TV People discuss lockdown, ‘Nothing More’ success and musical influences!
For bands in particular, lockdown has been a very difficult time. Would you say that is helped you to be more productive or would you say it has hindered your creativity?
Paul – Lockdown has definitely been a challenging time for us as a band. I think we’ve managed to stay relatively productive with our songwriting over the last six months but it hasn’t always been easy. It’s easy to become fatigued and unmotivated when you can’t socialise with people in a normal way or do things that you love like playing gigs. We’ve tried to channel some of these negative feelings and emotions into the songs that we’re writing which has helped us to process all of the madness that’s going on at the moment and to stay productive.
Congratulations on ‘Nothing More’, it’s a fantastic tune! With this tune you’ve been played on BBC Radio 1 on Huw Stephens’ Introducing show. Just how important is this opportunity?
Len: This was a major milestone for us. We are huge fans of Huw’s show and listen to it regularly. So to be played on his show alongside such amazing bands was a massive honour. When we started playing together we always spoke about the possibility of having one of our tunes played across the water so this was a big achievement for us. We are hoping to expand our fan base to the UK and getting played by Huw was very beneficial in doing that.
On ‘Nothing More’ it’s fair to say you tackle some very complex themes, including existential anxiety and the possibility of a pointless life. What inspired you to take on these particular topics, was it personal experience?
Paul – I tend to be a bit of an overthinker and have struggled with existential anxiety on and off since I was a teenager. I suppose it’s a universal enough thing with most people. Sometimes I can get a bit fixated on thoughts surrounding mortality and the purpose of life, especially during times when I’m stressed. When the lockdown started, a lot of those worries and existential feelings came to the surface. Writing the song with the lads helped me to deal with those emotions. I tried to capture the headspace I was in at the time in the lyrics. It was my way of making peace with the uncertainty of life and those existential fears.
What is the best show you have ever played?
Len: Every show we play has it’s own individual qualities but personally my favourite show is the last one we played before the pandemic. We played a night in Whelans called Soma and it went very well. Getting to play Soma gave us a massive boost as being asked to play that show let us know that we were making our mark on the Dublin music scene. We were coming off the back of a string of gigs so we were able to provide a good show for the people that came to see us. When the pandemic struck we were very disheartened of course but I take solace in the fact that our last show was one that went very well.
On the contrary, what is the worst show you have ever played?
Paul – We played a gig in a bar in Dublin last year that was a comical trainwreck. We brought our own backline and one of our amps went haywire just as we were about to start playing. We eventually got it working after a long fifteen minutes of standing around on stage but unfortunately it only got worse from there. The venue was new and had mainly had acoustic acts playing up until then. Our amps were turned up extremely loud and the restaurant next door started complaining that their windows were shaking from the vibrations and then threatened to call the guards. We had to keep turning everything down as the set went on until it was barely more than a whisper. It wasn’t the best craic but we got a good story to tell out of it at least.
If you could play any venue in the UK, where would it be?
Len: A few years ago I went to Liverpool and I got to visit the Cavern Club. This was very surreal for me as it is the venue that The Beatles played most of their early gigs. I found a lot of similarities between The Cavern and Whelans as the layout of the venues were very much the same. They had local bands playing there all day playing original music with Beatles covers thrown in here and there which I really enjoyed. I spent a lot of time there fantasising about the possibility of getting to play a gig there some day.
Which of your songs are you most proud of?
Paul – I’m probably the most proud of ‘Nothing More’ because its lyrics and meaning are extremely close to my heart. Writing the song was also a challenge for us as a band. We’re used to writing improvisationally together in our rehearsal room and couldn’t do that for this tune because of lockdown. We were forced to write in isolation by recording ideas and sending them to each other. It took us a while to adjust to writing that way and when we eventually got the song finished I felt incredibly proud of it.
If you hadn’t taken up music as a career, what would have been your next choice?
Len: I always wanted to be a teacher as a kid so I probably would try and pursue that a little bit more if I wasn’t focussing on music.
Finally, who inspired you most to make music?
Paul – I played a bit of guitar when I was a kid but I didn’t have a huge passion for it. Learning off scales and acoustic pop songs in guitar lessons did nothing for me and I eventually lost all interest in playing. During my teenage years, I got really into guitar bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines and The Strokes which rekindled my love for it. I remember seeing Arctic Monkeys’ first Jools Holland performance and instantly picking back up my guitar and teaching myself how to play it from then on. Those bands were a huge influence on me in my formative guitar playing years and I probably wouldn’t be playing in a band today if it wasn’t for them.
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