INTERVIEW: Rising Damp

A creator of brutal yet captivating soundscapes, Dublin based artist Rising Damp describes her recent EP, Petrol Factory, as “the quaking barrier between the end of the end of time and the end of the world.” Her dystopian visions are fleshed out with hypnotic electronics, dense drum beats and deadpan vocal delivery, and her live performances are a blend of improvised sounds and intriguing visuals.

We caught up with Rising Damp (aka Michelle Doyle) to talk about her recent EP, what she’s been creating during lockdown, and her upcoming contribution to A Litany Of Failures: Vol. III, an eclectic compilation album of music from grassroots Irish artists which is set for release on 2nd October…

 

Hello Michelle! Your EP Petrol Factory was recently featured in The Quietus’ 2020 ‘Albums Of The Year So Far‘ chart. What are you most proud of about this record?

I’m most proud about the journey of the album. Most songs were made in response to live gigs, and were never cast in stone, always improvised. Playing to bigger audiences forced me to have to professionalise my practice. It has made me think more visually about the stage show, creating of the band and a how video links this all.

Do you have a favourite track? If so, why?

My favourite song is ‘The Bank’. It was composed as part of an exhibition exploring subculture in Ireland. In Dublin, all the punks, skins and goths used to hangout at Central Bank, in the city centre. I was a late stage central banker and started hanging out as hoardings and gates went up to stop young people sitting on the steps. The Bank is a landmark of Irish modernism, but also where protests would start or finish and where Occupy was. The place is a site of both financial institution and protest. Everything that is done to Central Bank is to further the hostile architecture around it and create a fortress. The song is about building this space and the tension of holding onto it.

 

During lockdown you were recording shows for Dublin Digital Radio, playing tracks by Throbbing Gristle, Gazelle Twin & Nyx Drone Choir (all GIHE faves). Talk us through how you curated these shows and what you enjoyed most about recording them.

Often I curate a show by taking one theme and building a repository around it. For example, I did a vocal special about people using voice as an instrument without singing. Sometimes I approach the show as research for songwriting. Other times I just want to play some high energy music. I’m using Mixxx as I can’t access the DDR studio at the moment. I miss the cdjs and the tactile way they can make you create tunes on the fly.

How have you been coping during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic generally? Any advice for similar bands or artists who may be struggling right now?

My own feeling has been to reassess what your output should be. I was working on a live band towards playing festivals, and arranging with them and practising twice a week. When lockdown came, we had to stop and only got back in in May. Now we are taking a break during phase 3 again. As we can’t play live gigs, we are going to get back in to the studio and re-record songs from Petrol Factory as a live band and put them out. We’re also aiming to create videos to accompany. My most prized possession as a teenager was music video VHS and DVDs. I especially liked Sonic Youth’s for a DIY video art aesthetic. So trying to use the time now as a time for writing, editing and creating visual art.

Something positive during this time is your contribution to A Litany Of Failures: Vol. III. Your single ‘Cannibal’ features on the record. Talk us through what the track’s about and why you chose it for the compilation.

‘Cannibal’ came from playing in clubs between DJs who were DJing “hard drum” music. Originally it began as a jam and the lyrics came from a time I had just been in the dentist for an emergency tooth pull. A wisdom tooth was tearing flesh in my mouth, and gave me a serious infection. I’d written part of the song and finished it during the first lockdown. It seemed to change and become about feeding off past experiences and thoughts while isolated. Vocals recorded at home during lockdown were always pulled back as I live in a large group house.

Besides your own track, do you have a favourite track or a favourite band that also features on the compilation?

I love the Grave Goods and Extravision songs. It’s a great release, I’m super excited to be on vinyl.

What else is on the horizon for Rising Damp during these “unprecedented” times?

I’m putting together applications for exhibition/gigs in galleries where I can design a set, lighting and objects. Working on videos and new songs always.

Finally, are there any bands or artists you’d like to give a shout out too?

One artist who has a huge output and amazing energy is God Knows. I’m so impressed by his ability to keep exploring sound and switch things up. I love that he’s super attentive to his scene, is the opposite to a gatekeeper and is constantly bringing people in from all around Ireland. He’s a total supporter and great musician.

I also urge everyone to checkout Fulacht Fiadh, Salac, Dylan Kerr, Lastminuteman and Maria Somerville. Right now I’m buzzing off listening to the labels Chicago Research and Detriti Records.

Thanks to Michelle for answering our questions.
Follow Rising Damp on bandcampFacebook and Instagram for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: St. Patrick’s Day 2020

We began drafting this St. Patrick’s Day Playlist before we were fully aware of the extent of the coronavirus pandemic in Ireland, and before the Irish government called for the mass closure of pubs and clubs, thus removing any chance to publicly celebrate on the 17th. We debated whether it was appropriate to mention St. Patrick’s Day at all – especially after the numerous gig & parade cancellations both in Ireland and here in London – but seeing the resilience of our Irish friends and musicians on social media motivated us in to completing it.

We all need a distraction during these uncertain times, so dive in to our St. Patrick’s Day playlist! You’re going to find a new favourite artist among our choices. We’ve included links to each artist’s social media, Spotify and/or Bandcamp accounts, and we urge you to stream or purchase their music if you have the funds to do so. Make sure you scroll all the way down for the playlist, and for a note about our allies at the end too…

Æ MAK – ‘Dancing Bug’ (Spotify)
A solid fan of Æ MAK otherwise known as Aoife McCann, I’ve followed her since the beginning of 2019, fresh off her recent support of both tUnE-yArDs and Warpaint. ‘Dancing Bug’ is her latest offering which speaks to her chaotic electronic beats and primitive vocal rhythms. (Tash Walker)

Cosha – ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ (Spotify)
A previous favourite of mine known as Bonzai, who released an old favourite of mine Where Are U Now, came back in 2018 under the name Cosha, teaming up with producer Rostam for this single. I’ve been keeping my ears and eyes peeled for their new music ever since. (TW)

New Pagans – ‘Admire’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Filled with urgent, considered, intensely catchy songs that challenge the norms surrounding relationships, history, and gender; New Pagans‘ debut EP Glacial Erratic is a powerful blend of alternative sounds. The Belfast band take the best elements of post-punk, grunge, and indie rock and transform them in to abrasive, yet melodic noise. ‘Admire’ is my favourite track from the EP. (Kate Crudgington)

HAVVK – ’52’ (Spotify)
HAVVK have been long term favourites here at GIHE; a band who continually combine activism with their unique musical prowess, their exquisite, spine-tingling splendour resonates now more than ever. Although written about the extreme political dynamics in the run up to the Brexit vote in 2017, their track ‘52’ remains a poignant soundscape with all that’s happening in the world right now. Oozing a stark, stirring emotion, alongside the soaring, celestial splendour and gritty raw emotion of front woman Julie’s vocals, it’s filled with a glistening musicality juxtaposed with a frenzied, angst-driven climax. (Mari Lane)

The Cranberries – ‘Ode To My Family’
I couldn’t really not include The Cranberries on an Irish playlist. With the heartbreaking crystalline vocals of the late Dolores O’Riordan alongside a delicate twinkling musicality, each of their offerings sends shivers down my spine every time. I’ve chosen this particular track as, during these extremely troubling and anxiety-inducing times, I’d like to give an ode to MY family, and all loved ones – we need each other now more than ever, even if for some us it means not being able to physically see one another right now. Solidarity and good vibes to you all; we can get through this together. (ML)

REWS – ‘Monsters’ (Spotify)
I never fail to be impressed by the power of Shauna Tohill’s vocals, and they’re out in force again on this new REWS track. ‘Monsters’ is an aural challenge to self-doubt, and a bit of fiery pop-rock encouragement to persevere in the face of anxiety. (KC)

Vulpynes – ‘2 Cents’ (Spotify)
Propelled by the gritty, impassioned vocals of guitarist Molly, ‘2 Cents’ rages with a seething energy and sublime raw power as scuzzy punk-fuelled riffs are blasted out alongside intense pummelling beats. Reminiscent of the riotous force of the likes of L7 or The Distillers, it’s a storming, empowering offering from my favourite Irish duo. We’re sad that we’re no longer able to host Vulpynes at The Finsbury on 3rd April, but we do hope to reschedule the gig for as soon as possible! (ML)

Bitch Falcon – ‘Prime Number’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Mari booked Dubliners Bitch Falcon the penultimate act for one of our GIHE gigs at The Finsbury a few years ago, and I was totally blown away by their live set. Such a raw, powerful sound. ‘Prime Number’ is a personal favourite, but I’d recommend listening to their latest single ‘Damp Breath’ too. (KC)

Party Fears – ‘Money’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Party Fears are based in Berlin, but Maggie Devlin is originally from Northern Ireland. The band have been consistent favourites at GIHE since Mari first gave them a spin on our Hoxton Radio show, and this track ‘Money’ is one of my favourites. Keep your eyes peeled for their new single ‘All Is Good’, set for release on 27th March. (KC)

PowPig – ‘Pretty Woman’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
PowPig are Irish DIY at its best, I was totally blown away when I found out that they were still at school. ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Mayday’ are their most recent releases jam packed with indie harmonies and grizzly guitars. Loving it. Here’s to hearing more from them in the future. (TW)

Hilary Woods – ‘Orange Tree’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Dublin-based Hilary Woods creates abrasive, primal, charged soundscapes that blur industrial and orchestral elements. She uses sound and image to navigate emotional territories, and I feel intensely comforted when I listen to her music (I also cry to it sometimes, but that’s okay too). “My body knows I can’t make it out” sings Hilary Woods on ‘Orange Tree’, tentatively trying to make peace with her physicality and her surroundings. This need to face her inner fears underscores her latest record, Birthmarks, which is an unsettling, but genuinely liberating listen. (KC)

Fears – ‘Blood’ (Spotify)
Fears is the moniker of London-based, Irish musician Constance Keane. I first heard her music while listening to The Irish Jam, and I’ve tried to keep tabs on her ever since. I love her dark, minimal electronic sounds. Definitely a bit of me. (KC)

SOAK – ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ (Spotify)
I came across SOAK last year when she released her sophmore album Grim Town, which is most definitely worth a listen. This however is SOAK’s cover of The National’s ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’, tender and gentle and a pleasingly fresh rendition. (TW)

Aoife Nessa Frances – ‘Here In The Dark’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
‘Here in the Dark’ is taken from the very enjoyable debut Land of No Junction by Aoife Nessa Frances. Her voice evokes so much emotion, you’ll soon find yourself falling into the songs reflective melodic musings. (TW)

Maria Kelly – ‘july’ (Spotify)
Alt-folk artist Maria Kelly’s ‘july’ looks inward, exploring the idea that we are ultimately in control of how we feel, and must take responsibility for what we choose to dwell on. Another truly beautiful offering from the Irish songwriter, it flows with her silky smooth, emotion strewn vocals and a stirring, bewitching musicality. Oozing a heartbreaking sense of vulnerability, it sparkles with a mystical grandeur, creating something truly mesmerising. (ML)

Rosie Carney – ‘Bud (Rose)’ (Spotify)
This is the last track to close Rosie Carney’s album Bare. ‘Bud (Rose)’ is a beautiful instrumental which mixes birdsong with piano. The piano is one of my favourite instruments to hear on record especially when it is played with such tenderness, as it is here. (TW)

B*witched – ‘C’est La Vie’
One of the first cassette singles I bought, when I was about twelve, I just wanted to include this one from the Irish girl group to put a smile on our faces – so, turn up it up, sing along and try to forget about everything for three sweet minutes! (ML)

 

We’d also like to give a shout out to GIHE allies, and Irish born London-based musicians Niall Jackson and Matthew Sutton. Niall co-hosts The Irish Jam (along with Mel, Kealan & Rob) on Riverside Radio, which celebrates Irish music. Kate often contributes to their ‘New Music Sunday’ section.

Matthew fronts his own outfit called TAYNE, and is currently creating new music with his tattoo machine equipment. They both play together in Sweat Threats too. Both are trying to stay creative in a time of uncertainty, so if you can stream/purchase their music or merch, it would be greatly appreciated. (TAYNE bandcamp here. Niall ‘Swimmers’ Jackson bandcamp here).

Video Premiere: Wallis Bird – ‘Life Is Long’

Set to release her sixth album, Woman, at the end of this month, Irish artist Wallis Bird has now shared a brand new video.

Flowing with folk-infused glitchy beats and the luscious allure of Bird’s smooth Irish vocals, ‘Life Is Long’ is an anthemic recollection of a family weekend in West Ireland. Oozing a twinkling atmosphere, it’s a refreshing, contemporary take on more traditional folk songs, filled with a heartwarming emotion. A catchy slice of alt-pop that’ll instantly charm the ears and leave you longing for more of Wallis Bird’s dreamy sounds.

Watch the brand new video for ‘Life Is Long’, for the first time, here:

Woman, the upcoming new album from Wallis Bird, is out 27th September via Caroline International.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Introducing Interview: KTG

Set to release her debut album in September, Irish singer-songwriter Katie Gallagher, aka KTG, combines delicate folk-inspired vocals with sunny, uplifting pop-tinged melodies. Sure to captivate the ears with her feel-good offerings, she stands out as a definite one to watch.

We caught up with Katie to find out more…

Hi KTG , welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you so much for having me, I really appreciate the time! My name is Katie Gallagher, but I perform under KTG. I am a 22 year old singer-songwriter from Longford, Ireland. I have been writing since I was very young and always used songwriting as a music therapy of sorts. I have been performing professionally for four years, touring all of Ireland and some dates in the UK. I am also a newly qualified music teacher, so my life literally revolves around music performance and creation. 

How did you initially start creating music?
I was never good at sports – it was actually embarrassing how bad I was, so my family always encouraged me to find another outlet, and from the age of five I played the piano and the guitar from the age of ten. I used to be obsessed with journaling and having diaries but found them really unproductive, but when I started the shift to songwriting I saw that it was a really good way to deal with the experiences I was going through, good and bad. It was also really good for reminding myself of different experiences. For example, every time I play one of my songs ‘Get Your Story Straight’, even though it is about a negative experience, infidelity, I get this rush of self confidence.  

Your new album Searching For Magpies is out in September – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the album?
I am so excited to release Searching For Magpies! The whole album was recorded by David Virgin, Rohan Healy and Al Quiff from Beardfire Studios, the label I am also signed to. The album relates to the old wives’ tale about magpies: one for sorrow, two for joy etc. Each line in the rhyme relates to one song on the album. I wanted to use the magpie theme because I am personally obsessed with magpies, and always try to find a pair of them! But also there are four songs that are linked together in a separate saga in the album: ‘Strawberries’ – the first part of the relationship and the saga, ‘Get Your Story Straight’ – things are going wrong and you need to walk away, ‘Don’t Tell My Mother’ – this song is all about second chances and going back with a naive idea that things will get better, ‘Lost Boy’ – abandon ship and realise you cannot possibly fix the situation. Other themes include love, escapism and anxiety. 


You’ve been compared to the likes of KT Tunstall and Wallis Bird, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Well, first off it is an honour to be even in the same sentence as these musicians – I hope I live up to this comparison! Being a music teacher I have to be educated in lots of different genres and styles, and I think that has come through in my music. I adore One Republic, they are a huge inspiration of mine. Also Lewis Capaldi, Taylor Swift, Gabrielle Aplin, George Ezra, but also The Black Keys, Paramore, Dolly Parton, Stormzy, Kanye West and Nicki Minaj. My Spotify profile looks like five different people run it when really I try to find influences from all artists! 

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
The Irish music scene on a whole is booming with opportunity to see gigs, but also be a part of one. The Midlands, where I am from, have a host of festivals, gigs and give so many opportunities to young musicians to perform their music. I love to go to listen to live music, in all capacities; whether it be an intimate gig, or a stadium concert, the live performance is so important to me. It’s all well and good to listen to the music in your car or at a party, but nothing beats the live experience! 

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
They can expect to sing along, jump, dance and leave without any voice! I really live for the high energy gigs and try to make sure that I give an experience that I want to have at a gig. There is nothing better than saying “will you sing with me?” and the crowd respond and scream your lyrics back to you! 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
There are so many I could recommend: Dean Maywood, Grainne Fahy, Maria McCormack, Aidan Laird. There is also Evans Junior who is killing the rap game at the moment! 

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I would say that it is difficult to stand out from the crowd, but the music industry is very welcoming – you just have to be prepared to work hard. No musician can come into this industry and expect the fame and fortune to just fall into your lap. And, as long as the industry will have me, I will be working as hard as I can!

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for KTG?
I have my next single, ‘Strawberries’, out on the 26th July, and the final summer single ‘Never Go Home’ out on 23rd August. The album is out on the 26th September, and with that I have a nationwide tour, and we are currently trying to have some gigs abroad, but that will all be announced very soon. And, with any luck, this writer’s block of mine will go away and I can get back to write more songs! 

Huge thanks to Katie for answering our questions! 

Searching For Magpies, the upcoming album from KTG, is out 26th September via Beardfire Music.