In a very welcome bit of good news, a new free 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the Irish Music Sector called Minding Creative Minds has launched.
The service is now open for Irish musicians, songwriters, artist managers & event production crew and will cover individuals from Northern Ireland as well as those in the Republic. The assistance available includes:
Counselling service (short term intervention/ up to six sessions)
Secure video counselling
Extensive web portal and app enabling live chat with a counsellor
Minding Creative Minds will also offer a series of additional services including:
Advice on practical day-to-day issues that are causing anxiety or stress
Mediation for conflict resolution.
Originally set to launch later this summer, the start date was accelerated to June 2 in response to the devastating impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on the music sector.
Minding Creative Minds was spearheaded by David Reid (First Fortnight, Choice Music Prize), who partnered with IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation), IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association), RAAP (Recorded Artists, Actors & Performers), Universal Music Ireland
and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to make the service a reality.
David said, ”We are delighted to launch this critical support programme that will give musicians, songwriters, artist managers & event production crew the opportunity to mind their mental wellbeing and be able to contact qualified counsellors and experts in different fields such as financial planning, legal and career matters enabling expert advice and helping to manage personal issues they might be facing. Working in collaboration with our partner organisations we can now provide a credible support structure for this sector. We look forward to extending this programme within the Irish music Industry and to enable this service to be available to the entire Irish Creative Community in due course”
A new online radio station, ‘PLAYIRISH‘, launched over the weekend. The platform promises to offer curated playlists of nothing but Irish music, from established musical heroes to up and coming acts, streaming 24/7 .
It’s available globally on the Irish Radioplayer platform and mobile app, or through the PLAYIRISH website in your browser. Over time, PLAYIRISH say they’ll also host a selection of original music shows from well known Irish musicians, music industry figures, songwriters and composers, alongside musical content from key events in the Irish musical calendar such as ‘Other Voices’ and ‘Hard Working Class Heroes’.
Founded by some of Ireland’s leading Irish Music Industry and radio professionals – Sinead Troy (IASCA & Yangaroo Music), Peter McPartlin (former CEO of Today FM & TXFM), Liam Thompson (Magic FM Virgin Radio UK, Red FM, Communicorp & iRadio) and Angela Dorgan (First Music Contact & Music From Ireland) – PLAYIRISH is a ‘not for profit’ initiative under the guidance of IASCA (Irish Association of Songwriters, Composers and Authors)
Sinead Troy of IASCA says:
‘Every serious music city or territory has it’s own small but cool radio station that champions new and exciting music, whether it’s BBC6 Music, KEXP in Seattle, or FluxFm in Germany. PLAYIRISH will be ours to champion Irish music at home and internationally’
It’s certainly a big step in the right direction, providing a platform for Irish artists to showcase their work which is either non-existent or relegated to a few specialist shows on most of the country’s commercial radio stations. I look forward to seeing what PLAYIRISH develops into in the coming months!
Dublin Acoustic Folk-Rockers The Scratchhave released a breathtaking new video for their instrumental track ‘The Road to Ballyshannon’. The video would put Tourism Ireland to shame, it’s chock full of gorgeous vistas and sprawling coastlines. There’s a bit of craic thrown in at the end as well for good measure. The track features on their recently released Old Songs EP.
If you haven’t heard of The Scratch yet, you’re in for a treat. They describe themselves as ‘acoustic rock music that sounds like a pint of guinness to the ears’. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Recent singles have included ‘The Punisher’, a cautionary tale to pub-talkers everywhere, and Shadow, a collaboration with Loah. Both are absolute earworms that demand repeat listens. I can’t wait to hear what the lads come out with next.
Halfway through their set it’s clear that the band already have the guts of a very strong album. Not only that, but they are TIGHT! Like really tight, their songs are full of ridiculous rhythmic stops and stabs alongside drastic yet fluid dynamic changes.
I’m not quite sure how to define this, there are elements of pop, rock, jazz, R&B, country and a dollop of funk. Some of the vocal harmonies are straight out of backstreet boys territory (in a good way though!). This is pop-rock with real substance.
Anthemic at its core, sometimes uplifting, sometimes heart wrenching, these songs are built to be replayed. It’s only after multiple listens that you get to fully appreciate everything that’s going on in these skillfully layered compositions. Watch out, when they release a full long player you won’t be able to escape it.
We’ve written about Vernon Jane before and readers will know that we hold them in very high esteem. With the band now gearing up for their first proper release, “The Inner Workings of a Damaged Nobody”, we got the low down on what went down in the studio from lead singer/guitarist Emily O’Conner. Vernon Jane will be celebrating the release this Thursday March 24th with a gig in The Opium Rooms. Support on the night comes from MEGACONE and Mescalito.
Over a few days in December my band Vernon Jane took to the studio to record our first ever release. After a tough struggle to find a studio that would respond to our inquires and fit our price range Lamplight studios appeared. It’s a cosy studio based on Cork Street.
Day 1:- Months of practice had gone in to make sure we could get 5 songs completed in 2 days. I knew this was a big undertaking but reassured my worried brain with thoughts of Alex’s dad spouting anecdotes of old school bands rocking up and recording albums in just a week.
I arrived in the early AM with a beautiful Richwood on my back and a belly full of butterflies. This was, is and forever will be a massive deal for us. We are a live band no doubt about it. For my whole music ‘career’ people have said record to a click, I have recorded to a click and we in fact practiced to a click but I knew in my heart when entering the room that a click was not right for us. We’ve been together almost two years and I felt it in my bones that an internal clock had been created. (Weeks later I might add Steve Albini secured this thought process in a masterclass). We vibe off one another, we click (terrible joke).
The rest of the band arrived within a few minutes and other then a hefty walk up the stairs with Daragh’s percussion we were ready and able to record. Steven our engineer didn’t know what to expect really and I broached the idea of recording live. This meant two electric guitars, drums, bass, percussion, trumpet and Saxophone, all live. Steven accepted the challenge and we began to set up.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget that first day of recording. I could go into the semantics of every song and detail of our conversations but I think the only thing that mattered was we were all in it together. Time literally flew by and we had the music for all 5 songs down. We followed each other, that type of trust you only find with family, we had that in our favour that day. We all knew our parts, we all knew the message behind each song. I think I’m the luckiest lady alive to be making music with people who just ‘get it’. I went home, over analysed the day and waited for the next one to begin. (Honorable mentions, thanks to Pauric O’Niell and Tony Cunningham for dropping in for moral support and a cheeky listen)
Day 2:- This was a week after our first day in studio. I was meant to do all the vocals for the songs but unfortunately the winter that was in it had me very sick altogether. I arrived in studio with the brass duo, pins and needles. We recorded some extra brass, and also some wonderful sound effects (heavily featured on the track ‘Cool Breeze’). Pins and Needles are the best pairing any band could ask for, hard working, dedicated and musically gifted. They have brought sounds in my brain to life and I know that has not been an easy task.
After this it really felt like a solid foundation for vocals had been brought to life. I went home over analysed, drank honey and lemon and prepared for the final bit ahead.
Day 3:- A tough day it has to be said. Pins and Needles needed to finish some brass so I got them in early to the studio. Myself and Niamh arrived with them and made sure the process ran smooth. At this stage, I am a nervous wreck. Will I get 5 vocal tracks done in under 5 hours? We could not afford anymore studio time, so I psyched myself up and went for it with everything I had. The live feel captured as a band was so important to this process. I tried my best to engage with the movements of each piece, I felt I had an advantage as the first day was imprinted forever in my mind. I held in the back of mind how important this body of work was to me, how much time, energy and love was poured into it. My wonderful band members have invested so much to bring this all to life, so I recorded all 5 vocals in 4 and half hours. Live and emotive, I gave it everything.
Dublin band Æ MAK have been making waves in the Irish music scene over the last few months with their unique brand of worldbeat infused music, getting the nod from Nialler9 and featuring in State.ie Faces of 2016. The band, made up of BIMM graduates Aoife McCann and Ellie McMahon, met in 2011 and have been performing side by side ever since.
Performativity is at the forefront of the group’s live show and their background in musical theater is evident. The music itself is full of interesting harmonies and rhythmic vocal lines.