The life of a musician is not all flashing lights and screaming fans. Cian Donohoe of the Dublin based band Heroes In Hiding will testify to this. As he answers the phone to GoldenPlec he is just walking out the door of work after finishing his shift for the day.
On his walk home talk turns to the new video that the band has just released for their song Casanova. Working with the crew at Second Frame the video is unique. Handing over creative control is something the band has slowly grown accustomed to.
“This was the first time we have totally given control to someone else. Normally we would have some say in what goes in. We have always been fans of Second Frame and when they told us of their idea for Casanova we were in no doubt that we wanted to work with them,” he tells us. “It was a bit odd actually. The video was shot on green screens so at the end of the shoot we still had no idea what it was going to look like. It was a weird feeling walking away from set with nothing to look at. It turned out like a piece of art though in the end.”
Before a video can be considered songs need to be created and nurtured in the incubator that is the band. Over the years Heroes In Hiding have evolved to a point where all of the members contribute something to the song-writing process. “We all come to the table with ideas and work from there. For Casanova Joe literally had ‘Oooooh’ and ‘Casanova’ from there Liam moulded it into a story of a character who is actually more interested in the bedrooms of the girls he is sleeping with than the girl. It’s a cool idea. We are all still wondering who he wrote it about,” he says through a laugh.
Once they band are comfortable with what they have put together attention turns to the recording process which, as with many bands, is a love/hate scenario. “We have had the absolute bad days where it could take 14 hours to get drums and bass laid down. We have been recording in some shape or form since we were about 17 so we are used to it but those bad days really drag by.” Recording songs in their entirety before they go into the studio helps to minimise these bad days as the band are well rehearsed and prepared for what lies ahead.
Working alongside Phil Magee, the producer in charge of Kodaline’s debut release, the songs are dissected and meticulously worked on to allow them to reach their potential. “Phil is just fantastic. He knows his stuff but the invaluable thing he brings to a band is the little intricate tweaks he makes to a song. The difference of a good producer like him is immeasurable.”
Having reached his front door by now the interview leans towards the future; is there a point where the band will leave their jobs to pursue music full time? “It’s impossible to know.” is the answer that comes after a period of silence. “We don’t know if that point will ever come. None of us are financially in a position to leave work.”
A forty- hour week, at least three band practices and gigs in seven days would be enough to make most people wither and retire the guitar to corner of a room. But not for Heroes In Hiding. The band has a genuine passion for what they do. “At the moment we are happy to just be able to play. We get to do things that most people actually daydream about. The significance of that is not lost on us.”
For a band in Ireland, opportunities at times can be hard to come by. Being in the right cliques and knowing the right people is important but so is getting the break at the right time. Over the last few years, Irish bands have realised this and tried to help each other at every available opportunity. “The music scene in Ireland is great. Bands give each other a hand in some many ways. It’s refreshing to see. We have always had great support from other musicians and our fans.”
This support has recently seen Heroes In Hiding win the 2FM Play The Picnic competition. “It’s ridiculous. To think that people cared enough to vote for us is amazing. The Oxfam charity benefited too, which is a great feeling. Getting to play at Electric Picnic is huge for us.” Over the course of the festival, the band will play several times with 2FM recording them. “Moments like that are what helps us keep going. Getting a phone call asking how many people we need for catering backstage is such a surreal thing. It’s nice to be appreciated even if it is only a bit of food.”
Heroes In Hiding play Electric Picnic this weekend. After that, it is back to the day job. The life of a musician is not all flashing lights and screaming fans.
Cosby Tent - Saturday 5th September, 13:00 - 13:45