The Thin Air Magazine: Issue 7

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Feature SOAK in Berlin // Track Record With No Spill Blood’s Ruadhan O’Meara Column Fight Like Apes’ May Kay on Album #3 // Musicians On Film Patrick Kelleher

 ISSUE #007 | MAY 2015 | FREE

– The Mighty Stef: A Dark Horse – U






M U S I C M U S I C & &







Foreword / Contents Editor Brian Coney @brianconey Deputy Editor/ Photo Editor Loreana Rushe @loreana

Death, Taxes & A Bazillion Emails

Art Director Stuart Bell @stubell_

Sure, It’ll Be Grand

Reviews Editor Aidan Hanratty @adnhnrt

Cover photo: Mark Earley

Guide Editor Stevie Lennox @stevieisms Contributors: Conor Callanan Brian Coney Aaron Corr Abigail Denniston Aaron Drain Mark Earley Stu Fletcher Mary-Kate Geraghty Aidan Hanratty James Hendicott Brian Kelly Ruth Kelly Aidan Kelly-Murphy Derek Kennedy Colm Laverty Joe Laverty Stevie Lennox Cathal McBride Mike McGrath-Bryan Eimhin McNamara Eoghain Meakin Will Murphy Michael Pope Ryan Richards Loreana Rushe Jacky Sheridan Conor Smyth Tara Thomas Isabel Thomas David Turpin Dean Van Nguyen Jonathan Wallace


n life there are only three irrefutable, empiricallywatertight certainties: death, taxes and the fact that putting a monthly music and culture magazine is never, ever as straightforward as you might imagine. And yet – for this lowly muddler at least – that’s probably around 50% of the underlying incentive. Take this month’s lead feature, for example. It looks good, it reads okay (one hopes) yet, truth be told, that interview was offhandedly recorded, ad hoc as you like, in someone’s car outside a Belfast venue at 1.30am on Record

Store Day – on the phone of the interviewee, the mighty Stefan Murphy. My dictaphone was not on my person and my phone was squeezed of battery, but you know what? Easily one of my favourite interviews to both do and transcribe to date. 99% of the time, the opposite is the case: too many questions, a fully-charged dictaphone and all the rest, but these rare moments prove memorable; cherished even. As we at TTA turn two years old, I like to think that the chase, and all that comes with it, is often, yet not always, better than the catch. Brian Coney

Contents Photo of the Month ����������������� 4 May Kay ��������������������������������� 5 Projection ����������������������������� 6 Inbound �������������������������������� 8 The First Time: Heathers ������� 12 Stacks On Deck ��������������������� 13 Guide: YES Campaign ������������ 14 Musicians On Film ���������������� 16 Track Record ������������������������ 18

Feature: The Mighty Stef �������� Primer ���������������������������������� Reviews ������������������������������� Live �������������������������������������� Live: Record Store Day ����������� Roving Eye: SOAK ����������������� Not Gospel: Success �������������� 88mph ��������������������������������� Agony Uncle �������������������������

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May 2015


– Photo of the Month

Photo of the Month Isabel Thomas


Eimear Noone, Dig International Games Music Festival Image: Isabel Thomas


ach month our photo editor Loreana Rushe selects one stand-out gig image from our fantastic team of hard working photographers. The photographer gets the opportunity to showcase their pic and share a few insights into how they captured it. Loreana: Slightly left of field this month, but this photo of Eimear Noone conducting the Video Games Live orchestra really stood out for me for her raw energy and passion

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exuding from the image. Eimear reminds me of a character from a video game here as her expression is so wonderfully exaggerated. A fantastic moment captured by Isabel. Isabel: Shooting an orchestra is not an easy task and capturing a conductor is always going to be limited to only so many angles! For VGL I was lucky enough though to have great lights set up due to the show being filmed, which definitely made up for the tricky high stage and limited amount

of space I could use as the event was fully seated. This show was the closing event for the iDig Music Festival and a special appointment in her schedule too as she’s originally from Ireland. She was returning to Dublin with VGL after a ten-years break so it was wonderful to see how well received this particular image was by herself and her fans. Eimear is a very kind person and didn’t hesitate to get in touch with me personally to express her affinity for it – as did several other artists performing at the show.

Five Years Worth The Wait Fight Like Apes frontwoman MayKay offers some insight into the release of the band’s long-awaited, self-titled third album.


funder* sent me a private message about six months ago saying “getting really board [sic] waiting on this album...” His ominous, confusing use of ellipses was not where my problems with him ended but I’m almost certain that something bad is going to happen if it takes much longer. I’ve found that really difficult. Since that glorious day where the 501st person got us over the finish line and effectively kept the band alive, there’s been a weight on the band’s shoulders that I hadn’t thought of before. The upside of the album being fan-funded is we got to do it how we wanted to do it and didn’t have to worry about anyone else. For that we are eternally grateful.

few people imposed a surprise deadline on us that resulted in some fairly leftfield private messages. I found that hard to understand and accept but I think it’s a good thing. It’s a frightening but brilliant feeling to have people expecting something from you. It has to be a good thing! If anyone for a moment thinks we’ve wanted to wait this long they’ve gotten it very wrong. The frustration of having new music and people not hearing it is big. The frustration of not gigging regularly is huge. The frustration of anybody feeling that is because a lack

of desire or effort on our part is enormous. There is no benefit to us whatsoever in having waited this long. No benefit at all. Releasing your album into the world is nerve-wracking enough. Waiting five years to release it is five times worse. (I hadn’t realised it was actually five years until right now. Balls.) Then you have people like Loreana Rushe, who jump in and offer to help you because they can see you need it. That is an incredible thing. I think this column was supposed to be about the writing process but I’ve very little space left so: it took ages, it was fun, we ate loads of Hula Hoops, we aged, it’s quite good, stuff is expensive and we’re excited. MayKay *a lovely, life saving person who contributed to the making of this album.

Photo: Loreana Rushe

The downside being that somewhere down the line a

May 2015



May Preview

– Projection



f you think it’s a scorcher out there then you ain’t seen nothing yet. With Fury Road George Miller returns to the harsh desert sands for the pinch-yourself Mad Max sequel, with Tom Hardy as the leatherclad outlaw at the end of the world. If the trailer is any indication, Fury Road is going to be one hell of a ride; a hot amber petroleum nightmare, the action road movie as cartoonish high opera. Switching gears, Chris Rock writes, directs and stars as a jaded stand-up in Top Five, which promises a film that finally does justice to his confessional and comic strengths, and future High Queen Anna Kendrick continues her world domination with acapella sequel Pitch Perfect 2 (go see her in The Last Five Years). May is a bit of a mixed bag for horror fans. We’re

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sceptical about the shiny new Poltergeist, but more promising is the muchbuzzed Spring, about a holiday romance gone wildly awry, and Ivan Kavanagh’s stylish Irish Amityville, The Canal, an over-familiar but still effective psycho-horror about a grief and ghosts. Youth and tech culture feeds Unfriended, which commits admirably to its all-webcam conceit but doesn’t have a high scare factor. There’s also hip vampire riff A Girl Walks Home, and other Festival features like The Clouds of Sil Maria, Still, Rosewater, The New Girlfriend and The Tribe getting limited releases.

A City Dreaming: I Am Belfast Review


he movies were like magic carpets, Mark Cousins tells us, introducing Film Festival opener I Am Belfast. The film itself is a kind of magic carpet ride through the city, with Cousins as the excitable genie, showing us not

a whole new world, but the same one, viewed from unexpected angles. Belfast, tilted. We begin in the clouds, coming down on the city from above, Cousins bringing his film-making eye to his hometown after a career spent Out There. He has a fondness for visual sleights of hand and tricks of perspective, and he wants us to see Belfast anew, its red-raw history and faded beauty. He wants to teach us how to look, though what it is we’re supposed to be looking isn’t always clear. I Am Belfast is a kind of magical realist tour of the city, given by an ancient personification of the city itself (Helena Bereen). It’s a colourful collage of archive footage, snatched conversations, on-street footage and movie clips (for film fanatic Cousins Troubles trauma skulks in the deep like something from The Black Lagoon). The scattershot effect is fresh but uneven, prone to familiar motifs of lines and walls and close-tohome sentimentality. Its dreamlike airiness sometimes feels paper-thin, resistant to the grit of ideas and theme. The best carpet rides actually go somewhere. Conor Smyth

May 2015


Jealous of the Birds


ust two months ago, you’d have no record of the existence of one Portadown 18 year old’s bedroom project. Since self-recording and self-releasing her 7-track EP, Capricorn, in early March, young songstress Naomi Hamilton has built a head of steam under the name of Jealous of the Birds. Her discovery - and subsequent popularity swell – was spearheaded by Niall Doran and Rocky O’Reilly of Belfast local music institution Start Together Studios and following this, she went, by NI standards, viral. The whimsy of the whistled intro to ‘Goji Berry Sunset’ might have you believe that you’re in for


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another young-girl-singsnaïveté-strewn-intimateacoustic-indie-folk; and perhaps on surface level it could be taken this way, but further listens reveal a deeper thread of melancholy, as her debut release, Capricorn, captures something rawer across its seven pieces. A listen to this EP is an intensely personal, experiential one, and, depending on your disposition, is evocative of the early learnings of the human condition. Hamilton’s soft vocal melodies cry out for someone else to learn from her reflections, and Capricorn can be easily read as a charter into the early depths of post-adolescent understanding. Its references to literary

figures and philosophers, as well as very real, relatable characters bely its initial whimsical charm, with a well-crafted world of motifs – on Capricorn, it’s flowers, heartbreak, nostalgic smells, and images of fragmented characters finding and losing hope that dominate the senses. As the heartstring-tugging refrain of ‘happy, happy, happiness’ in finally repeated on EP closer ‘Bipolar’, it’s easy to forget that this is the first release from a bedroom artist. We can only hope that with newfound, inevitably influential fans, she doesn’t lose the emotionally raw, human touch that manages to turn her wonderfully-patchwork songs into something more. Stevie Lennox

Photo: Colm Laverty

– Inbound –

Inbound Jealous of the Birds

Inbound Switzerland



Photo: Aidan Kelly Murphy

The band happily offer a chirpy ‘hat tip to Tom Petty’. There’s definitely a hint of the old-school God of rock n’ roll to be had here, yet they could easily add Love to that

list, or Primal Scream, had they got off the drugs and recorded their entire back catalogue through a Dictaphone for effect.
 If that sounds like a bad thing, it’s not. It’s all very California sunset, a testament to the joys of carefree summers. Brian Walsh’s lightly slurred vocals and a hazy production quality sound like he’s spent an exhausting day out on the waves, and give new track ‘Going Native’ the sound The Thrills wish they could have produced. ‘Coming Back Strong’ goes instead for a slight stepup in pace and dream chasing, inspirational lyrics. It leans towards the poppier and more

accessible without throwing away that sublime spaced-out feel.
 The foursome have been getting around the capital gig wise recently, yet with that plodding feel and fuzzy dimension, the only local acts they fit all that naturally with are the ones their members are already part of. Popical Island has long been a fabulous law onto itself, so why not. Despite the ‘point at an atlas’ name that full-on screams inoffensiveness - and has web-search issues on a par with !!! and The The – Switzerland are yet another obtuse, incestuous but hugely promising outfit. James Hendicott

May 2015


– Inbound –

witzerland (the band) – or @Switzerband, if you will – are yet another memorable collaboration bought to you by the kings of intra-label cross pollination, Popical Island. The Dublin label’s latest reconstituted four-piece are made up of parts of Drunken Boat, Land Lovers, Hello Moon and Paddy Hanna’s band, and indulge in a mellow sunset-guitar vibe with a fuzzy, chilled-out disposition.

Inbound Cut Once / Heroes in Hiding

Cut Once


ut Once is made up of Dublin duo Aisling Browne and Michael Heffernan, who came together in this guise following sessions in the capital’s Temple Lane Studios. Both have extensive behind-thescenes experience, and so the pair decided to step up and out into this new project. They’ve produced a video for their one available track, ‘Institution’, which is a gnarly electro disco jam. Its lyrics, which

seem as much a vehicle for Browne’s fierce vocal prowess, feature some awkward and unnecessary rhyming, yet the overall feel is powerfully emotive. The production, meanwhile, is timeless in its execution, following yet not beholden to anything along the synth pop/electroclash/ nu-electro trajectory. There’s an EP featuring four more tracks to come, and club/festival performances are in the

pipeline. With ‘Institution’ showing undoubted promise, there’s hope for Cut Once to make a name for themselves. Aidan Hanratty


owing the line quite nicely between the folkier side of indie, Heroes In Hiding are certainly good at what they do, given the fact that what they do is also being done by every


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second act you’ll currently hear over the wireless. The fact is it’s taxing near-impossible even - to stand out as identifiable in a scene that is swiftly becoming oversaturated. That being said, Heroes In Hiding are fighting their corner with that typical Dublin gusto. Musically, the motifs of the folk-rock sound are all there, but they’re executed with that familiar rough-aroundthe-edges Irish charm that’s hard to resist. There’s a ‘kick’ to their

melodies and guitar hooks and frontman Joe Carroll’s grasp on the nuances of vocal delivery is intelligent and befitting to the delicate/anthemic, trackby-track formula they’re working with.From what we’ve heard so far of their new, forthcoming Decorated Absence EP, Heroes In Hiding have come a fairly long way too since 2014’s Hush EP and it’s probably to do with Kodaline associate Phillip Magee taking over the HIH production reigns. The right move, we reckon. Aaron Drain

Photos: Tara Thomas

Heroes In Hiding

IMRO is a national organisation that administers the performing right in copyright music in Ireland on behalf of its members (who are songwriters, composers and music publishers) and on behalf of the songwriters, composers and music publishers of the international overseas societies that are affiliated to it.

– Heathers – Photographer Joe Laverty shoots and delves into the music-making, listening and loving firsts of R51 frontwoman Melyssa Shannon.

First single you bought? Ha, em, ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ (on tape). Then I saved all my pocket money up for the album from the previous question! First gig? My dad used to take me to gigs all the time when I was a kid, but the first gig I went to without a parent was Jimmy Eat World in the Ulster Hall in 2005. First album you properly loved? Placebo’s 1998 album Without You I’m Nothing. My dad bought it for himself and I sneaked it from him and played it to death! Irish Music Rights Organisation First artist/band to change Copyright House, Pembroke Row, your life? Marilyn Manson was probably Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. the first P: artist + 353 (0) 1 6614844 F: + 353over. (0) 1 6763125 I totally obsessed I guess I E: W: SUPPORTING MUSIC IN IRELAND

probably should have ‘outgrown’ him Music users such as broadcasters, venues by now, but I just haven’t!

and businesses must pay for their use of copyright music by way of a blanket First band t-shirt? licence fee. IMRO collects these monies A men’s XL Slipknot t-shirt when I was and distributes them to the songwriters, going through my ‘baggy clothes’ stage composers and music publishers who of life. created the songs. The monies earned by copyright owners in this way are known First song you learnt from start to finish? as public performance royalties.

– The First Time

First album you bought? Embarrassingly enough, I think it was a Wheatus album. Got it in the big Virgin Megastore (RIP) in Belfast.

I once learned one of my old bands crazy instrumental tracks on my keytar. Never IMRO is also prominently involved in the played it live with them though, probably sponsorship and promotion of music for good reason!

in Ireland. Every year it sponsors a large number of song contests, music festivals, First original song you wrote? seminars, workshops, research projects I wrote a song with a friend when we were and showcase performances. IMRO like fourteen. It was a typical ‘teenage is now synonymous with helping to romantic tragedy’ and it shall never see showcase emerging talent in Ireland. the light of day!

If you are a songwriter, composer,

First musical hero/idol you ever met? music publisher or if you arrange public Not a musical hero or idol of mine, but domain works and your works have been Van Morrison told me to fuck off when I commercially recorded, broadcast or asked for his autograph once.

performed live in public contact IMRO now to find out how you can become a member of our organisation.

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The First Time Heathers

–Heathers – Photographer Joe Laverty shoots and delves into the musicmaking, listening and loving firsts of Dublin indie-pop twin sister duo Ellie and Louise Macnamara AKA Heathers

– The First Time

First album you properly loved? Paul Simon - Graceland


First artist/band to change your musiclistening/making life? Paul Simon. Our parents constantly played his music when we were growing up and to this day Graceland is still one of our most loved albums to listen to. First local band you got really into? Nine Lives. A pop punk band from Shankill made up of some of our incredibly talented friends. First song to make you cry? Probably the theme tune to The Lion King, or Celine Dion, ‘My Heart Will Go On’. First festival experience? Oxygen 2009. It happened to also be our first experience playing a festival. Unfortunately Louise got food poisoning

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and had to leave right after playing our set. But it was still incredible. First favourite film soundtrack? Amelie First time you knew you wanted to make music? We spent our teens going to DIY gigs in Greystones watching our friends play in bands. This was really what inspired us to start making our own music. First instrument you learnt to play? We both started learning classical piano when we were about six years old. First original song you wrote? A song which is on our first record, Here, Not There called, ‘Reading In The Dark’. First gig or performance of your own? Killiney Hill in front of our friends. It was terrifying and amazing. A few weeks later we played in the Lower Deck, Portabello at a friend’s birthday show. We sat on high stools and were the most awkward 17-yearolds in the world but it was amazing.

Photo: Joe Laverty

First live concert/gig? We wish it was The Spice Girls but our mum wouldn’t let us go… so it ended up being Westlife at The Point.

Is Vic Mensa The Next Big Rap Star? Dean Van Nguyen reckons the Chicago artist can reach hip-hop’s highest peaks.

Illustration: Aoife Dooley

Cut to just over a year later, and Vic is looking every bit the 21st-century rap star – a position that will surely be solidified if his career path remains on its current course. Having recently lined up along-

side Kanye for live performances of one of West’s new tracks, ‘Wolves’, the pair have re-teamed for Mensa’s latest single, ‘U Mad’. An earth-shattering drill number built on concrete pillars and hard gradients, the 21-year-old drops his usually melodic style to go fully HAM against the beat, spitting more forcefully than I previously thought possible of him. It’s another big green tick for the artist who, since his Dublin appearance, can seemingly do no wrong. Mensa’s Academy setlist largely drew from his carefree 2013 mixtape Innanetape, which found him rapping about sunny days sipping orange soda. That release remains his most fully-functioning piece to date, as Vic has since been selective with what he puts out, more interested in crafting songs that work than in getting a massive amount of bars down

on tape. And the dude knows how to cut a single. The trickle of new music we have heard from him in the last year has shown a retreat from the sun, into the shadows, but every track sounds likes a hit. That is not to say that Mensa is the undisputed best young rapper in the game right now. But, with his catchy flow, famous friends, photogenic looks and impeccable taste, he has a great chance at being hip-hop’s next major commercial artist – a more mainstream Chance The Rapper, or Lupe Fiasco without the faux intellectualism. This potential is reflected in Jay Z’s decision to welcome him into the Roc Nation family and, with debut album Traffic in the pipeline, who could possibly say how high this kid can soar. Dean Van Nguyen

May 2015


– Stacks on Deck


ic Mensa made a big impression on me last year when he opened for Danny Brown at Dublin’s Academy. Performing to a typically half-full, half-focused venue in advance of the main attraction, the Chicago MC’s qualities sparkled as he carried a series of tuneful jazz-tinted numbers with his distinctive tweaked-out, crooning rap style – his hooks loitering around my head even after Brown’s battering set. As the crowd left the venue later that night, Mensa could be seen hanging out at the tiny merch stand, promising to sign any purchased piece of memorabilia to bolster his evening’s take.

– A Guide to the Marriage Equality Campaign –

On the slight off-chance you’ve been living under a fairly sizable rock for the last year, on May 22, there is a referendum that will hopefully see our lovely little teddy-shaped island give the LGBT community the bear hug it deserves by voting Yes to Marriage Equality. 14 14

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Guide Marriage Equality


he good people of Ireland have been vigorously campaigning the length and breadth of the country for the last while in the hopes of securing a YES vote, which, you’d assume would pass by the incredible outpouring of support, but nothing is ever guaranteed in life so we must fight for our right to party equally!

Illustration: Eimhin McNamara

Plenty of communities are providing a hub for equality activities nationwide. You name it, it’s happening to raise funds for this very important campaign. Everything from coffee mornings, Drag brunches, yoga workshops, roller derby matches, balloon releasing and an abundance of live music. YUSSS! for Marriage Equality are holding a BYOB afternoon at Steambox in Dublin on May 10 with live performances from Cian Nugent, Sunken Foal and Patrick Kelleher to name a few. After hosting a successful night back in March at Odessa Club in Dublin, which raised over 4k, Vinyl Love have scheduled yet another fundraising night, but this time bringing the tunes to Galway in the Roisin Dubh on May 7, where a whole plethora of names and faces will dig out seven of their favourite 7 inch records and spin them for a good cause.

“Nothing is ever guaranteed in life so we must fight for our right to party equally!” vote YES.

May is such a crucial month and visibility certainly is the key. The YES FOR LOVE campaign has appealed for many of Ireland’s leading designers and illustrators to create artwork in support of the YES vote with contributions from the likes of The Project Twins, Don Conroy and Lauren O’Neill.

Confetti, a fundraising club party that took place recently in Galway created this wonderful video with highlights from their event and guests discussing why voting YES is vital. Of course, keep an eye on the First Lady of Ireland herself Panti @PantiBliss for plenty of updates, and some extra honourable bear hugs to Una Mullally, Colm O’Gorman, Aine Beamish and Debbie Hickey for their incredible work insuring we all come out united for equality.

Speaking of artwork, if you’re not creative in the slightest then how about downloading some posters to place in the window of your home or business? Equality Posters have an extensive collection of fully printable posters with various suitable slogans.

Finally, you can show your support by attending the many YES Equality meetings across the country. To get involved in campaigning in your region or for more information please check out or follow on twitter @yesequality2015

There’s been no shortages of video campaigns online, but Vote With Us certainly contains the most powerful and moving videos by ordinary people from all walks of life banding together to reason with the general public to

May 2015



– Patrick Kelleher


n the latest installment of Musicians on Film, David Turpin talks to Patrick Kelleher about the influence and imprint of cinema on his work. There’s a very atmospheric quality to your music. Has film played a part in shaping your aesthetic as a musician? A lot of what I know about developing tension and drama comes from film and TV. Film and music together are uniquely powerful. Music played over a silent shot can be a more effective indicator of the character’s emotion than

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a well-written line of dialogue, or even great acting. Film can expose an otherwise unseen dimension that exists in a piece of music, and that intangible, instantaneous communication is akin to the effect I’m trying to achieve. Dennis Potter’s 1986 BBC series The Singing Detective had a big influence on me, and features really interesting use of music as a narrative device, as do many of Potter’s works. To my ear there is a 1980s influence at work in some of your music. A lot of the technology

you use has a sound that I associate with Britain and Europe in the 1980s, a time when a lot of interesting film-making was also happening. Are you interested in the moving image culture of this period as well as its sound? I don’t consider myself a voracious consumer of either music or film, but my tastes are very broad, and I tend to allow whatever resonates in some back corner of my mind to just do its thing. I’ve undoubtedly been inspired by a lot of stuff from the 1980s, but I find it difficult to isolate particular strong

Photo: Isabel Thomas

– Musicians on Film

Musicians On Film Patrick Kelleher

Musicians On Film Patrick Kelleher

influences. Because the marriage of music and film was exploited so ferociously in the ‘80s, (MTV, VHS etc.) it’s unsurprising that many of the opportunities to express thoughts and emotions are, for an artist of my age and upbringing, born of that marriage. Oh, and also, John Carpenter is just cool.

“We’re good at pretending to be other people because it’s a skill we’ve used every day since childhood.” be an actor. I’ve always felt that being a musician is a little like being an actor in that it involves briefly taking on different personae. At the same time music is more private than acting – it’s not really possible to be an introvert and an actor. Do you think being a musician fulfils the desire to “act” in a different way? It’s well known, even among non-actors, that the life of an actor is one of near constant rejection. I had a small taste of that

pretty disconcerting for both performer and audience, but it would feel fake to force myself to be consistent. I think it’s a symptom of having a poorly differentiated sense of self, surely a common trait among both actors and musicians. We’re good at pretending to be other people because it’s a skill we’ve used every day since childhood.
 I really like Rupert Morris’s video for your song ‘Put the Lights Out and Cry’ – it’s like a miniature

melodrama, in a way that we don’t often see in music videos nowadays. Rupert envisioned a military or naval theme, and I got swept away by the power of the imagery that idea invoked. There was a lot of talk between us of Robinson Crusoe, the movie Castaway, and Admiral Nelson, but the initial idea wasn’t based on anything as far as I know. The lyrics of the song are about a man going through a crisis of identity, and the various voices, benign and sinister, that accompany those moments. So in that sense, I suppose the whole ‘marooned on an island’ thing serves as a straightforward metaphor, although we didn’t really discuss the link. Rupert has got a great mind for imagery, and achieving a balance of calm and chaos. Could you ever visualise yourself working with the moving image? I’ve made a few films/ videos of my own – animations, montages and performance pieces, but haven’t really shown anything publically. I hope to do music videos for myself and maybe other musicians. I love film and would try most things if the opportunities came along. David Turpin

– Musicians on Film

I read in an interview that, as a teenager, you harboured aspirations to

rejection at the age of 18/19 when I had a few unsuccessful auditions for drama schools. Seemingly I wasn’t equipped with the emotional strength to deal with such knocks and retreated to the safety of music. It’s interesting, when you say musicians adopt many different personae, because I definitely feel as though I seldom occupy the same character for more than a fleeting moment, in my musical work. It can be

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– No Spill Blood – Fucking Champs III

High On Fire Blessed Black Wings

One of my all-time favourites. The Champs are often written off as subLizzy riffing, but where they really excel is in their composition - always changing, propulsive and complex. I love all their records but I’ll choose this one because it has ‘Flawless Victory’.

Saw these lads first at the 2005 Mars Volta ATP festival. I just remember being floored by their relentless fury and Matt Pike’s shredding and inimitable stage presence. Joe Preston (Melvins, Harvey Milk, Earth, Thrones etc.) was in them at that time too – awesome band.


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Photo: Aaron Corr

Ruadhan O’Meara from Dublin cosmic heft overlords No Spill Blood handpicks a selection of records that have left an indelible imprint on his music and life.

Track Record No Spill Blood

Nation Of Ulysses Plays Pretty for Baby
 I think I have bought this album four times at this stage. What I love about NOU is how they were able to convey their message while still being able to rip the piss. Refused lifted their entire schtick from these guys, but neglected the most important part - the sense of humour! Tim Green from The Champs was in them too. What a hero.

Zero Boys History Of
 This is some of the best straightup hardcore going. This album and Vicious Circle were reissued in 2009 by Secretly Canadian and blew me away when I first checked them out. They were kind of overlooked, being from Indiana and not connected to either coastal scene, but they had plenty of bangers!

DEVO Duty Now For The Future
 Devo are one band that are always on rotation, especially in the van. The way they manipulate those crazy sounds out of the synths by hand is a constant inspiration - it’s part of what makes them such an exciting live band.

Ashra The New Age of Earth
 This is a landmark album for me, the endless bliss just draws you in - I was instantly hooked. I’m a big fan of all of Manuel Gottsching’s projects but this album really has something special going on.

John Carpenter Halloween III
 Though he didn’t direct the movie, John Carpenter (along with his cohort Alan Howarth) did return to do the music, and this synth score is definitely one of his best. The ‘Silver Shamrock’ jingle used to scare the crap out of me as a kid.

Krallice Dimensional Bleedthrough All of Krallice’s records are outstanding, but this one is definitely their magnum opus. There are few bands I can think of that as intense and satisfying as these guys. Each piece starts at 100% velocity, but continues to build and soar, not by adding volume or extra elements, but by the melodic twists and turns they make throughout. Their long and cyclical progressions are as earworm-y as they are complex. I would kill to see these guys live, but they rarely leave the US.

May 2015


Photo: Mark Earley. Special thanks to Helen Ginley with Sporty the horse and Thornton Park Equestrian Centre, Swords

Feature The MIghty Stef

his is the first night that I’ve had a drink in about eight weeks.” Having emerged into the night air following a triumphant, sweat-soaked show at Belfast’s Menagerie, The Mighty Stef frontman Stefan Murphy has very good cause to celebrate. With its nigh on nail-bitingly long five-year gestation period, the Dublin band’s new record, Year of the Horse, has just entered the Top 10 of the

able, imposing, gravel-toned vocals, its release confirmed the rife view that they are one of the very best and most authentic bands in the country. “It feels good because we own the label and stuff,” says Murphy, speaking of the album’s appearance at the top end of the Irish Album Charts. “Seeing it up there beside the likes of Mercury and Universal. That’s what I wanted to see more than anything. It’s a very miniscule notch on your CV

to fake bravado in my early to mid-twenties,” says Murphy, sat in the passenger seat of a car, staring into the night. “But I’ve just seen too much by now, you know? When it comes down to dealing with the public, we are very personable. When it comes to getting up on the stage and entertaining people we are completely dedicated to what we do. I just hope that people just get the sense that we really mean it. We’re not doing it for some

Irish Album Charts; no mean feat for an act whose uncompromising DIY work ethic informs the implicit mantra: “No days off on the road.”

but it does help when you’re going to look for festivals and that...”

sort of affectation or coolness. I’m way too old for that. I’ve never been cool. I’ve always just wanted to do what we’re doing. As long as it keeps replenishing itself I’m extremely happy.”

Recorded in Los Angeles with none other than Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys) Year of the Horse is an accomplished, straight-up rock ’n’ roll meditation on despair, ecstasy and abandon. Forging fuzz, heft and killer melodies with cinematic melancholia and Murphy’s instantly recognis-

For someone who virtually emanates effortless cool, towering above most with his black hat and leather jacket, this modesty isn’t at all uncommon. Indeed, it’s this self-effacing, unaffected quality that immediately appeals to the curious onlooker: in spite of the clout of their magnetism, The Mighty Stef are a very grounded, approachable band. “I might have been able

With titles like ‘Everybody Needs a Grave’, ‘Murder’ and ‘Vampire, Hold Me Tight’, there is – in spite of that genuine real-life affability – a strong thread of sorrow and darkness that binds most of the material on Year of the Horse. And yet, therein lies the

May May 2015 2015

21 21

Feature The MIghty Stef

As is immediately clear upon first listen, Murphy’s vocals – betraying the hoarse authority of experience and a life fully-lived – are at the heart of The Mighty Stef’s sound. Naturally, kneejerk comparisons to fellow gruff frontmen abound but that just grazes the surface. Murphy is inclined to


The Thin Air Magazine

agree: “I suppose in many ways, starting out, my voice mimicked the likes of Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan, Jim Morrison, Mike Patton and others. But hopefully, at the age of almost 40, I’ve arrived at my own thing. A lot of shit happened in those five years, from setting out to do this record,” he continues. “Band members came and went. We travelled the world and the seven seas. But I feel like we’re all stronger people after it.” In much the same way as perceived “coolness” has never been an objective, there is, similarly, an almost touchable legitimacy to Murphy’s impassioned odes on Year of the Horse. “They’re sad tales but we try to twist the negativity by putting a positive, cinematic, epic spin on it,” says Murphy. “‘Vampire…’, for example, was the last song that we recorded for the sessions. We felt like we needed another upbeat rock and roll type song, inspired by British Sea Power and my love of early Manic Street Preachers.

Photo: Derek Kennedy

lure and attraction for many. “Everyone’s addicted to that shit,” says Murphy. “We’ve all got morbid fascinations. Actually, now that I think about it, I can’t really think of any upbeat artists that I’d listen to. Maybe the Frank and Walters but I’m a huge scholar of the likes of Nick Cave, the Birthday Party and all the spin-off bands. That stuff always ends up influencing me on everything that I’ve done. Whenever I first started listening to Leonard Cohen after years of people telling me he was depressing, I was like, ‘Depressing? This is really life-affirming stuff.’ It really makes you feel something and that’s not depressing. It’s nice, you know?”

Feature The MIghty Stef

But the song has a dark subject matter: a few weeks after my daughter was born, a good friend of mine committed suicide over in the States, so that inspired the lyrics. Then there’s ’Fourteen Yellow Sunflowers’,” he continues. “The story behind that is fucking insane. I woke up on New Year’s Day, 2011, staying with some family in South Carolina, and there was, like, twelve fire brigades on the street. Some poor girl about four doors down had come home from a party and set her house on fire and died. I thought, “Jesus, this is a fucking heavy way to start the year.” The city was basically shut down, so I went for a walk to get off side, came

back about 45 minutes later and it was like nothing had happened. All that remained on the sidewalk, where the fire was, was fourteen yellow sunflowers. So that’s where that song came from.”

that. We’ve been everywhere in the States and we’re lucky that there’s a lot of little places that we could go where we’d get the same reception that we’d get in Dublin. We were even briefly going back there for a while. That could happen but at the moment we see no reason to consider ourselves located anywhere, because we just tour. That’s it. I know that I can always deliver,” he continues, shedding the reticence for a moment. “If you put me, Bear Grylls, in the middle of fucking nowhere I can pull some sort of showbiz event together and entertain the natives.” Brian Coney

These ties to the States – and indeed the open road, where The Mighty Stef’s rock ‘n’ roll wanderlust thrives – runs much deeper than is perhaps initially apparent. “My wife was raised in the States but she’s lived in Ireland for many years,” reveals Murphy. “We’ve a three year old daughter, so we go back and forth to visit her parents a lot. But my love of America is more based around touring and stuff like

Year of the Horse is out now

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May 2015


Primer Mark Reihill


oe Laverty talks initiation, influence and inspiration with Enniskillen-born, Dungannon-based digital illustrator Mark Reihill

 Hi Mark. Give us a little background as to what you do - and how you do it, for the uninitiated.
 I guess my official title would be freelance illustrator. I work within the field of advertising, illustrating everything from magazine covers, storyboards, children’s books, as well as character design, packaging and branding. I am a digital illustrator which means 100% of my work is computer-based. Why digital illustration? At what stage did you realise the mouse / trackpad was your weapon of choice and not the paintbrush or pen?


The Thin Air Magazine

Where have your most exciting commissions come from? What part of your work gets you buzzing the most? 
 Most of my work comes from advertising agencies - here in Belfast, along with Dublin, London and America. I also get a lot of work from social media - creative directors and clients will contact me directly, which is immediate and great, but it can be hard to fit a brief into 140 characters. I get most excited about the ‘bookends’ of a project - the start,

coming up with the concept, trying to answer the brief as best I can, and the end, then seeing the final illustration. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the middle, the actual work. I love developing an illustration and watching it grow. Sometimes, it goes off in directions I hadn’t intended - that’s all part of the joy. I really love doing any work for The Dead Rabbit. Based in New York, it’s one of the most famous cocktail bars in the world. I illustrated pretty much everything for the bar - posters, prints, cocktail menus - it’s an incredible place and the owners are always pushing the boundaries creatively - which is great news to me as I get to draw some pretty amazing, intense, graphic and violent stuff!

Left: Mad Max for Stardust Magazine

Primer: Mark Reihill

I wasn’t always a digital artist. For years I was a ‘traditional’ illustrator using the pen and ink, right up until my placement year at Uni, which I spent with an advertising agency. During this time I learned several pieces of software. I was then able to use my newly acquired skills and apply them to illustration. For years I used a combination of scanned, hand-drawn illustrations and digital software. However, thanks to drawing tablets like Wacom’s Cintiq and IntuosPro. allowing the artist do draw directly onto the computer, I now work 100% digitally.

Primer Mark Reihill

Top right: The Dead Rabbit NYC Menu

Is there anyone, or anything that has acted as a major influence to your work?
 Like most creatives, I draw inspiration from the world around me - movies, music, people and art inspire me. I love painters like Jackson Pollock, Robert McGinnis and Sebastian Kruger (which another influential artist, Oliver Jeffers introduced me to) I’m a huge comic book fan, so I look up to the greats like Jack Kirby, Gil Kane and John Romita along with modern geniuses like Tim Sale, Mark Bagley and Jim Lee. Is being a digital illustrator in Ireland in 2015 a good thing? How is the scene for you at present?
 It’s an amazing thing! I hate turning down work especially for new clients, but it’s better to be honest and decline work than take it on, miss a deadline and let the client down. The creative industry is small (especially here in

Northern Ireland) and the last thing you need is a reputation for missing deadlines.

can be very persuasive. The 1/6 scale Batman and Batpod are among my most prized possessions. The detail is mind-blowing!

Can you give us an insight into some of the rarities and items of note around the studio? Do they provide inspiration or distraction?
 I surround myself with things that inspire me - art books, graphic novels, blu-rays and games. I have a Jack Bauer figure pointing a gun at me from a shelf - this is to keep me from procrastinating. Jack

Finally, do you have any exciting projects on the horizon for 2015/2016?
 Lots of amazing projects coming up later this year - some exciting pieces packaging and magazine covers - but like most of my creative projects, I’m bound by a confidentially agreement. Sorry.

May 2015


Reviews Releases

– Reviews That’s not to say those traces of energy don’t shine through: ‘Pop Itch’ and ‘Didya’ will more than satisfy long-time fans and go in seamlessly with the band’s pogo-friendly live excursion.

Fight Like Apes
 Fight Like Apes

 It’s great when a band pulls it out of the bag and makes something genuinely smile-inducing. 

 With their self-titled third full-length, gone is the bombast and hyperkineticism of Dublin’s Fight Like Apes’ body of work so far, and in its place, a more focused, thoughtful electropop. Though traces of their famed frivolity remain in MayKay’s effervescent wordplay and the band’s excellent hooks & titles (‘I Don’t Want to Have to Mate With You’, ‘The Schillaci Sequence’), there’s a more pensive, spacey, washed-out feel to the electronics, best showcased in album standouts ‘I Am Not a Merryman’, ‘Numbnuts’ and ‘Crouching Bees’.


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But overall, there’s an honesty that permeates this record that mightn’t necessarily have been so important before, revealing a band getting to grips with veteran status and possibly making a stab at wisdom along the way, but never dropping their shit-eating grin. Mike McGrath Bryan

Robocobra Quartet Bomber EP With their debut EP, Bomber, Robocobra Quartet have

hit on something very special. Their music is a strange hodgepodge of various styles, owing as much to hardcore punk as it does to experimental jazz. There are shades of Fugazi and The Mountain Goats sitting comfortably alongside the likes of John Coltrane and John Zorn. They’ve amalgamated all these disparate sources together to create this deeply hypnotic, ominous and compelling music that wouldn’t be out of place in Twin Peaks’ Red Room. The record reaches its zenith in its early moments with the truly gigantic, almost cinematic, climax to ‘‘98-’01’ which floods the mix with some absolutely beautiful sax work. Over the next 13 minutes, we’re presented with variations on a similar musical theme, but each with a manic bark and a surreal sentiment to add the human element. ‘80-’88’ and ‘Flickering Blinds’ are delightfully unsettling, if a little repetitious. While the record doesn’t go as weird or as experimental as it suggests it’s able to, it’s a very good start and compelling introduction to the sound of the quartet. Will Murphy

Reviews Releases

approach, interspersed with poppier moments like ‘Fall Far’ and ‘Oops Said Hi’.

Not Squares Bolts For fans of Belfast trio Not Squares it’s been a long wait for a follow up to 2010’s Yeah OK, one of the finest Irish debuts of recent years, with only a handful of singles to tide us over ever since. These singles make up almost half of the new album, and tracks like the album’s highpoint ‘Can Opener’ will be well familiar to anyone who has caught their sporadic live shows over the last few years, but having the finished album in our grasp at last is still a cause for celebration. Bolts sheds the dance-punk leanings of Yeah OK and their earlier singles and EPs, further sidelining the twin bass guitar attack they were originally known for in favour of a more purely electronic

It’s less LCD Soundsystem, more Caribou this time, and even the way the album flows is like listening to a great DJ set, with segue tracks linking or ‘bolting’ the album together in a similar manner to their live shows. A long overdue but triumphant return. Cathal McBride

It’s with a sigh of relief that the answer is an emphatic “yes”. Everywhere Else is full of harmony-induced indie-pop gems, with lead vocalist and main songwriter Bennie Reilly’s syrupy vocals once again coming to the fore. There are hooks and catchy chimes aplenty on this record which, just like their debut, encompasses all things Summery. That said, the darker and more personal lyrical content of songs like ‘Love Gets Lost’, ‘Sleeping Hearts’ and ‘Logical Love’, revolving around lost love and failed relationships, act as a perfect juxtaposition to the upbeat, seemingly carefree nature of the music.

little xs for eyes Everywhere Else Nearly four years have passed since Dublin sixpiece little xs for eyes dropped their sun drenched debut S.A.D. upon unsuspecting listeners, which leaves the question: was the wait for this sophomore effort worth the wait?

little xs for eyes’ ability to combine lush (mainly all female) harmonies with a driven yet deft-like approach from the rhythm section and catchy keyboard/xylophone notes - not to mention the obvious lyrical themes prove that the outfit are most definitely progressing in the right direction. Here’s hoping album number three comes around quicker than this. Conor Callanan

May 2015


Live Meltybrains?

– Live


ressed all in white and wearing creepy white masks the five members of Meltybrains? clamber on to the Bar Sub stage tonight looking considerably more professional than the hoodie-donned slackers of yore. With their extended, dreamlike pieces – feeling much less like songs and more like movements – the Dublin band gently marinate the crowd in a dense soup of synths, fuzzy bass, xylophone and violin seasoned with some truly


striking vocoder harmonies. Where they were once had a driven, almost aggressive onstage persona, the band have become a gentle, statuesque and focused ensemble. The overall effect is pretty fascinating, and frankly unique, conjuring Gregorian chanting and everything Talk Talk did that wasn’t released as a single. With the end of their set looming – and just as the crowd start to drift nicely on the band’s ethereal eddies – the drums go on the offensive,

shattering collective reverie. The violin, synth and bass follow with ardour yet the vocals hold back, floating above it all in the ether. Jarring and turbulent by comparison this is still measured and, hidden under one of the band’s masks (I’m not sure how I acquired this at all), I grin my way through to the end of the set. In the aftermath, it’s quite hard to pin down clear memories of this gig. Musically Meltybrains? have no real hard edges to wrap a memory around. They are a great, singular band and should be causing far more fuss than they already have done. I most certainly hope I have the pleasure of struggling to remember them clearly again. Stu Fletcher

Photo: Ruth Kelly


The The Thin ThinAir AirMagazine Magazine

Photo: Joe Laverty


Live Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Photo: Isabel Thomas


ollowing fifteen minutes of ongoing sub-50Hz drones trembling the foundations of Vicar Street, and each of the eightstrong line-up systematically walking onstage, there can no doubt this is a Godspeed You! Black Emperor concert. Taking on, as they invariably do, the ‘An Evening With…’ format, there is no agenda – nor vocal mic – in sight. The incessant rumble of the venue seamlessly transforms into the band’s de facto introduction, ‘Hope Drone’, before giving an airing to some new material. ‘Mladic’, a modern classic from 2012’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! offers the first truly ritualistic, hypnotic moment of the night, accompanied, as ever, by appropriate looped film projections. Despite technically still being on a ‘reunion’ following their


noughties hiatus, Godspeed are as prolific and full of vigour as we’ve ever seen them, offering up a second, even stronger unreleased new song that fits seamlessly into their set. Having built up an abundance of goodwill from the crowd tonight, and operating on Zeppelin IV levels of nighon-mythical urgency, the 2-hit rhythmic intro of new album opener, ‘Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’ – a composition doubtlessly inspired by the astonishing primal sonic heft of another of the most powerful releases in recent years, Swans’ To Be Kind - signals the start of a play-through of their fifth LP, Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress. The album holds up strongly, helped along by the clearly in-sync octet who, by

this point, have a vice-like grip of a trance on the vacantly-visaged audience, interrupted only by polite bursts of applause. Eight songs - and just short of two hours in - the formerly insilent-awe audience comes out of its shell for F# A# ∞ movement ‘The Sad Mafioso’. Taken from one of the most beloved parts of GY!BE canon, ‘East Hastings’ is also, notably, the only pre-2012 recording during the two-hour performance, offering the final and most potent dose of transcendence all night, from a band of perpetual transcendence-seekers, ever on the brink of it. As a controlled wave of live drones feedback through the system, the band gradually drift offstage and the mass leaves church, following the final oscillation. Stevie Lennox

May May 2015 2015

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Live Record Store Day 2015



n Saturday, April 18, Belfast, Dublin, Derry, Cork and countless other corners of the country played host to some stellar Record Store Day shows and events. Teaming up with Head Records, we assembled a genre-spanning bill of some of the country’s finest bands – Skymas, Hot Cops, Freedom 35s, as well as Documenta and Belfast Music Club DJs – for a one-off RSD shindig at Belfast’s Bar With No Name. Our photographer Ryan Richards popped along to capture the night.

Clockwise from main: Freedom 35s, Documenta, Hot Cops and Skymas. Photos: Ryan Richards


The Thin Air Magazine

Reviews Live


Top: little xs for eyes, photo: Abigail Denniston


ublin may have played host to a whole swath of events this Record Store Day but few could match the musical showcase and sheer topicality of this year’s Record Store Gay. Playing at both ends of Capel Street, the event was split over two venues and the timetable read like a who’s who of the Irish music scene. The first half played out in the Outhouse, the excellent resource centre for the LGBT community. Its chatty basement gig was reminiscent of a whole adolescence of convivial DIY shows right down to the eclectic mix of bands, camaraderie and sudden, bracing, puddles of

feedback. ‘It’ acts like little xs for eyes played to the contented and coffee-slurping crowd. For some people sobriety can only be maintained – and enjoyed – for so long. So, in the Spring sunshine, the event shifted up to venue number two. Pantibar’s micro stage may not be the most comfortable for performers but no one in the crowd was complaining with the likes of Florence Olivier and The Late David Turpin playing. This year may be more important than ever for the community but the political overtones, though present, played in the background

to the fun of the event. This is RSG #4 and though there may be less to fight for next year it is now an institution, an important and welcome one. Credit has to be heaped on the organisers and all those who took part. Eoghain Meakin

May May 2015 2015

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Roving Eye SOAK in Berlin

– SOAK in Berlin –

– Roving Eye

Tara Thomas captures the fast-rising Derry musician’s recent stint in Berlin



re you craving a 72-hour raving session in a techno temple? Do you want to watch an impromptu Opera performance in a leafy park? Are you hankering after a jazz jam in a smoky basement? Whatever your passion Berlin will satisfy. I never understood the fascination people had with Berlin until the latest Roving Eye took me on my virgin visit to this glamorous yet gritty city; so easy to navigate, serving up a smorgasbord of life, entertaining you for as long as

TheMagazine Thin Air Magazine The32 Thin Air

your stamina can sustain its offerings. I’d travelled to see Bridie Monds-Watson AKA SOAK perform in Kantine am Berghain, the little sister to Berghain, a club world-renowned for its extreme decadence and hedonism. I couldn’t reconcile the act with my expectations of the venue until I arrived and was welcomed into what was more akin to a saucy little burlesque theatre, plush with blood red velvet and moody lighting – perfect

for soulful folk of SOAK. Meeting Bridie for the first time I got a glimpse of the unassuming, gentle spirit that she is; beguiling a level of maturity beyond her years. Just off the back of an Australian tour with only one days’ rest she’s tired but in fine form. Her tour manager, Lucy, is always close by and throughout the evening it’s evident she’s more than just a colleague. They have an undeniable rapport and it’s reassuring to watch Lucy impart her

Roving Eye SOAK in Berlin

tour experiences to help Bridie navigate her own path. Soundcheck is efficient: Bridie knows what she wants and Lucy facilitates, tweaking accordingly. I later overhear a fan comment on how “fucking incredible” the sound is.

Photos: Tara Thomas

she wanders down and obliges by autographing numerous images. She chats easily with them before it’s dinnertime with the promoter. I notice she is never inactive, a creative whirlwind, even during the taxi ride she is doodling in a notebook. A

little retail therapy ensues as she picks up a skater hoody and some ear tunnels; she’s astounded by the variety of stores that appeal to her sensibilities. Berlin suits Bridie – the local philosophy of “live and let live”, embracing all lifestyles, seems to echo her own. Strolling back to the venue Bridie displays no anxiety, explaining that nerves are dependent on the audience. Tonight it’s fans, not industry folk. She’s chilled. Writing up the setlist both Bridie and Lucy guffaw over what’s becoming a pre-show ritual. Silly names are written in lieu of song titles – the only worry is the wrong list will end up with the engineer. The place is jammed. As SOAK hops

– Roving Eye

Afterwards we head up onto the roof to enjoy the last of the day’s sunshine, where Bridie catches up with friends online and reports a buddy has passed her driving test. The news is bittersweet: one of Bridie’s favourite pastimes is go-karting – she’s eager to be a bona fide licensed driver but she hasn’t had time to sit the test. It reminds me how young she is. Meanwhile, with fans congregating below,

May 2015


Roving Eye SOAK in Berlin

up onto the stage a cheer rings out; the mark she made in Germany on previous tour dates is palpable. The likes of ‘Explosions’, ‘Sea Creature’, ‘B A Nobody’ sees melodies envelope the room. People sway and some sit cross legged on the floor, all engrossed in her mesmerising performance. It’s faultless. Her songs are intense yet she gives hints of her fun, youthful personality between songs. She exits stage right to riotous applause. Returning briefly with a haunting cover of Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, she leaves her fans wanting more.

Back in the green room Bridie is elated, that natural high unmistakable. She doesn’t have time to reflect though – she’s a flight to catch at 4am. No wild partying tonight, just back to the hotel to wind down. She takes it all in her stride, aware that her hard work is starting to pay off. How many 18 year olds are living this life? SOAK has a full diary of performances worldwide this summer. Make sure you take time to see her – you won’t regret it. Tara Thomas

“Berlin suits Bridie — the local philosophy of live and let live.”


The The Thin ThinAir AirMagazine Magazine

SAT—MAY 16 Motor City Drum Ensemble & Antal [ RUSH HOUR ]


May 2015


Not Gospel Success

Only Success Can Fail Me Now


********** ****: Where do I start? Uniquely awful. The bass player has all the restraint of a pripapistic Yorkshire Terrier, both on and offstage. I heard the drummer accidentally shot someone in the foot during SXSW and the record label paid the injured party off with passes to a Ghostface Killah show.

The Thin Air Magazine

*******: The real reason they relocated to Stockholm? Three furious coke dealers called Sean, John and Jonathan. 
 ***: I am absolutely convinced that the guitarist a) stole a delay pedal from me last year and b) is moderating an online forum called ‘Put Ireland First!’ under the handle ‘SwordOfLight32’. ***** *****: I saw him racially abuse a Catalonian in a Spar last year. Pretty sure it was him anyway. Someone should tell that Canadian label he’s on before it becomes an issue. *************: Rupert Grint said he thought one of their songs was “alright” and suddenly they’re touring Australia. But apparently it wasn’t enough when Robbie Coltrane said we were “okay” at that festival in Waterford. Oh no, not at all. Christ. Space permits me from going through every other act in the country right now in print, though I will happily do so face-to-face, on the bar stool of your choice. And it’s your round. Brian Kelly (So Cow)

Illustration: Jacky Sheridan

– Not Gospel


’ve been a member of the Irish Music Industry for ten years now. I’ve held many roles during that time, the primary ones being ‘cruelly underrated polymath, ‘underground pop sensation’ and ‘mentioned in Pitchfork that one time seven years ago’. That’s ten years of hope and expectation, wondering when the spotlight might be violently and profitably spun my way. Sadly, it never was. And so, here I am, aged 32 with a slight paunch and nothing to lose, as others race past, rocketing effortlessly towards the stardom I so desperately yearned for. I cannot hold my tongue any longer. The time for bean-spilling has come. The following are my genuine, actual opinions on certain high-profile musical acts in Ireland today. The Thin Air has, for legal reasons, asked that I blue-pencil the names of the bands/ performers.

May 2015



88mph I Should Coco

(NOVEMBER, 1974)

Supergrass I Should Coco


verflowing with exuberance, hooks and melody, Supergrass materialised already armed with a broad understanding of quality pop history. It was baffling that a band of their tender age could’ve found the time to master their art so. Gaz’s mutton chops disguised the fact he was still a teenager but the energy bursting from the grooves of I Should Coco gave the game away. Danny and Mick might’ve clocked out of their second decade on earth but as rhythm section it was they who fuelled the intense vitality.


The Thin Air Magazine

– 88mph (MAY, 1995) Take the debut single ‘Caught by the Fuzz’ which chugs like ‘77 Pistols with Townshend windmills. Telling the tale of a youth’s drug bust (“Here comes my mum, she knows what I’ve done”), it’s the sound of a band who have been told that the recording studio will self destruct in four minutes. They are done in two. For the next single ‘Mansize Rooster’ they mercilessly welded together Madness and The Jam. They were still in a hurry to get on to the next tune but this time it took them an extra 30 seconds. It’s a haste that they brought to much of the album. While it sounds lean, tight and punchy, the driving urgency often suggests all three are in a race to finish a song first. Luckily, before they decided to test how fast they could play, time was well spent crafting and constructing flawless pop gems. This sweetened energy

drink actually contained some genuine nutrition. 10 songs into the sprint they run out of puff and resort to comically speeding up the tape to maintain the tempo. They then prove they had nothing to fear by stretching out on a 60s-tinged 6 minute groove. The early 90s UK, before Britpop took hold, was proving to be fertile with incredible debut albums. Think about Blue Lines, Dry, Suede, Tindersticks, Dummy, and then Definitely Maybe. In that context, consciously attempting to create a contender that would still be worth talking about 20 years later could have become an intimidating task. Instead Supergrass occupied their own world where the sun shone bright and they did their thing like only they could. They were young. They ran free. For a debut, this is an edgy pop masterpiece. Jonathan Wallace

Agony Uncle America

Agony Uncle Agonising? Le Galaxie mainman Michael Pope is here to help.


This Month...Am

Illustration: Loreana Rushe

 Yes. Even Le Galaxie packed on at least 15 lbs of mass on our SXSW trip. Although that was mostly dick weight. THANK YOU, DENNY’S! Which American actor should play you in a film

about your life and why? Brendan, Kilkenny 1st choice: PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN 2nd choice: HEATH LEDGER 3rd choice: PAUL WALKER 4th choice: JOAN RIVERS Have you ever eaten a Twinkie? Lorraine, Dublin
 Yeah but it was college, everyone was experimenting. Ramone had a hot water bottle and Shrek 1 on DVD. Who was the last great American hero? Susan, Dublin George Costanza. “You know if you take everything I’ve ever done in my entire life and condense it down into one day, it looks decent.” If Bill and Hilary Clinton offered you a threesome, in exchange for immortality, would you accept it? Brian, Belfast
 You people always want me to have sex with celebrities. I went and banged Bono after last month, now I’m gonna

have to get my ass across the Atlantic and try to do what Monica Lewinsky couldn’t... get Hilary involved. Who shot JR? David, Galway Someone shot John Rocha?! What’s the difference between an Irish redneck and an American redneck? Lisa, Cork
 Irish rednecks like bootcut jeans, Pat Shortt, Beamish, going to Australia for a year, Dáithí Ó Sé, sheep, spuds, throwing a ball down a big road and saying things like ‘happy out’. American Rednecks LIE ABOUT THE WMDs! Why is cheese orange and eggs white in America? Cathy, Limerick
 American cheese is dipped in freedom. American chickens are only fed American flags. Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque? Gavin, Kildare 


May 2015

39 39

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