Musical Rooms

April 3, 2009

50 Best Irish music acts right now (who contributed to Musical Rooms)

davidholmesMyself 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
(20) Oppenheimer
(19) Chequerboard
(13) RSAG
(8) Adrian Crowley
(6) Villagers
(5) Lisa Hannigan
(4) Fight Like Apes
(2) Jape

February 12, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 58: R.S.A.G.


“My favourite place so far that I have created music in is a house a mile or so outside Kilkenny city. It’s the smallest room in the house. I was living with a friend and we had four rooms, two rooms each. He had decks and so many records that it took more time to move the records in than it took me to move in, so he got the biggest room. We agreed that it was because of those records, but we both know it was for his big ego, ha! I choose to take the smaller of my two rooms for my studio. It was perfect apart from when I recorded drums in there. But it ended up working out really well and gave a really claustrophobic feel on some of the tracks on the album.

I got some large black soft rug-like material – I got it from a friend – to soundproof the room as much as I could. What I was after was a dead room. It smelled like a mix of old school carpet and engine oil, maybe because the blankets were used to transport motorbikes in from Japan. I love free stuff with a bit of a story. So, as soon as I had the room all blacked out, the scene was set.

In the room, I have a computer, a set of speakers and whatever instruments I tend to drag to and fro the room. The most important things for me to have in there are a Bass guitar, acoustic guitar and whatever percussion bits were lying around.

I spend a good bit of my time in the room and tend not to have a schedule; I just make music whenever the mood takes me. Isolation is not important. I do work alone most of the time but always like to get friends’ opinions on what I’m doing.

The creative process at the moment for me is to jam a lot on my three-string acoustic guitar, and when something feels right, I’ll record it. Once a song has a structure, you can experiment with different feels and layering textures. I use a PC with a program called Acid to initially draft ideas. It’s a great program for creating loops quickly. My method is very primitive and simple.

What I like most about my space is that it’s mine.”

R.S.A.G. (Rarely Seen Above Ground) is Jeremy Hickey, a multi-instrumentalist who records, performs and produces all his own music. Live, he plays drums, percussion and sings. His debut album Organic Sampler was released in 2008 to rave reviews and is nominated for the 2008 Choice Music Prize. He plays The Academy, Dublin on Tuesday, February 17th, The Pavillion, Cork on Thursday, February 19th, The Roisin Dubh, Galway on Friday, February 27th and the Choice Music Prize ceremony on Wednesday March 4th. For more information visit

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