I don’t like in the Irish scene. Mura Masa is amazing, probably one of my favourite artists. FKJ, too.”

Dream collaboration?

“I don’t know why, I have a weird thing where I really want to collaborate with Lana Del Ray. I just think she’s really cool. Mura Masa would be very high up there; I’d actually love to make a whole project with Mura Masa. I’d prefer to go with people that aren’t just straight hip-hop artists, but on the hip-hop front A$AP Rocky would be really cool person to collaborate with. Yela Wolf would be amazing as well. Phil Lynott would be really cool, from Thin Lizzy, he’d be very interesting”

Who is your least favourite artist at the moment?

“To be honest, I don’t have a least favourite artist, because everything is way more than you think it is. Like, if you listen to say mumble-rap you might think ‘this is shit’ but it’s not, it’s genius – the way they can tap into tones and certain sounds, even though the artist is mumbling, it’s genius. I think it’s really ignorant when people in music are like, ‘oh all you’re doing in rap is this’ or ‘all you’re doing in country music is this’, but there is so much more to every type of music so you can’t ever right it off as shit. Obviously there is music I don’t like, like I don’t like music that promotes toxic shit. That’s something that’s really draining.”

A chat with Bee, from the Tullamore Trio ‘Chasing Abbey’

Originally published in the Byline Interview section of the 2018/2019 University Express, by myself, Ciara Dinneen, Byline Editor, on Tuesday 18th September 2018. 

From traditional trad trio to hip-hop, urban pop group Jonathan, Ronan and Ted grew up in Tullamore playing music together. Although coming from a traditional background, the guys spent the majority of their time listening to hip-hop and rap. In 2016 they began to work on making the kind of music that they loved and listen to. The result is Chasing Abbey, a unique blend of pop and hip-hop with a subtle yet distinctively urban-Irish influence. Jonathan spoke to the Express about the beginnings of Chasing Abbey and what this dynamic plan on achieving in the next few years.

Where does the name ‘Bee’ come from?

“Bee is my childhood nickname, so that’s where it comes from.”

Yourself, Ronan and Ted make up the trio that is Chasing Abbey?

“Yeah! Ronan, Ro, and Ted, Teddy C!”

I read somewhere that the three of you used to play trad together, so you come from a musical background.

“Yeah, we started off as young lads. Our families are Irish traditional sort of families in the music scene so we were brought up in that. I suppose it’s kind of the thing in the midlands, or in most places in Ireland really, that if you want to play music the first thing you play is trad, so you have your tin whistle lessons here and there, and there’s always a session or something going on, so that’s how we started. We actually met each other through that, and all happened to be in the same school, so it went from there.”

At what point did you decide to start pulling away from the traditional scene and start writing and creating your own style of music?

“I’d say it was around 2014. We were in cover bands together, so we were playing music together for a good few years before we started working on Chasing Abbey. We pulled away from all the cover bands around 2016. It was probably the start of 2016 when we said “ok we’re playing folk and trad, but when we go home we’re listening to rap and dance”. We felt we needed change, to start making music that we would listen to, so we cut involvement with other bands and the ‘ceoltas’, we got in a room for a year, bought a whole load of instruments and equipment and just started making music that we’d actually listen to ourselves. We didn’t actually know that we were working towards Chasing Abbey at the time. We hadn’t decided before we did all of this that we were going to form a group called “Chasing Abbey” and do all this sort of music. We just got into a room for a year and made tunes, and then Chasing Abbey just happened.”

Did you find that year of creating stuff difficult because the style is so different to what you had been playing before?

“Well, it was full of life; that year was full of energy. We had been stuck in this bubble of banjos and guitars and stuff, and the possibilities are endless. We had a lot of equipment available to us, like synths, so we could make any sound. It was a very interesting year. We never found ourselves bored. I suppose it was hard because we had to get used to all of the software and stuff, because usually we’re playing a physical instrument, but it was definitely a very exciting year. We still use a lot of the stuff that we wrote in that year today!”

The technical side of things must have been difficult to get used to, especially when you’re just so used to playing live…

“I did a year in music tech in LIT, so that helped us out a bit.”

Do all three of you work together with every aspect of your work, or would each of you have your own specific aspect that you’re best at and are responsible for? So, the tech-guy, the melody-maker, the lyric writer?

“An idea can come from any one of us; any one of us can come up with a lyric or a melody or something. It’s definitely very much a group effort, but when it comes to finalising stuff, I supposed I’d be on the programming and tech side, beats and stuff, while Ro would be on melody, and Ted would be on lyrics. A lot of the lyrics and stuff are co-written, there’s no set way, but when it comes to signing off on things, y’know…”

I read a bit about how you came up with the name Chasing Abbey, and it’s really interesting. Tell us about that.

“When we were in that room together for the year a lot of the tunes we were making were very pop, and so we started referring to that audience as “Abbey”. Abbey is genderless, ageless, and all that. It’s a nickname; we nicknamed the audience we were making tunes for “Abbey”. For months, whenever we made a tune, we would ask ourselves “Would Abbey like this?”. That’s how we gave a track the go-ahead or how we would decide if we should scrap it and start something else. That went on for ages, and when it came to picking a name, we had come up with loads of names but nothing was sticking, and everything was very new to us, all the names were very new. When one of us said “what about Chasing Abbey?” that felt very real because we had been referring to Abbey for so long, so then Abbey became like a symbol for ‘the dream’; Chasing Abbey, chasing the dream.”

Who would be your favourite popular artist at the moment?

“Kendrick. I speak for us all there.”

Who would be your least favourite popular artist at the moment?

“Ooh. Right, umm… I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you. I actually just don’t listen to anything I don’t like! If the other two were here (Ro and Teddy C) I’d probably be more quick fire but, no, I can’t answer that!”

What has been your favourite gig so far? The one that is most memorable.

“Our favourite gig of 2017 was 100% Indiependence. It was crazy. It was our first packed tent at a festival. We’ve played at festivals before, but only to half-filled tents y’know? I can’t remember what act it was, but whatever act was on just before us in another tent was literally just finishing before our scheduled time, and just a few minutes before our gig we were sat at side-stage being sound checked and all, and there was not one person in our tent, and were thinking “aw this is going to be terrible”. We had geared ourselves up and said “ok look, this isn’t going to be great, let’s just take it as a practice”… The next minute we turned around, the other gig had obviously just finished, and there were hundreds of people rushing into the tent! The tent was full. It filled up in that 5 minutes. It was the craziest feeling ever. Longitude as well this year was definitely another highlight so far. We have our Irish tour coming up this year so I’d say that’s going to top it.”

A lot of artists would agree that generally it’s the audience that makes or breaks a gig.

“Oh yeah, exactly, and the audience down south are just crazy!”

You’re all from Tullamore. Are you still based there?

“Yeah, we have our studio here in Tullamore. We’ll be here. We won’t move. We’ll go to and come back.”

Heart is there? In Tullamore?

“For sure.”

Where would you, Chasing Abbey, like to be in five years’ time?

“We’ll make an album next year, then tour that album, and then (in five years’ time) we’ll probably be on a tour of the second album, a worldwide tour. In five years, that’s exactly where we’d like to be. Making tunes and playing gigs, that’s all we want to do.”

If you were lucky enough to have pocketed tickets for Chasing Abbey’s sold out gig in Cyprus Avenue on Thursday 20th September, it’s the first gig of their Irish tour so get ready to party because it’s going to be a great one.

Sonic Brainwave

What would life be without music? According to Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, poet and cultural critic, life without music would be a mistake. This may seem a rather radical statement on the role that music plays in our lives, but it is entirely true; the importance of music in our world cannot be overstated. Music, it seems, has always played a major role in each and every society and tribal community throughout the course of human history, all of which had some form of music that was influenced by their culture. It is believed that the origins of music itself may possibly date back around 55,000 years. What’s more, the power and influence of music goes further than that level of societal and cultural importance; music “expresses that which cannot be said” (Victor Hugo), it “gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” (Plato). In the words of Jimi Hendrix, “music is a safe kind of high”, and a high it most certainly is.

It seems as though the power and influence of music holds no boundaries. Music has the capacity to evoke strong emotional responses from within us; music can make us feel euphorically happy and elated; music can make us feel intense sadness through sound alone, or through nostalgia for the memories that we attach to particular songs. Music is very strongly connected to memory. Just as we associate particular smells with different people or places, we associate particular songs with different memories; “I’ll Be There For You”, the Friends theme tune, will forever and always bring me back to my graduation night in secondary school. We also associate particular songs with particular people; the song your crush showed you will most likely remind you of them, or you’ll remember slow dancing with your boyfriend or girlfriend to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” whenever that song is played. A study carried out in 2009 by University of California, Davis, which mapped the brain while people listened to music, found that specific brain regions that are linked to autobiographical memories and emotions are activated when we listen to familiar music. The author of the study, Petr Janata, said “What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head. It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person’s face in your mind’s eye… Now we can see the association between those two things — the music and the memories”. These little phenomena beg the question: What does music actually do to us, to our brains, when we listen to it? Here are just a few of the occurrences explained…

What is actually happening up there, in our brains? First, the auditory cortex decomposes the music into its most basic, fundamental features such as volume and pitch; it works with the cerebellum to break down the musical information into its component parts: pitch, timbre, spatial location and duration. This information is processed by higher-order brain structures which analyse these components of the music and create a rich experience for the listener. The cerebellum has connections with the brain’s emotional centre, the amygdala, which is heavily involved in impulse control. The amygdala is processed by the mesolimbic system, which is involved in arousal, pleasure and the transmission of neurotransmitters like dopamine. This initiates a dopamine rush – the same dopamine rush we feel while eating deliciously satisfying food or having sex – producing that sensational feeling of “chills”. So yes, music is up there among the greatest joys in life; food and sex.

The Power of the Beat. According to neuroscience, our brains process rhythm differently to melody. Researchers led by Michael Thaut of Colorado State University’s Center for Biomedical Research in Music found pattern, meter and tempo processing tasks activated “right, or bilateral, areas of frontal, cingulate, parietal, prefrontal, temporal and cerebellar cortices,” while tempo processing “engaged mechanisms sub serving somatosensory and premotor information”. This has led to some intriguing discoveries: groovy music promotes corticospinal excitability, which is the cause of the strong urge to dance. Music can also cause blood to pump into the muscles in our legs, which many believe is what causes people to tap their feet. Rhythm can cause changes in heart rate and respiratory patterns, which can result in these internal cycles falling into sync with the music.

“I see music. It’s more than just what I hear.” Could Beyoncé be right here? Can one see music? Do you find yourself imagining yourself featuring in a music video for the song your listening to, creating scenarios and going through all the drama in your head? This is because listening to music activates the visual cortex found at the back of the brain in the occipital lobe. Research has found that some music caused listeners to conjure up appropriate imagery to match the changes, progression and mood of the music they were listening to. And so, there is in fact scientific validity behind Beyoncé’s claim that she can see music. Nice one, Bey.

Can music heal? Yes, it can. Research carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has shown that one in five young adults aged 19-24 experience mental health problems. Alternative treatment methods include art therapy, meditation and yoga, but music, because of its universality, easy accessibility and transmission, has perhaps the greatest potential in terms of alternative methods of therapy, and can aid people who may be unable to access other forms of care. Controlled treatment outcome studies have shown that music therapy improves symptoms and social functioning among schizophrenics. Music therapy has also proven efficient in independent treatment for reducing depressionanxiety and chronic pain. In the UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing, a paper from 2006 about the ‘Effect of music on power, pain, depression and disability’ stated that listening to music can reduce chronic pain from a range of painful conditions, including osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis, by up to 21% and depression by up to 25%.

Music has a positive effect on health in three main ways. Firstly, through the positive physical effects of music, which include direct biological changes such as reducing heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. Secondly, relatable and thought provoking lyrics that act as a way through which we can express ourselves help us to increase positive thought, aid in our ability to empathise and promote helping behaviour; music along with lyrics touches people, and may be able to reach more people than psychotherapists could. This ties in with the final mechanism, that music is a connecting experience; it brings us together, and research has shown that improved social connection and support, which can be brought about through music, can improve overall mental health outcomes, and have a profound impact on individuals’ mental health.

Now you know why you get those indescribable, incredible feeling ‘chills’ when you hear the songs you love; the goose bumps that prickle your skin, moving in a wave over your arms, emanating from that shiver down your spine. You know why your heart flutters, and falls into sync with the rhythm of the music; the music is evoking emotion and you are experiencing such powerful feeling, all of which is caused by the sound; the beat, the tone, the timbre, the rhythm, the lyrics, all combined…. There is hard scientific and biological reasoning behind the why and how music makes us feel the way that is does. How incredibly awesome is that?  

This article was originally published in the 2016/2017 UCC Express, in February 2017, available online from March 1st 2017 at uccexpress.ie.

A chat with Clodagh.

Clodagh O’Sullivan, an artist under the name Clodagh, is a dear friend of mine – we go way back to early secondary school days – so it is strange to find ourselves where we are now: years on, both in college, and at a stage in life where I am the writer interviewing my friend, Clodagh, the musician, who has just released her first single, ‘Grey Clouds’ (read my review here).

I met with Clodagh yesterday for a catch-up chat over tea (which was beyond lovely, but that’s a point for another post), and we took the opportunity in the end to put aside our personal relation for just 20 minutes or so to conduct a professional (well, relatively professional) interview. Here it is. Enjoy.

Who is Clodagh? How would you define yourself, your music and what you’re about?

Clodagh is me as an artist and I like to let the music define itself, but for me it’s all about just understanding what it is to be alive and as I am releasing my music I feel so vulnerable, like an open book, but it’s also very liberating to share my story. I am not very sure about myself as a person, but I am sure of my music; it gives me a voice and what I want to say with that voice is that where ever you are on your journey it’s totally ok, this is where I’ve been and this is where I’m going.

When did you get really into music, as in, where does your love of music stem from?

I never really got into music, it’s always been a part of my life. I went to school in the countryside and I remember the trips to and from school singing at the top of my lungs with my Dad and siblings and it grew into a passion from there. I started performing with The Contradictions and knew from there music was going to be my life no matter what.

During secoundary school, Clodagh was in a four-piece band called The Contradictions with friends Katherine Scott, Tara Murphy and Ciara Dinneen (myself).

Define your music in a general sense… How would you define/describe your own music, and what genre do you feel it fits into best?

I’m useless when it comes to genres but I would say atmospheric, maybe even experimental if I was to try and put a label on it. I was terrible at music in school because I didn’t understand it and when I did I fell in love with the weird and wonderful world of chord progressions and harmony; my music is basically me delving further into the possibilities of music and writing my story over it. It’s the perfect combination of using my head and heart together to create.

“I like to let the music define itself … I am not very sure about myself as a person, but I am sure of my music; it gives me a voice and what I want to say with that voice is that where ever you are on your journey it’s totally ok, this is where I’ve been and this is where I’m going.”

Clodagh, on her music

Song-writing is your thing – talk about your process when it comes to writing songs – where do you begin? What comes first – the lyrics or the melody?

I spend a lot of my time on the train and I use that time to read poetry and write lyrics. I use my weekends to sit at my piano and sometimes with my guitar and mess around until I find something I like and then go to my notebook for inspiration. The two processes are separate for me but always find a way of working together.

Clodagh

Talk about some of your biggest musical influences. What artists have you looked up to, and which do you continue to look up to?

I grew up listening to Irish music, the likes of The Dubliners and The Chieftains so they would have been influences of mine. ABBA was always on in the background. I wish I could say The Beatles and Queen and the likes but I didn’t discover them until I was older.

What music do you listen to in your own time?

Tom Odell would be at the top of my list. I’m always listening to The Staves, Lianne la Havas, Lisa Hannigan, Wyvern Lingo, Heathers, HAIM and Jessie Ware as well. Who else? Sigrid is releasing some good stuff at the moment, as is Billie Eilish. And I’m really getting into Maggie Rogers right now.


Which do you prefer; performing live or recording in studio? If you had to choose to do one over the other for the rest of your musical career, which would it be?

I’ve always been very awkward performing, but I do love the response you get to see in the audience, having people there listening in the moment. At the same time, I think, you get a better sense of exactly what you want people to hear when you’re in the studio – you have more control and more freedom.

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I’m gonna keep releasing music no matter what so keep an eye out! I would also love to teach music, share my passion with people. I’m very much trying to live in the present right now so the future is mine to make one day at a time so all I can say for certain is I aim to keep music as big a part of my life as it is now.

What advice would you give to anyone with a passion for making music and song-writing?

Just keep doing it. Educate yourself on the industry, knowledge is power and as my business teacher once said “Don’t be a dick”. I would also say to mind your mental health, I personally find it easier to write when I’m in a bad place which of course isn’t a good thing. You have to find the balance.

“I’m very much trying to live in the present right now so the future is mine to make one day at a time so all I can say for certain is I aim to keep music as big a part of my life as it is now.”

Clodagh, on the future

You can listen to Clodagh’s newest single ‘Grey Clouds’ on Spotify here, and find out more about Clodagh and her music on her website at clodaghosmusic.com.

Clodagh – ‘Grey Clouds’

Even before you know the story behind this song, it’s beautiful. An almost eery sound with a delicate and well-balanced blend of major to minor to major chord progressions, it verges on haunting while simultaneously holding a note of hopeful uplift – an optimistic, soothing smile in the midst of what was clearly a deeply saddening experience.

Clodagh

Having been working on her sound for many years now, Clodagh (Clodagh O’Sullivan), an incredibly talented musician from Macroom, Co. Cork, released her first single ‘Grey Clouds’ on the 25th January 2019. Well-known in her hometown for her beautiful, pitch-perfect voice, Clodagh’s music demonstrates more than purely melodic musical talent – for Clodagh, music is about expression, and it is in her lyrics that this shines through the most.

Coming from a deeply personal place with all of her music, Clodagh’s poetic lyrics in ‘Grey Clouds’ reveal the emotions of loss. ‘Grey Clouds’ is an expression of what Clodagh went through after the passing of her grandmother, Nora Walsh, to whom the song is dedicated.

“The song is my therapy. It deals with issues I’ve suppressed my whole life and that I’m finally ready to open up about and share with the world”

Clodagh, on her single ‘Grey Clouds’

You can listen to Clodagh’s ‘Grey Clouds’ on all music streaming sites. Find out more about Clodagh, and keep updated on her website at clodaghosmusic.com

A chat with Laura Misch

An absolute beauty with a sweet nature that resembles in ways the powerful delicacy and gentility of her voice, Laura Misch is a London-based musician who works from her music room at home in which she creates an experimental sound even she cannot yet define. Laura, sister to the also highly-musically-talented Tom Misch, is currently working on her music, and fans of Laura are waiting patiently for an album that we hope is on the horizon. We have enjoyed the release of three singles since Laura’s album Playground was released in May 2017, ‘Lagoon’ in February 2018 and ‘I Adore’ in August 2018. Laura’s newest single, ‘Hibernate’, was released on the 11th January this year.

Delicate, pure and wholesome in character, her music embodies that same timid softness that she does, while also exemplifying a note, albeit a soft one, of resolute power and strength. I had the pleasure of corresponding with Laura through email, an interaction in which she so openly told me about herself and the personal music projects she has produced thus far, and the ones she continues to work on. I want to publish the responses here exactly how I received them: with no upper case letters and some smiley faces throughout.


Laura Misch

Introduce yourself! How would you define yourself, who you are and what you’re about!
hey! my names laura, i make diy music and art at home, been making sax soundscapes and songs for a couple of years now and doing an experimental one woman show. 

Where did your love and passion for music begin?
from copying people around me, family and friends – i see it a bit like cooking, just something you can do to nurture yourself and others. 

What instruments do you play? If you had to pick, which instrument would be your favourite?
sax is my main, the others i like to experiment with, see what sounds i can make by recording note by note. freezing time is an important part of producing for me so i am very grateful to tech and DAWS. 

Talk about some of your biggest musical influences. What artists have you looked up to, and which do you continue to look up to?
this changes all the time as i find a busker on the street as inspiring as a house hold name, but certainly bjork, i resonate with because i feel like she’s so vulnerable. 

What music do you listen to in your own time?
mostly instrumental, recently lots of nhils frahm, jon hopkins and rival consoles. 

How would you define/describe your own music, and what genre do you feel it fits into best?
This q always stunts me, i have so much unreleased music that i think its hard to define and im not sure atm as its very much a baby project, i think in a year i will be able to define it :)))) lets ask this q again then plz!

You record and produce your own music from home. Why so? Do you feel this allows you more control over the finished pieces? Would you be open to signing with a record label or are you happy and want to continue doing your own thing?
so right now ive got cabin fever from spending too much time at home so i would say mainly its because it makes it sustainable, i cant afford to hire out a studio at this stage, certainly it gives you a degree of control, but also it takes control away as you don’t have access to the equipment that would give you optimal control, but i always try and just use the tools i have around me or can borrow of friends. i think the label question is a complicated one as it really depends on the people you are working with and what the project needs. im open, but also happy working independently for now. 

Which do you prefer; performing live or recording yourself at home? If you had to choose to do one, over the other for the rest of your musical career, which would it be?
haha they are so different! they are like two sides of a coin for me and balance each other out. if i had to chose i would record my self performing live at home?! to squeeze in both 🙂 

What are your hopes and plans for the future?
to keep refining, till i find the right tool kit, and create a sonic and visual language that enables me to express in the most authentic way. 
– and then to collaborate more! don’t want to hermit forever.

end of interview

Laura Misch (right) playing with brother Tom Misch (left/centre).

It is always a wonderful feeling to hear back from artists who you love and admire and to get the opportunity to speak with them, or correspond with them in any way at all. I’ve said it before; I am and always will be so grateful for the opportunities that being involved with student media and the University Express (formerly UCC Express) newspaper in UCC has opened up for me.

Here’s hoping that I keep my foot in it, journalism and interviews, in some way or another when I graduate – maybe this, ciaraday.com, will be it.

Ciara D. 30/1/2019

This interview was originally published in the 2018/2019 University Express, Issue 5.