Saturday, 17 February 2018

Interview / Photos: Hatchlings

Hatchlings Interview
All Photos: Remy Connolly

Info: On a chilly Valentine's evening I met up with Maynooth multi-faceted band Hatchlings ahead of their headline show in Whelan's with support from hip-hop duo NEOMADiC. After a quick line-check we took ourselves downstairs to the cosy environs of Bourke's pub which, for the purposes of the interview, we thankfully had to ourselves.

After wishing each other a happy day of romance and love we got down to the business of chatting about the greatest love of all, music. The five-piece comprise of two Donegal natives, Conor Cunningham & Eamon Travers, Niall Quinn from Tyrone, Jamie Bishop (Monaghan) and Peter Kelly (Roscommon). After regularly bumping into each other at the open mic Live Sessions held at The Loft in Maynooth, the quintet eventually got together to form Hatchlings in 2015.

Remy: On your new EP Montessori the three tracks cover a lot of the genres you dabble in, with latest single 'Sexy B' having a lo-fi slacker feel, 'Divinity' is a bit more alt-folk and finally 'Workin'' has a jazzy turned country rock style. Are there common influences between you all or is just something that comes out on it's own when writing.

Hatchlings: Good song-writers are the common denominators, that covers everything from Stevie Wonder to Bob Dylan, we like groove as well but mainly song-writers. With Conor and Eamon it's more instrumental than what Jamie and Eamon are into, we listen to a lot of jazz, people like Chet Baker, but then we also all centre around people like Jeff Buckley and D'Angelo.

In the internet age a lot of just have so many influences constantly, too much music that we love to really talk about between us. There are a hell of a lot of good Irish bands as well, so, so many, we'd be mainly influenced by those as well.

Remy: That brings me to my next question, it's well established over the last few years how high the standard of the Irish music scene is and I did get an impression of that from Montessori, it definitely felt like an 'Irish' EP, a tiny bit of Glen Hansard's style of song-writing particularly on 'Divinity', rather than his sound itself, does local music permeate your writing?

Hatchlings: I think Villagers would be a big influence on me (Jamie), Conor O'Brien is amazing, we love Girl Band as well, and there's recent bands we've come on to like THUMPER who are class and Joey Gavin who is deadly who we played with recently, and also Planet Parade who are brilliant. The list is endless, I suppose the bottom line for influence is going to gigs, seeing how great acts are on stage and being inspired by how good everyone is.

Remy: When it comes to going to local gigs do you prefer to go in dark and not really knowing the line-up apart from say the headliner?

Hatchlings: We go to quite a few gigs, we all do, usually Conor will go, discover something great and then tell us we have to go see certain acts afterwards and we'll all head together. The jazz in Sin É is class, we go there a lot, as well as the CrowClub, or the Window Seat Sessions as it's called now is also great.

Hatchlings Whelan's

Remy: So obviously you guys are playing here in Whelan's tonight and I'm interested to hear more about your support act, NEOMADiC, they have a very solid hip-hop sound and are a tight outfit from what I've been listening to over the last few days, how did you link up with them?

Hatchlings: (Jamie) I used to work with Diarmuid's brother in Maynooth, he showed me their tunes and I thought they were great, we've wanted to gig with them for over a year now so we're quite excited about tonight. (Conor) We were thinking about a lot of support acts, and I'm really glad we went them, as much we were talking about the great Irish music earlier, the support is always relatively similar to the main act, but this is so starkly different it's going to give the audience something different we hope. It's as much about the audience experience on the night as it is the acts, and opening up people to different avenues. 

NEOMADiC Whelan's
NEOMADiC on stage on Wednesday night

Remy: You guys played Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, and Vantastival last year, as well shows in Manchester and France. Are there any other Irish festivals you really want to play, because in a way Electric Picnic can kind of be the peak and where do you go from there?

Hatchlings: (Peter) For us Body & Soul last year was probably the most amount of fun we had, and we're going to do that again this year on the Arbutus Yarns stage where we'll be the house band. We were lucky enough to curate the open mic stage last year for the whole weekend playing non-stop for the three days which is definitely are favourite thing to be doing. We got to play with so many musicians of a really high standard and it opened up a lot of doors for us, including meeting our drummer Niall which was great! (Conor) Arcadian Field in Dundalk is also a really cool festival where we've played the last two years, it's only about 5-600 people, the grounds and the old stately house which is the focal point make it quite special and unique. SwellFest in Donegal and Knockanstockan are another two we haven't played previously and we'd love to do both.

Hatchlings Whelan's 2018

Remy: To wrap up, I know the EP isn't long out, but what's the plan for the next while, and to tack on to that question, do you guys ever discuss the long-term future of Hatchlings when you're in between shows and practice etc.?

Hatchlings: (Conor) Yes, we talk about the future quite a lot, for the meantime we're recording our next EP, and we'll also be heading over to The States, spending our first month around California, based on a ranch in a town called Parkfield, and from there we travel to New Orleans and New York for the month of April. (Jamie) We have a lot of material that's lying around, there are four of us that write, so it's had to narrow it down to just one EP, we're mulling over how to release the music, either a number of EP's or an album, we'll take that decision over the next few months. We all want to do this long-term, we have the songs to do that and the drive too. 

(Conor) It's so hard to know these days, how to go about releasing music in the internet age, do you take the Mac DeMarco route and throw everything out at once, or do you really try and craft something that you're very passionate about, and just release something once a year? But then people mightn't listen to it as much if you don't have loads of songs on Spotify for example.

Remy: It's very tricky, and I'm guilty of it as well with the album thing, I could spend two months only listening to the first 4 or 5 songs on an album that I really love, an example for was Tame Impala's Currents, it took a long while for me to get fully get to the second half. Some people recommend lots of singles and a paired video a month later to keep it fresh, it's hard to know what really works.

Hatchlings: (Jamie) Quantity is great once the quality is there, I often think of King Gizzard, who put out albums all the time and the quality just seems to get better and better. Quantity is kind of the way to go in this day and age, but you're conscience of people not getting bored also.

Remy: Finally, finally, any other news from the world of Hatchlings?

Hatchlings: That's it we think, apart from Happy Valentines Day again Remy, and we forgot to mention that we are at the early stages of planning to be the first band to play on the Moon.


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Irish Playlist #020: Æ MAK, Third Smoke, Beauty Sleep, Dreaming of Jupiter & more

Æ MAK - Glow
Æ MAK - Photo: Bríd O'Donovan Photography

Info: The feckin' Town are on the slay early in 2018, we've already fallen madly in love with Elephant's latest single 'Waiting Game Part II' which was reviewed last month, and now two more of Dundalk's finest, Æ MAK and Third Smoke, have shared new zingers, not even mid-February.

Aoife McCann, Daniel McIntyre, Dylan Povey & Peter Kelly, aka Æ MAK released new single 'Glow' on Friday. A disorientating blend of genres is the main course, by the time you've reached the end of 'Glow' you wonder how would anyone even begin to compose such a treat in its entirety. Slow, sparks, slow, sparks and then at 2:37 everything is dropped from a height into the blender, sliced to pieces that are so sharp they pierce your eardrums, magical.

The new Third Smoke is a fine piece, they were always booting energetically around the place sound-wise, but 'Maya' feels like an ode to a new-found subconscious freedom for the band. Like a thirst that has finally been quenched they have discovered full abandon, along with my own live favourite (and I'm sure most people's) 'Ms. Summer Breeze', I feel like 'Maya' will be a long-term favourite for me. Essentially they deliver an all fronts, energy, superb harmonies and lead vocal, rhythm and fervour, and that brass, great idea.

Third Smoke - Maya
Third Smoke - Photo: Bríd O'Donovan Photography

While I've really loved the recorded music of Belfast's Beauty Sleep to date, finally seeing them live at the weekend will put a different tint on their music for me for good. Their set struck a chord (wahoo!) with me, it reminded me of some of the pop music my older sister used to listen to when we were kids in the 80's (I basically listened to whatever she did back then). 'The Feeling Back' grabs all of that nostalgia, summer sunshine through the curtains of the family home despite a February release. But it's not just pop, it's a soulful rock, it sounds simple but it's really quite intricate, oriental-sounding keys, that guitar riff, the full frontal vocal and percussion all start from their own place before converging with the right timing in the middle.

With their new album just 10 days away I wanted to include Wyvern Lingo's 'Snow II' which is from said LP, but the remix version which was released recently, made by Belfast's Arvo Party, who released one of our top 10 Irish albums last year. Magee unsurprisingly drenched the single in dark electronic oil, industrial and indiscernible from the original until you get to the heavily filtered vocals, it's a deeply atmospheric reworking that was left in the right hands.

Dreaming of Jupiter shared latest single 'Let Me Down' last week, the trio have developed their sound considerably since forming over two years ago. It was always alluring, but they've shifted a number gears since then, the latest offering a mature trip-hop and soul track which evidences a sharp focus on constantly moving in different directions, and not for the sake of it, but because of a genuine desire to try everything they can. Their growing popularity and noticeable development as artists is not a bit surprising.

Five Grand Stereo

Dublin / London pop-rock troupe Five Grand Stereo released their latest album Sex & Money a fortnight ago, with 'Iceberg' being the latest single from the LP. It's a dirty affair, a heavy dose of 90's brit-pop mixed with some mighty fine honky-tonk rock. It ticks boxes from Give Out But Don't Give Up era Primal Scream, The Divine Comedy, Lightning Seeds and who know who else, and when the piano kicks in fully at the three-minute mark there's a curious sliver of Marc Bolan glam-rock meets George Harrison, it's hard to describe but it's wonderful!

I really, really love the latest single from Kildare solo act Sara Ryan, 'Euphoric Recall', the perfect come-down from a chaotic day. Wilting blues guitar simmers around a dark soulful vocal. It's so refreshing to hear an Irish act delve into these sounds, and based on this one track I would love to see Ryan live with full band. Sneaker Pimps' Kelli Ali comes to mind, from their 1996 masterpiece Becoming X

We close with the harmonious country-folk sounds of Mayo roots group Vickers Vimy featuring Cat Dea and their track 'Keep Your Eye On The Road'. From a stripped down acoustic and very nice vocal it slowly but purposely grows, Buddy Holly on a porch to a slightly morose yet ultimately optimistic Dusty in the space of a minute. The track unfolds into something deliciously heart-warming, it's impossible to stop it turning into whatever mental vision fits your own mind by tracks end.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Premiere: Boom Child - I Want To Shift Your Sister

Boom Child - I Want To Shift Your Sister

Boom Child - I Want To Shift Your Sister

Info: Boom Child are a chaotic rock trio from Dublin. Their music is an irreverent mix of punk, funk, and power pop. They released their debut "The Super Edible EP" in 2016 on the first 100% edible music format.

REMY is delighted to premiere the brand spanking new single and video from Dublin fun-core triplets Boom Child, 'I Want To Shift Your Sister'. With catchy punk riffage and funk-laden bass runs, Boom Child bash their way through verse and chorus. The deliberate inclusion of clichéd pop-punk moments such as their sustained guitar break right before the tracks final third add to the self-deprecation and entertainment. A word of warning to listeners however, due to the highly infectious nature of this single, it may not always be advisable to sing the chorus line to yourself in close proximity to a member of the public, lest it be interpreted as an overly casual and informal declaration of intent.

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