Currently living in Pallaskenry, I have lived in Limerick all of my life.
I was educated in the Salesian College, Copsewood, Pallaskenry and learned to play music there under the tutelage of Billy Sinden. I soon formed a school band called Shade of Grey and began playing lunchtime gigs and end of term shows. It was a school that was really proud of school bands and I still get emails from them today. I also attended Limerick Institute of technology as an electrical apprentice. During that time I was in a band called Decato. My current band is called Windings made up of Steve Ryan, Mike Gavin, Brian Meaney and Garry Carroll who are all based in Limerick and Clare.
Ever since sneaking into my grandfather’s sitting room and playing Van Morrison’s Moon Dance on record I wanted to be a musician.
We had no other musicians in the family just lots of GAA followers. A passion for music is something that is largely unexplainable. For me the payoff is seeing people genuinely having fun at the gigs and choosing to take the time to come and see you play. Currently, I am writing music for short films in my own time. I have been lucky to work with the film makers Apate on two projects last year and this year have worked with Maeve McGrath on her short film Vanner. This film had its première at the Chicago Irish Film Festival and recently in the Galway Film Fleadh.
If it is in you to write music you should just do it.
It is a great way of getting things done and you are liable to have some fun along the way. Some songs just happen, and come very quickly and others require some teasing out. Indeed, I have had two songs on the burn for the past two years. Some day they will be done. Maeve McGrath heard some work I had done on another short film with Apate and contacted me through Vimeo. I have worked on the music for three short films in total and am working on two others presently. There are a couple of things in the pipeline. Working on film scores is a very different way of writing because you are trying to parallel what is happening on the screen in front of you. It is very challenging, but also so rewarding when you see the final product.
Always interested in the guitar, I just loved the fact you could just pick it up and play it anywhere.
With Windings I mainly play keyboards, sing and write a few songs. My first real band Decato played quiet songs but with Last Days of Death Country I began to write louder songs. I was the primary songwriter in both those bands. In Windings, however, Steve Ryan is the main songwriter but I began contributing more to song writing on the album I Am Not The Crow, co-writing the song Something Outnumbered with Steve.
Last Days of Death Country released two EPs. The first was called Mode and Effect and the second was called Emerge.
Both of these were recorded and produced with Fergal Lawler of the Cranberries. We recorded these in Fergal’s studio and he was great to work with. It was my first real experience with recording and I loved it. With Windings I have been involved in writing three singles, namely, Embury Greenway, The Hassle and The Space I Occupy. Last year we also released the album I Am Not The Crow. This was recorded in Montreal and Donegal, with Efrim Menuck of Godspeed, You Black Emperor and Tommy McLaughlin of Villager. This album was nominated for a Meteor Choice Music Prize. We recorded it live which was a fast learning curve since everyone is playing at once it has got to be just right.
We should absolutely encourage people to write music and be involved in music.
It is a great way of expressing yourself. You learn lots of new things. For instance in Cork a group of young people have turned an old cinema called the Kino into an all ages venue. We played the opening night three weeks ago and it was run so well. This kind of initiative is fantastic and it gives people a great sense of purpose.
Windings are my main musical activity these days. We have toured around Ireland for the past three and half years since the release of our second album.
The work has been more or less non-stop for the past few years.
Indeed, this summer we played indiependence at Mitchelstown and afterwards headed out on our first UK tour with an American band called The Generationals. We played in London, Leicester, Glasgow and Manchester. Finally, we returned to Dolans Warehouse to celebrate the 10th birthday of Limerick-based music label Out On A Limb Records, whom we currently work with.
Recently, we were lucky enough to be invited to play at the CMJ Festival in New York and also invited to play the Canadian Music Week twice, in Toronto.
Windings has been around since 2005 and started off as a solo act for Steve which has got bigger over the years. I am not entirely sure where the name came from but it is to do with the strips of copper on a guitar pick up, which are called Windings. We describe ourselves as a fun loving touring band that has made our friendship a priority. It is always fun and that is the way that things should be!
To read more about the band Windings please see the following websites: www.windings.com, www.breakingtunes.com/windings and www.soundcloud.com/icanrecreate.