Myself and three Ticket colleagues (Jim Carroll, Tony Clayton Lea and Lauren Murphy) were each recently asked to compile a list of the ’50 Best Irish music acts right now’. As expected there’s lots of debate about it over on Jim Carroll’s blog. There were lots of bands I voted for that aren’t on the list, and some I didn’t vote for that made the final 50. Either way, it’s great to see a light shined on so many bands and the list proves that Irish music is in a fairly robust health. Well done to David Holmes for bagging the No. 1 slot.
Here’s a list of those included in the Top 50 who have contributed to Musical Rooms so far. Watch out for upcoming contributions from Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, Ann Scott and Dark Room Notes.
(49) David Turpin
(46) Mick Flannery
(38) The Jimmy Cake
(29) Julie Feeney
(23) Messiah J &The Expert
(8) Adrian Crowley
(5) Lisa Hannigan
(4) Fight Like Apes
“Anywhere spacious and peaceful is ideal for making music. If it has good light all the better, which is why my time in the resident studio at the Model Niland Gallery in Sligo this year was such a pleasure. I’m finished up there now but while I was there my productivity increased ten-fold. It’s a lovely room tucked away at the back of the gallery which is a beautifully renovated school with a heavy, cosy structure. The room has high white walls, a skylight, two front windows and a small loft for storage. The space often felt like an extension of my head space, i.e. two front windows for eyes, a skylight for pondering through and the small loft for deep thinking. I actually heard a story that the studio is haunted by an old lady called Agnes. I think we must have been kindred spirits though as not once, day or night, did the room feel anything but serene. I couldn’t help feeling that my time there was some kind of reward for all my time spent making music in stifling unhealthy conditions in rented rooms in the capital down the years.
I like to vaguely keep to traditional working hours but that said, if the juices are flowing I’ll often work way into the wee hours and find myself peering up at dawn breaking through the skylight. Your body is shattered but your mind is exhilarated with creativity. I love that state. You feel very alive despite hanging on by a thread physically.
With regards to methods, I tend to work slowly, sometimes doing hours of takes on particular details of songs or just sifting through old cassettes and field recordings for hours, so a traditional studio set up doesn’t suit me. I used to drive engineers up the wall so it’s best all round if I work alone. I’m currently on the hunt for a new space to work in but in the back of my mind I know the chances are slim of finding anywhere as special as that again.
Still, one can only hope.”
Dictaphone Showreels was reissued earlier this month and is available at Road Records. A new album by Chequerboard is due in February. For more info, gig updates and music, go here:
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