Archive for the ‘Roisin Dubh’ Tag

Interview: Daithi

Even though Daithi O’ Dronai’s musical career dates back to 2008, his new EP ‘The Embrace’ which was released in February marks his first official release. Having recently secured Gugai of Rosin Dubh fame as his manager, Daithi is poised to make a real impression at home and abroad.

His student apartment near GMIT in Galway has become the creative hub where Daithi works on his music. “Live in a student apartment and nobody complains about noise” he points out.

The apartment, on fist entry displays nothing out of the ordinary except that some of the gig posters on the wall were shows Daithi himself performed at. But then we enter “the music room” and shit gets serious. It’s more of a music junkie obstacle course than a room, you must bypass the massive amp, bisect the speakers, tread carefully to avoid the pedals, at no point allowing yourself to be distracted by the shiny buttons on the chaos pad or synthesisers. Even the bed and chairs are decorated with electronic fiddles and hard cases.

Grandson to the well-known trad musician Chris Doney, Daithi’s no stranger to the traditional sound or culture and he admits that people often automatically restrict him to that genre when they see the fiddle but he is quick to dispel that misconception.

“I had a real traditional background as a kid and I was taught traditionally. My grandfather plays concertina but he’s a real set trad musician. He sees my music the same way I do, that it’s not traditional music. There’s no real traditional turn on it but because I learned the fiddle traditionally it comes in every so often, almost by accident.”

Like so many others, it was in secondary school that Daithi’s musical appetite grew insatiable. Somewhere between playing bass with his old covers band ‘Keepsake’ and hijacking an old art room in Rockwell College with his friends to jam in, he realised that writing his own music was what he wanted to pursue.

The first traces of his current sound surfaced in the summer of 2008 when a friend introduced him to the loop station, a device which would become a cornerstone of Daithi’s performance.

“At that point I was developed enough to think, regardless of instruments, I’m looking for a tone. I guess when I was starting out I was looking for something like the Foals sound.” He says when asked about his influences, which are impossible to decipher from his eclectic blend of genres.

Words fail Daithi himself when put on the spot about classifying his sound. “We came up with something once; Post-trad-math-rock-dance…” he trails off recognising the folly of the exercise.

“I was looking for single melodies just mixed into each other. I picked up the fiddle again after years and started plucking at it to get a clear tone. So I just started with the fiddle and a loop station and it spread from there.” He gestures to the room which provides ample confirmation that it did indeed spread from there, like wildfire.

With all kinds of high-tech toys decorating the room, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of buttons, knobs and pedals. Daithi however, a self-proclaimed “Tech-nerd” is in his element and even makes a decent stab at explaining the process involved in making his music.

“Before I use anything or perform with it in front of people I learn it back to front. The art with loops stations is not to loop too much onto the one thing. Loops are always building so the hard thing is learning where to drop down and to bring it back up again.” He explains in what is clearly the most digestible rundown possible.

As well as an original sound, Daithi beats most electronic artists when it comes to an original starting point in his career. It’s doubtful that his influences J.U.S.T.I.C.E. and Daft Punk performed in front of the French equivalent of Dana and Daithi O’ Shea to get the ball rolling.

“The first time I ever played in front of people besides my friends was the first audition for the Talent Show. The aim was actually to find a singer to put vocals with my music. I didn’t even know who Daithi O’ Shea was at the time.” He says, seeing the funny side looking back. One thing he hadn’t bargained on was becoming a local celebrity.

“It just exploded. That was the weirdest time, I was eighteen and was just getting mobbed walking around Galway City.

At the end of the day it’s a disaster as a show and the system is flawed because whoever has the biggest pool of people has an unfair advantage. But if I hadn’t been in the show I wouldn’t have played Electric Picnic that year, that’s the bottom line.” He concedes with a reluctant gratitude.

Buoyed by this success Daithi embarked on a second television venture, one which sat more comfortably with the pretentious indie crowd, Sky1’s Must be the Music –“a show that tries to kick X-Factor up the arse.” He clarifies.

His performances on the series earned him a place in the final, Dizze Rascal among the judges he impressed and he reached number 11 in the UK iTunes charts. Despite this success he’s yet to return but his three thousand or so British facebook fans will be ready and waiting when he does.

The Other Voices gig unsurprisingly comes across as the feather in Daithi’s cap in terms of TV appearances.

“It was just such a good experience and literally anyone you mention it to once they hear Other Voices they’re like Oh so you’re actually a good musician.”

To have fitted so much into such a short space of time goes beyond the exuberance of youth and proves Daithi’s ambition as an artist. Having taken steps forward in his career year after year the progress shows no sign of easing but his openness retreats at the mention of future plans.

He refers to festival plans and tour plans and possible collaborations but it’s all a bit cryptic, he’s already well-drilled in how much information to impart.

One thing he maintains is that it’s going to keep growing and there are a lot of things happening in the near future.

With the career he’s had to date, you’d be inclined to believe him.

The Embrace EP is available at Daithi’s bandcamp.

Gig: Gold Panda

The man behind the gorgeous LP Lucky Shiner will be playing across Ireland in June.

June 8th – Auntie Annie’s, Belfast.
June 9th – Roisin Dubh, Galway.
June 10th – The Pavillion, Cork.
June 11th – the Workman’s Club, Dublin.

Gig: The Ambience Affair & Windings

Thursday night saw the first gig of the Certain Three Tour featuring Windings, The Ambience Affair and We Cut Corners, come to Galway’s Rosin Dubh. Unfortunately I missed openers We Cut Corners, whom I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. In truth though it was the latter acts that had provided the real pull to the gig, the free admission didn’t hurt too. I last saw The Ambience Affair at 2008’s Hard Working Class Heroes. I remember being intrigued by the then two-piece who struggled to master their array of loop and effects pedals but had an appealing and distinct sound. Windings, for all the acclaim their 2010 album It’s Never Night got, were still something of an unturned stone, with just two songs on my iTunes.

The Ambience Affair, complete with new recruit, bassist Yvonne Ryan, were second on stage. The band may have an updated member list but  they haven’t deviated in terms of style and sound and are still making engaging and original tunes which are a celebration of layered guitar and vocals with frontman Jaime Clarke taking multi-tasking to a new level. Clarke is backed up masterfully by drummer Marc Gallagher and Ryan but make no mistake he is the focal point. His powerful vocals are belted out furiously in vain-popping dedication to the performance. Compelling though the music was, it was unfortunate to see the band are still plagued by the same problems. Clarke appears something of a perfectionist. Just like in 2008 songs had to be cut off and re-started. He places a certain level of pressure on himself, between the guitar, singing and pedal controlling. Rather than adapt to bum-notes and recover, he insists on calling a halt to songs to the frustration of those in attendance. It is the only glitch in an otherwise fantastic live show.

With the dance floor filling up nicely Windings took to the stage. Decked out in check-shirts, bootcut jeans and skater shoes, it was refreshing to see a modern act not feeling the need to conform to some indie stereotype. Singer Steve Ryan was more than comfortable speaking to the crowd and the band really gave off the impression of being nice, ordinary guys. Unfortunately that’s how the music was too, nice and ordinary. The performance wasn’t bad, nor was the music but perhaps that’s because Windings play a safe brand of indie rock, it’s unadventurous and inoffensive. It was the kind of performance that wouldn’t force you to retire to the smoking area, but equally it did little to promote buying the album.

Video: Mogwai – How To Be A Werewolf

What better way to kick-start 2011 than a new video from Glasgow’s finest export? Anthony Crook’s video appeared on Nowness in early December and represents the first single off Mogwai‘s upcoming EP gloriously entitled Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will. The absorbing cinematography captures the soundscapes over landscapes effect of the music which lacks Mogwai’s customary spine-tingling bleakness but is altogether lovely and how often do we get to call post-rock lovely, eh? They play Galway’s Roisin Dubh on Valentines Night and The Olympia on Tuesday the 15th of Feb.

Gig: Cap Pas Cap

Cap Pas Cap are a Dublin based electronic-tinged indie outfit. Haunted Light is the band’s first album and was launched on the 13th of November off Skinny Wolves. On Saturday night the Rosin Dubh played host to the Leinster hipsters. They have been quietly raising a few eyebrows in the capital and getting favourable mentions in various blogs, however this failed to attract a reasonable crowd and those who chose to observe did so from a cautious distance leaving the dance floor to the tumbleweeds.

With such a lack of energy to feed off it’s somewhat unsurprising that CPC put on a show that was businesslike and nothing more. Their undeniably funky brand of danceable indie-pop had the desired effect on some of the venues more inebriated clientele as tunes like the infectious single ‘Friends’ were rewarded with the awkward flailing-limb moves they deserve.

Having won over pockets of onlookers with a notably up-tempo opening, the set dipped midway with a series of tracks that failed to make any kind of first impression, sounding rather generic and stale. Loitering between The Ting Tings and Fight Like Apes with a hint of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cap Pas Cap are not creating an entirely new or ground-breaking sound, but not every new act needs to be incredibly innovative, what CPC are doing for the most part is creating catchy pop tunes. Not-so-discreet glances and hand signals showed the band is still getting comfortable with some of the songs onstage.

A reversion back to the lively, provided a strong finish to Saturday night’s set with a handful of those impressed queuing up to get their hands on Haunted Light. With a more receptive crowd, a more inspiring stage presence and a removal of filler CPC could become one of the more exciting prospects in Ireland’s ever-growing indie scene.

Weekly Watch

This weeks top three gigs to catch:

God is an Astronaut supported by Caspian –  3rd Nov Dolans Limerick, 4th Nov  Roisin Dubh Galway, 5th Nov  The Forum Waterford, 6th Nov The Academy Dublin, 7th Nov The Limelight Belfast

Halves -4th Nov Roisin Dubh Galway, 5th Nov The Model Sligo

Tokyo Police Club – 5th Nov The Academy Dublin

Weekly Watch

This week I will be mostly recommending…

Jamaica, Academy 2 Dublin, €16.50, Sunday 31st

Windings album launch, Roisin Dubh Galway, Free, Thursday 28th

James Vincent McMorrow, The Pavillion Cork, €14.50, Friday 29th

Weekly Watch

Jazz weekend is upon us again. It’s that one weekend in the year when every langer on leeside suddenly remembers he “fucking loves the jazz, tis daycint, like!” So for those looking to click their approval, there’s plenty on offer. Brand New Heavies are bringing their brand of jazz, soul and R&B to the Savoy Theatre on Saturday. Herbie Hancock Band play alongside Jason Moran and the Bandwagon in the Everyman Palace Theatre also on Saturday.  The Savoy hosts Maceo Parker Band on Sunday. If like me however you’re looking for a little something different then check out Jazzsteppa playing in Cyprus Avenue on Saturday.


Meanwhile back at the ranch…

Yeasayer, Olympia Theatre Dublin, Mon 18th, €23


Fake Blood, The Academy Dublin, Sun 24th, €23.50


Yann Tierson, Mandella Hall Belfast Fri 22nd, The Village Dublin 23rd, The Pavillion Cork 24th, Roisin Dubh Galway 25th



Gig: Mount Kimbie

When a new band breaks onto the scene and gains instant support the first thing everybody wants to know is what do they sound like…what genre are they? Its part of the logocentric nature of man, we want to be able to point to one single thing and categorise a host of subjects, it’s basic laziness. Its hip-hop, rock and roll, grunge, electro, techno, house, etc. With this one word we try to sum up an entire sound and numerous artists.

What then do we do when an act like Mont Kimbie comes along? Widely regarded as Dubstep this London duo mixes all sorts of  ‘genres’ to create a sound all of their own. Dubstep may be the umbrella they have been cast under but last night’s showing in Galway’s Roisin Dubh was more Flylo than Jakwob, more Onra than Benga. Dominic Maker and Kai Campos varied loops and samples with dreamy synths and rocky instrumentation.

A respectable crowd was present to witness the unclassifiable but undeniably brilliant performance from Mount Kimbie. While aspects of their live show bared resemblance to minimal dubstep, in a manner not dissimilar to Skream, most of the set was dominated by beats resembling the fashionable glitch-hop sound made popular thanks to performers like Nosaj Thing. It was refreshing to see the Londoners emerge from behind their laptops and samplers to pick up a guitar and drum sticks and prove that modern electronic artists are not afraid to make music the traditional way.

LastFm offers several ‘genres’ which could all lossely be applied to Mount Kimbie’s sound but instead of playing the genres game, this time why don’t we just listen to the music and decide if we like it. After last nights memorable performance I have to say I love their blend of electo/electromental/ambient/downtempo/chillout/electronica/techno/garage/glitch hop/folktronica/shoegaze…..oh ya and dubstep.

Gig: The Cast of Cheers

When I first heard The Cast of Cheers album ‘Chariot’ back in February I considered them one of the most exciting bands in Ireland, after last Friday’s performance in the Roisin Dubh they have made their way to the top of that list.

Excited as I was before the Dublin based math rockers took to the stage I couldn’t help but feel an air of predictability about the set. After all ‘Chariot’ is their only release to date and the band has been gigging pretty solidly since then. What I wasn’t expecting was to encounter new material with the set only three songs old. In fact we were treated to three new tracks and the good news is the latest offerings are every bit as good if not better than what ‘Chariot’ boasts.

While these songs retain an energy level equivalent to a kid at Disneyland after downing a litre of Calpol, they see the band branch out more, experimenting with harmonies and placing a greater emphasis on the vocals of lead singer Conor Adams, whose distinctive growl was flawless live. The impact of these new songs was compounded when Adams revealed to me after the gig that the lyrics have yet to be written and what we witnessed was basically improvisation on his part.

If you’re familiar with The Cast of Cheers you’ll know that their songs are effects laden, fist-pumping anthems that do not stop to take a breath. As such the band simply cannot recreate the many layers of noise live and some is pre-recorded. With pedals being stamped on and buttons being pushed its hard to know what exactly is the product of the foursome’s live endeavours and what is merely a backing track.

What is apparent is that this band comes alive on stage, producing a colossal sound matched by their presence. This was reflected in the number of spectators who made their way in from the bar outside having heard the quality on offer free of charge. Not only that but the crowd was a sea of awkward elbows and knees rising and falling as the infectious music compelled its audience to dance.

2010 has been a landmark year for Irish music and The Cast of Cheers have played their part, now they’ve given something to look forward to in 2011.