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 and it moves so fast. I look back over older stuff I’ve done and I had forgotten about some of it I was creating so much at the time. Each album is a work of art for me that meant they had to stand on their own and be something different. I don’t need as clean as a machine this time. I really want to do as much of it as possible myself.” For the new EP “Tribes”, which is due for release in February, Daithi looked to his own life and surroundings for inspiration. “I’ve always stayed pretty close to home in Clare, going to school in Tipperary for awhile and college in Galway. I fell in love with the city of Galway so I’ve stayed here”. “I wanted to create something with weight and with stories behind it”, he adds. This ambition has seen the musician traversing around County Galway microphone in hand recording sea sounds and whatever else crosses his path. “I like doing stuff on the fly and being in the thick of it. Probably the maddest thing I’ve done to create a sound was tapping a lamp and recording the different sounds it made. It’s funny because that lamp was in the studio when I made “In flight” and I never really thought about it”.
The second thing that came up in our conversation is that Daithi is a bit of a control freak. I tried to make note of how many times he mentioned being in control but I lost track, between the recording of the album, sound recording, and his career. The next step is his performance. Maybe it’s an artist thing, fearful of letting go of their art/baby. But when Daithi talks about how his live shows have evolved you can’t help but totally dig it! After the huge success of “In Flight” Daithi felt that had fallen into a slump with his live shows and decided that he wanted to retake control of it. “I was really enjoying doing the new EP myself the way I wanted it. I was used to that control and getting a huge payoff from it. So I decided to take control over the live shows”. This involved him deleting ALL of his saved files from his laptop. Ok, so maybe not too precious about his baby. Now his shows are completely improvised using only small loops that he uses to build songs live. “I was forced to think about it more, to be in moment. Technology has moved on since I started gigging and I’m having more fun playing and having more control. It’s terrifying but I’m really enjoying it. I have a responsibility to the people who come to see me to make it more interesting. When I have the control why not use it? I’m not tied down to a track and I can see what the audience are responding to and I feed off that”, he said. The gig in The Workman’s will be his first in months and the first with the new show. “It’s pretty exciting! They’ve always been good to me. We also have a full light show so it’ll be pretty cool!”
Renown for his collaborations we can expect more of the same from “Tribes” with both Elaine Mai and Sinead White confirmed. “I cannot sing at all so it makes sense. Sinead has a great Irish lilt to her voice that is hard to find. She’s very contemporary and features on two tracks on the album”. Sinead White will also accompany Daithi for The Workman’s show. “Elaine and I are best friends and write really well together. We do it start to finish rather than me sending her music to put vocals to and because we are friends and hang out the track was inspired by a trip we all took together with our partners.” On “In Flight” I was really lucky. I sent tracks out and to friends too and got amazing results. You would never expect Danny Corona to be on a dance track but he came back with the track and killed it!” “I write as simply as possible. It’s about dancing as much as you can. You can have a really simple phrase but when it’s put on repeat it becomes more profound. And that’s what I love about dance music. I’m a firm believer in giving that range to the vocalist”, says Daithi.
The third thing I discovered talking to him is just how young he is. At 25 Daithi has already been performing for 7 years and has garnered a massive reputation for producing great dance music while incorporating Irish culture and music into it. He also does it while living on the West coast of Ireland where many bands have moved to Dublin or London to move their careers forward. “I’m lucky that technology allows me to live and be inspired by where I live. There’s a great culture in the West of Ireland for putting on festivals in remote locations. When I listen back to my recordings from events like Turkfest it’s like a photobook of the weekend for me. My laptop is my studio. I go out and record and it goes straight to the laptop in the car! It’s amazing to be able to that. I have years worth of material on that laptop”, he adds. You probably need to back up that laptop Daithi now that I’ve made it a target. But just as we recorded our favourite songs from radio onto tape so that we could take it with us and play it anywhere so Daithi can transport his music and take it with him anywhere. And that’s where control comes into. “You can’t call it “writing songs” anymore. I’m very aware of the social network. It’s more of a multimedia project. There’s a constant want for videos and pictures”. That this is how he feels is made the more obvious with the presence of a Youtube channel and lack of a website. He is also planning ahead for his next project which will see him undertaking a road trip from Malin Head to Mizen Head recording soundscapes and seeking inspiration as he goes. Daithi has embraced what technology allows him to do, first in creating music and now in creating experiences while holding onto what has always made him interesting, his use of Irish music.
Daithi plays The Workman’s Club December 11th. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and Bandcamp! Youtube Channel
The new video for “Mary Keane’s Introduction”