Unseen Zine 2

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WELCOME TO THE ISSUE.2 OF THE UNSEEN ZINE. It’s been less than a year since the first SelfMade event in Dublin, but so much has happened. The idea was to do something that celebrates musicians without sugar-coating the real work that goes in behind the scenes. We never expected the level of enthusiasm and generous honesty we’ve seen on our panels and on these pages. Thank you all for contributing to the first year of SelfMade and for shaping our future plans. To mark our first event in Belfast, for this issue, we asked musicians and artists from Northern Ireland to give us an unseen slice of their creative world. SelfMade is a performance, art and discussion project celebrating the DIY work of musicians. Our goal is to create supportive spaces where we can celebrate amazing artists, explore the inner-workings of a music career, and take steps towards a more equally represented music industry. Please feel welcome to treat this zine as one of those spaces. Huge thanks to all our contributors and to the wonderful people at Sound of Belfast and Oh Yeah Music Centre. We see your hard work! Joanna Bain * Julie Hough ** SelfMade Founders

SelfMade *Favourite album art - High Violet, The National **Favourite album art - Dookie, Green Day


Wynona Bleach

Like almost every band, we’ve been playing music since we were teenagers. Collectively, two of us have been in various punk/psych/prog/you-name-it bands since we were 15. We’ve done a lot from touring Russia (under our former name) to Reading and Leeds festivals, and 1500 capacity venues on live tv broadcasts. Staying together with all this stress and effort and keeping ‘er lit can be hard. Some collective opinions of ours on how to help your band stick together and stay true to your goal: - Fuck your ego. Someone in your band will end up doing more work than someone else, that can be just how your dynamic works, but everyone needs to know where they stand and what their job is and it’s only fair to try to pick up the slack where you can. Help that person out, even if it’s just taking care of a mail out or posting merch that day for them. To everyone, be modest and remember why you got together in the first place, it shouldn’t matter what size of venue or how many people came to see you. Every gig you should try to make as important and as fun as the last. - The band is the most important thing in your life. If it’s not, take a look at how far you are willing to string the other people along. Odds are, to someone else in your band, it is. So don’t waste their time, and on that note… - Be on time. Time is running out for everyone every day, so be on time for rehearsals and have all your shit together! - Everybody loves you in PR. It’s a massive industry, and promotion is really important and a total minefield of scammers and people who claim to wanna help (for a fee) - find good people and spend time and effort meeting up in real life. Good PR is essential so if they are legitimate and believe in the project/band then you’re gonna get great results! Lots of friends of ours have been sucked in and spent hundreds for someone in an office who doesn’t give a shit to send a few press releases and a few sponsored Facebook posts, thankfully we’ve never been sucked in to dodgy deals thanks to amazing mentors, but keep your wits about you. - Don’t pay to play. If we all say no to it we can stop it happening. - Play live all the time. Doesn’t matter who it’s in front of, just do it loads. There’s a term I used to hear called “Tour Tight” which is what happens when you play a bunch of shows in a row on multiple stages. You get tight. 20 shows in different venues will teach you more than 200 rehearsals in the same room, so do it as much as you can and make it fun! - Spend time making sure everyone in the band gets the joke. Focused, driven bands always seem to know what they are about. Whether its genre, image, or just what you all want out of being in this together, as long as you all get the joke, you will be satisfied. - Cherish each other. You’re really lucky to have convinced the people around you to spend time and make new music with each other. It doesn’t matter how good you play your instrument on your own, if you can’t play with others you’re gonna have a hard time. Cherish everyone who cares about what you are doing and celebrate them! These are just the rambles of a band who work hard, tour regularly and do (almost) everything DIY. We love each other (for now!), we put our whole lives into what we do, and in some ways it’s paid off big time. If we knew all the above at 16 we probably would be further up the ladder than we are at this stage, but the ride so far as been a lot of lessons learned.


Jonny Tiernan | LOLA Magazine

1) sense of humour: there is something wonderfully dark and cutting about the NI sense of humour. There is the ability to find the comedic side of any situation, no matter how bleak. It is also a way of keeping each other in check and making sure no one gets too big for the boots. 2) sense of trauma: whether people realise it or not NI is a traumatised country, and I think everyone is affected by it on some level. It makes the cultural community more vital in my opinion, as it finds ways to express this trauma (even if that way is just by forgetting that it is there) 3) sense of community: there is a strong sense of togetherness, especially in the music scene in NI. People are very willing to look out for and support each other, to share experiences and to boost each other. 4) sense of pride: there is something about the weird sense of collective pride people in NI can experience when someone from the country achieves success. It seems like it matters more when someone has done something of note - written a book, released an album, won an award, made a movie - against the backdrop of NI. It's not an easy place, so it feels more notable when someone has succeeded. A lot of the time it is success in spite of circumstances rather than because of them. 5) sense of guilt: this is a personal one. A favourite phrase of mine is 'It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness'. I chose to leave NI in 2014 and move to Berlin, I did this for lots of reasons and I'm very happy where I am, but I do feel a strange guilt at having made the move. Sometimes I wonder if it is better to stay and fight for change and to move things forward, or if it's ok to go somewhere that already aligns with your values and way of life. I still struggle with this, and I'd love to find a way to do both.



John Rooney

SMELL - My first student house smelled like mould, stale beer, cooked frozen pizza and smoke. That sounds horrible but anytime I smell something similar it brings back a lot of good memories. I wish I could've bottled it up. SOUND - ‘Radar’ every Thursday night in Queen’s Student Union Speakeasy. I seen many’s a great band here for free. Most memorable being CSS, Test-Icicles, 65daysofstatic, Oppenheimer, And So I Watch You From Afar. TASTE - Meatball Marinara from the Subway in Stranmillis. And cheap Whiskey mixed with Coca-Cola. TOUCH - This might be slightly off-angle here, but how freezingly cold each and every single house I lived in could get in the Winter. SIGHT - The sight of my embarrassing, cringe-worthy early illustration and design work for my Visual Communication course at University of Ulster. It has all been since destroyed.



Christine | Hiva Oa


"On Friday 15th June 2018, I played my first live show since being hospitalised for a mental breakdown and trauma. Although a number of months had passed since my inpatient treatment, doing anything for the first time after being acutely suicidal can feel terrifying. Standing on a stage alone, performing songs you wrote in a hospital for the first time, is a vulnerable experience. I documented the two days running up to the gig for myself, in order to see what works for me and what doesn’t work for me in managing my anxiety and depression in the lead up to performing. I wanted something to be able to look back on, learn from, and use as a tool to show myself that I am capable of doing something I’m proud of. There are some stills from that video."


Rocky O’Reilly

1967 - Margo & The Marvettes - When Love Slips Away Straight out of Donaghadee, Co. Down, this song is a swelling, sweltering Northern Soul lost classic. It was penned by American songwriter Jerry Ross and recorded by Margo for Pye records. A few years later Dee Dee Warwick recorded it, but this version soars in a way no other version does. 1979 - The Starjets - War Stories Formed in West Belfast in 1976 the Starjets moved to London the year after to get in the middle of the punk scene that was emerging across the water. War stories charted at No. 51 for the band a couple of years later. 1989 - Energy Orchard - Belfast The opening line “Belfast, how I know you so well. You’re like heaven, you’re like hell” is a line that no doubt resonates with everyone nearly thirty years later. The band featured singer Bap Kennedy and Joby Fox, who still performs in Belfast. 1996 - Scheer - Wish You Were Dead Derry band Scheer were signed to 4AD. Wish You Were Dead is a perfect slice of powering rock music topped by singer Audrey Gallagher’s tempered melodic spitting rancor. Audrey went on to sing on many dance tracks while guitarist Neal Calderwood opened Manor Park Recording Studios. 1997 - - Tunic Wizzard (Frequency Song) Tunic were an experimental group of free-thinkers and multiple songwriters all in one band. They were one of John Peel’s most sessioned bands. Members went on to form rap band Olympic Lifts and others made Skibunny, Belfast’s legendary club night, promoters, remixers and more. 2004- Torgas Valley Reds - Torgas Valley Blue Formed from of the ashes of Backwater, a busy and popular noisy 90’s band, whose earlier incarnation is known to have inspired the formation of Ash, Torgas Valley Reds glued it all together on this track. Pulsing analog synths and angelic “ba-ba” backing vocals collide with self-empowering hope from singer Barry Peak. Throw in some hand claps, a break down and you’ve got a classic early 2000s indie pop hit. 2010 - General Fiasco - Every So Shy This urgent, imperative Northern Irish song was religiously sang back to the band by an army of dedicated, obsessional fans across the UK and beyond. The video still averages 10,000 plays per month, long after the band called it day. It proves how much they meant to so many.

MEET ROE What aspect of developing your music career has come as a surprise to you?

I think the most surprising thing is realising how much music connects people to each-other. There’s been gigs that I’ve played where people have come up to me crying their eyes out because of something that I’d written. And I had no idea before I started doing shows and putting my music out on public platforms that people could relate so deeply to something that I‘d written. And I think that is something so surprising and wild and wonderful and I love it so much. What are you a nerd at?

I’m a big massive nerd when it comes to song-writing. I LOVE talking about different techniques and tricks that people use when it comes to music and when something cool happens in the production or melody of a song that I haven’t heard before I get waaaay too excited about it. Honestly, it’s just my jam. When do you work best?

I get most creative late at night when I’m meant to be asleep. There’s been so many nights where I’ve got into bed and closed my eyes and my mind has gone ‘pssst, here’s a dope melody that you need to work on right now!’ I think it’s because I still live with my parents and I know that at that time of night nobody can have a sneaky listen, I like being on my own to write. What advice would you give your younger self today?

Learn proper technique for playing guitar haha! I’m still working on that now. And also to write whatever you wanna write about and don’t care what anybody else thinks. When I was younger I used to hold myself back a lot because I worried about how people saw me and read into the lyrics. I still find myself doing that now, but I think it’s really important to let out whatever thoughts are inside your head. And even if nobody ever hears those thoughts, you’ve still found a way to get them out of your system. More time or more money?

More time for definite. There’s been so many times where I’ve just wanted to rush along and grow up a bit faster, but looking back, I should’ve just lived in the moment. Describe your perfect way of switching off?

PJ’s, a cuppa tea, and something funny to watch on Netflix. Favourite album artwork?

The National - ‘Sleep Well Beast’ because of how real and creepy the concept is.



Kate Barry | Fair Ple

It’s of a sea captain that sailed the salt sea And the moon it shone gentle and clear, o “I’ll die, I’ll die”, this captain did sigh, “If I can’t have the maid who walks on the shore, If I can’t have that maid on the shore!” “Oh, I have got silver and I have got gold, And plenty of costly fine ware, o, And I’ll give half to you, oh my gallant young crew, If you’ll fetch me that maid who walks on the shore, If you’ll fetch me that maid on the shore” So the sailors, they got them a very long boat And off to the shore they did steer, o, Saying “Ma’am, if you please, will you enter on board, To view our fine cargo of costly ware, Oh, to view our fine cargo of ware?” With much persuading, they got her board, And the moon it shone gentle and clear, o, And she sat herself in the stern of the boat And off to the ship, the young sailors did steer And off to the ship they did steer And when they pulled up alongside of the ship, The captain near spit out his chew, o Saying “first you will lie in my arms all this night And then I’ll give you to my jolly young crew, And then I’ll give you to my crew” “Oh, thank you, oh, thank you”, this young maid she cried, “It’s just what I’ve been waiting for, o, For I’ve grown so tired of my maidenhead, As I walked all along on my rocky old shore, As I walked all along on me shore” So she sat herself down in the stern of the ship, And the moon it shone gentle and clear, o, And she sang so sweet and so neat and complete, She sang sailors and captain right fast to sleep, She sang sailors and captain to sleep. And And And And And

she robbed them of silver and she robbed them of gold, she plundered their costly fine ware, o, the captain’s broad sword, she has took for an oar, she paddled right back to her rocky old shore, paddled right back to the shore.

“Oh, were my men drunk or were my men mad Or simply sunk deep in despair, o, That they let her away with her beauty so gay” And the sailors all wished that the sweet maid was there, The sailors all wished she was there. “Oh, your men, they weren’t drunk and your men, they weren’t mad, Nor either sunk deep in despair, o, But I deluded your crew and, likewise, yourself too, Captain, now I’m a maid on my rocky old shore, I’m a maiden once more on the shore.

I have been singing traditional songs since I was a child. I love, love, love Irish trad and folk music – it is in my bones. There are lots of songs about shores. Usually, shores are mentioned in the context of emigration or, commonly, where a woman waits for her long lost love, who went off to sea or war. Mostly, he turns up in disguise, tests her loyalty, and then presents his true identity once she proves faithful, leaving them to live happily ever after. I love this song’s take on waiting on the shore. Some see the woman at the centre of this song as a siren: tempting the fragile men with her female guile and then tricking them. I see it differently. I see the assumptions about women as property, no different to the costly fine ware to be shared with the crew: the words barely disguise it. She escapes being forced to have sex with the captain and his crew, with the suggestion of some supernatural assistance and manages to take some booty with her. In real life, you rarely get away with a booty. You learn how to flirt/bluff/charm your way out of tricky situations, unwanted physical attention and the threat of aggressive attention. The “booty” is managing to do so without being cast as a prude, spoilsport, troublemaker, uncooperative, difficult, unfriendly, without losing bookings or other opportunities. We never asked for it: we are not sirens. The touches, suggestions and comments are often subtle: they leave you feeling uncomfortable, but sound so insignificant when you explain them. They remind us of what could happen (sometimes of what has happened), put us on guard, diminish us. And when it happens time and again, it pushes us out of musical spaces and makes us feel unwelcome. When I have walked into a session or a gig and it's full of men, I have felt a wave of discomfort. I have felt defensive when trying to negotiate my stage sound with a technician (especially when they assume that you know less than them about your own instrument mic, which you have been using for years, even though they have never seen that particular mic before). And it is not about the men in that room or that sound technician: it is the ones who have gone before. It’s time for change. And we can effect change. We can create networks to support one another. We can share experience and expertise, open doors for one another. We can talk about what has happened to us. We can refuse to shut up, especially when we see discrimination or harassment. We can do research and better understand the barriers to greater participation of women in Irish traditional and folk music, so that we can break them down. We can explore a complex situation and find sophisticated solutions to create a more diverse and sustainable future for our precious tradition. Let’s make such a change that those sailors would have turned around to the captain and told him to stop being a prick. The Irish traditional and folk music community is wonderful. However, it is no more immune to issues of misogyny and sexism than any other part of society. FairPlé is a collective of people from across the spectrum of the genre who are advocating for equal opportunity and balanced representation for all in Irish traditional and folk music. And we will persist. www.fairple.com

Nyree | Cherym

When i was younger i read alot of the Beano. Part of the comic was the numbskulls and it was always my favourite part (apart from the bash street kids). So i took inspiration from the numbskulls to do this drawing but made the reactions to the little people in my head, to the times we play in some bars and obviously my day to day thought process and stuff.


Sonja Sleator

Six weeks on from the day I played Hard Working Class Heroes and I still think about the panic I was in sitting under the stage waiting to be called up next. As a self funded musician for the past eight years, self releasing three EPs and playing many, many shows, I was delighted when I got picked to play HWCH 2018. Despite playing lots of gigs I have always struggled with nerves. It’s so bad, but the advice I get is usually to look for a new career... When the email came through that I had been selected to play HWCH I was over the moon! I knew I would be on tour in Ireland the week leading up to it, so I would be ending my last night of the tour at this huge showcase! When the day came around everything ran like clockwork. The speed rounds and conferences took up the morning and some of the afternoon. Then it was time for the show. I was nervous but excited. My excitement quickly turned into fear when I walked into the venue at around 7pm. The first band on stage was Pearly. They sang the most beautiful songs and looked so comfortable and settled. Everyone loved them and although I was nervous for my performance I was okay. There was one more band on before me, Just Mustard. 8pm The room started to fill up more. I recognised a few faces from the speed rounds I smiled and nodded towards them. My guitarist Daniel had gone back under the stage to the green room to get his guitars ready and my bassist and drummer had walked into the Workman’s Club up in front of me. The music started. It was so loud and all I could hear and feel was the bass. It was coming up through the floor and into my body almost making me feel a little uneasy, but the girl sang and the music bellowed out behind her. Standing with such confidence she barely blinked. The room filled up quickly and I felt myself getting smaller and smaller and smaller. 8.20pm I found myself hiding in the toilets. Or rather sitting on top of the toilet seat wondering what the hell was going on. I couldn't think. I could barely see. My heart was racing so fast I thought I might faint. 8.27pm I’d made it back into the tiny green room which was underneath the stage. My band mates looked at me in horror. The other bands in the room where having a relaxed chat about the drive to Dublin and what they had had for their dinner and getting on like any normal human being. Daniel looked at me and asked was I okay. I couldn’t even respond. All I can remember is setting a bottle of water on the ground as I sat on the the edge of the sofa. I stared at that bottle as if my life depended on it because I was so sure if someone asked me how I was I might cry. I also might faint. Or. I might throw up. My heart was sore from beating. The sound above carried on for a further 10 minutes. I was pretty sure in that moment of absolute terror that this would be my final time playing a gig because the ache of my body had become to much. 8.40pm The stage manager looked over at me and asked was I okay. I smiled. He smiled back. It was quite comforting. He said I was up next. I can’t remember much. I picked up the bottle of water id been looking for the past 13 minutes and waked out of the tiny room and onto the stage. I looked at my band mates who all had smiles on their faces as they chatted setting up their gear. 9.15pm My set was over. I had played HWCH 2018. When I came off stage I walked straight out the front doors of the Workman’s Club and took a breath. My head was dizzy and I felt like I had been drained. Adrenalin from playing was all that was keeping me upright. I just needed to be outside for a few minutes to think it all over. Did I play okay? Was my bass players joke funny (No, for anyone actually wondering)? I wonder how many times I swore? In the middle of all that I was also thinking, it’s done. I’m still alive. Nothing too traumatic happened. I did it! Too bad I can’t think this way before I go on stage... My band came out and we all hugged each other. I was really proud of them and thankful that they came down from Belfast to play alongside me. We headed back inside and a number of people came over to say how much they had enjoyed my set which was lovely to hear. They asked about my songs and said they enjoyed listening to the stories behind them, which to me, really sent me home with a smile on my face. I think it was around 3.30am on Sunday by the time I finally made it back to Belfast, having left at 7am on Saturday to make it to the conference. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by everything that had happened to the point it was actually hard to sleep. The following morning I made a coffee and opened my computer to see a review of my performance in Hotpress. All the fear of the previous night came rushing back. That feeling of terror thinking I would never be able to follow the band who played before me. I read the review: “Northern Irish singer-songwriter Sonja Sleator melodies are rootsy and simple, she is a great storyteller - drawing audiences in with lyrics about drunken crises and boyfriends.” It was more than enough for me. I could FINALLY tell myself, “Hey, I did alright”.

Shannon | Sister Ghost

MEET CHEYLENE MURPHY What aspect of developing your music career has come as a surprise to you?

How vibrant, wholesome and nutritious the DIY/Indie scene is. There is so much love, support and opportunity to make things your own. That can be a good and a bad thing - you find yourself in charge and doing things you never thought you would - sometimes it distracts you from your music and is a tad (or more than a tad!) stressful, sometimes it opens your eyes to amazing people, experiences and you leave the situation feeling incredibly proud and fulfilled. It’s a varied life in music and I love that, it feeds the soul. What are you a nerd at?

Other than music (which I get very nerdy about!!) I’m a geography nerd - I love reading and talking about the weather, maps and censuses. I find it fascinating! When do you work best?

I try very hard to work steadily every day in the morning/afternoon and take nights off, but I naturally want to work hardcore for about 3 days straight and then sleep for 3 days so it depends what week you’re asking me!! Creatively afternoon/evening is best for sure. What advice would you give your younger self today? Spend less time trying to please and accommodate everyone else and more time doing and talking about the things you love. Invest in that gut feeling, it’s exhilarating! More time or more money?

More time always.

Describe your perfect way of switching off?

Shit talking with my friends while listening to music, maybe with a cheeky gin and tonic. A little dance around and singing along if my friends aren’t around! BUT if I need an ultimate veg - Netflix binges (Maniac and Atypical are great) or YouTube binges where you find yourself watching unboxing videos and animals having baths compilations. Trying to do that less at the minute but also fuck it, I’m only human. Favourite album artwork?

You know what first came to mind is actually Mika, Life In Cartoon Motion, which is hilarious because I haven’t thought of him in ages!! I bought and played out that CD as an uncool teenager though, and all the artwork is fantastically psychedelic illustrations of the songs that I stuck all over my bedroom walls. I actually think I read somewhere that his sister drew the illustrations first and he wrote the songs based on the artwork, but that might be fake news because I have no idea why I think that. Nowadays - Solange, a seat at the table. Captivating artwork, captivating album. though I’m just talking about the cover - I have only streamed it incessantly so I have no idea what the rest of the artwork is like - the booklet, back of the album, inside cover, all a mystery to me. Isn’t that sad?


MEET CLAIRE MCCARTNEY What aspect of developing your music career has come as a surprise to you?

Being the ‘onstage’ (artist) and the ‘offstage’ behind the scenes. Seeing the two come together and go hand in hand. I would say the most surprising aspect for me was the extent of emailing and admin involved! Having to become a ‘Jack of all trades’ within the DIY music realm. Managing the ‘behind the scenes’ - funding, social media, emailing, booking shows, as well as the creative side; writing and performing live shows. What are you a nerd at?

TV/ Film nerd. Harry Potter, anything Disney, Tim Burton films & Louis Theroux. I’m also secretly a huge stationary nerd. I’m all about the luminous rainbow coloured ‘Post it’s’, scented stickers (yes, they’re a thing), fluffy unicorn pens, sequin’d journals, notebooks. The lot. When do you work best?

I work best in the ‘little’ hours... which can at times be incredibly frustrating! The best ideas always seem to arrive like bolts of lightning at approximately 2am. What advice would you give your younger self today?

Be ‘present’, in the moment. Not to worry or stress over the outcome of things. Everything has its place in time and everything happens for a reason. More time or more money? More time. Describe your perfect way of switching off?

Turning off my phone and going for a walk. I find just being outside and in nature, a great way to switch off. And then maybe a short binge on Netflix... (Louis Theroux, of course!) Favourite album artwork?

Kate Bush - Lion Heart.


Emma Taggart


Rae | Molto Vivo There are 3 new bruises on my knees today. II know this because I counted them this morning, the day after the gig. I'm finally in bed now, after sitting at the wheel of the van for 3 hours driving us back home. My spine cautiously clicking back into place and the cells of my arms fizzing at the warmth of the hot water bottles around me. Oh, and painkillers. I would like to have a shower. I'd love to wash off all the sweat and spit from men mesmerised by my presence. My hair still caked with eau de tequila breath and "do you have a licence to drive that thing?" jokes. I would love to have a shower. But my dog requires me to throw his ball 333 times down the hall; oblivious to the reason I'm curled up in bed mid afternoon. My brain stretches itself back into normality, to the comfort of the ramp outside my house - a steep ramp, but a ramp at least - and shakes the buzzing in my peripheral from scanning the venue: 3 steps at the front door, 3 steps to the back, 3 steps to the toilet, 3 steps to the stage, 3 drunk humans more paralytic than me falling over my lap, 3 people offering me alcohol to soothe my apparently tragic life, 3 sets of toes I will definitely be rolling over 'and a partridge in a' beer garden. Starting to heat up again. The wind bit our faces and hands and gnawed at my nose while I waited for my boyfriend to carry our equipment into the building so he could come back with arms free. I was outside you see, and I needed some help crawling inside. 3 steps at the front door. There were a lot of denim wash jeans. I'm not sure about the haircuts. I can mostly just see a sea of butts in most crowds. This seemed like a friendly crowd though, or at least, their butts did. In any case, nobody accidentally gyrated on my chin or indeed, had a gas leak in their human basement. Channelling my best Moses, I parted the Dread Sea. 3 steps to the back. I'm drinking water through a straw. The most controversial word of the year, arguably. Even more controversial than the skin peeling off my lips from dehydration. It's easier to ignore the dry throat than to risk nature calling. So I'll drink today instead, through a straw; my eco-conscious thoughts cursing the fatigue in my arms. 3 steps to the toilet. "You're so brave" 3 drunk humans. "Nice to see people like you with a smile" 3 alcohol offers. "Is anyone with you? Are you on your own!?" 3 sets of toes "(Insert deity of choice here) will heal you from your sins, I will pray for you DEAR X AND FATHER X PLEASE PLACE YOUR BLESSINGS ON THIS OBVIOUSLY SINFUL AND MISERABLY DISABLED..." "Well done for getting out and about" I'll be getting out soon - I promise. I know this miraculous vision of a wheelchair user not clapping along to nursery rhymes in a euthanasia ward is taking up too much of your brain space for you to continue having a good night - 3 steps to the stage. And then I'm there. Ready. A pageant for the opposite of all preconceived notions through little else but a bass guitar, a microphone, a wheelchair and hair bigger than the shock on the dimly lit faces staring back at me. The writer, Erin Unleashes, said it best - People invent limits, project those limits onto me and then are impressed when I overcome limits that weren't even there in the first place. And I'm there. Ready. Fingers locked: itching to play the melodies they have crafted. Lungs expanding: twitching to exhale a truth into the crowd. Mind ready: forgetting every single step, every single bruise, every single patronising comment and every single butt. 3 of us on stage. "We are Molto Vivo, I hope you like our music." @molto_vivo_official

MEET DANI What aspect of developing your music career has come as a surprise to you?

The difference between the musical communities in Belfast and Dublin. What are you a nerd at?

Fixing old Raleigh bicycles.

When do you work best?

Late afternoon.

What advice would you give your younger self today?


More time or more money?

This answer changes every few months for me right now money would be helpful but my time is most important. Describe your perfect way of switching off?

A slow asana practice followed by a walk in the forest.

Favourite album artwork?

Wallis Bird 'New Boots’. I have it tattooed on my wrist.


Maggie | Party Fears

SORRY I MISSED YOUR BIRTHDAY We will accidentally sacrifice love and we will drift from the ones we used to be closest to. We do this with the aim of making something so pure and true that it brings perfect strangers closer together so that they might fall in love and write a song of their own that they only sing to each other. We sit in vans and humour the ferry customs patrol officers fake smiles and entrapping questions so that we can go and mark a time in a gig-goers life when they needed a certain song or show to get them through the week. We don't like it at the family wedding or Christmas party when we're asked "Oh are you still at the music?" As if we've chosen to go panning for gold in the local Aldi car park with a plastic bucket and spade for a living. But we answer truthfully because the satisfaction and pride of making music gives us enough warmth to heat our entire body, if not our homes at times. We will forget your birthday was yesterday because we spent it in a criminally bland motorway service station, drinking imitation coffee and frantically searching for a place to charge our phone so that we could ring the promoter to let them know we'd be late to load in because of a diversion. We will continue to do all this and more while running to rehearsal, an airport, a radio session recording or a show with half a sandwich hanging out of our mouths because it was you who told us to go and be happy. And true friend, true lover, there is nothing more satisfying on earth than eliciting and instilling absolute joy from and in another human being with the sheer power of music and song being played live in a room of like minded souls.

The Wood Burning Savages

Strange New Places


Cheylene Murphy Dani Claire McCartney ROE Wynona Bleach Hiva Oa Jonny Tiernan Fears Rocky O’Reilly Kate Barry + Fair Plé Cherym Sonja Sleator Sister Ghost Vokxen Emma Taggart Nikki, Meghan + Help Musicians NI Molto Vivo Maggie Devlin John Rooney The Wood Burning Savages Strange New Places Charlene Hegarty Donna Morrow Aaron Cunningham Sophie Louise Arscott Sound of Belfast Oh Yeah Music Centre