Every year the GoldenPlec community of writers and photographers get together for a big old natter about which artists we expect to explode on the music scene in the year ahead. The discussion always provokes a heated debate, general bickering and communal agreements. To complement our ‘Best of 2013′ feature, we have selected our ‘Plec Picks’ for 2014. The list encompasses a wide range of artists, highlighting some of the best bands and solo artists currently active in Ireland. We had the pleasure of conducting interviews and photo shoots with all acts on this list and we are proud to present the final result.
Daithí Ó Drónaí is by no means a new artist on the Irish music scene. This is why we are enjoying putting together our GoldenPlec Plec Picks list this year. What the list aims to achieve is highlighting artists that we believe are set to have an almighty great year in the year ahead. If this means placing an act like Daithí, who we have followed closely and reviewed consistently over the past three-years, then so be it.
Daithí burst on to our TV screens in 2009 and since then, his journey and development as an artist has been truly alluring. He has grown month on month, year on year, gig upon gig, festival appearance upon festival appearance; he has honed his craft, changed his output and developed many aspects of his live performances. All of this has earned him many loyal listeners and a wealth of interested onlookers. Last year we said that he may prove to be “a future electronic-music producing/composing Hercules of Irish music”. With his debut album due out this year, 2014 looks set to be a big year for Daithí Ó Drónaí.
What are you looking forward to most in 2014?
At the moment I’m really looking forward to playing some festivals, I did a ton last year and by the end of the summer I didn’t want to see another for the rest of my life, but right now I’m dying to get back into it. They’re always the best gigs, people are more open to new music in festivals I think, plus everyone is hammered so they go a bit more mental.
Are you planning to release an album this year?
Finally, after about two years of work, the album is about to come out, I’m spending February completing it. It has been a long time coming and has actually changed a lot, but I’m really happy with how it has turned out. A year and a half ago I was worried about it, but now I’m confident that I’ve created something I can be proud of. It’s a collection of songs that are fun to dance to, that was the main aim. Just have to name it now. My manager suggested ‘Post-trad-matic stress disorder’.
Will there be video/single releases as part of this?
We have two singles from the album out already, Chameleon Life and Case Closed. There should be two more coming out before the album as well. Every single will definitely get a video; I think it’s vital these days to have one.
Is there a tour planned?
I will be playing plenty of gigs in Ireland over the year, but not a proper tour planned. I’m set up to do a couple of gigs in the UK in the coming months, and I hope to do a bit more in Europe this year as well. I played at Eurosonic a couple of weeks ago and it was brilliant, packed out crowds for both gigs and they were loving it, so that’s a good sign. Judging by how Irish bands were hyped in Eurosonic this year, I think we have a really good reputation abroad for good music.
Can we expect more remixes in 2014??
I’m really enjoying making remixes at the moment, and there will be a good few coming out this year, mainly of Irish acts. I got to remix one of my favourite Irish bands this year, a band I’ve been going to see for years. I’m really excited for that one to come out.
Who do you think will win Meteor Choice 2013 album of the year award?
I’d love to see Villagers or ASIWYFA get it, they were definitely my favourite albums out of that list. But it’s always so hard to know with the Choice awards, it always reminds me how being so entrenched in the Irish music scene gives me a warped point of view. I have no idea how the rest of Ireland thinks to be honest.
Who are you predicting to be big from the Irish music scene in 2014?
There is an act in Cork at the moment working with Ian from Young Wonder at the same time as me, it hasn’t released anything yet and they are keeping fairly quiet, but when they do release something it’s going to be huge, I’ve heard a couple of tracks already and it’s amazing. Can’t tell you what the name is yet, but it begins with a T….
2013 saw you attract some big attention internationally with tracks like Chameleon Life. How does it feel seeing your music being shared all over the world?
It’s an amazing feeling; I’m delighted with the reaction the tracks have gotten so far. But I have this really bad habit of not enjoying things when they happen; I tend to just try and upgrade all the time. So as soon as Chameleon Life did well, I was already thinking about the next single and how I was going to improve my live show; I didn’t even think about it, which is a bad thing I think.
Your live set has changed enormously over the last few years. How and why did this evolution take place?
The biggest change would be when I swapped from using analog gear to the computer program Ableton. It’s definitely what started me down this road of big dance tunes. I came to a point where I didn’t want to just create music with a fiddle just for the sake of it; I wanted to create fully formed songs with a wide range of sounds. I think it has improved the live show and the actual songs, and I know I enjoy the shows a lot more now. People are dancing more, and that’s always my aim.
You’ve been known to collaborate with Irish based musicians (Elaine Mai, Liza Flume etc) Do you think that establishing relationships in the Irish music community is an important thing to do?
I think it’s rule number one in the Irish music scene. It’s small enough so that if an act is taking the piss, being rude to sound guys or other acts everyone hears about it, and it has an immediate negative reaction. On the other hand if you’re nice to people it helps immensely. I’m pretty sure 80% of the gigs I’ve been booked for is off the back of either my manager or myself meeting someone in person and getting along with them. I think we have a sweet spot in this country, where even though the acts want to get ahead and do better than others, they don’t want to sabotage other acts, which is sometimes a problem in places like London or New York. There is definitely a healthy rivalry, which is great.
Check out Daithí on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp.
Photos: Aled Owen-Thomas
Words: Ros Madigan