James Or Interview
Nov24

James Or Interview

Cork musician James Or released his debut EP earlier this year. Aged only 26 Cold Open, belying it’s title, was expected by many who know Jimmy Moore in the flesh but it took time for him to reach the point where he could write the tracks that appear on Cold Open. But those tracks reveal a depth of knowledge, self awareness and a healthy amount of self depreciation. We caught up with James Or as he embarks on the next step forward, a gig in Cyprus Avenue on December 1 and a new single ‘Berlin’ out in January. On Cold Open James Or deals with themes of self doubt, feelings of regret, consternation, loneliness, acceptance and euphoria that encompass a twenty-six year old who is sometimes in over his head and we jumped right in and asked him to tell us more. “I write a lot of my music about my own life, and the situations that I find myself in. When I was writing Cold Open, I was getting used to being a solo act, and doing the day to day thinking on my own, rather than in a band setting. So that definitely crept in to some of the writing, while the rest of it was just making sense of maybe the last two years of my life, which has seen me really fall back in love with music after a period away from it” explains James. “The “Cold Open” EP was probably the first real gamble that I ever took on myself. I had auditioned to play on a cruise ship, but realised that I needed to do the EP then, or I probably never would. So I spent a lot of time with our producer Jack, and my band firming up exactly how I wanted the EP to sound, and tackled all the administrative issues as they arose. I really learned a lot about the process that I’d never have even thought of before, and it was a really exciting time for me. I write a lot about what’s going on with me at any given time, so I think there’s something to be said for a link between Cold Open and what I have planned for 2017, including “Berlin”. “Berlin” was the first song I wrote after we’d finished recording, and there’s always been a lot of energy in it for us when we play it. I definitely feel that it fits in with what ended up as Cold Open. James Or mentions some great musical folk as influences including Blur, The Frames, and Elbow. “I’m well and truly a Frames fan. My guitarist...

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The Whileaways talk about making music, good food and fancy dress
Oct25

The Whileaways talk about making music, good food and fancy dress

As a band The Whileaways sees three distinct voices combine to weave a beguiling tapestry of harmonies and beautifully crafted original songs. Individually they have each fronted their own project before uniting under The Whileaways banner and between them have released 6 albums. As a group they released Saltwater Kisses with a follow up expected. Blending American and Irish folk traditions The Whileaways have a rich history to work with. Musician.ie caught up with The Whileaways ahead of their performance in The White Horse, Ballincollig on October 27th and asked what brought Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie Mc Donnell together? “We’re not really that different – that’s why it works for us. We came to know each other through the music scene in Galway. We all had different music projects on the go and were touring a lot with those, but our home was Galway, where we would end up playing sessions and gigs. We ended up at each others gigs, and then in each others company in singing sessions and parties and we just clicked…, (so much so that two of us got married!) After dipping our toes in the water as a trio on an Australian adventure, we had a pit stop in Tokyo for a couple of tiny gigs. We were delighted with ourselves after a few Saki and decided we’d keep it going and become a real band! Shortly afterwards we were offered a tour of Germany and that made us hurry up and get writing and recording for our first album as The Whileaways” says Nicola Joyce. With extensive experience under their belts, acclaim and accolades to prove it, what does each individual bring to The Whileaways? “We write all the songs individually, so I suppose we bring the songs! We colour them in together. It’s a lovely process, and always reminds us that its a special combination”, answers Joyce. “We love performing together too. There s a certain feel between us that just makes it a real pleasure to play music as a trio. There’s very little work put into arrangements or figuring stuff out. Sometimes its just a glance at a gig or in the studio and we each know what the other means. When that happens between musicians then it’s something worth minding.” But becoming a trio does not mean that they do not continue to explore their own creativity. Adds Joyce “That doesn’t mean that we have to give up anything else though. There will be more solo projects coming too.” Between solo projects, and as The Whileaways, the band have traveled extensively and were hailed as ‘a knockout...

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Five questions with Apella
Aug24

Five questions with Apella

Trying out a new format here at Musician.ie where we ask a band five questions to get the down on what makes them tick. This week we have Dublin Duo Apella under the spotlight. How did Apella come to be? Dara started the band in later 2013, it wasn’t even called Apella, the ultimate goal was to record the entire album before anyone heard a song. What inspired the video for debut single “We Met At A Party”? We didn’t want to do a video about someone meeting someone at a party – the concept isn’t inspired by anything specific. more an accumulation of different genres of music from different decades and how important the ‘image’ of each artist was. Styled by the incredible Orla Dempsey, we dressed Goth, Punk, Hip Hop etc and performed to a panel of “music industry experts” to try and find our identity as a new artist. Andrew Holohan directed the video. You’ve played alongside some huge acts already who is your dream to play alongside? Yes, we have both been very lucky over the years opening and playing festivals alongside some great acts, Ronan played drums at Slane before Bon Jovi… Amazing. It’s be great to play alongside The Cure. What inspires you? Girls on Instagram that post their fitness regime. It gets us through the day. What is Apella about? Apella is about refreshing the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moment of optimism and happiness through our music and actions. That may be the Coca Cola company mission statement. “We Met At A Party” is out...

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Eoin Boyle reveals video for “Skybirds”
Jun27

Eoin Boyle reveals video for “Skybirds”

“There is a little bird called the Arctic Tern. It breeds in the sub-arctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. This little bird travels over 44,000 miles a year, from Arctic to Antartica, and everywhere in between. I find that pretty fascinating” says Eoin Boyle closing his reply to my enquiry about the inspiration for his most recent video. I wrote previously that the song was about the affect of immigration on Irish society but Boyle points out the song is much more than just that. “It’s not about any one thing” says Boyle. “I like to leave room in my songs for people to create their own interpretations of things. It’s interesting how you picked up on it being about Irish people who have emigrated in recent times. Sure, it can be about that. It can be about different things to different people. For me though, it runs a little deeper. I remember coming up with the guitar rhythm part first, as I do most of the time when I write songs. It had a kind of progressive (almost trad) feel to it. It didn’t need to go anywhere else. It didn’t need to move or change into a chorus. It didn’t need to be forced. All it needed was to just “be” and keep on moving. One chord throughout with a drop in the root note, and the foundation of the song was created. The only thing it acquired now were words. I noticed the birds landing on the trees outside. It almost seemed like they flew in right on cue to make me aware of their presence. I started to think about their world. What was it like to live in their world?” For Boyle the song is about freedom. “Imagination. A dream world. A world of respected orders, with Kings and Queens. Like an old fairy tale of far off places. Destinations “we can only imagine”. These birds share our world, but they own the skies. I think we often fail to understand that. Most of the time we don’t even realise they’re there. It kind of got me thinking about how we’re all missing the bigger picture. We’re so caught up in ourselves as a society, and in our material worlds.. “truckers hauling desires”, we miss the bigger picture. Almost like human evolution has programmed us to forget. But it is a positive song. It’s about being aware of all these things and encouraging others to make the most of life. Not to take things for granted.. “This could be your revolution”.” he says. As for the video, Eoin Boyle is new to...

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King Kong Company bring bananas and their new album
Jun17

King Kong Company bring bananas and their new album

Waterford’s King Kong Company are not new to the scene, they’ve been around the block, they’ve done the festivals, the raves, they went through the break-up, the fan heartbreak and the re-union. But it is only now they are ready to tell their story with the release of their debut album. I really don’t believe King Kong Company go in for that kind of sentimentality but the debut album is a big deal for them. A decade in the making and even a six month delay because they are perfectionists it is due for release June 17th. The group are well known for their sets at festivals both here and abroad and there is no doubt pressure was felt in the camp. “It was a long time coming”, explains Mark White, a producer in his own right, “there was a certain amount of perfectionism involved. But that is what always drives us on”. “We are now ok with the release it is time”. Originally due for release the end of 2015 the band had sent a final track to Neil MeLellan for mixing. And suddenly everything changed. “He just got us! He understood and related to our influences and it just fitted”, replied White. “It was just so good and he was really passionate about it and when you are passionate about something it’s not just about paying the bills”. McLellan went on to mix the entire album. White goes on to explain that the band really wanted to capture the live energy of the band (not an easy ask I imagine). I ask how he feels at the other end of the process. “We decided a few years ago to make the record and gathered material over three years and at times it’s a very difficult process with so much content and ideas floating around. But it is just good to get it down. We are already gathering material for the next release because we learned so much doing this that we got the hunger again”. The hunger meaning that they learned the hard way about making a record and are ready to tackle that monster again. “We were naive in our expectations, in the amount of time it took to experiment and invest time in trying 10s, 20s, 30s combinations. We learned making decisions earlier was a good thing, to work faster and move forward. We are now in a better place and confident in our decisions”, he added. King Kong Company are well know for their wry take on things and their recent video releases are good examples for new fans coming into the fold. “There...

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Thirty years of Groovers on Manoeuvres. The Wonder Stuff 30 years and counting….
Feb23

Thirty years of Groovers on Manoeuvres. The Wonder Stuff 30 years and counting….

Interview by Bobby Green Thursday 19th November 1987 was the night that shaped my own personal Rock n Roll history forever. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had better nights, but sometimes the best nights don’t have such a profound effect on you, they are just great nights. But I went to see The Wonder Stuff for the 1st time that night, a gig that still effects my life to this day. It wasn’t even that it was their best gig, far from it, but it was the start of a relationship I have had with this band that still remains as strong today as it has ever been over the last 29years. And since that gig in a nearly full Walthamstow Standard, (it was the night of the London underground fire where 27 people lost their lives)(also the last time they failed to sell out a London show) until they 1st split in 1994 I think I’ve only missed about 4 London shows. It just goes to show that you never know who’s in the crowd and how your gig will affect them. It was the 2nd or 3rd gig that I went to that cemented the deal for me. By then I knew the songs, and when others were singing along to those oh so catchy hook lines I felt part of something I could call mine. I would tell anyone who would listen about this great new band I had seen. I’d wear their T-Shirt like a uniform and I would lend my friends my TDK C90 compilation I had thanks to recording things from John Peel and the institution that was Ugly Child Records. Independent record shops were the life blood of the alternative music scene and I honestly believe that culturally young music lovers are missing out on something by the demise of the Independent record shop scene. With the re-emergence of vinyl sales and the odd independent record shop popping up again, Miles Hunts Brother just opening his own record shop ‘White Rabbit Records’ in Shrewsbury, I think the dealers relationship that they have with their vinyl junkies might just be music’s saving grace in years to come. Radio was the gateway drug for me. From the radio I moved on to vinyl, then gigs. Without the independent record shops this wouldn’t have been possible. Before I knew it I was bunking off school and traveling up and down the country following The Wonder Stuff. I soon started spending my dinner money on singles and albums. The same continued when I first started working, taking sick days to go to Birmingham to see them...

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