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.

Ten Albums That Get to the Heart of Ireland

Mean green machine: Irish music has had its finger on the pulse of the nation.

Mean green machine: Irish music has had its finger on the pulse of the nation.

Originally published in Rí- Rá, The Irish Post’s entertainment supplement

DOMINATING as we do in the field of literature for works that have reflected the society in which they were conceived- the plays of Brian Friel and Sean O’Casey, the poetry of W.B. Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh, the novels of James Joyce and John McGahern- Ireland has also consistently produced some stunning LPs over the last 45 years that have captured the Irish experience: life in small town Ireland; life in “The Smoke”; issues of identity spurned by emigration. Some records, quite simply, captured the spirit of the age.

1. Same Oul’ Town by The Saw Doctors 

Though more of a ‘Singles’ band than a band that one listens to album- by- album, the title track of The Saw Doctors’ best album to date anchors the mood of the entire record; a paean to small- town Ireland that almost everyone could recognise instantly (“same oul’ hanging around the square / same oul’ spoofers, same oul’ stares”).

Including as it does stompers such as ‘World of Good’ and ‘To Win Just Once’, the then unofficial anthem of the 1996 Irish Olympic Boxing team, perhaps the most striking song, apart from that of the title track, is ‘Everyday’. A Springsteen- esque tune chronicling as it does the journey of a young woman in “trouble” travelling across the Irish Sea for an abortion, the song is utterly chilling in its depiction of the perceived- shame of the subject and the clandestine fashion in which she seeks resolution: “She’s the girl you know from down the road / She’s your one from out the other side / There’s a rumour she’s in trouble / She’s all mixed up inside”.

 

2. Paradise in the Picturehouse by The Stunning

Steve Wall once claimed, with no short amount of wry humour, that The Stunning were “Ennistymon’s answer to The Saw Doctors”, referencing Keith Richard’s claim that The Rolling Stones were “London’s answer to The Beatles”. The Stunning’s feel good vibes and gang- like mentality had them pegged, accurately, as an Irish Squeeze: a band brimming with power- pop tunes drenched in sexual imagery.

Featuring ‘Brewing Up A Storm’, a favorite of almost every pub covers band of the last twenty years in Ireland and a favorite for ‘Best of Irish Rock’ compilations, the song is about a local lad gone wrong, morphing into a Frankenstein- like figure (“his eyes are wild / and it can’t go on”).

If anything, though, Paradise… is full of the type of rich, sexual imagery that could only be produced by a band of young men moving out from small town Ireland and playing gigs “up in the smoke”. Songs such as ‘Romeo’s On Fire’ and ‘The Girl with The Curl’ detail a generation pulling away from the sexually tame, church- controlled 1980’s and moving towards a more liberal lifestyle. Equally, one of the band’s best known tunes, ‘Half Past Two’ shows a band that can convincingly manage the soulful rhythms of Van Morrison while ‘This Happy Girl’, the spirit of the entire album, is the song that best shows the band’s chemistry at its most magical.

 

3. Hard Station by Paul Brady

Everybody knows Paul Brady. Without doubt the only Irish songwriter alive with a long, enviable catalogue of original songs spanning four decades, Brady’s first solo record since departing from The Johnsons, Welcome Here Kind Stranger, consisted of covers, the most remarkable being a definitive version of ‘The Lakes of Ponchatrain’, which inspired Bob Dylan to revive the American ballad during the 1980’s.

Hard Station, Brady’s first album of songs completely composed by the Strabane man, features many of the same blues, soul and old- school rock n’ roll references as The Stunning’s Paradise in the Picturehouse. Most of all, however, it is the sound of a singer- songwriter breaking out of the blocks; songs such as opener ‘Crazy Dreams’ and ‘Nothing But the Same Old Story’, one of the greatest songs about Irish identity ever written, have become set staples for the Tyrone man and, undoubtedly, successive generations of Irish songwriters will reference his songs.

4. Heartworm by Whipping Boy

As recently as 2013, Whipping Boy’s masterpiece, Heartworm, topped a poll of the best Irish albums of all time, conducted by Phantom FM, beating out competition from U2, Van Morrison and My Bloody Valentine. Heartworm’s status as Ireland’s Nevermind is still very much in tact.

Arriving as it did it in the mid 90’s, Heartworm, fittingly, has a foot in both grunge and britpop: the tsunami of layered guitars, angst and aggression of the former mixed with the direct, instant and focused pop craft of the latter. Guitarist Paul Page and bassist Myles McDonnell built musical canvases that took the best from The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3 and Echo & The Bunnymen. Vocalist and lyricist Fearghal McKee wrote of an Ireland that seemed uncharted and uncovered, describing in terms befitting of an Irvine Welsh novel the seedy side of life in Dublin, crooning as he does in a Dublin accent.

McKee’s lyrics, though dark and claustrophobic, have an inclusive strand that made fans feels part of a gang: ‘We Don’t Need Nobody Else’ became a raison d’etre for the band and fans alike, while ‘When We Were Young’ meant to The Pope’s Children what The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ had meant to the generation before. If Heartworm is the sound of a band in transition, moving into the next dimension, it’s also the sound of a generation in transition between the early- 90’s hangover from the recession- stricken 80’s to the Celtic Tiger years, which really began in 1997, by which time the band had, sadly, imploded and run out of steam.


5. Turf
by Luka Bloom

Having signed to a Reprise / Warner Bros. in the US, New York- based Kildare man Luka Bloom (that’s Barry Moore to the taxman) crafted a collection of songs that, although somewhat over- produced and over- laden with reverb and chorus effects, gave a voice to New York based Irish immigrants in the 80’s and 90’s when they didn’t have a voice. Indeed, it was a time when the 90’s, New York coffee- house singer- songwriter schtick was alive and well, to which Moore brought a uniquely Irish twist.

Like any number of songs about travelling or emigration, sea imagery features strongly in Bloom’s songs: in ‘Diamond Mountain’, “The cruel sea calls the unwilling traveller / Who would look for the road to survival”; penned by Waterboys legend Mike Scott, the excellent ‘Sunny Sailor Boy’ finds the singer gazing “Over the western sea / startled and struck, / frightened to look / when a mermaid called to me”; ‘To Begin To’ finds Bloom at his wanderlust best, starting out in Properous in 1972, taking in Paris, Amsterdam and, finally, California; all, as the great Tom T. Hall might say, in search of a song.


6. Shots by Damien Dempsey

Drenched as it is in Irish history and social commentary observed from Dempsey’s native northside Dublin, all of which Dempsey infuses with his own blend of Irish folk and reggae, the Donaghmede man’s third studio album- and his best to date- finds a songwriter who articulated the conscience of an Ireland very much marooned between the its past and its present.

Recorded and released in 2005, songs such as ‘St. Patrick’s Day’, ‘Colony’ and ‘Choctaw Nation’ feature a reading and understanding of Irish history that leaves many of his Irish contemporaries looking tame and unremarkable. Similarly, Dempsey’s understanding of where Ireland was at his time of writing and recording of Shots, that is, still riding the wave of the Celtic Tiger, Dempsey is equally attuned to the culture of the day: album opener and set staple ‘Sing All Our Cares Away’ is full of piercing portraits of characters who didn’t benefit from the Celtic Tiger and who were blighted by despair, domestic violence and addiction; similarly, ‘Party On’ describes the ugly aspects of Ireland’s drug culture, which intensified during the notoriously decadent Celtic Tiger years.

A statement of intent and his most fully realised collection songs, Dempsey caught the spirit of the age on his own terms, or as he sings in ‘Patience’, “From my room in Donaghmede / I’m ‘bout to kick all your asses / stick your pink champagne / and fuck your backstage passes”.

 

7. Planxty by Planxty

Referred to as “The Black Album” among Planxty fans, you get a sense of just how important Planxty’s music was to a generation of Irish music fans in Ireland. Featuring the classic Planxty line up that would reunite for a series of gigs in Vicar Street in 2004, the band’s 1973 début, according to biographer Leagues O’Toole, “crystallises the 1972 set” of Planxty’s tour. The band’s remarkable début opens with ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy/Tabhair Dom Do Lámh’; the former a ballad of a rich woman who leaves her life of luxury for a life to live with itinerants, the latter a tune of joy and, in the context of ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’, freedom. Both offer, perhaps, the most appropriate introduction to any band: while the rich lady is joining the itinerants on a journey, you, the listener, are joining Planxty.

‘Arthur McBride’, a live favorite at the time of recording and performed heavily by Andy Irvine, Paul Brady and, indeed, Planxty, was a song steeped in the Irish tradition, yet it also chimed well with those singers, songwriters and listeners of folk music, energised by the protest songs of the 1960’s, particularly the songs of Bob Dylan, who would later cover the song for 1992’s Good As I Been to You.

The most tender ballad on the album, Ewan McColl’s ‘Sweet Thames Flow Softly’ feels like a song that Shane McGowan, at the peak of his powers, could have written and performed, written as it is with the tourist’s eye for London.

Perhaps the only song that dates the album in any way is Kerry- based Fermanagh man Mickey McConnell’s ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’, written as it was to reflect the social and political crisis in the north of Ireland; that song aside, Planxty remains a timeless and unforgettable document of Irish music, refreshing the genre as it did in the 70’s with a prodigious degree of musicianship that is all- too- rare.

 

8. Rum Sodomy & The Lash by The Pogues

If Planxty’s natural musicianship and live shows were keeping the flame alive for Irish folk in the 70’s, The Pogues’s fusion of punk and Irish folk energised the genre in the 1980’s. Through a series of records that have dated remarkably well when compared to records from the same period, The Pogues’ blend of Irish folk myth with punk and Irish trad was the sound of a band proud of their Irish identity at a time and place when public expressions of Irish nationalism could land one in trouble.

Of all The Pogues’ records, though, it’s their 1985, Elvis Costello- produced second record that finds the band stressing the extremities of their songs, veering from the romantic and sentimental (‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’, ‘I’m Not A Man You Meet Everyday’) to the explosive and raucous (‘Sally MacLennane’, ‘Billy’s Bones’). The duality of the Pogues sound, which could shift from romantic and elegiac to defiant and up- tempo within two tracks, was, as could only be the case for an Irish band from London, marooned between two different places.

The album starts with ‘The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn’, a song of transition that finds MacGowan at his most lyrically wry, with songs that blend as much imagery from blues lyrics as they do from Irish folk (“At the sick-bed of Cuchulainn we’ll kneel and say a prayer / And the ghosts are rattling at the door and the devil’s in the chair”). Without doubt one of MacGowan’s finest moments, ‘The Old Main Drag’ is a picaresque tune of adolescent destitution and addiction that, sadly, wasn’t uncommon (“When I first came to London I was only sixteen / With a fiver in my pocket and my ole dancing bag”).

If The Pogues are the undisputed band of the diaspora, then Rum, Sodomy and The Lash is the sound of a band comfortable with that tag.

 

9. For The Birds by The Frames

Half recorded with Nirvana/Pixies producer Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago, half recorded in a house that the band had decamped to in Ventry, Co. Kerry, Dublin’s The Frames’ 2001 masterpiece For The Birds, as was the case for The Pogues’ Rum, Sodomy and The Lash, found the band at a musical crossroads, blending two distinct styles together: the homespun folk of flagship ‘Lay Me Down’ and the post rock bliss of ‘Santa Maria’, named after a shipwreck near where the band were recording. The Frames’ third album found the band moving away from the Pixies- influenced Dance The Devil… and towards what can only be described a post- rock influenced folk.

The entire record finds the singer seeking closure, assurance and progress from, amongst many themes, bereavement (‘What Happens When The Heart Just Stops’) and relationships (‘Giving Me Wings’).

If For The Birds belongs anywhere, however, it is in every small town and village in Ireland. What hangs over the songs are feelings of restraint and release. In ‘Fighting On The Stairs’, Hansard sings “But if I don’t get out of this town now/then something is gonna break/ ‘cause I gotta find my own way now/through this thick malaise”. Similarly, Hansard sings on ‘Disappointed’ “And I’m just ambling on in this town/I can’t get out and it drags me down/And these words don’t fit what I’m feeling now”.

The idea of restraint and release is given further emphasis by the band, influenced heavily by guitarist, multi- instrumentalist and producer Dave Odlum: the release of the brass section in the largely solo ‘What Happens When the Heart Just Stops’; the distortion pedals and the kitchen sink on the excellent ‘Headlong’; the band outro on majestic album closer ‘The Mighty Sword’. Those listeners who couldn’t release themselves from the grip of this stunning album attended a ten-year anniversary gig in Dublin’s Vicar Street in 2011, which celebrated this incredible achievement.

 

10. The Lion and The Cobra by Sinead O’Connor

Recorded when O’Connor was merely 20 years- old, The Lion and The Cobra takes its title from Psalm 91:3, in which God promises protection from danger: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” That O’Connor repeats the Psalm, as Gaelige, with Enya, on ‘Never Get Old’ reinforces the themes of vulnerability and identity that run through the record (“Young man in a quiet place/Got a hawk on his arm/He loves that bird/Never does no harm”, sings O’Connor on ‘Never Get Old’).

One of the most auspicious debuts from a solo artist in the last 30 years, The Lion and The Cobra is, in parts, O’Connor at her most raw. On opening track ‘Jackie’, vulnerability, identity and loss, again, loom large in a song that tells the story of a widow whose husband died at sea, twenty years before (“I remember the day the young man came/Said Your Jackie’s gone he got lost in the rain”). It’s a haunting folk tale that, lyrically, is in the vein of Planxty, The Pogues, Paul Brady; in fact, any songwriter who has drunk from the wellspring of Irish folk. It’s all the more haunting with a ghostly vocal from O’Connor that escalates from a whisper to a scream.

Like Dempsey, O’Connor’s lyrics are high on rhetoric and social observations. In ‘A Drink Before the War’, restraint and violence and entwined like peace and war, past and present: “You refuse to feel/And you live in a shell/You create your own hell/You live in the past/And talk about war.”, which, as they say, “is more Irish than the Irish themselves.”

I’m thinkin’ ’bout my smartphone / When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it? : Jack White calls out audience members fixated with their phones during gigs

Nashville based singer- songwriter Jack White complains that audience members at gigs are apathetic and fixated on their phones instead of matching the energy that he and his band give out to them. He’s absolutely right, writes Philip Cummins.

I smell a rat: Jack White has voiced his displeasure at Generation Y audiences obsessed with their phones.

I smell a rat: Jack White has voiced his displeasure at Generation Y audiences obsessed with their phones.


THE REVOLUTION
 will, as with everything else, be tweeted.

Rolling Thunder: Jack White vents his spleen in a Rolling Stone cover interview ahead of the release of Lazaretto.

Rolling Thunder: Jack White vents his spleen in a Rolling Stone cover interview ahead of the release of Lazaretto.

On the eve of the release of Lazaretto, Jack White’s second solo album proper-  and what must now be his 15th record, all side projects and White Stripes material considered- Detroit native White has complained, in a cover interview with Rolling Stone, that audience members “can’t clap any more” because they have a drink in one hand and a mobile phone in the other. Gone are the days, White implies, that people would launch themselves around the venue, throwing all manner of shapes and letting themselves free- free of their socio- economic constraints, their work commitments, their suburban ties, their anxieties- in an effort to match the energy and vibrancy powered by the group of musicians on the stage.

No. Generation Y’s insistence on being in the loop is to the detriment of life in the moment. Tweeting / texting in cinemas and at gigs and taking instagam snaps of dinner and drinks in restaurants has become par for the course. In the culture, there is now a compulsion to tweet everything one is doing and instagram everything that one is eating for their breakfast, lunch and dinner.


YouTube glory hunters

Most of all, however, Generation Y feel compelled to be ahead of the pack, especially so at gigs. I have not been to a gig in the last five years where there hasn’t been at least twelve people, usually dispersed amid the rows in front of me, insisting on taking out their iPhones and iPads, capturing video and audio footage of the gig to upload that footage on streaming sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo, before anyone else, in a desperate effort to claim YouTube glory, scooping kudos from fellow fans.

Technology and social media are both mediums that connect users to the world in ways that, twenty years ago, were unimaginable: unquestionably so. However, in a social setting- a gig, a meal at a restaurant, wherever one might be- social media and technology alienate us from those around us, perhaps most pertinently at gigs. Collectively, gig goers fixated on their mobile phones drain the room of any energy; the mood and atmosphere, thereby, dull, unremarkable and uninspiring.

I think that I can safely deduce from White’s comments that this is what happens when people spend half their time at a gig on a phone: whatever energy they would have previously thrown back at the stage is now going into live updates on Twitter and on Facebook, as well as selfies and instagram filters of crowd pics that are also uploaded on social networking sites.


#Judas: Classic gigs re-imagined

Iconic gig: Sex Pistols live at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976

Iconic gig: Sex Pistols live at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976. The gig would later inspire some of Manchester’s most important figures such as members of Morrissey, Tony Wilson and members of Joy Division.

The apathy of audiences at live shows, which as a regular gig- goer and a reviewer for print and on-line media I have witnessed consistently, is best gauged by remarkable gigs of years gone by where technology was neither a distraction nor a compulsion for audience members.

Consider the following: would the Sex Pistol’s iconic gig at Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976– hypothetically, of course- have carried the same cultural, social, generational impact that it clearly did if future members of Joy Division, future Smiths front man Morrissey, members of Buzzcocks and Factory records impresario Tony Wilson et al had taken selfies while the Sex Pistols were playing  in the background? Possibly not.

Would John Cordwell have bothered heckling Bob Dylan at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall on 17th May 1966 with cries of “Judas!” at Dylan’s remarkable gig, of which authors wrote feature-length books, or would Cordwell, perhaps, have been too busy broadcasting his disgust live on Twitter with the hashtag #Judas ? 


The role of promoters / venues and personal responsibility

Concert venues could learn an awful lot from theatre companies and theatres, both of which have persistently combated against talking, texting, tweeting and all other behaviour that is a general annoyance not just to those audience members around them, but, crucially, to performers. How peeved would any of us be if the glare from the screen of a mobile device or the ringtone of a device were to throw a performance off-key; a performance that has been months in the making and hundreds of hours in rehearsal?

Unfortunately, concert promoters and venues care little about gig going etiquette: once promoters, venues and artists’ management have their fees from ticket sales they care little about what actually happens at the gig, save for illegal or actionable behaviour.

Everyone, however, bears some responsibility, I feel: venues, promoters and, most of all, participants. I use the word “participants” very deliberately: everyone who attends a gig contributes as much to the energy and the feel of the room as the musicians and the sound personnel. Just ask any of those who were at Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976.

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.

Catching up with…SOAK

Ahead of her May 29th appearance at K-Fest in Killorglin, County Kerry, prodigious 18- year old singer- songwriter Bridie Monds- Watson shares her appreciation for Pink Floyd’s work on record and film, what it meant to her to grow up in Derry and what piece of priceless music memorabilia she wants more than anything.

Soaking it up: Derry singer- songwriter Bridie Monds- Watson

Soaking it up: Derry singer- songwriter Bridie Monds- Watson.

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


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

There have been a few, but I think definitely touring with Chvrches and selling out my first headline in London are the brightest highlights.
 

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

I didn’t. When I first released my music on the internet the reactions were great and the whole thing kept going from there. It wasn’t planned; it just worked.

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

Fear. Excitement. Hunger.

 

How do you wind down after a gig?

I don’t like to wind down; I enjoy the adrenaline and run around like a ADHD rabbit. Then I talk to a lot of people.
 

In three words, describe the live scene in Ireland.

Big. Interesting. Fun.
 

Whose career do you envy and why?

That guy who went and did flappy birds.
 

Vinyl or digital downloads?

Downloads are quick and handy, but vinyl can be in your hands and I think it can be more atmospheric. Plus, you’re guaranteed artwork. Annnnd they look cool as shit.
 

What is your favourite record shop in the world?

Hmmmmm…I like Tower Records in Dublin, but there’s one five minutes from my house (gaff) called Cool Discs and it’s cool.
 

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

It would be dead sweet to own the first pressing of Dark Side of the Moon.
 

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

Les Paul’s first Les Paul.

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

Hearing new music.
 

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

The Wall movie.
 

Name one overrated TV series and one underrated TV series.

I think Breaking Bad is overrated but I’ve seen like 30 seconds and it’s too dramatic for me. Adventure Time is underrated.
 

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

Steven Spielberg. The actor would be me. I can’t act though. I think.
 

Describe the perfect night in.

Making demos in my room or writing or jamming with mates.
 

Describe the perfect night out.

Corona, one of my favourite bands, an 80s shirt and my mates.

 

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

I grew up in both Lisburn and Derry. When I was very young we lived in the countryside and I really, really loved that. Me and my brothers had a really cool tree house and loads of places to explore. In Derry we played a lot of hide and seek in the street with, like, forty other kids. Snowballs fights became quite drastic and my parents got rid of our trampoline because I tried to jump out of the window onto it.

 

What is your biggest fear?

It used to be the dark, but now it’s breaking something in my hands.
 

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

My best friend jack. I moved next door to him when I was six and now he’s 17 and I’m 18. We’ve never not been friends. Sometimes he looks like a potato. It was his birthday two days ago and were still not sure how to celebrate. Maybe, paint ball.
 

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

Honesty is the best policy.
 

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

Don’t be stupid. Do what you want to do and don’t waste time.
 

SOAK plays Sol y Sombra Tapas Bar, Killorglin, Kerry on Thursday 29th May. Tickets are €12 ex. booking fee. The gig is part of K-Fest, an arts festival of music, art, poetry, drama and film. For more, visit entertainment.ie/k-fest