Every year the GoldenPlec community of writers and photographers get together for a big old natter about which artists we expect to explode on the music scene in the year ahead. The discussion always provokes a heated debate, general bickering and communal agreements. To complement our ‘Best of 2013’ feature, we have selected our ‘Plec Picks’ for 2014. The list encompasses a wide range of artists, highlighting some of the best bands and solo artists currently active in Ireland. We had the pleasure of conducting interviews and photo shoots with all acts on this list and we are proud to present the final result.
Overhead, the Albatross are for many people, a band whose debut album can’t come soon enough. The band have whetted the public’s appetite with releases such as ‘Lads With Sticks’ (2011), ‘Mr Dog’ (2011) and ‘Think, Thank,Thunk’ (2012), but it’s the debut album that people crave. Having spent time in the recording studio last year, a splattering of live shows and notable festival appearances; Overhead have come to dominate a sturdy position as one of the acts to really watch out for this year.
Known for their intricate delivery of woven chords, complicated time-signatures, textured builds and meticulous and rapturous (now there’s a combo) live performances; 2014 should see this six-piece venture into new territories both in a live sense and in their recorded output. We caught up with the guys for an old chat about the year ahead and Sean Conroy also joined in to take some snaps.
What are you looking forward to most in 2014?
As a band, there are two things in particular that we’re looking forward to in 2014. The first of these is most definitely releasing our debut album which we’ve been working hard on for over a year now. The second getting out there and playing the new songs in front of who ever cares to listen. We all really love festival season and we were lucky enough last year to be asked to play some of our favorites. Hopefully we get the chance do the same this year with the new songs.
Are you planning to release an Album this year?
Yup, we’ll be releasing our debut album this year. We started writing the album over a year ago when we packed up the studio, ourselves, and went into the wilderness of the Czech Republic for three months. We rented a big house by a lake in the middle a forest (I know!) for very cheap. It was an amazing experience and a great way to write. We had complete separation from the ‘outside world’ and had nothing to do every day except make music. It was perfect.
Will there be video or single releases as part of this?
Yeah, we’ll definitely be releasing a few singles with videos over the coming months. We’re lucky enough to have a great filmmaker/director in the band in the form of our guitarist, Luke. We also work closely with a video production company called Bold Puppy who’ve done some amazing work over the past few years so we’re looking forward at getting stuck in to the visual side of things.
Is there a tour planned?
There’s no tour planned as of yet but there is one on the way. This will most likely be a UK and Irish tour with a view to doing a few dates around mainland Europe as well.
Who do you think will win Meteor Choice 2013?
That’s a tough one. I was listening to the announcement live and as they were reading them out I kept thinking “Shit yeah! that was released this year as well!’. It was an amazing year for Irish music, I really couldn’t even hazard a guess.
Who are you predicting to be big from the Irish music scene in 2014?
There’s so many bands to keep an eye on who are doing amazing stuff. Names that spring immediately to mind are the likes of Kid Karate, Girl Band and Tandem Felix. But there’s always so much out there in the Irish scene if you look closely enough, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months will bring.
Your list of gigs throughout 2013 has been pretty impressive, what gig stands out to you and why?
It’s always tough to rate one gig against another because each one is memorable for different reasons. Playing festival shows is always great because of everything that goes on around the show itself. The hurried, heart racing setup time, the quick line-check and boom; play your set and get off! It’s a rush. You don’t always get things set up just how you’d like, but that’s part of the fun. Then there’s venue shows where you soundcheck for an hour in the evening before the show, tweaking everything until it’s just right. These are a lot more relaxed and anything that needs fixing usually gets fixed. So comparing gigs can really be oranges and apples, they all have their own personalities. I really couldn’t pick one out, we’ve been very lucky.
There has been a slight delay in getting your album out into the world, leaving your fans gagging for its release. Was this a strive for perfection in recording, your unlimited access to one of the band members studio or were there other factors at play?
I’m not sure if there has been a delay per se. Initially we hoped to have it out last year but this album seems to just want to be written at it’s own pace. It’s weird, but I’m not sure how much say we have over it; it kind of has a mind of it’s own. It’ll be done when it wants to be done. We can literally spend weeks on just one part of one song, writing and scrapping, writing and scrapping. Then there’s some songs or parts that come together almost straight away. But that’s the joy and the challenge of writing instrumental music. We’re trying to convey emotion purely through music, so if it’s not right then it’s not right. This album is our baby, so yes, each part has to be perfect.
As people will know, you’re not a lyric/vocal driven band – how do you think your song creation/approach differs from that of a conventional band?
I think it’s probably a lot different in some ways and much the same in others, but essentially both are trying to do the same thing; portray a feeling or emotion. We have no set way of writing music, every piece we’ve written has originated in it’s own way and much of the time the initial idea of a song will be scrapped halfway through writing and the ideas that were written around this now become the focus. Now that I think about it, it’s crazy how much this happens, it’s like the initial idea is the scaffolding of a song, which can be taken down before the end of construction.
Photos: Sean Conroy
Words: Ros Madigan