Ahead of the release of her debut single ‘Here We Go’, which is due for release on May 25th – Laura Rai of Music Scene caught up with Irish songstress Róisín O to talk about her new album, what direction her music is taking, and how having a family of successful musicians has affected her as a musician. Enjoy.
How would you describe your sound at the moment, how does it compare with music you have released in the past?
I find that a very difficult question to answer. My influences range from Joni Mitchell to Massive Attack with a lot in between! If I had to put a label on it right now it would be something like Alternative Folk Rock. The music for our upcoming album is actually quite different to what me and the band have done in the past. Not that we’ve gone in a completely different direction but I think we’ve really honed in on the sound we’re trying to create and I think it’s really matured compared to what we’ve done before.
What role did the band play in the songs on the new album, did they have a hand in the writing process?
The band play a huge role in creating the music. There’s four of us now Alan Tully on guitars, Brian Murphy on bass and Ruth O’Mahony Brady on keys. Me and Brian do most of the song writing, though I’ve written with Al as well. I like to write most of the melody and lyrics but Brian does some too. Usually when me and him have an idea the four of us get together and jam it out. If any one of them weren’t there I think the sound could be quite different in ways. We’re in between drummers at the moment.
‘Here We Go’ was inspired by a weekend at Electric Picnic, what was it about the weekend that made you write the song? Where do you usually get inspiration for writing lyrics from?
I love festivals, especially Electric Picnic. There something about it… it’s like every person there is a kid again and just wants to listen music and have fun! The place just exudes an amazing buzz, there’s no aggressiveness that sometimes happens at festivals. Everyone just turns into a hippie for a few days and enjoys the amazing music. What’s not to write about?
My lyrics come from my own life experiences. Love, heartache, the people around me, hopes and fears and aspirations and in some instances, amazing weekends at festivals! All the usual stuff. I only write about the things I know, things that are close to me.
Given your musical background and family (Roisin’s mother is none other than Mary Black, while her brother Danny is in The Coronas), do you think being a musician was something you were destined to do?
I’m not sure if I was destined to do it! I know that I’ve wanted to be a musician for as long as I can remember and I’m sure being constantly around music and the music industry growing up influenced me in that direction. In saying that I was never pushed into it or pressured to get up and sing. It’s something I’ve always loved doing and I wanted to do it for myself.
Is that musical background something you wish to distance yourself from (for the sake of individuality), or rather embrace, as you embark on a career in music?
I’m hugely proud of the musicians in my family. They’ve all inspired and influenced me in one way or another. Though I would never deny being part of my family, to be honest being part of it is not a subject I like to broadcast, especially at this early stage in my career. I would like people to listen to my music for the first time without any preconceptions in their minds on what they’re about to hear. I worry that some people might like or dislike me before they even hear what I do because of the my Mam’s or brother’s music, and neither of those situations are ones I want to promote. So I suppose, yes, for the sake of individuality and unbiased opinions, it’s something I’d rather didn’t come up often!
Finally, what can we expect from a Roisin O live show? I heard you were doing a Florence & the Machine cover at one stage, any other covers on the cards?
For the next couple of live shows you can expect a lot of new material. The new album has very few songs from our old repertoire, but you can be sure there will be lots of harmonies, claps and big chorus’ to join in on, as well a few slower ones to dwell on. I love doing that Florence cover but I feel like we’ve been doing it for ages! Keeping an ear out for a new one… any ideas? Can’t wait for the single launch in the Grand Social on the 30th, think it’s gonna be a special night for us!
- Laura Rai.
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