Dublin and Kilkenny hip-hop act Loud Motive have been around the Irish scene for quite sometime: you can go back four years and find beautiful tracks put together with now-superstar Loah, and also uncover an early guise of the band that had five members, instead of their current three, and sounded distinctly different.
In recent years, they’ve been at their most creative, however, working with Danny Sabre (U2, Madonna), on new singles ‘Astronaut’, and putting together a vast collection of tunes over the course of the covid lockdown. For all the behind the scenes work, they’ve become a huge live act, too, with a focus on producing hip-hop in a more live and diverse way.
I caught up with them for a quick Q+A around the new single, as they gear up for a big summer…
Congrats on Astronauts, can you tell me a bit about the story behind the track?
We made Astronauts last year at Crossroads studios in Kilkenny. Astronauts is one of many tracks in our catalogue that we wrote on the spot with nothing pre-written. It was very organic, we were messing around with sounds trying to construct something in the studio. Once we started making the beat, something was telling us that this one was going to be special, so Marv was writing lyrics as the beat was coming along. The main topic behind it was perseverance through tough times and not giving up.
How do you craft your lyrics, in terms of process?
Marvell: I often switch up the approach depending on the track, the moment or how I’m feeling if I’m to be honest. Sometimes a feeling takes over when making music where you hear the beat and you’re inspired to write based on what’s on your mind and heart at that moment in time, on the spot. I’ve also pre-written something before inspired by a certain topic or event and then its about acknowledging or making the right beat that the lyrics sit well with.
You’ve been around a few years now. How does the post-covid Loud Motive compare to the earlier guises
We believe say we are a lot more focused now, and we’ve been working a lot harder on the music just to make sure what we release is what we envisioned. Obviously, the big thing was we went from being a five-piece to a three-piece group, but we adapted to the workload well and very quickly, because us three grew up together and have played music together for so long that we all know our strengths and refused to give up on LM.
Another thing is the catalogue has expanded tremendously because we used the covid time as a period to create. We are a lot more driven right now to succeed, something just feels different, timing is everything and this just feels like the right time.
Can we expect an album somewhere down the track?
Absolutely! We have a catalogue of music demos we recorded during the covid period that we are itching to release. An album is definitely on the cards, but we want a body of work that represents something important and that represents us. We can’t tell you exactly how far down the line the
album is but most definitely its in our plans for the near future.
How was working with Danny Sabre?
Danny Sabre was very interesting person to work with, he had great ideas for the track we worked on. It was an honour. I think its time we get back in there with him to see what else we can cook up.
You come from DR Congo originally. Does Ireland give fair opportunities to immigrants in your views?
Ireland is evolving and growing year in year out that’s the best thing. But we still think Ireland can do better. Not enough immigrants are getting fair opportunities. There is a wealth of culture in Ireland that we are yet to explore, and I think we can improve on that as Ireland is such a great nation, the best in Europe. We need to celebrate our cultures and the different backgrounds that we have here more, that makes this country so great.
How do your backgrounds play into your sound?
Yes, we incorporate many elements of the music we grew up with within our tracks. All different kinds of genres, a lot of Congolese influence at times because our parents would’ve introduced us to that music at a young age. Then we discovered things like jazz, grime, rock, pure hiphop. Most of us started playing music in church because our families were extremely church orientated, so the gospel element or style of play is sometimes there in the music but not all the time.
How does the progress of Irish Hip-Hop in general over the last few years helped acts that are coming through now?
The recognition of Irish hip-hop over the last few years has helped a lot of the new artists coming through by giving them a platform allowing them to showcase their talent. Some of us have been here for so long its obvious to see that there is a certain buzz around the genre now that there wasn’t before. And that’s all because the Irish hip-hop scene has kept moving in a fruitful direction and this has allowed some of the popular Irish hip-hop artists today that you hear on radio to announce themselves properly. Really and truly the future is bright and it can only get better from here.
Do you feel playing ‘live’ as far as possible as a hip-hop act benefits your style and sound?
Playing live most definitely allows us to really showcase the talent that the LM musicians possess because we can make the records sound good no problem, but when it comes to the live aspect, we take it to another level where we can explore the more intricate side of the music. We push boundaries when playing live and often completely change the approach to a track because we have the freedom to do so. Playing live really allows us to express ourselves in ways we just couldn’t on a record, and this is beneficial to our style, and it makes us different. When we play live you get the whole experience!
What are your hopes for the future?
We hope to play a fundamental role in the growth of Irish hip-hop. We hope that we get opportunities that will allow us to showcase what Ireland has to offer on a national and global stage and more. For the culture as black Irishmen people will see the beauty of diversity and the different kind of talents we have to offer. We hope that music can becoming our 9-5 as we are so passionate about everything seeing how far we’ve come and the obstacles we’ve had to overcome.
Astronauts by Loud Motive is out now.