Coming off the back of yet another triumphant outing at Electric Picnic, Other Voices announced the first acts for the 16th instalment of their world-renowned TV series.
It will once again be held in Dingle during the first weekend of December and will be presented by Radio 1 DJs, Huw Stephens and Annie Mac and former Fight Like Apes frontwoman, MayKay, now of Le Galaxie.
As well as this, they also revealed details of how to apply for eir Other Voices Open Call which attracted over 900 applicants last year.
Singing praise for the scheme were May Kay and bandmate, David McLoughlin.
The Irish music scene is as eclectic and exciting as it has ever been. And as such, Other Voices offers young emerging Irish acts the perfect opportunity to make a name for themselves in an environment that has never produced so much talent.
In addition to performing a blistering set with Le Galaxie, MayKay was also on hand to present at the Other Voices Stage which played host to the likes of Soule, Saint Sister and Katie Laffan who shall also be playing the IMRO Other Room come December.
Of Electric Picnic, MayKay enthused, “Picnic was amazing. I was presenting the Other Voices Stage all weekend and then was legging it over to the Rankin’s Wood Stage to play with Le Galaxie which was very exciting.” Dave adds, “We’ve played there a number of times and that was definitely a highlight. It was crazy the response we got that night. It was one of the first big shows we’ve done with Mary as well.”
But what of potential future success stories in Stradbally? “Well, with this eir Other Voices Open Call, you’ve basically an opportunity to get on the bill on Other Voices which is an incredible opportunity. They’ll cover your transport costs, your accommodation costs and you’ll get recording sessions. As well as that you’re playing an amazing show.”
Indeed, eir Other Voices Open Call provides acts with a breakthrough to an intimate yet bustling weekend in one of Ireland’s most fun and ebullient villages. All while being broadcast on a show that has welcomed the likes of The xx and Florence and the Machine in the past. That Other Voices will give you the financial backing as well as the facilities to really make your presence heard only serves to further the significance of this project.
Dave agrees. “It’s something that I’m sure Mary, having been with Fight Like Apes and myself with Le Galaxie would’ve dreamed of when we were starting off, to have that platform available and with this format as well, it’s judged on merit and passion.”
May Kay continues, “The other really important thing about it is-anybody who’s seen an episode of Other Voices before will know that genre-wise there are no boundaries at all-Ailbhe Reddy was the listener’s choice last year and she played an incredible show to a really big crowd.”
The quest for recognition can be a convoluted and arduous journey. But with there being a streamlined channel available to budding musicians, there is hope beyond the often stagnant and frustrating experience of becoming heard. And not just that but amassing the tools to be heard. “I think I went about four different ways around it,” MayKay tells us.
Commenting on the trajectory of certain bands down in Dingle, she continues, “If you think of it as a field festival, you’ve the church which would be the main stage and the IMRO Other Room would be the second stage. We’ve seen lots of bands do the really great music trail down in Dingle then go on to do the Other Room then go on to do the church. What you really want is to be showing yourself off to all those people in Dingle. You don’t need tickets to go to the IMRO Other Room. There’s always a good crowd coming in and out of there and they’re the people that you notice. Saint Sister are a great example of a band that have gone up the stairs a bit with Other Voices.”
Away from Open Call, MayKay has a lot of kind words for her new band and her fellow presenters, Huw Stephens and Annie Mac. “The thing that I liked most about Le Galaxie is that they never dropped in production value.”
Having two supreme tastemakers and artists in their own right in Huw and Annie championing Other Voices has merely increased its standing with music-lovers in Ireland and abroad. And getting to work with them, MayKay informs us has been both fun and a great privilege. “It’s been really incredible getting to present the show with them but it’s also been really incredible getting to know the two of them.”
What strikes us most about MayKay is the sincerity with which she discusses her new post and the excitement she gains from introducing the next wave of Irish musicians. “Whatever about having played it before, I’ve watched it for years and it was a huge surprise to be asked to present it. I was kind of thinking, ‘why did they ask me?’ But they continued to ask me. To be welcoming people onstage like Girl Band and Rusangano Family, so many incredible acts is a huge honour and I hate when people say that stuff’s an honour when they don’t really mean it but I do really mean it.”
Addressing the punters for a second, Dave and MayKay appraise the Other Voices festival as the best of the year, marvelling about its cosy and companionable atmosphere.
Dave and MayKay urge those aspiring to get ahead in the music industry to take every opportunity they can get. And what better way to start than getting in those entries into Open Call?
Entrants must submit their original piece of work by 6pm on 22nd September. More details can be found on the Other Voices website.