De Danann ready to play Ballincollig Winter Festival
Jan27

De Danann ready to play Ballincollig Winter Festival

Legendary Irish group De Danann will be bringing their new show and new tunes to the Ballincollig Winter Festival, Friday, January 29th in The White Horse. We got to speak to singer Eleanor Shanley about gospel music, touring and reuniting ahead of their first performance at the festival. Eleanor first joined De Danann back in 1989. “I was working in FAS at the time. I was singing in The Merchant and they were told to have a listen. I was so green”, she says. She quit her job the following year and performed and toured with De Danann for the next five years. Eleanor joined the band following in the footsteps of Dolores Keane, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. The band is well known for combining and experimenting different musical genres with traditional Irish music. “When I joined”, explains Eleanor, “We were touring with American Gospel singers. I learned so much from them. They are real powerhouses and I loved every second of it. We also were listening to a lot of Reggae at the time.” Her Mother used to listen to Margaret Barry and John McCormick. In comparison Shanley was listening to the Bay City Rollers. “I love Blues singers, women singers with big voices”, she admits. Fans at the show in The White Horse are in for a treat as De Danann has a new album in the works. “Alot of this album are songs relating to war”, says Eleanor “There’s a song about Vietnam, and another called “Walk the Road with Soldiers in 1847” about women trying to get out of Ireland”, adds Eleanor. “There will be some of the old stuff as well” she assures us including “Hard Times”, “Maggie” and the Wonderwaltz album. “Tune wise, the boys are working away on new tunes for the show. There will be Jigs, Reels and Polkas” she says. “We are always delighted when people get up to dance. That’s what they are for after all” she laughs. This is the band’s first time playing The Ballincollig Winter Festival and already Eleanor is thinking of extending their stay. “The venue looks really wonderful and I see the Wainwright Sisters are playing and Lumiere. They are fantastic I would love to see them”. The band hopes to release the new album in early Spring. They have an exciting couple of months head with a tour of Canada in March, as well as playing the Costa Del Folk, Mallorca . “I’m very excited about Mallocra, Eddie Reader is also playing and she’s one of my favourite singers”, says Eleanor. De Danann members went their separate ways in 2003 but reformed...

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HamsandwicH get set to perform at Ballincollig Winter festival
Jan20

HamsandwicH get set to perform at Ballincollig Winter festival

HamsandwicH are one of Ireland’s most consistently entertaining live acts. It took them 12 years to achieve a Number 1 album with “Stories from the Surface” but from talking to Niamh Farrell ahead of their appearance at the Ballincollig Winter Festival it seems all they really want is for you to have a good time. “Oh yes people said “White Fox” should have won the Meteor Choice Award”, says Niamh when I ask her about the bands recent nomination for the award with their highly acclaimed “Stories From The Surface” released in 2015. “For me that doesn’t matter, we’re delighted with the reaction to the album and reaching #1. We went from a longlist of 100 to the top 10 and that’s amazing”. Known for their live performances I asked what goes into preparing for a show. “We never let ourselves get bored and there is a certain amount of gusto. We get a high from watching an audience leave smiling and that’s how word goes around. We want to have a bit of a party and a bit of a laugh. There’s no distance between us and the audience, it’s really interactive. You have to have that connection”, she adds. “Then there are gigs like playing in Christchurch which we just did and you have to spend a couple of weeks with the different elements of planning. After the sit down for the setlist then there’s rehearsals on how we’ll play each song. Reworking the structure and rejuvenating songs. They change and shift to make them sound as good as possible. Especially for something like Christchurch we had to make it sound as good as if it had been electric”. Then there are the covers. “We have a couple in our repertoire that we keep in our back pockets. They can pick up a crowd. And it depends on the gig. We asked people at the end of a gig to stand for the National Anthem and then played “Ghost Towns” by the Specials. We are enjoying paying Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” at the moment too. I love Kate Bush and I was hooked on singing her live so we had to pull it back. She’s there if the occasion calls for it, but it can be dangerous to rely on a cover”. You may have noticed that HamsandwicH have a thing for strong female artists. When I ask Niamh about her own influences she says she’s a “mixed bag”. “I grew up in a house that was full of Irish and Traditional music. My Uncle and Grandad were both fiddle players, there was a lot of...

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Morrissey and Marshall Interview play The Workman’s Thursday and new single
Dec15

Morrissey and Marshall Interview play The Workman’s Thursday and new single

It’s not often that rushing the stage during a gig leads to you joining forces with same stage invader but that is exactly what happened to Darren Morrissey and Greg Marshall when Greg decided he had to join in for an Oasis song. “Let’s just say the first 10 seconds after that moment were very important”, jokes Darren when I catch up with him ahead of the bands gig this Thursday, December 17th, in The Workman’s Club, Dublin. Morrissey and Marshall as they have become known have been in London the past five years have one album under their belts and the second is due June 2016. “We are very lucky”, says Darren, “our label and management are in London and we have access to a studio with all the equipment and instruments we could dream of”. The duo also have a new single “Cold November Sunrise” due for release January 1st which you can pre-order on iTunes. Listening to the new single in comparison to their debut album “And So It Begins” there has been a clear move to create something different. “When we made the first album we had just arrived in London and it was literally us and two guitars on it”, explains Darren. This has led to comparisons with the Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel for the Dublin’s duo use of guitars and harmony. “To be compared to these legends is amazing, they are all great comparison”, adds Darren. The new single however reveals a more Beatlesque sound. Which isn’t a surprise as Morrissey and Marshall have revealed the single was inspired by John Lennon’s “Imagine”. “We wanted each line and verse to talk about something, whether it is race, religion or politics etc”, they said. “We realised that each album had to be different, a different piece of art. We were in a different frame of mind. We’ve grown up a bit, we learned a lot on the first album and this time we wanted more musicians and a choir and brass section. We just decided to go really big”, he explains. The band also have an impressive list of musical fans. “The drummer from Magic Numbers saw our soundcheck and fell in love with what we were doing. They are amazing people and musicians and have helped us out a lot. We have toured with them as well as other projects”, says Darren. They have also toured with Sinead O’Connor and Damien Dempsey. Since, Dempsey frequently promotes the band on his social media. From this friendship the band were introduced to producer John Reynolds who is now producing the new album due...

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Daithi  Interview plus Workman’s date and new video release
Dec11

Daithi Interview plus Workman’s date and new video release

It has been unexpected and interesting time for Galway based musician Daithi. And he and you will be able to see the culmination of his work and progress this Friday night December 11th at The Workman’s Club, Dublin. I wrangled an interview with Daithi ahead of the Dublin gig where I got an insight into what makes the fiddler tick. First off, he’s a music nerd. Just like we used to record our favourite songs from the radio, or our CD’s on minidisc, or downloaded an already existing music collection on iTunes Daithi takes it one step further and when I rang I interrupted a vinyl to laptop session. Yeah, he’s just put all the rest of us to shame. I ask him about he’s recent release “Mary Keane’s Introduction”, remarking on her wonderful laugh and the line about how she met and fell in love with her husband instead of settling for a match made by her father and uncle. “The original interview was about two hours long and yeah those are great moments. She’s so down to earth and they absolutely capture what she was trying to say.” In fact, the success of “Mary Keane’s Introduction” has taken Daithi by surprise. “That track was supposed to be an introduction to the new EP, it wasn’t even meant to be a single”, shares Daithi. The track has since spent the last three weeks at the #1 spot on the Viral Chart. As a result Daithi has just released an accompanying video to the track featuring a road trip of the 85 lookout posts across the Wild Atlantic Way where the female character finds her true love at the end of the film. “I wanted to showcase where I am from. My grandmother still lives in a thatched cottage in Ballyvaughan, County Clare and we did some filming there. She loved it. She was really interested in seeing the process and all the equipment”, added Daithi. But as is typical with family they will never allow you to get a big head. “The single came out and was played first on Ryan Tubridy and when my mum told my nan she asked if it was on Clare Fm. If it’s not on Clare Fm then it doesn’t matter as far as she was concerned!” he laughed. “Mary Keane’s Introduction” signifies a change in direction for Daithi. His debut “In Flight” saw him being mentored by Young Wonder’s Ian Ring, learning his craft. “In Flight was such a clean pop record and I was still learning how to mix”, says the Clare man. “Music is difficult, it is so sudden...

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Interview with Rews
Nov30

Interview with Rews

I reviewed the lead single from Rews “Can You Feel it” when it was released in October and I was struck by the powerful presence of the two girls both on track and in the video. So when I got the opportunity to chat to them about what 2016 holds I was only too stoked. And, seeing as I have predicted big things for these two ladies I have a lot riding on this. It was in speaking to them that I was reminded of the correlation between music and writing where the nuance of language becomes important. For instance, Shauna Tohill and Colette Williams met through mutual friends after both had moved to London to pursue music. As they are women would it be fair to say it was a serendipitous meeting compared to if they were guys would I write that it was just good luck? Is it powerful that two women have taken on heavy rock music as their genre or are they just two talented musicians? And here is where nuance and impression become important in how women in music are represented? I become even more aware of this as I stumble over a line of questioning where if they were to be sensitive might be seen as misogynistic? Definitely wasn’t my intention, I just got a little star struck. Just because you may only be hearing about Rews now doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to be impressed by. Shauna Tohill has been featured by Discover NI as well as touring with Snow Patrol and Darwin Deez while Colette Williams has worked with Gabrielle Aplin. Shauna has a love for 90’s grunge including Nirvana as well as Nine Inch Nails and Katy Perry. “I love music from that time it’s just seems really fun and honest and I think music has lost that a bit for money”, says Shauna. As for Katy Perry, “I saw her film and was just really impressed by her honesty”, she answers. Colette however loves 80’s rock and 90’s house stuff, “anything with a breakbeat”, she adds. They met in London having both recently moved there after being in bands back home. Tohill had already written their next four singles but she was determined to meet an awesome musician to take part in the collaboration. A friend told her to check out Williams. “She stalked me on-line”, says Colette, “but it happened at a great time where I was also looking for someone to play with and to help me pay rent.” Having released their debut single “Can You Feel It”, in October Rews are about to release a four...

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King Kong Company – Album Launch at The Academy
Nov19

King Kong Company – Album Launch at The Academy

King Kong Company are coming and they are coming to rock your local bingo hall, with hypnotic jello molds and grannies on acid. At least that’s what you would expect from watching the video for their first track from their self titled debut album. “Spacehopper” by the bands own admission is their biggest hit and it’s a pretty massive track full of humor and irony and I wouldn’t expect anything less from the Waterford group. Having reunited in 2010 the band have embarked on several projects. “Projects like the 12 videos in 12 months just wouldn’t have been possible in the 90’s”, says keyboardist Tom Stapleton, “so us reuniting wasn’t strange as we had all remained friends and even worked on other projects together but it was completely different from before”, he adds. The band is currently on an Irish tour promoting not just new material but also their new album, their first in fact. The official launch is Novemeber 27th in The Academy in Dublin with ticket holders being the first to get their mitts on the album as part of the ticket price. I saw King Kong Company perform this time last year in Dolan’s Warehouse in Limerick and it was a night of dancing and getting ridiculous! “Yes, so we are building up to Academy at the moment fine-tuning things. With each gig we are getting better and trying out the new songs. And actually the album is still a work a progress so depending on the reaction each night songs are added and edited from the album. Which is hectic being two weeks out but exciting”, says Tom. It seems the whole album is a kind of stream of consciousness affair with the band working with producer Tim Holmes (Death In Vegas) and receiving remixes from other outside producers. “We have never worked with an outside influence before. We can’t say yet how it will turn out. Some of the remixes have been amazing coming from different angles and we never thought it would sound like this. Then you hear others and it makes you question the original song. Was it so bad that this is the best they could come up with? But I guess that kind of self-doubt is part of the process and the business so you have to go with it and hope something good, or better comes out of it”, explains Tom. The band has drawn on a wide range of life experiences and influences for the album. “It’s a proper democracy where someone will comes with an idea or 2 and send them on to each other, work on...

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