Musical Rooms

June 17, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 76: Túcan

Filed under: Interviews,Irish Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 12:35 pm
Tags: ,


Pearse: My favourite place to make music is my bedroom I suppose, which is surprisingly, is in my house.

Donal: It varies quite a bit actually. Obviously as the acoustic guitar is the instrument, it’s quite versatile in terms of where you can go to play it… Bedrooms are usually good, as are kitchens, living rooms, beaches, gardens etc. Often I get an urge to take my instrument outside, as long as its relatively quiet. I guess the main place where I create is in my bedroom but a lot of our music has come into existence in various parts of Pearse’s house as well.

Pearse: My room is in a perpetual state of cluttered order. Blue walls and a once-white ceiling. It probably smells like me but I don’t notice. I’m the most recent in a long line of occupants and it creaks and groans with their many voices.

Donal: Well my current room is relatively small, but it’s full of guitars, speakers, leads, amps and random instruments. Generally if I am about to spend a few hours practicing/playing then I’ll give the room a wee clean first as having my room uncluttered helps me focus musically.

Pearse: There is a stereo, a bed, an amp, and a few guitars (mostly nylon stringed) and that’s about it.

Donal: Well I’m trying to build a small studio in my room so I am slowly but surely gathering the required equipment. At the moment I have two nylon string guitars (gigging guitars), one steel string acoustic, one electric guitar, a completely useless ukulele and a bass guitar. I have an electric guitar amp and an acoustic amp, plus a bass amp. I have a laptop with some decent digital audio programs and small audio interface, a stereo with a bunch of speakers, a keyboard (borrowed, as is the bass and bass amp), some really cheap bongos and congas, a darabuka and a snare drum, claves, bones, a few crap shakers, and a box of leads with a few microphones and stands… Next on the list are some decent monitors.

Pearse: The most important thing to have here is a guitar and a bed.

Donal: As my compadre said, a guitar and a bed, plus something to listen to music on.

Pearse: I don’t have a schedule – they don’t work for me. I am a bad sleeper so I usually get most done in the wee hours.

Donal: I spend a lot of time there as it’s also my office of sorts. No schedule as such, just whenever I get time. Inspiration is an odd thing, you just have to hope that you’re in a place where you can capture your ideas and express them when it hits….

Pearse: The initial creative spark may come from solitary moments, so it is important sometimes to work on your own, but it’s what follows that shapes our music. I am lucky enough to be involved in a stimulating creative process where ideas bloom (albeit a slow bloom) into fully formed pieces of music.

Donal: As Pearse alluded to, the initial spark for an idea/tune/melody is a very solitary thing; it’s what happens afterwards that involves more than one person. Most of my ideas start when playing on my own or on my own.

Pearse: The creative process? It hits you when it hits

Donal: It’s funny, you never know when inspiration is going to hit, but I generally get a feeling beforehand and an urge to play guitar, then when something hits I just keep playing it for as long as I can, exploring it and looking at it from a few different perspectives. Once I am happy with the idea I will take it to Pearse and we will start to jam on it. Although, the time from when the first idea comes to when a tune is ready for the live show can take up to six months… even longer sometime.

Pearse: What I like most about working here is that it’s the place you’re least likely to meet someone else.

Donal: I like that my instruments are there and that I can turn it up to the requisite volume when needed!!

Túcan, are instrumental guitar duo Donal Gunne and Pearse Feeney who cite influences as diverse as Django Reinhardt and Frank Zappa to Tool and Megadeth. Hailing form Sligo, they have just scored a Top 30 Irish hit with their debut album Aliquot Strings. Aliquot, meaning “several” in Latin, is an apt choice of word, given the trawl through genres like classical and 60’s rock to heavy metal, trad, flamenco and jazz. They have supported José Feliciano, Rodrigo y Gabriela and were invited to open for Regina Spektor, after she spotted them busking. They launch their album this Saturday in Crawdaddy and tour extensively over the summer (including the Sea Sessions Festival in Bundoran, Donegal on June 26th and The Electric Picnic in September). For full tour details, visit or

About Musical Rooms
Musical Rooms Full Index

Blog at