Anamoe Drive


Anamoe Drive: “I can’t really think of a song I’ve released that isn’t in some way influenced by Daniel Johnston”

Best-known as the frontman of riotous rock band Thumper, Oisin Leahy Furlong has recently emerged in a new guise, Anamoe Drive. As, in its essence, the quiet to Thumper’s (extremely) loud, lo-fi debut ‘Breakfast In Bed’ came out in early March, and explores themes of love, from breakup to new sparks.

Written, almost literally, propped up in a bed after the night before, the record is a beautifully delicate and ragged exploration of the singer’s squeezed heart. I too the chance to catch up with to him about the record.

First off, Oisin, congrats on the new project. What has Anamoe Drive enabled you to do that you can’t do in Thumper?

THUMPER began as a solo project of sorts, and morphed into a 6 man democracy over time. It’s been nice to revert back to the process of doing something in a bubble (albeit in collaboration with Rian Trench who helped produce the album).

How will the two acts coexist going forward?

I think when I began to conceive of the project there was a very hard line drawn between them. That distinction probably looked something like THUMPER = Loud / ANAMOE DRIVE = Quiet. Through making the album those perceived differences have fallen away, and have already begun to inform future work.

Can you tell me a little of the story behind ‘Breakfast in Bed’?

I had initially intended to put together a collection of very lo-fi recordings. Songs had started to accumulate and I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I made a rough demo of the song ‘Goodbye & Goodluck’ in my sitting room and a friend asked if he could remix it. He added electronic drums and synths – lots of bells and whistles.

While I didn’t end up using most of what they added to the tune, it did open my eyes to a new context and potential pallet that the songs could sit in. It was around that time I decided that maybe there was an album in this: housing ‘small’ and intimate tunes in a more lush setting, trying to make them feel big and small at the same time.

I understand there are three distinct sections of the record that all deal in different stages of romance. How autobiographical is it all?

It’s entirely autobiographical. A lot of the songs were an exercise in a more literal lyrical style, rather than the more surreal or obtuse mode that I can find myself gravitating towards. It was only once I’d started making the album that I realised it was a breakup record, with most of the songs fitting into the before, during, or after stages of heartbreak.

Do you like the idea of a record that edges into ‘concept’ territory?

When the music industry was in its infancy an album was just a collection of songs. Over time it’s developed into a significant artistic artifact. On that basis I would argue that most albums are concept albums!

The cover is the recreation of an original photo. Is there a story behind the image and its meaning for you? Are the rabbit ears symbolic?

In the original photo I’m sitting upright in bed, half awake, with a cup of coffee and a set of bunny ears on my head. I thought it was hilarious how dazed I looked, and how many times I’d sat in that exact same position. I can’t remember why I was wearing the ears originally, but the rabbit motif stuck. It reminds me of the film GUMMO which in some ways deals with similar themes of disaster and desolation – with humour, absurdity, and melodrama all baked in.

Your love of Daniel Johnston is well known. It feels like this is closer to his sound. Is he a big influence here?

His whole ethos and song-first mentality has always been a huge influence on me. I can’t really think of a song I’ve released that isn’t in some way influenced by Daniel Johnston.

You’ve done a series of live shows as Anamoe Drive now. How are you finding them – are they a more toned down experience than your usual outlet?

I’ve been touring with a five piece supergroup band, and it’s been very fun to watch the songs grow and morph in the hands of musicians much more capable than myself! In some ways it’s just as weird and expansive as THUMPER, but I’m trying to get more confident with the soft landing, as opposed to the huge crescendo.

What are your hopes for the future?

More records and more touring.