Articles: Interviews

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2009 sees the third year of one of Ireland's fastest growing and most interesting music festivals: Cork X Southwest. The August bank holiday will see picturesque Skibbereen awash with music-lovers as The Waterboys, Lisa Hannigan and Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club among many others take to the stage. Sig Doherty catches up with Lisa Hannigan. Hello Lisa, where are you this Irish summer’s morning? Currently in Galway, we had a gig in the Roisin Dubh last night and have another one tonight, so waking up in rainy Galway Now the shackles have been discarded, how are you revelling in your new found freedom as a solo performer? Great!  I have a really amazing band around me who are also my friends. It’s an absolute pleasure travelling around with these people, and the tour manager (Una Molloy) is my best mate. It just has been amazing! And we have been writing songs on the road as well, and slowly getting better at that! It’s going really grand. ... [Read on]
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Katie Kim
Interview with Waterford's Katie Kim Katie Kim is one of the many fine acts to emerge from Waterford in recent times. Her album last year, Twelve, met with a warm critical reception with Donal Dineen championing ‘Radio’ on his show and Jim Carroll dubbing it a “subtle, slow-burring magic”. Earlier this year she jetted off to Toronto, but she returned recently. She talked to Cluas to discuss Canada, the ups and downs of her career to date, and the future. So, Katie, you have been in Canada a few months at this stage. How has it been treating you? Well I was there for around 3 months. I'm back now. There’s still a big question mark looming over my head about why I went at the particular time I did. Twelve had just been released, I adored my band, I was starting to get used to the live situation and the album just started getting some really good attention. But I had been living in Ireland for a long, long time and as excited as I was abou... [Read on]
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An interview with Leeds-based Official Secrets Act Formed in 2006 in Leeds' Official Secrets Act are a new sharply dressed indie fourpiece. Combining the angular riffs of Franz Ferdinand with the synth-based melodies of the 80’s New Romantic era their new CD Understanding Electricity is out now.   The new album is out and you must be delighted with it. Was it an arduous process to record or was it quite easy and natural? The challenge with making a first album is whether you record the 12 best songs you've ever written as a band up until that point, or whether you select songs with the concept of an 'album' and some kind of consistency in mind. For us, with the recession kicking in and thoroughly disillusioned with the fruits of our education, we were determined to choose songs that we could use to combat our overwhelming scepticism, with romance and escapism. After that it was a question of pushing each song as far as it could go until it found it... [Read on]
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John Shelly and the Creatures are on the crest of a wave, garnering much momentum, having an Ireland- and UK-wide TV add use one of their fine tunes and having just sold out Whelans on the day of rest...surely its time for the masses to embrace Ireland's answer to Wilco...well? Sig Doherty catchs up with the 'Creatures mid-tour? How are you and where are you? Good thanks! Just sitting in a car on the way down to the Spirit Store in Dundalk munching on Percy Pigs. NITB using 'Long May You Reign' for its TV advert: how did this come about? (One of you guys give brochures out to Spanish and German backpackers one summer?) It all came about when we were contacted by Promotion Company Bruised Fruit who told us that the Advert Company were interested in using the track. Next thing we knew...we were on the telly! ..doesnt get much more interesting than that I’m afraid! With 2007's fine EP Big Day Out spawning first single 'Angeline' and no... [Read on]
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Padraig Rushe
  Padraig Rushe, formerly of the Dublin Gospel Choir, has just released his debut album Greyworld on Loud Child Records. Currently touring Ireland with his band, his music features a broad array of influences with a soul/gospel flavour taking centre stage. Padraig talks to Cluas...   You've played some live dates recently, with your style so varied what kind of audiences have you been getting? It's been a brilliant mix so far of rockers, soul junkies and pop fans alike and all ages which is really great as an artist to see different people getting into the music.   Is it difficult to tour with a large band so early on in your solo career? No, after six years touring with the gospel choir touring with ten people feels like I'm traveling light and I've known everyone in the band so long, so its really fun!   You use the term "retro-soul" to describe your music... [Read on]
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Larry Beau
Larry Beau, or Declan Burke as he is known to some, is a singer/songwriter from Galway. A singular and unique talent on the Irish music scene he is a man of many guises. A wandering minstrel with baroque tendencies(if you will) Larry’s sound is a difficult one to pin down. It’s best to listen yourself and form your own definition. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how did you overcome them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? After about 5 different titles I finally settled for I Dream of Tiger Rose. The album is back from duplication now so it’s unlikely that I’ll fickle my way towards another name change. It took me a while to be satisfied with the final canvas but now I think I have an album that will age pretty well, something that I won’t drop-kick with shame 3 months down the line. I aimed for a music project that was old and new at the same time, a melody world that ... [Read on]
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Alias Empire
By now you’ve probably heard the news that Choice-nominated indie-electro merchants Dry County have changed their name to something more distinctive and less country-rock. Ahead of the band’s upcoming shows around Ireland, Alias Empire’s Kevin Littlewood tells CLUAS about recording the new album, getting the new name known and making music in the recession-plus-Internet era.   You're currently working on your second album. What can you tell us about writing and recording it so far? When (and how) do you expect to release it? Very soon after the 1st album was finished we were writing again. It's a constant process. The whole idea of making albums for us is that each one sums up a particular time and mood with obvious progression from the last. You need to always push yourself to make better records. Some bands find a formula and just stick to it, but I think we'd get very bored putting out the same stuff.   The new material we’re w... [Read on]
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  Formerly the guitarist with the brilliant and much-missed Irish rockers Ten Speed Racer, Pat Barrett - working under the moniker of The Hedge Schools - quietly re-emerged last year with the release of his rather excellent and quite underrated debut solo album ‘Never Leave Anywhere’. Ken Fallon recently caught up with the Dublin-born musician to see what the current state-of-play is… ‘Never Leave Anywhere’ is one of the more quietly impressive Irish albums I’ve heard in the last few years. Could you tell us a little about how it came to fruition? Well, to be honest, even during the Ten Speed Racer days we were all writing and I’ve been writing for maybe ten years now, so the time seemed just right. Waiting for a free window in Joe’s (Chester, producer and former TSR bandmate) diary was also a key factor but I was really in the head-space on a personal level to sit down and start recording, so we did. What made ... [Read on]
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Exploding on to the Irish music scene in 2007 with the infectious Love Like Nicotine, Dark Room Notes have become famous for their energetic live shows.  Here, Steve O'Rourke sits down with Ruairi Ferrie to talk about capturing that energy on record, the bands unique approach to recording and what the recession means for Irish bands. For those of us who cover Irish music it feels like Dark Room Notes have been around for ages now; how does it feel to finally release your debut album We Love You Dark Matter? For some of us in Dark Room Notes there is a similar feeling, but we also feel that it took a necessary amount of time to get all the conditions right to produce this album. It was only when we hooked up with the right people that it all came together. We had originally hoped to release it last year, but didn't consider it ready, so we did more work. Listening to it now, we feel that that decision has been justified. We've lived with these ... [Read on]
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Hooray for Humans
Hooray for Humans have been on the Irish scene for over two years and have just come back from playing a gig in Canada. Niamh Madden catches up with the four-piece and asks them about albums, Cork bands and New York. How did Hooray for Humans get together, and where did the name come from?   H4H started out about two and a half years ago. I was playing in a few other bands and wanted to do something different to what I'd been playing up until that point, so I just threw up a notice on a couple of forums like Thumped, MySpace and the like. It took a while but two friends of mine got in contact so we started jamming. Straight away we felt pretty good about what we were doing so we gave it a bit more time. They've since left the band (we're still friends though!) and there are now 4 people in H4H - myself, Jen, Lewis and Matt. The name comes from a song by a band called Q And Not U, who were one of my favourite bands and a huge influence on me and what I was l... [Read on]
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