Thurles outfit Bright Falls tackle their fears in latest single ‘Come Of Age’, with debut album ‘Dusk’ just around the corner. Their mix of influences, which includes grunge and The Grateful Dead, make for an inventive and varied rock sound with a nice spattering of mellotron along the way.
I talked to vocalist Eddie McCormack ahead of the album’s release, and he went in-depth on the story behind the album…
First of all, congrats on the new record. Tell me about the story behind it…
Thanks. The idea for ‘Dusk’ came from a song that I had written in 2019, which we had recorded and released in 2020, called ‘The Widows’ Homes’. After writing that song I just wanted to tell more of the story. I felt like that track needed a beginning and an end in the form of a full LP.
Dusk is a ‘divorce’ record told from the perspective of someone who struggles to come to terms with the break-up of the relationship. So it’s a journey from nostalgia to heartbreak to the fear of being alone and eventually finding clarity. A lot of this was inspired from other break-up records like Springsteen’s ‘Tunnel of Love’, ‘Kanye West’s ‘808’s & Heartbreak’, and Turnover’s ‘Peripheral Vision’.
Can you tell me a story or two from the tracks on the record – what are they about?
The opening track ‘Dusk’ is about the early days of the relationship, It’s basically the protagonist being caught in a nostalgia coma and almost refusing to face up to the fact that the relationship is disintegrating in front of them. As much as it is about nostalgia it is also about confusion and desperation and hoping for reconciliation.
One of my favorite tracks from the record is ‘Settling’, this is where the character finally realises the relationship is finished. From here they go into basically a downward spiral. This song has a lot of angst. The protagonist is looking back on the relationship with a view that it was essentially doomed from the start. It’s really hopeless, maybe a little melodramatic too. But I enjoy that.
Do you feel the full length record builds on the story of Bright Falls, and how?
I feel that Dusk is much more representative of what I want Bright Falls to be. Our first release was an EP and it’s pretty much worlds away from what Dusk is. I have written hundreds of songs but this was the first time I actually wrote an album. The first release was definitely a learning curve for figuring out what I wanted to represent me as an artist. At the moment I am writing LP 2 and it’s going in a different direction from what Dusk is. But I guess that’s the fun in songwriting for me, being able to see your growth as an artist and expressing yourself in a way that’s true to yourself.
It’s fairly unusual to see an Irish act cite The Grateful Dead – how do they play into what you do?
That was for our track Come of Age that we recently released. Come of Age was written around the same time as The Widows’ Homes, so around 2019, and I remember getting into a lot more of The Grateful Dead in 2018, I Think I had American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead on rotation back then. For Come of Age I had this riff, and I felt like it was something Jerry Garcia would play and I tried to inject some of the Dead into that track… I’m not sure how much of a Grateful Dead vibe anyone gets off that song but they were an influence for sure when approaching guitar parts for that track.
What’s the Thurles music scene like at the moment?
For a town of 8000 people the Thurles music scene is absolutely booming. For some reason in this small town there’s a lot of people who write their own music. Lucky enough there are plenty of people who want to hear original music in Thurles which just helps foster that creativity. A big part of that for me was ‘Whistle This’, which is a monthly singer-songwriter night in Thurles, run by Tom Lyons. Having someone who can give a platform to young, at the time, singer-songwriters is so important in keeping original music alive.
How is the band/ solo dynamic – and where do you fit into it?
Bright Falls started off as just myself for a number of years, playing more folk/alt-country influenced music, then eventually I put a band together and with a few lineup changes we have some sort of a steady ship going. I really enjoy having the band, I don’t really want to do anything solo anymore. The rhythm section of Kevin Callanan on drums and Tom Shorley on bass is an absolute joy to play with, and gives myself and John Callanan, the second guitar player, the foundation to collectively ‘lose our shit’. So I guess the best way to describe it is Bright Falls is me but also Bright Falls is us.
How have you found trying to gather media attention from outside the traditional Irish music hotbeds?
Extremely difficult and with little to no success. It’s hard. But there is so much music being released every week, which means there’s so many emails being sent to journalists every week, so it’s hard to cut through all that, especially when you are an artist at the very bottom of the music industry with no real buzz, no PR budget, and no viral tiktok videos. Even within Ireland it’s very difficult to get media attention because there’s so much Irish music being released now.
What are your hopes for the future?
Just to keep growing as an artist and as a human. I want to stay making music for the love of the art and to keep it real.