I have been speaking with Shookrah...
about their latest track, Flex, and what its story is. The guys reveal what the music scene is like in Ireland and how they got together; what is coming up for them and some of the rising artists we need to have a look at and follow.
I ask whether there are tour dates approaching and whether they get time to relax away from music; the advice they’d give to musicians coming through and the music they are all drawn to – they select an interesting track to end the interview with.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Emmet: Good, thanks! We’re just about to release the music video for our latest single, Flex. It was filmed on the stage of a venue here in Cork called Dali (formerly The Pavilion) and we had some super-talented Cork dancers and dance teachers involved, along with a really talented lighting engineer/visual artist, David Mathúna. It’s quite colourful, brash and sexy (just like me) which suits the song really well.
Also this week, we’ve been putting some finishing touches on the album which we’ll be bringing out next year around summertime. Just little nips and tucks; sprinkling some of that enchanted production dust on the songs.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Emmet: Ok. So we’ve got Senita up front singing her heart out till the break of dawn; Dan on guitar, Diarmait on a multitude of keyboards and synths; Brian on the bass and myself on drums.
How did Shookrah get together? How did you all meet?
Diarmait: It’s the bog-standard band genesis story, really. Most of us were friends from college; one of us got a gig etc. etc. etc. Brian’s the only person who was hired in on merit (read: outsider) as he’s such a stone-cold killer on the bass.
What can you reveal about the new track, Flex? What is its story?
Senita: Flex is the antidote anthem to any insecurities felt on a night out, as well as anyone killin’ your vibe. I wanted to write a song that was the equivalent to Kings of Convenience’s I’d Rather Dance with You (song) except more obnoxious and sassy. There are just some songs that do that to me. I just can’t mess with anyone trying to chat with me while Formation is playing for instance. I wanted to convey that in a song and invite people to feel the same about this particular song.
In terms of music; which artists are you drawn to?
Diarmait: Exceptionally funky ones, mainly. Also, anyone who keeps it real in fairness. A small sample list: Roy Ayers, Anderson .Paak; Erykah Badu, Milo; White Boiz and N.W.A.
You are based out of Ireland. What is the scene like where you are?
Diarmait: Oh, it’s very Irish. I suppose it’s reasonably small and it’s cosy - and most people know each other, which is nice. Hip-Hop/R&B-type music seems to be coming into its own a bit here too which is cool in fairness.
As Christmas is coming; what one present would you each like if you could have anything?
Dan: I’m gonna answer for everyone based on their hairstyles...
Senita: A selection of outrageous trousers and pungent teas; Emmet: Limited Edition Home Alone version of Hungry Hungry Hippos; Dunlea: Volvo cufflinks; Diarmait: haircut; Dan: Neighbour’s WiFi code
Do you already have plans for 2019?
Diarmait: The release of our first album! Also, some touring.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Diarmait: We were playing a 3 A.M. festival gig before where the power went out halfway through. Major L.O.L.s as you can imagine!
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Diarmait: I would have to say Bob Marley - The Gold Collection: 40 Classic Performances as I’ve had it for the last fifteen years since I was twelve.
Senita: I hate having to pick...BUT IF I MUST, I would say that Janelle Monáe’s The ArchAndroid was a big moment for me in my musical journey. I would listen to it walking country roads in South Kerry and was completely blown out of my mind as to the fact that such a strong concept album could still hold strong in that day and age. I was so struck by the Wondaland Collective’s ethos, artistic integrity and intellect.
The fact that it could be backed by Big Boi and P Diddy and take you on such a crazy, seemingly non-commercial journey opened my mind to the possibility of really performing and playing around with it and giving people more than a hook...but a genuine story and experience to latch on to.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Emmet: Maybe D’Angelo...and that’s just the rider! Haha. Just kidding.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Diarmait: In the words of James Brown: “Make it funky, make it funky”.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Diarmait: I’m afraid I can’t reveal any sensitive information at this juncture but, suffice to say, we have plans for Ireland and the U.K. next year that hopefully won’t be affected by Brexit! (Seriously).
IN THIS PHOTO: Charlotte Dos Santos
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Diarmait: We’re also a quite successful five-a-side football team, if I say so myself. So, whenever things get a bit too stressful, we’ll usually run a few passing drills or even just take it easy with a good old game of Nods and Volleys.
Senita: I think my chill time gets eaten up with other projects that I’d like to get involved in. I perform with producers; do a bit of D.J.ing myself and do things like dance classes and going to the theatre. I’m starting a podcast called Points of Intersection in the New Year about Ireland and intersectionality, which will broadcast on Dublin Digital Radio. I’m listening to a lot of podcasts and doing some prep for that as a chill thing.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Diarmait: Johnny “Guitar” Watson - Telephone Bill