Following the release of their critically acclaimed debut album - read our review here. We caught up with Laura Quirke, one half of up-and-coming folk duo Lemoncello so she could spill the tea on the their eponymous album and why they played the long game when it came to releasing music.

Your debut album has just been released. How does it feel to be putting this body-of-work out into the world?

Very exciting. We’ve been working on it for a long time. It feels like we’re being reborn !! Hallelujah !

You released it through Claddagh Records. How does it feel to be associated with such an iconic record label?

We’re delighted to be released among the artists associated with the label, particularly the recent signings Niamh Bury and ØXN who make great music. It’s nice to have a team working together to get the album in people’s ears and not to be doing all that plugging alone. It’s felt more like a real job having strict deadlines for things and a bit more structure but it’s also been challenging as we’re so used to doing things independently ourselves.

It's hard to believe this is your debut as Lemoncello have been active in the Irish music scene for a long time. What made you decide the time was right?

Yes! Life happens and takes you on different journeys. We both had jobs, music was always the main love but it wasn’t always possible for it to be the main focus of all our time. Our last releases were EPs back in 2020 and 2018. Those records feel like the sketchbooks people keep when they are learning to draw. We love gigging, performing is often where our songs are worked out properly. Gigging makes you money and studio time costs money and so we were balancing gigging and jobs and studio time wasn’t always easy to fit in.

In 2021, we made a film, ‘Devotion’ (2023) - that swept us away for a while. It feels right that we made other projects before releasing this album - I think it is a better piece of work because of the learning we’ve gone through between. All these experiences taught us how to make what we wanted to make. Spending time away from the industry side of things also gave us time to write better songs, hone the craft, and maybe not take the whole thing as seriously. It feels like only now are we ready to stand by a full length album and shout from the rooftops about it.

Is there a theme or undercurrent running throughout the album?

We didn’t consciously write with a theme in mind necessarily but the songs on the album all seem to stem from experiences that teach you how to trust yourself, developing a strength of intuition through wrong turns and right turns. I was thinking a lot about sacrifice and balance of time also and the lines we draw between ourselves and others.

Where do you hold your own, stand up for yourself, and where do you bend and compromise for love? And If love is what is most important in the end then maybe it’s not sacrifice or compromise at all. I feel the songs have gone through a journey or progression of some sort and have come out the other side with a bit more grit and resilience.

Are there any standout lyrics on this album that you feel encapsulates it as a whole?

No, I don't think so. The lyrics go with the music so you’ve got to listen to the music to get the satisfaction of the lyrics I think.. They are also sort of long form lyrics - it’s like you get the hit of the first line of the verse after you’ve gotten to the fourth line sort of thing. They make more sense as a whole than they do standing on their own. I don’t think there’s one lyric that encapsulates the album. It’s why we didn’t use a lyric for the title of the album!

You're very involved in the art direction and visual side of the Lemoncello project, as well as the music. Is this very important to you?

Yes, I think once I have an idea for the video it’s hard for me to let it go really. It comes on very strong. I sort of got into it by accident over the pandemic out of necessity. I directed videos for most of the songs (except Dopamine - directed by Sophie O Donovan), I started editing them myself too and I absolutely love it, though it’s hard to find time to juggle everything and do it to the standard you see in your mind.

We’ve been lucky to become friends with some really talented film-makers, cinematographers, stylists, art directors, dancers and actors who have really helped us out and had great patience since the beginning when it was all low (zero) budget.

Can you tell us about the video for 'Dopamine'?

Dopamine is a sort of up-front and in your face song. With the video we wanted to lean into this attitude but also not take the idea too seriously. The amazing team that worked on this with us - director Sophie O Donovan at the helm - created a world that’s a mixture between bored housewives from the 1950s and some dystopian future where people never leave their homes. We thought it would be funny, the idea of the people we scroll past every day on our news feeds actually appearing in the room - a physical representation of the overwhelming feeling of mental space becoming more and more cluttered.

Who are you listening to in the Irish music scene right now?

Oh there’s so much good stuff it’s silly. Recently spent one of the most joyous hours of my life dancing Ballaí Luimnigh to Mohammad Syfkhan at the Venice Biennale. I have been listening to his album since and it’s really beautiful but my legs were recovering for weeks. I got way too carried away with the one-two-three-four-five-six-seven bit.

What's inspiring you lately?

There’s a 73 year old pole-dancer who I found on Instagram called Greta Pontarelli who is my idol.

If you had one tip to give aspiring artists, what would it be?

I think I would say make the work and don’t wait for this that or the other thing to be in line. Making stuff that’s not very good and making an absolute eejit of yourself is inevitable and the only way through to the good stuff so do that as fast as you can and get used to it because it will keep happening at every stage of your endeavours.

Are you excited about your tour of Ireland and the UK?

So excited! We’ve been waiting for what feels like forever to release this album and tour it. I’ve always wanted to say ‘Sorry I can’t come, I’m on tour’ so now for like a week and a half of my life at least I’ll be able to say that.

Where can people find out more about you?

I think watching our music videos would give you a good sense of what we’re about.

Lemoncello are currently on tour:

May 9th - Belfast - Ulster Sports Club

May 10th - Kilkenny - Cleere's

May 11th - Maynooth Music & Minds Festival

May 15th - Dublin - Whelans

May 19th - Cork - Coughlans

May 23rd - Wexford - Wexford Arts Centre

May 26th - Dundalk - The Spirit Store

May 29th - Glasgow - The Hug and Pint

May 30th - Newcastle - The Groove

May 31st - Manchester - Hallé @ St Michaels

Jun 2nd - Southbourne - The Wight Bear

Jun 3rd - Brighton - The Folklore Rooms

Jun 4th - London - The Moth Club