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Post-Party: “There’s definitely Something big on the horizon”

As one of those acts that were just building up a head of steam when the music industry shut down entirely at the start of the pandemic, Post-Party have been thrown into an interesting time of career conundrum. How, for example, do you maintain a reputation as a massive live band, whilst keeping your name out there in the midst of an enforced sabbatical?

It’s turned out they have the answers. With latest single ‘Wasting Time’ lighting up Spotify playlists and previous effort ‘Being Honest’ featuring on cult TV show Made In Chelsea in recent months, the Dublin four-piece are building towards something bigger than a single, and have uncovered a passion for video production along the way, too.

“There’s definitely something big on the horizon,” they say. “In terms of new songs, we have loads in the bank, we’re just waiting for the right time to release them into the world.”

“It usually starts out with one of us writing the bones of a song, and bringing it to someone else in the band,” they say of the process of producing their music. “They may add more ideas. We usually jam it out in a rehearsal and see how far we can get with it, and if we’re happy we’ll bring it into Logic and start to fine line out parts separately. Keelan will then add his magic touch and we’ll have a great sounding demo that can communicate our ideas fully to our producers.”

Returning to that production process, and the stage, will be key for the boisterous pop-rockers. “It’s definitely not been fun,” they say. “We went from playing Electric Picnic and supporting Miles Kane to not even being able to see each other. We’re gonna be rehearsing together constantly for the next couple of months until we finally get back to gigging.”

“When you want to release music at the highest quality, the industry is very financially straining, especially when there’s no live shows. The only real source of income for artists is sync deals and streaming revenue. Although these days, with a DAW [Digital Audio Workstation] and a great producer, you can do anything.”

Baba Music: “As a woman I have found you have to fight and fight to be heard”

Lyndsey Putt Photography

Siobhan Lynch – or Baba Music, when she’s performing – is keen to be an icon for social change, and that filters through to her music. Self-examining but also socially conscious, she writes music that reflects where her heart sits, and explores her impact on the world, and the world’s impact on her.

In new single ‘Keep You Safe’, for example, Lynch reflects on the vulnerable and how she can be there for them, pouring her beliefs into the words she delivers.

“‘And they try to shame the skin you’re in, until you shed. Black, white, fat, trans, perfect 10, they’re afraid’… I love these lyrics from the new track ‘Keep You Safe’,” Lynch tells me. They came to me really quickly after writing the melody.” 

“As a woman I have found you have to fight and fight to be heard and listened to. We are always too fat, too skinny, too loud, too quiet. The list goes on. So for me, accepting that this might be a fact of life gave me a certain freedom, I could let myself off the hook a little, everything wasn’t always my fault. Unfortunately it is a way of the world, not to say that it’s right or should be tolerated but to think in those terms, makes it easier to keep fighting to be heard…”

It’s not just the single that will reflect these beliefs. As Lynch moves forward – both back towards performing live, and with the production of a record she hopes might appear some time next year – she will continue to address her own realities deeply within her music.

“I find it difficult to write about anything that hasn’t affected me, everything I write about are things I’ve heard, seen or felt.” Lynch says. “I am an extremely curious person, I go to counselling once a week and I love finding out about what makes me feel a certain way, or why I might behave or react in a certain way and that really helps my writing.” 

Three Underneath: “A lot of my lyrics are sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek or at the very least, cynical”

Dublin rockers Three Underneath have been one of those slow-building bands, a set up that have taken six years to get a debut album, preferring to make their noise live instead.

It’s paid off, too, with their ambitious self-titled debut album launched recently to ample comparison to the Foo Fighters, and a digital version (click the name above) available with a full digital ‘festival’ on their website. I spoke to them about it all just as the album came out…

First of all, talk me through the debut – a long time coming, what can we expect?

Yes, a long time coming! But this is our calling card. Our real debut! There’s 11 tracks total. A couple are written upon early demos, but most of the album was written last year. We were delighted to get to work with Aidan Cunningham [Overhead, The Albatross and The Scratch] because he has a really unique, analogue sound. A lot of the album was recorded at my home studio which is all digital, so him mixing the vocals and then mastering the whole thing made everything beautifully balanced out. Legend!

What will you consider a success for the record?

We’re giving the album away for free! The digital version anyway. Not “pay what you like” either, completely free. We’re pressing 1000 copies of the physical album, in high quality print, limited edition. I have no doubt these will sell out, but a true success will be hearing the songs sung back at our live shows. The album inlay has gorgeous artwork and all the lyrics printed. The record is the homework! Get learning…

Let’s allow for short attention spans… if listeners are going to check out one of your tracks, what should they listen to?

My personal favourite is ‘You’ve Been Had’, the intro track on the record. For our YouTube fans, that’s the “Bank Robbery” video. But I’ve been told by many that ‘All You Can Do’ is the catchiest. That was a really early demo that we then worked on again last year.

Crowded House: “We were trying to get back into that almost teenage mindset of making a racket with an electric guitar”

Nick Seymour, bassist in Australiasian stars Crowded House, has been riding the coronavirus outbreak with us here in Ireland. A long-time resident of Sligo, Seymour and his band were making a new record when the coronavirus crisis hit, and Seymour steamed home to Ireland’s west coast, while the record production went on digitally. 

The band are highly international in their approach now, but their first record in a decade, ‘Dreamers Are Waiting’, is nevertheless atypical of their approach, and saw the incorporation of new members.

“We started out recording the album in November 2019,” Seymour explains, “in Los Angeles. We went into a rehearsal room and tried to make sense of some of the ideas being tabled as potential songs, and jam our way into arrangements and so on. We had to integrate Neil [Finn]’s two sons and Mitchell Froom, who we’d only ever done pre-production before.”

“We were trying to get back into that almost teenage mindset of making a racket with an electric guitar. We were rehearsing and recording a little in this vintage studio, and then we moved to United Studio on Sunset Boulevard. That was meant to be the clincher studio with the serious takes.”

That wasn’t how things worked out, however.

“We realised the stuff we’d recorded in Valentine, this locked up museum-like studio, were as good as they were going to get, so we started working on those and tracked a few new songs. And then covid happened, and we started to realise it was a bit every man for himself in the US, the law of the jungle.”

Bobsleigh Bob: “the closer you look the more detail you see”

Measuring a coastline is one of those long-standing abstract problems. The length, ultimately, is what you want it to be, depending on whether you measure the broadest shapes of a headland or the edges of each tiny angle. And whether the tide is in or out.

That seems to be where Bobsleigh Bob is going with his debut album, aptly titled ‘How To Measure A Coastline’: an album full of playful but abstract takes on life and how to cope with its changes and its progress, glancing at the obvious and the more subtle along the way.

“The album actually started title-first and then I worked back from there,” Rob Davis, a Dubliner based in Limerick, tells us. “I heard a conversation on a podcast (I think it was ‘No Such Thing as a Fish’) about how difficult it is to measure coastlines, and how the closer you look the more detail you see. That idea that we can step back and see a simple picture, or lean in really close and get a very different and complicated answer really stuck with me.”

“I happened to hear that at a time when I was getting back into making music for the first time in years. So I sat down and started playing with the idea and tried to musically represent that coastline dichotomy with long sweeping sounds contrasted with more detailed complex ones. The result was a sprawling 10 minute instrumental piece which I called ‘How to Measure a Coastline’, which over the following couple of years slowly became the song ‘Twine’ from the album.”

“It made me think about how the same applies to everything that we do; relationships, everyday decisions, work, the list goes on. So then when it came to lyrics, that led me to draw on relevant stuff for inspiration. And again that started with ‘Twine’. “I’ve asked you twice, I’ve asked you kindly, I’ve asked you not to look too close. There’s too much detail and too much time, too many corners and too much twine.”

Davis’ album was penned over a three-year period, but emerges into a world where live shows are just about to reopen, and that’s something he’s particularly looking forward to, despite the record being full of self-examination.

Scouting For Girls: “Every situation we went into, we thought it might never happen to us again”

When Scouting For Girls emerged in the mid-00s, they weren’t quite the polished, manufactured-type boy band many quickly assumed. Having been playing together for years, the London three-piece’s smash breakthrough ‘She’s So Lovely’ was in fact the culmination of several different acts with similar personnel and years on the stage, going way back to 1995.

Their journey since has been an undulating one: huge hit shows in front of thousands, followed by a fading from chart popularity that left a massive cult following behind. That cult following is significant enough to have Roy Stride, Greg Churchouse and Peter Ellard releasing a blend of originals and cover music to this day, as they explore a career based heavily on a simple idea: make it a whole lot of fun.

“Our new album was an escape from lockdown, and a nostalgic look back to the past while everything else was falling apart,” Stride tells us on new record ‘Easy Cover’, which is predominantly a collection of 80s cover tracks. “It was also a response to having a studio booked and someone wasn’t able to come. I didn’t have any songs ready to go, so I started recording.”

“The actual idea came when we were traveling back from Dublin on a night time tour bus journey, and playing a Phil Collins live album, singing along to ‘Easy Lover’, and someone said it’d be great to do a load of 80s covers, so we did it. It went in a box of world’s worst ideas ever, until lockdown, and then we did something with it.”

“I tried to do a cool, synthy, Spotify friendly version of these covers, and I just put it back on the shelf. It ended up being fun instead. I think it’s classic Scouting For Girls, that when the 80s was quite cool ten years ago, we weren’t doing anything. Now it’s the 90s that are quite cool, and that’s our era, here we are releasing an album of 80s covers. We’re alway a decade behind the trend.”

The year off, naturally, has been strange all round and had plenty of impacts on musicians. “I reassessed my whole relationship with music,” Stride says. “It had got quite stale. I was writing for other bands I didn’t even like, or who weren’t very good. I’d lost a bit of the love and passion.”

Elgin: “We feel comfortable on stage together and that’s always been the greatest part”

Elgin photographed by Anthony Furey

Born out of the ashes of popular Dublin act The Young Folk, Elgin – Anthony Furey and Paul Butler – are embarking on a musical journey that takes them far from their roots. Feeling the need to move past their successful previous act, the pair’s music is steeped in travel, but embedded in origins that sit firmly in the Dublin suburb of Kilbarrack.

“A few years back, we spent some time in Austin Texas for South by SouthWest,” Butler says, setting the scene. “No matter where we go or what country we’ve toured, our spare time consists of finding second hand stores and usually buying the most ridiculous clothes or old musical instruments.” 

“I bought a 1980s casio keyboard for $5 in New Zealand two years ago. Anyway, in Austin, we stayed near a town called Elgin. Low and behold, we found a second hand store. We walked out of that second hand store looking like Irish Cowboys. Cowboy boots, cowboy hats, stained jackets and an odd looking teddy bear for our merch case. That teddy became Elgin and spent a lot of time with us, helping to sell our merch. The name sat well with us, it has meaning but it also means nothing to a listener.”

“[The new outlet] was always the next step,” Butler continues. “The Young Folk’s name had run its course. It wasn’t us anymore. The Young Folk had different members, a different style. The name itself didn’t match us anymore. We still love playing the songs, they’ve changed with us along the way too.”

“Myself and Anthony have been playing together for over fifteen years now. We’ve shared hundreds of stages, we know each other inside out, we’ve had numerous arguments (all resolved), we’ve stayed in the same beds far too many times. But the most important thing is that we feel comfortable on stage together and that’s always been the greatest part. We know we have a connection on stage, no matter what we write, it’ll be portrayed in the best way.”

“And I suppose, it was a case of ‘then there were two’. It was back to basics for us, in the way of creating music together, no interference, no negative influences, everything was out in the open. We had absolute freedom. So with that, we wanted to create something completely new and exciting for us.”

Girl In Red: “I’m hoping to just live off stuff that I love”

Marie Ulven – better known as ‘Girl In Red’ – is the latest in a long line of Scandinavian pop royalty, with Ulven’s quirky pop act refined from bedroom melodies to what’s expected to be a really hot property when our live music scene reopens.

Debut album ‘If I Could Make It Go Quiet’ is one of those beautiful pieces of work that’s relatable because it’s so close to her heart, evolved almost literally from diary-like thoughts into emotive melodies.

“What’s happening in my life is pretty essentially to my song writing,” Ulven explains. “I’m really nervous and really excited, I can’t wait anymore. It’s going to be so cool to let people hear the new music.”

There must be tough aspects to what Ulven does, too, though. She’s charmingly direct about herself, from her sexuality (she’s into girls) to her experiences with mental health, which it’s clear from her songs can be quite a tough road for her. Writing a debut album in lockdown, though, has clearly been a beacon of hope, and the result is surprisingly boisterous next to her previously more mellow output, like a melodic scream into the ether.

“Making a full length record was definitely harder than I expected,” she says. “It took much more time than I thought it would, and it’s been a really intense experience. You’ve got to make the music, produce all the music, mix all the music and master all the music and go through so many layers of refining and making everything sound so perfect, so it was definitely a different process.”

“Working with FINNEAS on Serotonin was very interesting, we did it all over zoom and it was really cool to have one of my favourite producers work along with me on that. I feel like the finished product is some of the coolest I’ve ever made.”