by Danielle Holian
How and when did you get into music?
It’s always been around. Whether my Dad was spinning Thin Lizzy in the car or my mother lamenting 80’s pop anthems – it’s always been around. I guess I must have started playing when I was around 12, and it just developed from there.
Who or what are your influences?
On a personal, everyday level – I find that I’m awfully observant – and I draw influences from the simplest, sometimes most useless situations. Whether it’s writing songs about Jaffa cakes, to falling in love with that girl from the coffee house – I like drawing from that idea of constant consciousness. On a musical level, it’s gotta be Foy Vance. He’s kind of the reason I play music, the catalyst for my craft. Other than that – I’d be huge fans of John Martyn, David Gray, David Keenan, Lizzy – I won’t dive too deep.
How has being from Ireland shaped your music?
Hugely, but probably in the subtlest of ways. I guess being brought up on an island where our history is carved up of mad Gaelic lullabies, storytellers & tunesmiths – the ideas of ceilís & songs and dance. I went to an Irish speaking school as a young lad, and I was always enchanted by old Irish mythology and the way music was presented back then with sean nós singers and stuff, which is still relevant to this day.
What can you tell us about your debut album “Around the Robin?”
Around The Robin is a collection of songs that all came to me in a short space of time, a time where I had this huge outpour of creativity and felt like I needed to do something about it. It was probably the most natural writing process of collected material I’ve had – so the whole idea behind the album seemed effortless. I wanted the songs to speak for themselves, give them some natural breathing space. We live tracked the whole thing – and even though there are some idiosyncrasies throughout the album, there just as important as the actual songs – because it kind of fits the ethos of the record, I guess. The album was supposed to be almost double the length, but time wasn’t on my side – so we worked with what we had.
Can you describe your music-making process? And who or what inspires you to write songs?
It’s not something I think too much about. Songwriting seems like a moment or a blip most of the time – you kind of get lost in it. I’m just trying to scratch out the imagery in my head, and I don’t know half of what goes on up there most of the time!
How has your music evolved since you began?
I’d like to think I’m getting better? If anything, I think I’m more disciplined in treating songwriting as a craft than how I used to. When I started – I was extremely shy and had zero confidence – so I think I’m progressing at that too. I’m always trying to better myself – I think anyone in any art form feels the same. We’re in it for the long run!
Do you have any gigs coming up?
I’m working on it. I literally just moved to Chicago earlier this week, so I’m kind of starting from the ground up all over again. I’ve got some things lined up next week, but nothing too major. I’m persistent, though, so I’m gonna hit the ground running as the months unfold.
What has been a highlight for you so far?
Errrm – my last few gigs in Ireland were great. I had 2 album launches in Dublin and Kilkenny, and I tied it in with a farewell show. The support and the turnout was absolutely incredible. We packed out both rooms to the brim & I’ve never felt so much love in one place – so that was pretty special for me.
Any last words?
In the words of Rich McMahon : “Fake it ’til you make it”