Essential Listening

  • Catching Eyes

  • Believe In Love

Kilkenny’s 49th and Main always knew where they were headed.

Formed during the pair’s school days and solidified following a stint abroad, the indie dance pop outfit are racking up over 1.2m monthly streams on Spotify alone thanks to songs such as Catching Eyes and Streetlights, but they are firmly looking forward towards their next release.

“We’re more confident in what we’re doing”, producer Ben O’Sullivan says when asked about the difference between present day 49th and Main and the earlier version of themselves.

“The equipment might be a little bit better, our knowledge of how to do things is better … We’re just a little bit more sure of what we’re doing.”

Photography by Roisin Murphy O’Sullivan

"It’s hard to know when to let it go...It’s never going to be perfect. It’s such a snapshot of that time”

The pair have a frenetic approach to writing their signature indie dance pop (usually from separate rooms, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Paddy King jokes), but time has helped them to streamline their process.

“It’s been a little bit different because it hasn’t been as chaotic as it usually is, in terms of ideas,” Ben admits, “In the past, we haven’t really cared about genres or lens, whereas this time we’ve kind of gone ‘let’s focus on trying to do this’.

“We’ve definitely chosen a direction for this project. This time it’s more curated. This is the first time we’ve gotten instrumentation from other people. We didn’t have access to that before, obviously.”

Having played almost every Irish festival last summer on their first full length tour, including a headline show at Dublin’s Academy, Paddy says his writing is now more informed from playing live.

“The way I think about writing now is more catered towards a live setting,” he says, “like, what way the crowd will react. I remember feeling after the tour that it was easier to write.”

“It’s different every time”, Ben adds, “There’s been a couple of songs that we’ve written together, other songs where it’s completely [Paddy] and I might give notes or whatever. It always turns out differently.

“It’s hard to know when to let it go. Even with the songs we’ve released previously, I listen to them back and I’m like ‘we should have done that, we should have done this’. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s such a snapshot of that time.”

"The way I think about writing now is more catered towards a live setting"

One song they couldn’t let go of was the very first song they ever made together back in 2018, during a heady summer in Canada – Habits.

“We always said we [would go back to it]”, Paddy said, “we were like, ‘that’s too good to just leave there’.”

With work under way and an early summer release lined up, they’re already eyeing up this year’s festival circuit to take the songs out on the road.

“We’re hoping to get abroad,” Ben says, “I’d love to do Primavera. We’re playing The Great Escape in Brighton … We just want to head around Europe, do random bits and pieces.”

In terms of what can be heard on their upcoming tracks, the pair tease about brass sounds and some as-of-now unconfirmed guest vocals. Otherwise, what can people expect?

“A bop,” Paddy grins. “Where it is right now, I’m very excited,” Ben adds.

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