GoldenPlec Magazine Issue 3

GoldenPlec Magazine 3GoldenPlec Magazine issue 3 is now with us! You can find spots around Ireland to grab a copy here (we’ll be adding a London location shortly), and if you’re outside of our immediate area, we have a few copies left on eBay, here.

While we’re proud of everything we’ve put out so far, I think it’s fair to say issue three feels like something of a coming of age. It defines everything I hoped this magazine would turn out to be – we look at the macro story of Irish music (through the development of BIMM, for example, and through an analysis of the value of music photography, and an incredible chat with musician turned filmmaker Myles O’Reilly).

We also take the chance to hype some acts we really care about. Bitch Falcon might seem an unlikely cover choice, given they’ve only released three singles, but that’s kind of the point: we think they’re potential world beaters, and running a magazine like this is a chance to throw a serious hat-tip to someone when you think they warrant it. Bitch Falcon warrant it (go and listen to them, or better still, see them live, where they really excel). Having done the cover interview myself, I can also tell you they have a lot to say about who they are and what’s going on around them. This was an interview that was chopped to probably 10-15% of what we actually talked about, and it was an effort to condense as a lot of it was truly fascinating.

We also chatted to Lisa Hannigan about her move into voice acting in ‘Songs of the Sea’, and Wolf Alice, who are proving one of 2015’s great rising stars. We covered the Marlay Park action for Longitude Festival, as well as the usual selection of Irish album reviews.

There’s a lot of work that goes into this stuff by a lot of people: Stephen Byrne, my co-editor, is one of those people who just gets things done, and done well. If you’re not impressed by David Dooley’s design, well, I don’t know what to say, because I think it’s fantastic (he’s available for freelance work, head over here). Ros Madigan and Sean Smyth were both their usual powerhouse selves.

But you can’t judge a magazine by its online blurb, so you’ll have to pound the pavements (or eBay) and tell us what we did right/ wrong this time round.

I’ll throw up an online link when all the physical copies are gone (and they’re flying, so grab one quick!). For now, it’s paper only, folks!

GoldenPlec Magazine Issue 2

gp mag2If you’ve somehow managed to miss GoldenPlec Magazine Issue 2 by some strange quirk of life like… I don’t know… living outside of Ireland (or the general Shoreditch area… go ahead, call us hipsters!), it’s now online for your leisurely perusal through Issu.

We decided to go with Conor O’Brien’s Villagers on the cover for issue 2, for a number of reasons which obviously include his latest release. Perhaps more important, though,  is his personal and emotive stance on the up and coming marriage equality referendum here in Ireland. Conor’s interview piece is an evocative take on his own love life, and how it plays out in the music of his fantastic third album Darling Arithmetic (check out the limited edition gold vinyl if you can still dig one out; it’s a work of art), through both lyrics and the general though process behind what he put together this time out.

Other interviewees at the forefront this time are HamsandwicH, who joined Villagers in getting to number one in Ireland with their album Stories from the Surface, out the same week as the magazine hit the shelves back in early April. The Vaccines talked about English Graffiti, while the prolific Anna Job gave us a lowdown on her second home, Berlin, or more specifically it’s world-renowned clubbing scene.

The festival section offers up a brief foray into what’s hot for the coming months, and we have nine Irish albums and a few top gigs, including Muse’s first show in nearly a year in Belfast, all reviewed.

If you can’t resist the smell of print in the morning, give me a shout, we still have a small pile left that’ll go out at cost rate. Otherwise, dig in!


State of the Nation: Aidan Cuffe (GoldenPlec)


While the point of ‘State of the Nation’ has been to examine the ups and down of the Irish music scene at present, I could hardly leave out projects just because I’m part of them, could I? Aidan Cuffe has been running GoldenPlec as the most all encompassing of acts of love for the Irish music scene for 13 years. That’s expanded to include festival stages, links with the Irish Independent, some huge name interviews, and of course the very magazine that Stephen Byrne and I now head up. Unsurprisingly, the man has plenty to say about progress in Irish music, and his own role in it…

GoldenPlec is one of the biggest and certainly one of the most all-encompassing music sites in Ireland at this point. What were the key steps in getting there?

It’s not easy getting through as much stuff as we do, but getting from where we were 10-13 years ago when we started out to where we are now has been relentless hard work. For me personally it’s a daily sacrifice to keep the site up to date. Over the years we’ve built up some great relationships with bands, promoters, brands and PR and we couldn’t operate as we do without those relationships. We have a built up trust and in this industry, trust goes a big distance.

There’s a fine line between supporting a scene and the virtual version of standing around waving pom poms. How do you stay the right side of that?

Honesty is our only policy. I have no interest in telling a band they are great for the sake of it. Our writers are asked to purely write what they feel about the album, but to back it up with valid and constructive criticism or praise. If you can’t back up what you’re saying, don’t say it.

It’s actually a hard line to draw, everyone wants coverage and we’re one of the places where a lot of bands get a lot of coverage but album reviews are subjective, it might just be that the person reviewing it just didn’t like it. Sometimes I wish we were a blog and we only posted stuff we liked, because we would be able to be universally positive. It’s hard telling a band who have put blood and sweat into their work that the person who reviewed their material just didn’t like it, even the most constructive of criticism can be stinging and it’s hard seeing the dismay in their social posts or if you meet them in person.

What are the biggest good and bad sides of the Irish music scene right now?

Well Irish music probably couldn’t be in a better place. There is so much good stuff out there right now, the quality of releases Irish acts are producing is international quality and there is so many outlets for music in Ireland.

We’ve got great independent record stores, we have a thriving multi-genre scene with quality oozing out in all kinds of different types of music, where before there might have been a slight lean towards indie music we have everything from pop, rock, metal, folk and more all bursting through with great tracks.

Ham Sandwich hold the #1 spot right as I type. That to me isn’t just a great story, it’s a validation of the quality of their music that we’ve been banging on about for years. Sometimes you feel like a broken record talking about the same bands. We were supporting Kodaline when they were 21 Demands. They played a show in a local community centre in Swords way back when they were honing the sound that’s now pretty much a global phenomenon. 10 years ago Delorentos played a charity gig for us in the Sugar Club, we thought back then they were the business and now Ireland is properly taking notice.

I guess that’s the only bad side of Irish music. Sometimes we take a decade to realise as a nation we have world class music in our back garden. That’s why I love festival like Knockanstockan, Vantastival and BARE in the Woods and more. They have all the bands you’re going to be listening to in 5-10 years playing now, growing as artists and showing anyone who will listen why they deserve that place in your earbuds.

GoldenPlec Magazine Issue 1 – Issu/ Wrap Up

We’re absolutely blown away to learn that almost every copy of GoldenPlec Magazine has disappeared from the shelves after just over a week. Tower in Dawson Street (Dublin) still has some on stock, as I restocked them Friday afternoon, but most of the 2,000 we printed, most seem to be already occupying people’s kitchen tables or providing some good screen-free bathroom reading. The last place I can absolutely guarantee you a copy (for now) is over on eBay, where we have forty something left up for grabs at cost price, deliverable anywhere. If you’re feeling lazy/ cheap/ don’t want to wait, though, we have it up on Issu here, so dive straight in:

GoldenPlec Magazine: Issue 1

It’s been a full-on few weeks getting GoldenPlec Issue 1 to the full-on print stage, and a long, rewarding journey to going to print at all. There’s no denying that print is a risk these days. Let’s face it, print publications are dying out all around us, yet when Stephen and I met with GoldenPlec head honcho Aidan back in October to persuade him that going to hard copy was an add on to the long-standing (and mighty impressive after its recent re-furbish) website might be a good (bold) idea, it actually wasn’t that tough of a sell.

I think the reason is quite simple: the people at GoldenPlec aren’t looking at financials, largely. I mean I’m sure Aidan would love to be rolling in cash from the whole endeavour and dispersing it across the team and the scene, but the reality is that the team is made up of people more interested in promoting and contributing to the local music scene than in the practical realities of the time, money and effort that involves. Barriers just seem to break down in the place. Not that they don’t take the realities seriously: if they didn’t, we wouldn’t be close to having such a beautiful magazine hitting the shelves this week.

Photo: Today's the day, lads! We're receiving delivery of the #GoldenPlecMag order and we'll be distributing throughout Dublin this afternoon and then the rest of the country this week.</p><br />
<p>More info on where you can pick up your FREE copy ➜ www.GoldenPlec.com/magazine</p><br />
<p>What's inside: Best Irish Albums of 2014 list, our Plec Picks (Ones to Watch) for 2015, exclusive interviews with Kodaline and Idlewild and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s just spare time, favours and positive vibes galore to get this thing off the ground, and the whole team have been absolutely magnificent, particularly Stephen with his hardcore editing, David with a design that genuinely takes my breath away, and Ros for the sheer volume of successful PR and being the driving force behind it all. From sorting content back in November to the mad rush of the last week, which has been full of (ongoing) distribution, late-night edits and a thread of emails as long as my arm, it’s all come together so well. Between us we’ve been live on RTE television, 2FM, 98FM, TxFM and Radiomade, made a radio ad on TxFM and expect coverage in the Sunday Business Post and generally had a really positive reaction which has been pretty overwhelming at times. The tweet below kind of sums it up for me – the magazine out in the real world, doing what it was intended to do, and someone we don’t know sending us a message to say how much they’re enjoying it. I know it won’t always be such a love-in. It can’t possibly be. But it’s been really quite special.