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.

Guest Playlist: Julie and Joanna from SelfMade

SelfMade is a platform that explores the unseen sides of the music industry through discussion, performance, art and zines. With a strong focus on women in music, their goal is to celebrate the work of DIY musicians and to create a supportive space to explore the realities of getting a music project or career off the ground. SelfMade is organised independently by artist, Joanna Bain, and musician/label co-founder Julie Hawk (HAVVK) in collaboration with a collective of Irish musicians.

Tomorrow, 25th May, SelfMade is hosting a Mind YourSelf: Mental Health and Music event (sponsored by IMRO) event at The Tara Building in Dublin. The two-part event will look at mental health in the Irish music scene and the challenges affecting developing musicians in their professional and personal lives. Featuring a workshop lead by psychotherapist, musician, researcher and BIMM lecturer, Aoife Ruth, in collaboration with Wyvern Lingo’s Caoimhe Barry, the event also sees an evening panel with a line-up of Irish artists, including Maria Kelly, Michael Pope (Le Galaxie) and Paddy Hanna, who have all used their creative work and social platforms to highlight career-related mental health and anxiety.

Ahead of the event tomorrow, SelfMade founders Julie and Joanna have chosen some of their favourite tracks that help them to process, wind down, blow off steam or simply kick-start a bit of self-love.

Read about their choices, and listen to the playlist below!

Joan Jett and the Black Hearts – ‘Bad Reputation’
This is reserved for when I need a true kick up the ass and a reminder that other people’s opinions can not topple my own sense of what’s right or who I am. Also a very good one for abolishing pre-gig nerves.
(Julie)

Scarlet – ‘Independent Love Song’
If I want to sing along at top volume in the car, this one is near the top of the list. Another old song (I still have the single on cassette at my parents’ house), but it has this incredible explosive anthemic chorus that’s a joy. It’s aged pretty well too, and every now and again it turns up in a bar or on a TV programme and it takes me right back.
(Joanna)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Maps’
This song reminds me to love myself. It’s such a unique love song because it’s about reminding someone of their true value and that they are truly loved by someone. And to me, it’s even more powerful because it’s coming from Karen O, who is a huge hero of mine as a performer.
(Julie)

The National – ‘Daughters of the Soho Riots’
That crackling, lo-fi intro, the monotone vocal; the beautiful subtlety of it. I love everything about this song. Matt Berninger writes these incredible lyrics that convey a sense of time and place and a feeling without ever saying anything overt. I’ve always loved the line “I don’t have any questions, I don’t think it’s going to rain / You were right about the end, it didn’t make a difference”. It’s a masterclass in understatement and it brings instant calm.
(Joanna)

Jose Gonzales – ‘Crosses’
I’m a very sensitive person and I definitely get triggered by sad music, which can be great sometimes. But Veneer is one of the only albums I can actually work to or really sort out my thoughts to. There’s something about the sense of space around his voice and guitar that leaves room to think and process, rather than dwell on emotion.
(Julie)

Jose Gonzalez – ‘Heartbeats’
This whole album, Veneer, is an exercise in restraint – beautiful, intricate guitar playing and gorgeous melodies. If I want to wind down in the midnight hour I dim the lights, pick up a book, and set this to play in the background. This song in particular though, there’s something so tranquil but so melancholy about it; it makes me stop and breathe and just enjoy its loveliness.
(Joanna)

Robyn – ‘Every Heartbeat’
Probably not the most uplifting Robyn track but for me, it’s my ultimate ‘blowing off steam’ anthem. There’s something about the repetition and the builds in this song that keeps me grounded. Really good for running, trying not to focus on stress or bullshit, or mustering up the mood for a night out.
(Julie)

Bon Iver / The Staves – ‘Heavenly Father’
There’s a video floating around the internet somewhere that features Bon Iver performing this song live – a cappella, with the Staves, at the Sydney Opera House. It is one of the most beautiful bits of music I’ve ever seen or heard, and have listened it to death. If I want to be transported, I put this on loud and just listen to the layers of harmonies and the wall of sound they produce. Incredible.
(Joanna)

Maria Kelly – ‘Dark Places’
This song is just such a comfort. It is such a generous example of someone saying “hey, we all go through this sometimes and it’s not shameful or the end of the world”.
(Julie)

Radiohead – ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’
I was obsessed with this song and its video as a discerning 8 year old when it first came out, and it’s remained a favourite. I love that unmistakeable guitar line, and there’s something about that gradual build and release at the end of the second chorus that brings a feeling of total peace. I remember crying in a field when I heard this live for the first time over a decade a year or two ago in Lisbon – but I wasn’t the only one…!
(Joanna)

Huge thanks to Julie and Joanna for their choices! Listen to the playlist below, and find out more about SelfMade here.

 

Introducing Interview: Sive

Having shared stages with the likes of Lisa Hannigan and Gemma Hayes, Irish artist Sadhbh O’Sullivan – aka Sive – creates slices of spellbinding alt-folk, interweaving twinkling melodies with soaring, multi-layered vocals and a unique, compelling charm.

With her captivating latest single ‘Quietly’ out now, we caught up with Sive to find out more…

Hi Sive, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you! I’m an Irish songwriter and musician living in a place called Kildare, not too far from Dublin. I’ve been writing and performing independently for about 10 years now, and in that time I’ve released two albums and toured all over Ireland, Europe and New Zealand. I recently started working with Berlin-based label Veta Records, so I’m really delighted to be releasing my new music in collaboration with them.

How did you initially start creating music?
As a kid I loved singing along with whatever pop songs I happened to be obsessing over at the time. I particularly remember being fascinated with harmony and learning the backing vocals parts, which is probably a little weird for a child. It was really when I was about 13 and got my first guitar that I started to write songs. I had a tape recorder which I used to use for very fancy multi-tracking (you need two blank tapes and a second tape player – happy to give lessons if anyone’s interested), and then I eventually got a Boss 8-track recording device which allowed me to mess around a little bit more with arrangements – piano parts, layered vocals etc. I’m showing my age now! When I finished school I went to study in Ballyfermot Rock School and started playing my songs with other musicians. It was terrifying, I hated singing in public for a long time, but that’s when I really started to take my own music to the next level.

Your new single ‘Quietly’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
It’s about feeling overwhelmed by the noise of the world, and wanting to find a space among all of that to be quiet. It reflects what it’s like to just stop and listen to what’s going on inside yourself – it can be a calming experience but also a little scary in there. The video played around with using lots of projected images to reflect the idea that you create this mad and complex reality in your head, and then project it out onto the world around you.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Jesca Hoop and Julia Jacklin, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Jesca Hoop would certainly be one of the more recent ones. I’m not familiar with Julia Jacklin but will look her up – it’s always interesting when you get compared to someone you haven’t heard yet! Some of my biggest influences over the years were Tori Amos, Simon and Garfunkel, The Shins, Feist, Ella Fitzgerald, Kila and Jeff Buckley. More recently I’ve been listening to This is the Kit, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Rokia Troare, The Toure-Raichel Collective, Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell. I really love choral and early vocal music, and I think that’s why vocal layering is one of my favourite parts of the recording process!

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
My local music scene is on the up. Being so close to Dublin I think people are used to travelling for their live music, but more has started happening in my area. I was actually involved in setting up a new night in my own community called Skylarks Music Club recently, which got off to a roaringly successful start. It’s happening in an old nun’s chapel and our first night featured three amazing performances from Cathy Davey, Ross Breen and Farah Elle as well as our house band who are called Square Pegs. I also just opened for John Spillane in a community centre in a small town nearby last weekend. It was their first live music endeavour in there and they put a lot of work in to make it succeed, so I really hope they continue to grow. John’s live show is really fantastic!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
My live show has ebbed and flowed over time, depending on what feels right for different gigs. At the moment I’m enjoying playing solo because it opens me up to some nice intimate gig opportunities and also gives me a chance to really connect with the audience. I always try to engage the crowd as much as possible by chatting a bit about the songs etc, so that hopefully it feels like a shared experience as opposed to me just singing at them. I’m actually toying with some new ideas for my live shows for next year though, so at the moment your guess is as good as mine as to how that might unfold!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I’m always scared to answer these questions, because I know so many talented artists that I hate leaving anyone out! But I’ll narrow it down to a few who I’ve gigged with recently or who’ve released new music this year. Some of those who I’d recommend checking out would be Maria Kelly, Pearly, Ross Breen, Farah Elle, Dani, Inni-K, and Hatchlings. My pal Emma O’Reilly has some new stuff stuff up her sleeve too, I had a sneak preview a while ago and it’s well worth keeping your eyes peeled for!

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It is difficult because there are so many people making music independently out there. But I think if you have good material and you put some thought into how you want to present it, it’s very doable. The upside of social media is that, if you’re clever, you really can do so much by yourself. The downside is that it’s quite saturated, and you also end up having to pay to make sure the stuff you share gets seen even by people who’ve already liked or followed you. But I do think there are endless opportunities out there for people who are willing to persevere.

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Sive?
Well I’ve just released my new single ‘Quietly’ as you mentioned, along with the video by Myles O’Reilly which was a dream to make. I’m planning lots more releases for 2019, so the rest of this year will be mostly preparing for everything that goes along with that. In fact, as soon as I finish chatting to you I’ll be packing my bags to head off for a week’s writing retreat in a little village on the southeast coast of Ireland! I do have a gig coming up in Whelan’s on Sunday 9th of December, supporting a great songwriter called Enda Reilly. Then there are some lovely shows already planned for early next, so do come and say hi on social media if you’re interested in finding out more!

‘Quietly’, the new single from Sive, is out now via Veta Records.

Track Of The Day: LIERS – ‘Universal Female’

Are you “Hooked on dreams, tired of emotions”? – fear not, Dublin-based LIERS have written a tune for when you’re feeling “perfectly imperfect”. Their debut single ‘Universal Female’ is a torrent of alternative sound, designed to shake your ear drums and get your feet stomping.

Formed by lead singer Liz Seaver (an established singer/songwriter in her own right), LIERS have been performing together at festivals and gigs for a while now. Inspired by the sound of 90’s bands like Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Oasis, Smashing Pumpkins, PJ Harvey and Alanis Morrissette; Liz, Ed Scanlan (Lead guitarist), Stephen Farrell (Bassist) and Ronan O’Hanlon (Drummer) decided to create their own music, and ‘Universal Female’ is the first of what we hope will be several stellar singles.

The band will be celebrating the release of the single by joining Sub Motion to open for post-grunge rockers Fangclub at Whelan’s in Dublin on Thursday April 26th. With the support of Polite Society (Fangclub, Long Tail, Vulpynes), and an EP release lined up on Headwire Records later this year, 2018 is set to be a big year for LIERS.

Listen to ‘Universal Female’ below and follow LIERS on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut