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David Keenan

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David Keenan: “I think I see things with an optimistic realism, but through a lens of romanticism”

Perhaps the strangest thing about David Keenan’s wild developmental story – still unfolding slowly after years of slow-building to the heights of an Olympia Theatre headline slow – is how long it’s taken the Dundalk man to release an album.

Keenan is an intense character, his words flowing with the considered, poetic bent of someone who’s spent a lot of time thinking about what the world means, and his own place in it.

Talking to him about his music is a strange experience, uncomfortably intimate at times, having a top-class songwriter look you in the eye and talk off the cuff in a way that isn’t all that dissimilar to the way he delivers his lyrics. The album ‘A Beginner’s Guide To Bravery’ is now just around the corner, being due just after Christmas, and is very much a long-term project.

“It’s a consequence of living,” Keenan says of his record. “It’s a kind of bookmarking of a certain period. There are songs on the record from four years ago, and others I wrote this year. They’re a byproduct of my own individuality, so in a way they’ve been developing since I was a child.”

“A collection of things have aligned. I’ve been releasing EPs for a couple of years, with the intention of getting a body of songs that tell a story. It’s always been about telling that story, not just a collection of strangers on a record. There’s a lineage between each song, but they have to have their own personality, too. It’s the story of my evolution, moving to Dublin, finding a stride, the emotional journeys.”

“It’s also been about getting the right band, and recordings that I was happy with. That was a lot about getting people I trusted into the band. I did it live, and that was important to me. Life isn’t click tracked.”