Catching Up With…Rhob Cunningham

Ahead of his first gig in Dublin since taking on 20 shows in Berlin over the summer, I interviewed Berlin- based Dublin singer Rhob Cunningham. Rhob spoke to me of his internet ‘win’, how the Dublin and Berlin live scenes weigh up against each other and how he can’t wait to hear Jennifer Evans’ upcoming LP.

Rhob will launch his album The Window & Day on Thursday 18th September at The Button Factory in Dublin. You can stream The Window & Day here.

Originally published by Entertainment Ireland. To read the original, please click here.

Berlin- based Dubliner Rhob Cunningham launched The Window & Day, his new album, at The Button Factory.

Berlin- based Dubliner Rhob Cunningham launched The Window & Day, his new album, at The Button Factory.

 

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Singing a new song in a handmade Berlin canoe and the video getting on the front page of Reddit! I won The Internet that day.

 

When did you first realise you wanted a career in music?

I don’t like to think of music in those terms. If I did, I’d have to seriously consider another profession. I’d like to be a writer when I’m older.

 

In three words, describe the five minutes before you walk on stage.

On my way!

 

How do you wind down after a gig?

It differs from gig to gig. When a gig goes well, I’m already unwound.

 

In three words, describe the live scene in Ireland.

Still. Going. Strong.

 

In three words, describe the live scene in Berlin.

Twenty. Four. Seven.

 

Whose career do you envy and why?

I’m not driven enough to maintain envy for very long. I know too many talented feckers, if I dwelled on it, I’d never get out of bed.

 

Vinyl or digital downloads?

I’m a big fan of Digital Pre-Orders which facilitate the future printing of Vinyl. Let one medium pay for the other. Cough cough. Hint hint.

 

What is your favourite record shop anywhere in the world?

Anywhere that can still be found. Any record store that has found a way to keep it’s head above water.

 

Name one rare record you don’t own, but you want more than anything.

Jennifer Evans won’t let me hear her record because it’s not being released ‘til later this year. I want to own that, but we all have to wait, I guess. For now.

 

Name one piece of music memorabilia that you wish you owned.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti driver’s licence. (Fela Kuti’s mam, the first woman to be granted a driver’s licence in Nigeria.)

 

What is the one thing in your life that you couldn’t go without?

GPS technology.

 

Name one record, one book and one film that everyone should hear / read / see.

-Shel Silverstein’s A Light In The Attic,
-The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard Feynman
-Baraka

 

Pick the director and lead actor for a biopic about your life.

David Lynch. Tilda Swinton.

 

Describe the perfect night in.

Owning a place. Owning a front door key and a door. Maybe a room. Being “In” somewhere that you didn’t have to pay someone for, in some regard. That would be perfect.

 

Where did you grow up and what are the best and worst things about that place?

Donaghmede and then Dun Laoghaire. The worst thing is trying to spell those words. The best thing is being from anywhere at all.

 

What is your biggest fear?

That fear leads to anger.

 

Who is the person in your life without whom your life wouldn’t be the same?

Una Molloy of Turning Pirate, we’ve been friends since college and she’s always had my back. Her whole family are rather inspiring.

 

What is the most important lesson life has taught you, so far?

T.S. Elliot – “You are the music while the music lasts.”

 

If you could give one piece of life advice it would be…

You’ll know more tomorrow if you ask today.

 

Rhob Cunningham’s The Window & Day is streaming here.

Catching Up With…Swords

Formed in 2010, Dublin three- piece Swords have elicited comparisons to everyone from Portishead to Cat Power. Ahead of their headline gig at The Button Factory on 25 July, with support from Deaf Joe and Elastic Sleep, singer Diane Anglim talks about her first experiences with musical notation, Jeff Buckley’s Grace and reveals a mild obsession with David Byrne’s white suit.

Dublin- based band Swords

Dublin- based band Swords

Originally published by Entertainment Ireland. To read the original, click here.


What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Supporting Ham Sandwich at The Olympia Theatre. The Olympia is a really special venue for us to play.

 

When did you first realise you wanted a career in music?

When I was about six years- old. I remember drawing pictures of music notes and writing my name at the bottom like a composer would.

 

In three words, describe the five minutes before you walk on stage.

Something’s gonna happen…

 

How do you wind down after a gig?

I like to get outside and get some fresh air. And sometimes cigarettes.

 

In three words, describe the live scene in Ireland.

Full of madness.

 

Whose career do you envy and why?

David Byrne, because he can wear white suits and dance.

 

Vinyl or digital downloads?

I like both vinyl record and digital downloads.

 

What is your favourite record shop anywhere in the world?

When it was on Dublin’s Wicklow Street, Tower Records was deadly.

 

Name one rare record that you don’t own, but you want more than anything.

I don’t think it’s rare, but I don’t have Jeff Buckley’s Grace on record, yet, and I would like to own it.

 

Name one piece of music memorabilia that you wish you owned.

David Byrne’s white suit.

 

What is the one thing in your life that you couldn’t go without?

Gardening.

 

Name one record, one book and one film that everyone should hear / read / see.

Record: Metals by Feist.
Book: Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
Film: The Princess Bride.

 

Name one overrated TV series and one underrated TV series.

Overrated: Two and a Half Men. Underrated: Black Books

 

Pick the director and lead actor for a biopic about your life.

Director: Spike Jonze. Actor: Uma Thurman.

 

Describe the perfect night in.

Good T.V., good people, good beer.

 

Describe the perfect night out.

Good music, good people, good beer.

 

Where did you grow up and what are the best and worst things about that place.

I grew up in Rathfarnham. The best thing about growing up in Rathfarnham was my friends. The worst thing? Having to walk to Nutgrove shopping centre every day in the summertime.

 

What is your biggest fear?

Evil children and evil dolls.

 

Who are the persons in your life without whom your life wouldn’t be the same?

My Mam and Dad.

 

What is the most important lesson life has taught you, so far?

Calm down and relax.

 

If you could give one piece of life advice it would be…

Don’t forget to calm down and relax.

Catching Up With…David Bryan from Near FM’s Pure Phase

Spinning a broad variety of genres every Tuesday night on Dublin’s Near FM (90.3 FM) from 10:30pm –  11:30pm, David Bryan’s Pure Phase is a blissful hour for avid listeners of everything from Psychedelic rock and Shoegaze to Garage rock and Krautrock; from Ry Cooder and Love to Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Timber Timbre. I spoke to the Dublin based DJ about discovering music in his early teens, his favourite albums of 2014 and why everyone should hear The Cure’s Disintegration.

Pure Phase DJ David Bryan.

Pure Phase DJ David Bryan.


What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Tough to say, musically. There have been a few very good albums released so far: The Afghan WhigsDo To The BeastDoug Tuttle‘s eponymously titled début; PixiesIndie CindyThe HorrorsLuminousDamon Albarn‘s Everyday Robots; Dirtmusic‘s Lion City. Album of the year, so far? It ‘s a toss-up between Gallon Drunk’s re- emergence with The Soul Of The Hour and a brilliant record from a brilliant band: Lay Llamas’ Ostro.

 

When did you first realise you wanted a career in music / media / radio?

I have always loved music. It struck me more so during my early teens. I had originally been listening to mainstream stuff: George Harrison, Dire Straits and the like in the 80’s. A guy I knew introduced me to The Cure and my cousin introduced me to Pixies and Sonic Youth and, from that point onwards, I was hooked.

 

Describe the five minutes before a gig / broadcast.

Pretty chilled, quite honestly. Once I have the first few tracks lined up and Twitter set to fire, I like to sit back and enjoy the music.

 

How do you wind down after a gig / broadcast?

Not a lot…

 

In three words, describe the live scene in Ireland.

Generally very good.

There are a good few good Irish acts currently making a dent and a good few international acts make a point of playing here.

 

Whose career do you envy and why?

Envy is maybe a little strong; I know it’s a cliché, but everyone is their own person. “Whispering” Bob Harris, however, had- and still has- a great career in music. I would be envious of the artists that he has met down through the years.

 

Vinyl or digital downloads?

I know it’s not one of your options, but I do like CD’s for their lossless quality.  So…CD’s for a proper listen, downloads for being handiest on the move.

 

What is your favourite record shop anywhere in the world?

I do like Tower Records in Dublin; they have a good selection of records and, particularly, a great psych collection. Rough Trade and Sister Ray in London are great. I recently found two great record stores in Rome; Transmission and Soul Food: definitely worth checking out.

 

Name one rare record you don’t own, but you want more than anything.

An original pressing from 1963 of ‘Surfin’ Bird’ by The Trashmen.

 

Name one piece of music memorabilia that you wish you owned.

Albert Bouchard’s cowbell on Blue Öyster Cult‘s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’.

 

What is the one thing in your life that you couldn’t go without?

Good music.

 

Name one record, one book and one film that everyone should hear / read / see.

Another tough one: there are so many!

Album: O.k., if push came to shove, I’d have to say The Cure’s Disintegration. It really is the pinnacle of The Cure’s career. Robert Smith had the “classic” lineup of the group on board and, together with co-producer David Allen, they got it so spot on. It’s bleak, it’s happy, it’s deep; very deep.

Book: I have always been amazed that, whilst a lot of adaptations of Philip K. Dick’s made it to the big screen, The Maze of Death has never been adapted for the screen. It’s Dick at his very best: part sci-fi, part existentialist (as he did so well). It is also one of his darkest works.

Movie: Well, just for fun, The MonkeesHead always brings a smile to my face. A complete Monkees farce with a heavy dose of surrealism (I’ll blame Frank Zappa for that…).

 

Name one overrated TV series and one underrated TV series.

I never could hack Lost. I’m not sure if one could class it as underrated but Ronnie Barker’s Porridge is so good. The interplay between characters is brilliant and the writing is so good.

 

Pick the director and lead actor for a biopic about your life.

Michael Bay and Roger Moore.

 

Describe the perfect night in.

Good tunes on the stereo, couple of beers, couple of mates to enjoy it with. I’m easy going that way.

 

Describe the perfect night out.

Good gig, couple of beers, couple of mates to enjoy it with. I’m easy going that way.

 

Where did you grow up and what are the best and worst things about that place.

I grew up in Dublin.

The best thing about Dublin: The vibrancy.

The worst thing about Dublin: The crime, particularly that of the last 20 – 25 years.

 

What is your biggest fear?

Missing a penalty in the World Cup Finals.

 

Who is the person in your life without whom your life wouldn’t be the same?

It’s impossible to answer that question. I am lucky to have had great parents and friends, not to mention the better half.

 

What is the most important lesson life has taught you, so far?

Enjoy it while you can.

 

If you could give one piece of life advice it would be…

Keep the eyes and ears open to new experiences: it’s worth trying everything at least once…

 

Pure Phase is broadcast every Tuesday night from 10:30pm to 11:30pm on Dublin’s Near FM (90.3 FM). Click here to listen back to previous shows.

Catching Up With…First Fornight’s J.P. Swaine

Tonight, First Fortnight and Bluestack Records launch There Is A Light, a compilation album featuring some of Ireland’s most exciting new acts, at Whelans, in aid of the Green Ribbon campaign, which is raising awareness of mental health issues. First Fortnight co- founder J.P. Swaine talks about growing up in Tallaght, his favorite and much- missed record shop and how looking forward to the next event is one way of winding down.

Image: Facebook

First Fortnight co- founder J.P. Swaine.

 

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Has to have been January and the 39 events First Fortnight produced. It has hectic, epic, amazing, exhausting. One moment that particularly stands out for em happened in the Project wathcing the audience reaction to Sorcha Kenny’s play DOLLS. An exquisite mix of wonder and discomfort.

 

When did you first realise you wanted to be involved in the arts / event management?

I didn’t /haven’t realised that; I keep waiting for it to stop!!! I’m driven by acts that lead to social change; I find myself in the arts because of that.


In three words, describe 
There Is A Light

Music for minds.

 

How do you wind down after a gig?

Start organising something else! I don’t know…I tend to operate in alternate cycles to the events themselves, usually by the time it starts my attention is on the next thing. My week has been totallly occupied by stuff thats happening in September, the event this week has to be sorted long before so I suppose im already wound down. I run and play sports is another way of answering also.


In three words, describe the live scene in Ireland.

Low cost excellence.

 

Whose career do you envy and why?

Bob Geldof: he has managed to stay relevant in so many fields for such a long time.


Vinyl or digital downloads?

Digital all the way.

 

What is your favourite record shop anywhere in the world?

The sadly departed Final Vinyl on Camden Street, Dublin 2.

 

Name one rare record you don’t own, but you want more than anything.

To have organised the worlds largest table quiz (I assume this what you meant?!).

 

Name one piece of music memorabilia that you wish you owned.

Gabriels Obo (the actual obo).

 

What is the one thing in your life that you couldn’t go without?

Coffee.

 

Name one record, one book and one film that everyone should hear / read / see.

The Wickerman; The Maribou Stalk Nightmares by Irvine Welsh; Massive Attack’s Blue Lines.

 

Name one overrated TV series and one underrated TV series.

Over rated: The West Wing. Under rated: repeats of The Crystal Maze.

 

Pick the director and lead actor for a biopic about your life.

Christopher Nolan and Channing Tatum (I have some secrets and surprising twists…)

 

Describe the perfect night in.

Watching The Sunday Game after watching Dublin win in Croke Park earlier that day.

 

Describe the perfect night out.

Sunny evening with pints and friends standing outside on Dame Lane.

 

Where did you grow up and what are the best and worst things about that place.

Tallaght. Best thing was friends, family and school. The single worse thing was the lack of a live music venue.

 

What is your biggest fear?

Hurting people I care about.

 

Who is the person in your life without whom your life wouldn’t be the same?

Paddy Swaine.

 

What is the most important lesson life has taught you, so far?

Not to fear death, welcome it with a belly full of experiences.


If you could give one piece of life advice it would be…

Home is the place you rest so you have energy for the wonders that lay outside, not a place to hide from them.

Catching Up With…Rise

Since forming in January 2013, Rise have been steadily on the up. Ahead of their gig at the Grand Social on 4th June, guitarist Ciaran Moran talks about his highlights of the year so far, his favourite record shops and growing up in Smithfield.

On the up: Dublin band Rise


Originally published by Entertainment Ireland. To read the original, please click here

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Releasing our début single, which was in aid of an Anti Bullying campaign. It raised a lot of awareness and had also got us lots of opportunities from it.

When did you first realise you wanted a career in music?

Well we all have had musical careers since we were kids as we have all played a role in
a successful band individually before starting Rise.

In three words, describe the five minutes before you walk on stage.

We would all get into a small huddle and put our hands in and say “Lets do all we can lads”.

How do you wind down after a gig?

We would usually take a day off rehearsal as we would rehearse twice a week so we would take one day off and kick straight back into it.

In three words, describe the live scene in Ireland.

Artistic, mind- blowing. We would probably envy someone like James Arthur as he is fantastic.

Whose career do you envy and why?

We would probably envy someone like James Arthur as he is fantastic.

Vinyl or digital downloads?

Vinyl.

What is your favourite record shop anywhere in the world?

Maybe HMV or Tower Records.

Name one rare record you don’t own, but you want more than anything.

Probably ‘Love Me Do’ or Ps. I Love You by The Beatles.

Name one piece of music memorabilia that you wish you owned.

John Lennon’s glasses.

What is the one thing in your life that you couldn’t go without?

It would more than likely be a guitar or my iphone.

Name one record, one book and one film that everyone should hear / read / see.

One Record – Paolo Nutini – Iron Sky

One Book – The Commitments Roddy Doyle

One Movie – Shawshank Redemption

Name one overrated TV series and one underrated TV series.

Overrated: Ex on the Beach. Underrated: Storage Hunters.

Pick the director and lead actor for a biopic about your life.

Director would be Paul Greengrass (Bourne Movies). Lead actor would be – Matt Damon (Bourne series).

Describe the perfect night in.

Chinese takeaway, movies, chocolate and Coca Cola!

Describe the perfect night out.

In a bar with live music and friends and family around.

Where did you grow up and what are the best and worst things about that place.

I grew up in Smithfield in Dublin City Centre. The best thing about Smithfield was that we were always around the corner from town. The worst thing about that place was that the houses were so small.

What is your biggest fear?

Cats. I can’t walk by a cat without thinking my life is in danger!

Who is the person in your life without whom your life wouldn’t be the same?

My parents. I don’t think anyone’s life would be the same without their parents.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you, so far?

“The more you put in, the more you get out”. This has made us realise a lot as a band as we find that if we put as much effort into what we want to get out it works.

If you could give one piece of life advice it would be…

“Be who you are and say what you feel , because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr Suess


Rise play The Grand Social on 4th June with support from
Future Phantoms, The Klares, Mick McCloughlin, Fallen Rule and Foreign Youth. Tickets priced €6.50 are available from entertainment.ie/tickets.