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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

This article was first published
on CLUAS in April 2006

Interview with El Presidente

Aidan Curran catches up with Johnny McGlynn from El Presidente...

Johnny McGlynn of El PresidentePlace des Ternes is a too-fashionable area of Paris close to the Arc de Triomphe. No better place, then, for a triumphant showcase gig by one of the hottest bands in Europe.

El Presidente are currently filing the airwaves and selling out shows across the continent. Their eponymous debut album was one of the revelations of 2005 - a flashy combination of Prince's soulful pop and the rock swagger of T. Rex, backed up by the catchiest of radio-friendly tunes. Big-name fans include such diverse figures as Simon Le Bon (whose own band shared a similar sound in their early-80s singles) and Liam Gallagher (not normally known to praise bands outside of his own family circle).

Led by the classic front-man showmanship of Dante Gissi, the band's line-up of ready-to-rock glamourpusses includes none other than Johnny McGlynn from Boyle in Co. Roscommon, who will already be known to Irish music fans from his earlier band The Marbles. Johnny took time out from a hectic promotional schedule to give CLUAS the lowdown on being Ireland's hippest rock star.

How did you come to be in El Presidente?

When The Marbles were winding down I was feeling a bit jaded, and I needed something fresh and fun. I had been in London for a while at that stage, so I headed up to Glasgow, played music with different people - and that's how I came to meet these guys.

At what stage was the band at when you joined?

Well, all of the songs for this album had already been written by the time I met up with them.

So does this mean that you're taking time out from your own music, band, etc?

No, not at all. I'm still writing my own music - as a matter of fact, I'm working on stuff with the guys from The Marbles. But as you can imagine, I haven't been able to work much on it because this [El Presidente] is taking up all my time!

So what does El Presidente have lined up for the coming months?

We're going to do the festivals - T in the Park, in particular. We've just got back from Japan and it went so well that we're going back there again in May! And we're working on new material too, of course.

Will we be seeing you at an Irish festival this summer, then?

There are no Irish dates at the moment, strangely enough. I'd love to do some, of course. We toured with Jamiroquoi last year, including their Irish shows, but none of our own for the time being.

With the Prince and Bolan vibes, and the glamorous-rock-star look, it's all a bit different from the indie-ness of The Marbles, don't you think?

Yeah, that's true - but I always liked that kind of music, you know? And anyway, I've always enjoyed showing off, being a bit of a peacock!

Interview was conducted by Aidan Curran