WITH a song like Off the Rails in the ether…
it was about time I had a talk with Seán McGowan about things in general! He chats about his music tastes; the inspiration behind his new song; what we can expect from the upcoming album, Son of the Smith – what advice he would provide new artists.
McGowan discusses working with Sam Duckworth (Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly); which new artist we should check out; what he did when bad weather struck recently – ending the interview with a great song choice!
Hi, Seán. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello! Not too bad, thanks. It's been cold and snowy but very lovely.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
It has been pretty cold and snowy recently! Have you been affected by it? Does it provide you more time to stay in and make music?
Yeah - I got the night off work! I mean; I should definitely have been doing that. But, really, I was playing FIFA and watching Godless on Netflix!
Off the Rails is your new track. Can you talk about its story and background?
Off the Rails is about a house party from a few years ago. It's a shout-out to my pals who I love dearly - and how they keep me grounded and sane!
It is a raw and urgent track. What was it like recording the song? Did you get it down pretty quickly?
Yeah - it was the easiest of the album to track.
It was never gonna be on the record, originally - then it ended up being the first single. But, yeah, we tracked it live; overdubbed a few parts - then I shouted me head off for three mins!
Son of the Smith is out on 11th May. What themes inspired your debut album?
Everything around me, really. The same stuff that influences and inspires everyone, I would have thought.
Calling it how I see it and telling stories...
Do you have a favourite song from the album? Which one made the biggest impact on you?
There's a song called Sprinhill which took me six years to write. That one's special to me.
Sam Duckworth (Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly) is part of your band. How did you meet him? How did your band come together?
Sam's not in me band - but he did produce my album.
Sam slid into my D.M.s on Twitter many years ago to ask me to do some backing vocals for one of his albums. I've considered him a best friend ever since, to be honest. My band is made up of my pals. My drummer, Mike, works in the same gaff as me. Deano, on guitar, has been a best bud and played with me for years. Jay, on bass, engineers our records and was definitely the missing component.
We're four very different people - but I think that's why we have such a laugh.
Which musicians did you grow up around? Were you raised in a musical household?
Billy Bragg, The Clash; The Jam, The Pogues; The Specials - all of those bands. My folks aren't musical themselves, but they've got good taste! Also, every family party in Ireland ends up in a sing-song.
So; I reckon that would have influenced me a lot!
You have a busy gig schedule coming up. Which dates are you most looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to them all, genuinely. I love this job. In Dublin, I'll be catching up with cousins, which will be great. I love Berlin, too, in particular.
Do you love being on stage? How important is it getting that instant reaction from the crowd?
Yeah, it's the best bit. Everything outside of performing has the capacity to be stressful. But, when you're up there you're in control of everything - and having a laugh whilst ya do it!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Just more touring, really. I try not to set too many targets to avoid disappointment. Haha.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Singing A New England with Billy Bragg!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
TOUR - it's where you learn everything…and always be nice to everyone.
IN THIS PHOTO: Anna's Anchor
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Anna's Anchor! He's supporting me on my Irish and U.K. run!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
It's a twenty-four-hour-a-day job, for sure. You're always thinking about something music-related. I like FIFA and Netflix - and pub with pals is always a giggle!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Tom Waits – Rosie, please!
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