posted on January 22, 2009 18:00
Depending on where and when you came in to the Irish music scene, Conor O'Brien will be known to you either as part of the much-lamented The Immediate, the guitarist in Cathy Davey's touring band, or the lead man in his new project, the folky but smoky Villagers. Simon Doherty fired a few questions across cyberspace at him ahead of the Villagers upcoming EP.
How are you sir?
I'm ok, visiting my folks this evening, typing the answers to this interview on my mother's kitchen table. Headphones on. Slightly disconnected.
The new tunes sound great, what are the plans for releasing an EP or album?
Thank you. We're releasing an EP in February, 500 copies only, mainly to sell at shows, but we might put them in some shops if we don't get too lazy. There's more than enough material for an album, so I'm sure it'll slip out at some stage this year!
Any murmurings from labels? Is signing for a major even in the masterplan or are you gonna go down the DIY route that so many other Irish bands /artists are now doing?
Jeez I don't know... I find it tough answering questions like that, I find it hard enough planning my day. At the moment all I'm thinking about is this little stop-motion video I'm making, and worrying that it may be eating into songwriting time. My god it's taking a long time.
In Towers and Clouds, one of my favourite ever albums, is quite a quality benchmark.....you must be so proud being a part of that album?
Yes I'm very proud of being part of it. Personally, I can't listen to it, but I am proud of it.
Are you still in contact with David, Peter and Barra [of The Immediate]?
Is the pope partial to a warm glass of milk each night before he lays his hateful head on his silken pillow?
Favourite gig of 2008?
Hmm.. I didn't get much of a chance to actually see many gigs, but the one that had most of an effect on me was Bonnie 'Prince' Billie in Vicar Street. I think it was part of a festival... sorry, the name escapes me. Was it a Foggy Notions thing? Anyway, it was really great.
Favourite album of 2008?
Shit I can't think of any 2008 albums at the moment... the first album that popped into my head was 'Night Falls Over Kortedala' by Jens Lekman, but I've just done a wikipedia and it was released in October '07 - is that close enough? I love it because it makes you laugh until your belly hurts, and then he hits you with his particular brand of raw emotion while your defences are down. I think 'Postcard to Nina' is the best example of this. I actually hated it when I heard it first, but it stayed in my head, begging for a 2nd chance. "Please Conor", it whined, "please listen again.. I won't dissappoint you". And it was true to its word.
How have you found working / touring with Cathy Davey?
It's been a very purple experience. Cathy is a very gifted person. To say that it is an honour to join her and her fellow bandmates onstage each night is most definitely an understatement.
Is there any irish band / artist you would like to collaborate with?
I don't really like the idea of collaboration anymore - I'm quite aware that I'm progressing quite nicely with this writing business on my own. I think I'd like to keep it like that, at least for the next week or so.
Interview by Sig Doherty