FOR eight weeks, an Annacotty musician will tour the nation’s islands and write, record and produce a song after each visit.
Marty Ryan, 23, began his island hopping project three weeks ago at Bere Island and will finish his all-Ireland tour at the Valentia Islands on July 25, as part of a full-length album through his solo Anna’s Anchor moniker.
The Limerick musician, who has been gigging around the city and county since he was 15, said he wanted to do “something productive” over the summer season. He thought this would be a “fun and innovative” project to work on, ever since he went solo last year.
“The summers weren’t really productive and that the three months where you are not in college, you could do something productive. There was an American artist who had a project called 52 Weeks, where he would record a song every week, and I thought that was a fascinating idea because it is putting yourself under pressure to write songs, but you would also have a steady flow of material and I just thought that was really just clever, and I had that at the back of my head.”
As a former Irish college student in Connemara, the UL graduate said his Irish tour would be the perfect inspiration for his eight-track album, which will be released on September 11 at the Stormy Teacup.
“The landscape is really something that would fascinate me, from both ends of the spectrum. It would be the most beautiful morning and it would be the most beautiful place on Earth, and then in the evening there would be a storm rolling in and it would be almost on the brink of unliveable conditions. And I just thought that those ends of the spectrum would impact the songwriting in an interesting way,” he explained.
As well as getting inspiration from the views, Marty also gigs in the local pubs and community centres every weekend. This Saturday, the musician will head to Clare Island in Mayo and perform at the Community Centre Bar.
He said that these small gigs can be “very fulfilling”, referring to last week’s performance at Inishturk Community Centre, Mayo.
“At previous gigs at club nights, a venue would be completely full and at the end of it, the people wouldn’t even know your band’s name. And while it is fun at the time, it is not really fulfilling in terms of what I want to achieve out of my music. And when I was in Inishturk, the 30 people who were watching me were genuinely happy for me to be there and were really interested in the stories I was telling through the songs. And that is something I have been in search of, ever since I started off as Anna’s Anchor,” he said.
According to the musician who just completed his Masters degree in project management at UL, production is another challenge.
“I spend the weekend writing the song at the Island, and then I demo it up on the Monday and Tuesday, and then I go out to Mike Gavin [of Windings] on the Wednesday and spend Wednesday recording a song. Thursday morning would be mixing and mastering it, and then it would be up online on Thursday evening each week,” he explained.
Marty said he looks forward to finishing the project and performing the eight songs in September. According to Marty, his three songs have gained national attention. To listen to his project so far, visit: soundcloud.com/annas-anchor.