Right Here Right Now Festival 2017...

Anthony Kelly previews the inaugural Right Here Right Now Festival in Cork with festival organiser Brian Hassett.

Interview with Beach Slang...

Hailing from Philadelphia, punk rock four piece Beach Slang are a badly needed shot of adrenaline for a stagnant music scene devoid of any real excitement. Keith McGouran caught up with lead singer James Alex ahead of their Dublin gig in the Workman’s Club on Monday 23rd January.

Interview: Ryan Óg – Kolibrí...

One of Ireland’s most talented new musicians Ryan Óg aka Kolibrí talks to betweenthebars.net about his new EP ‘Eulogies’.

Cactus World News: Frank Kearns talks about new album ‘Found’...

Cactus World News emerged in 1984 as the Irish band most likely to follow U2 on the road to international success. They had all the right connections but more importantly, had the songs and the sound that made them ideal candidates for graduating to the major leagues. Debut single ‘The Bridge’ was an impressive opening shot – stirring, anthemic guitar rock and debut album ‘Urban Beaches’ served only to cement the impression that CWN were a band ready to make a big leap forward. Released on MCA Records, the album sold well, but a change in label personnel led to a familiar story – the band didn’t find favour with the new regime and follow up album ‘No Shelter’ sat gathering dust before being released many years after it was recorded. Now, some 25 years after their last release, the band have compiled a collection of rare and unreleased tracks, another chapter to the CWN story that is sure to satisfy their loyal fan base. Guitarist Frank Kearns took the time to talk to us about the band, their history and the upcoming release of ‘Found’ following a pledgemusic campaign.

Strand of Oaks – Interview with Timothy Showalter...

Strand of Oaks recently released one of the most brutally honest rock albums of 2014. The brainchild of Tim Showalter, HEAL is an unflinchingly raw examination of the songwriter’s own faults and failings, a brave attempt to confront the demons that were sending him on a dangerous downward spiral. But HEAL is not some empty exercise in navel-gazing; it is a bold and bracing rock album that betrays Showalter’s love of the music he listened to growing up as a kid in Indiana. We caught up with the fascinating and engaging Showalter ahead of his Dublin show in Whelan’s on 3rd October. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Tim – for those who might not be familiar with your music, tell us a little about Strand of Oaks and how you got to the point of making your latest album HEAL? Great to talk with you. Well, I’ve been making music most of my life but Strand of Oaks has existed for about ten years.  I’ve made four record prior to HEAL.  I can’t really function without making music so obviously I love making records, but HEAL means something much more to me.  It feels like my debut in a way.  It took me ten years to find the courage and confidence of finally make the record I wanted to.  In the simplest of terms I had to lose myself to find myself.  When you accept the darkest and most honest points of your life there is little to be afraid of anymore.  I went through a pretty rough time leading up to writing HEAL and because of that I was able to approach writing and record without any hesitations.    Growing up in Indiana, which bands or musicians turned you on to music for the first time and how much of that music continues to influence what you do to this day? So many bands and records help define me.  Looking back I was slightly too young to fully experience the grunge movement but I was still heavily influence by the rawness of that time.  One record in particular was Jeff Buckley’s Grace.  It struck me so much deeper than other records, it was the first record to truly feel important to me.  My relationship with music has and always will be essential.  I’m constantly listening to and collecting records.  I understand the language of music and am constantly inspired by it.  We would probably need a whole other interview to talk about all the bands I’m digging these days.   J Mascis of Dinosaur Jnr plays guitar on the opening track of your album – how did that collaboration come about? Getting J to play was pure magic.  I recorded Goshen ’97 and my label suggested that J should shred on it.  Within 24 hours of talking he had recorded the track.  It’s very surreal to listen to that song and realize that my hero is playing guitar right along with me.   The opening track of Heal: Goshen ’97 – on the surface, it seems like a nostalgic look back at the days of your youth but then there is the repeated line ‘I don’t want to start over again..’ Tell us a little about that song. I think that song took about fifteen minutes to write.  I didn’t think about anything.  Just pounded out my favourite chords on the guitar and wrote exactly what I was feeling.  The song is really a celebration of getting through those awkward teenage years and making it out alive.   HEAL is an intensely personal album – there is no attempts to cloak anything in metaphor. It is direct and blunt and pulls no punches.  Was there a sense that you had come to a point where this album had to be made for you to be able to move on from some of the things...

Interview: Elliott Smith’s biographer William Todd Schultz...

October 21st 2013 marked the tenth anniversary of the death of one of greatest songwriters of his generation. In his short life, Steven Paul “Elliott” Smith compiled a body of work that looks set to endure; his songs of fragile, luminous beauty appealed to those who grew to know and love his music in a very unique and personal way. Portland based writer William Todd Schultz has just written what looks likely to become the definitive account of the life and music of Elliott Smith. ‘Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith‘ is a fascinating, compelling and well researched biography taking us right through from his troubled childhood to his tragic death at the age of thirty four. Todd took some time out to talk to entertainment.ie about writing the book, Smith’s struggle with depression and the circumstances surrounding his tragic death.   Words & Interview by Paul Page Congratulations on the book Todd, it’s a fascinating read and a very thorough examination of the life and music of one of the greatest songwriters of the last 30 years. When did you personally first encounter the music of Elliott Smith? It’s hard to date these things since they sort of sneak up on you, but probably about a year before I started the book. My daughter went to the same high school as Elliott did, Lincoln High School in downtown Portland (where I still live now). She started getting into his music, listening to it more or less non-stop (after a similarly intense Shins phase), and I kept overhearing what she was playing in the study of our home. I couldn’t believe it. I was astonished. Every song–every single one–was so absurdly good. At the time, I’d finished two books, and I was reeling about for what...

Marissa Nadler talks about her beautiful new album ‘July’...

We are just a third of the way through 2014 and already we have been treated to potentially this year’s most beautiful album. July by Marissa Nadler is a lush and dreamy exploration of regret, loss and yearning, a collection of songs of shivering, ghost-like beauty. Over the course of the last 10 years, Nadler has been honing her craft as a songwriter to the point where it feels like July is her most mature, fully realised and accomplished record to date. We caught up with her just after the announcement of a Dublin show on the 5th September in the Button Factory. First off, congratulations on the new album Marissa – it’s a really gorgeous record, one of the very best of 2014 so far. You must be immensely satisfied with the response to it? Thank you! That’s very nice of you to say. I’m very happy with the reception of the record so far. There are few things more satisfying than sticking to something for as long as I have and then feeling this kind of reward back. July feels like a giant leap forward for you both sonically and thematically. It is really beautifully produced and arranged and it feels like your most personal record to date. It’s absolutely my most personal record. When I was much younger, trying to write songs about life with any weight felt a lot like dress-up. So, in my early records, I tended to deal more with surreal imagery and fictional storytelling that were informed, but not entirely, by real life. I feel that I just have more real life experience and more grit from which to draw inspiration now. I think it’s just a natural progression for me as a writer, now that I...

Julianna Barwick talks about her album ‘Nepenthe’...

Louisiana born singer Julianna Barwick released one of the very best albums of 2013 with ‘Nepenthe’. Recorded in Iceland and produced by Alex Somers of Riceboy Sleeps, it features contributions from members of Sigur Ros, Amiina and Mum. It is a stunningly beautiful record, and a natural progression from her 2011 release ‘The Magic Place’. We caught up with her last week on the eve of an extensive tour of North America.

Talking Joy Division & New Order with Peter Hook...

Legendary bass player and founding member of one of the most influential British bands of the last 40 years, Peter Hook took the time out of a busy touring schedule to talk frankly about all things Joy Division and New Order. Hook continues to tour with his band The Light, offering his re-interpretations of his former bands classic songs.   Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Peter. So, you have been a busy man the last couple of years – your book Unknown Pleasures was published to almost universal acclaim and you have been touring the Joy Division and New Order albums with The Light. What has the reaction been like from live audiences to albums that are regarded with such reverence? The reactions so far from all of the audiences have been absolutely fantastic, I have been completely blown away by it all at times. I understand that the albums are held in very high regard so the band and I try to reproduce it all as respectfully and accurately as we possibly can. Playing the Joy Division records is a very different experience to playing the New Order ones but I love playing them all. Our current tour is performing Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order which is a really great live set, we have been fortunate in that the records have translated very well into the live environment.   Was there any trepidation on your part in taking on the vocal duties and interpreting the words of such an iconic vocalist and lyricist as Ian Curtis? Absolutely, I am not a frontman by trade so at first I found it very daunting and I was extremely nervous, but as we did more and more gigs I got a lot more comfortable with it all and now I would like to think that I do a good job in that role. Obviously I will never be Ian and I would never try to be, but I just try to do the best job I can. Next week we will play our 200th live gig so I have had a lot of experience and now I am a lot more confident with it. Your book ‘Unknown Pleasures – Inside Joy Division’ was a fantastic read. It did a great job of demystifying the band and showing that you were just four blokes who happened to make this incredible music. Was that part of your goal with the book – to strip away some of the myths that had built up around the Joy Division? Yes I would say so, there is a lot of myth that surrounds Joy Division so I guess I wanted to bring across that other side to us all. I was sick of reading books about Joy Division by people who were not actually there, and who were just speculating in my eyes as to what went on. So it was great to be able to set the record straight with my own book and I have been absolutely delighted to see that people have taken to it just as they did with the Hacienda book. Speaking of books, have you read Morrissey’s book yet? Do you think The Smiths will ever reform? They are the last ones left, aren’t they… The Stone Roses got back together, even “New Order” is back now, albeit not properly, obviously… So the next in line would be the Smiths reunion. Personally I hope it doesn’t happen as it’s all Manchester has left! I haven’t read Morrissey’s book and I doubt I will to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of his.   As a matter of interest, have you ever thought how Joy Division would have sounded two or three albums down the line if Ian hadn’t died? Do you think you would have taken the more dance orientated path...