Púca is ready to show what they’re made of. Following several musical diversions, as well as becoming CMAT’s right-hand man, Púca – AKA Colm Conlon – dropped his debut single Man Of The Hour – a blistering pop joint tackling self confidence and fragile masculinity.
We caught up with Púca to find out why timing is everything, their song-writing process and what’s next for 2022.
Man Of The Hour
“I’ve been playing music and writing music nearly all of my life through different avenues. I studied music in college for a while, then I dropped out,” replies Colm Conlon, when we ask him to define himself as an artist.
“I’ve always wanted to release music but always shied away from it and pulled the plug on it. I’ve been toying around with different sounds and had people tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing all the time. You had people telling me it should just be me and the piano and be very stripped back. You had other people telling me to go the other way, like no one’s going to hear it unless it’s pure pop.
“I kind of listened to both sides and disregarded both because I realised I could do what I want. I’m in control. It’s just me behind the wheel.” says Conlon before expanding on the origins of his stage name.
“With Púca, we’re a farming family, so we’re super superstitious. We’re big into folklore – it’s part of us. So, the púca to me, in my area, it’s a ghost. But in other parts of Ireland, it can be different things, like a shapeshifter. So I kind of loved it, because it’s mischievous, but means no harm to people.” he says noting “The púca just wants to have a laugh!”
“I just make what I want to listen to now. If I wouldn’t want to listen to it, why would I want to make it?”
“I wrote Man Of The Hour last year.” explains Conlon of his new single which came together in an unexpected rush of creativity. “Normally, I don’t just bang out a song. I usually come up with a chorus idea, or an intro, usually a piano intro which acts as a clue for the rest of the song. But with Man Of The Hour, I wrote it in one night.”
“It was a complete stream of conciousness. The original song translates to about 10 minutes of music. As soon as I wrote it, I was like “yeah, I’m putting this out,” as a building block. I have an EP’s worth of material – it’s not finished but I have the tracks written.”
The response to Man of The Hour has encouraged Conlon to continue making music and validated his move to work with producer 93Acres.
“The reaction to Man Of The Hour has been such a positive reinforcement. When I put it out, I thought no one was going to like it. I thought people would think it was contrived. But people got it straight away, that it’s tongue-in-cheek, that it’s about frustration,” he says before adding.
“You know when you meet someone who has no knowledge of what they’re talking about, yet somehow rises to the top because of their sheer belief in themselves? That’s what I’m flirting with with the song.”
"I just make what I want to listen to now. If I wouldn't want to listen to it, why would I want to make it?"
And it would seem that fellow Kildare man 93 Acres was instrumental in helping Conlon achieve what he wanted from the song.
“We never fought on anything but he leans more pop, whereas I am a weirdo. If it was all up to me, everything would sound like a Bjork deep cut or something. But we kind of met in the middle.” explains Conlon of the pairs yin and yang work styles.
“We had an unusual choice of instrumentation, an unusual bassline… I wanted this to sound like, you know when Lady Gaga does Bad Romance live? And there’s all this electric guitar and shredding that wasn’t in the original track? I said to him “can we make this sound like a few lads shredding live, even if it isn’t really?” You know, make it sound like a live song with all of those speakers around you.
Like most relationships these days the pair met via social media “I am terminally online.” states Conlon. “I just messaged and said “I like your stuff, can we work together?” For so long, I was scared of co-writing and collaboration because I thought whoever I was working with would think I’m shit. But I love it, so I’ve started reaching out to other people now who I think I’d work well with. I’m so willing to learn.
Despite the accomplished nature of Man Of The Hour it would seem that until recently Conlon struggled to create material he was happy with on a regular basis.
“I really started writing songs that I like around the time when I had a lot of experiences with grief. Obviously, there’s a lot of shit that comes with grief – it affects your relationships, it affects everything. I used to joke that a lot of it came from the grief of men who had ever wronged me!”
“I never really had a song of self-belief, but with a bit more maturity I found writing songs easier, like I was able to come from a place with a strong view point. It wasn’t coming from a place that was shallow or hollow.”