National Folklore Collection

“Collect the fragments, lest they perish”. These words, adopted by The Folklore of Ireland Society in 1927, outline their mission to collect, preserve and publish the folklore and folklife of a fast-changing Ireland. Out of the society came the Irish Folklore Commission, who between 1935 and 1970, gathered one of the world’s largest folklore collections from every county in Ireland.

These collections go beyond fragments. They include transcribed tales from Peig Sayers, first-person recollections from the 1916 Rising and questionnaires that describe matchmaking, tally sticks and The Great Famine. 

Jonny Dillon, Archivist with the National Folklore Collection, outlines the background to the collection, how they collected and collated such an enormous body of work and the challenges that come with protecting and utilising this material for our modern age. 

It’s a story that is as interesting and steeped in history as the collections themselves.  

Background to National Folklore Collection - why was it set up?

The National Folklore Collection continues the work of the Irish Folklore Commission, an institution which was established in 1935 with the aim of collecting, preserving and publishing items of Irish folk tradition; the unofficial, informal, traditions and customs, beliefs, narratives, and crafts of the Irish people.

The Commission received government funding throughout its existence – a sum of one hundred pounds was initially set aside for the collecting of folklore from every county in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) and folklore collectors were trained and sent out to conduct fieldwork, the results of which they posted to Commission headquarters in Dublin. The collections they made, consisting of manuscript and audiovisual material, form the basis of our archival collections today. These collections are now known as the National Folklore Collection and held at University College Dublin.  In December 2018, the collections were inscribed into the UNESCO ‘Memory of the World’ Register, The Book of Kells is the only other Irish inclusion. 

What was Ireland like at that time? What led to it being established?

Ireland at that time was a newly independent state. The years preceding the establishment of the Commission saw the country racked by the 1916 Rising, the 1919-1921 War of Independence, the partition of the island into separate states and the 1922-1923 Irish Civil War – a conflict which left deep bitterness and political polarisation in its wake.

I think that following this period of great upheaval and discord, the country was seeking to renew and affirm itself; the valorisation of folk culture offered a means through which new visions and forms of national identity could be asserted in order to emphasise our independence as a nation.

The Structure of collecting and collating

Folklore scholars from Britain, Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden were hugely instrumental in supporting the work of the Commission. International scholars felt that the work being done in Ireland could shed light on the broader European cultural landscape; since Ireland is a peripheral nation located at Europe’s north-western fringe, many customs and traditions which had died out elsewhere still formed part of a living tradition here.

 

The Commission worked carefully to document and collect traditions at a point in Ireland when the Irish language was in serious decline, while the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation had not yet eroded older cultural patterns and practices. Because the material with which the Commission was concerned was part of an oral tradition, it had to be documented through extensive fieldwork collections. In practical terms, this involved a network of folklore collectors travelling townlands the country over and collecting material for the Commission. There was a pressing concern at the time that our folk customs were in danger of passing into oblivion and slipping away without a trace, and so the remaining ‘fragments’ had to be collected as a matter of urgency.

 

In order to coherently arrange material received from the field, Seán O Súilleabháin (Archivist to the Irish Folklore Commission) travelled in 1935 to the Dialect and Folklore Archive at Uppsala, Sweden. Over a three-month period, he made a detailed study of the archival system in use there, familiarising himself with the methods employed to arrange, classify and catalogue fieldwork collections of folklore. The system he adapted for use in the Irish context laid the foundation for approaches to archival arrangement and description still employed at the National Folklore Collection today.

 

The Archival Collections

Our archival collections are broken into several series. The Main Manuscript Collection comprises more than 2,400 bound volumes of interviews in both Irish and English from all thirty-two counties in Ireland. Our Photographic Collection consists of more than 80,000 photographs, encompassing glass plates, prints and film negatives. The Sound Archive features approximately 12,000 hours of audio on early formats such as wax cylinder, wire-tape, magnetic-tape and acetate disc (along with more recent formats).

The Schools’ Collection consists of over 1,200 manuscript volumes containing material collected by senior primary school pupils over the period 1937-1939. Under this scheme, the collecting of folklore was made part of the school curriculum by the Department of Education, and every Friday senior pupils would ask their grandparents and parents questions on items of folklore which were covered in a booklet compiled by the Commission.

We also house a specialist reference library with over 50,000 titles, along with a considerable art collection. In 1970 the staff and holdings of the Irish Folklore Commission were transferred to University College Dublin. Now the National Folklore Collection, we ensure safeguarding, preservation and access to these historic collections, and oversee the implementation of new collection projects. Further, students can now study folklore from BA to PhD level, while utilising the collections at our disposal.

How do you operate and structure your work?

It’s very varied. We always have a very broad array of people looking to consult our collections; academics, students, genealogists, historians, writers, poets, visual artists, musicians, singers, film and documentary makers, radio producers, school children, elderly people, relatives of those recorded in our collections, others with a local interest they want to explore – the list goes on. As a result, you have to be able to shift your focus constantly to best suit the requirements of those you meet in the course of your work.

Some who visit may never have set foot in an archive and can be daunted by the enormous card indices and manuscript tomes (not to mention the considerable scope of the material). Our job is to guide, assist, advise, contextualise, explain and provide access as best we can. It’s a very rewarding process, though not without its own challenges.

Challenges

There are many challenges – time management is one. We are a small team, and meeting the volume of interest generated by these collections can be demanding. Digitisation poses challenges too – traditional archival materials can withstand a certain degree of benign neglect. That is to say, you can close the door on a manuscript and come back in 50 years, and if the conditions are okay, it should still be there on the shelf in decent order. Not so with digital material; once an item has been digitised you need to keep it constantly fed and watered, juggling from platform to platform or format to format. With these challenges though come enormous opportunities; new ways to conceive of and present the collection, along with new entry points and approaches to analysis.

 

In the context of digitisation, ethical considerations also play a very important role. We maintain a keen awareness of the sensitivities of the archival material and its context. These aren’t just pie charts or numbers on a screen, these records deal with real people, with local communities, with people’s parents and grandparents. 

 

As such, we always need to remember our duty of care to those people who are represented in the records, and to the communities from which they were collected.

The Instagram account

If not for COVID-19, I don’t think I would have set the account up. I saw it as a way to reach out to people throughout the lockdown. Personally, I take somewhat of a mixed view of social media, but this experience has actually been really positive, and the material seems to resonate with a broad reach of people. I’ve had people contact me because pictures I’ve put up have shown their late father or grandfather.

Others have found something positive or meaningful in some of the excerpts from our early literature I’ve posted on there. Something as simple as a poem matched with an image, or the description of some event or calendar custom with which people can relate – all of these things can have a positive impact on someone’s day. I think that’s important, especially nowadays.

I want people to know that we in this country are sitting on an enormous treasure trove of native literature and thought; of wisdom, wit and imaginative artistry. Something uplifting, humorous, poignant, sad, whatever – it’s all there.This material is rooted in the past but can help us to navigate the present in a way that is meaningful and uplifting.

Future for the National Folklore Collection – how will It evolve?

I think increased access via online platforms, and digitisation will continue to be of central importance to our work. Our online platform www.dúchas.ie is a collaborative project with our colleagues at Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge, Dublin City University – they’ve done fantastic work in developing a technical infrastructure upon which our digitised collections can be hosted and navigated by the public. When this material was first collected in the 1930s there was a great sense of urgency to the overall project, and a fear that all of this material was in danger of being lost forever. Today we can really open up these collections to communities all over Ireland and further afield, allowing people to draw on them freely, to learn from them and use the material in a multitude of different ways. This opens the collection up to a much broader array of people beyond the confines of a University setting, and allows us to highlight the importance of traditional culture and inheritance in contemporary times.

Our modern lives are being documented on camera phones and Instagram, do we need collectors to preserve our history?

Folklore collections, in comparison with records generated on social media, tend to be wrought very slowly. Trust is an important part of the process of recording – these things take time, and when done well, offer insight into the lives and voices of individuals and communities who might not otherwise be heard. Personally, I feel that while social media can have a positive impact and allow for a broad reach, it also facilitates a certain communal loneliness or isolation. So, while it is certainly easier to reach out to like-minded souls online in a way that we couldn’t before, many of the records being generated today seem to me to encourage a sort of collective solitude, atomisation and passivity which has surface appearance as its ultimate concern. 

I think the modern imagination has been stripped of many of the reference points which oriented our forebears and which provided meaning and cohesion to the world. It’s as though in modernity we have ‘liberated’ ourselves from all meaning, and, having heaved memory overboard like ballast now find ourselves lost in a world whose pace is increasingly frenetic and relativistic. Many nowadays are thirsty for meaning, and I think it is for this reason (among others) that folkloric material resonates with people. Our communal traditions, in all their multiplicity, are suggestive of a shared history, which likewise implies a shared destiny.

So, this Instagram account is intended as a vehicle to present the richness and variety of these customs to people. If it has a positive impact on someone’s day, I’m happy.

Visit duchas.ie for more information about the Collections, you can follow the incredible Instagram account here. 

Some favourites from the Instagram account

I love this photograph. It shows James Hamilton Delargy (Director of the Irish Folklore Commission), Seosamh Ó Dálaigh and Micheál Ó Dónaill collecting from Seán Daltún at Cúl na Sméar, county Waterford in 1948.

Halloween observances will be known by many in Ireland and further afield. This striking photograph by Maurice Curtin shows a young boy playing a divination game, in which saucers containing clay, a ring or water foretell death, marriage or travel. The child is blindfolded and spun around before extending their hand over the saucer to divine the future.

I love this photograph by Tomás Ó Muircheartaigh, though we have very little by way of contextual detail regarding it. The beautiful poem is from the 7th century, and asks where is God to be found.

This is a favourite of mine. It shows the solemnity a funeral on Inis Mór, and I thought it fitting for the winter. The excerpted poetry is from Thomas Telynog Evans, and the opening line of the piece was rattling around my head all winter. I’d been reading the letters of Rainer Maria Rilke again at the time, and I included a quote of his in there. All three pieces seemed to ‘click’ at the time.

This shot from Ballycastle, county Mayo shows a bride dancing with Strawboys – uninvited male ‘guests’ who would appear at the wedding feast and ceremonially steal the bride for a dance before playing music and providing entertainment. The text reproduced from the manuscripts describes practices on ‘Chalk Sunday’, in which the unmarried were marked with chalk on their way to mass on the first Sunday in Lent.

This was a post I put up containing a few lines from a Kerry poet whose work I like, Micheál Ua Ciarmhaic. In these few lines, the river explains how it will be here forever, flowing slowly in a relaxed and unhurried way. I was delighted to receive a note from Micheál’s daughter, who was glad to see her father’s work on the page. The photograph shows a stream and some dwellings in Dún Chaoin county Kerry, and there’s an easy and relaxed air to the whole scene.

Interview with David Kitt

Meet Dublin Ghost Signs


Dublin Digital Radio

Mainstream commercial radio has long dominated Dublin’s FM band. A small section of alternative and pirate radio stations such as Radio Nova, Jazz FM, and Power FM offered a satisfying substitute for predictable playlists, colourless content and advert overkill. While the major pirate stations have all but disappeared over the last ten years, following massive clampdowns or burnout, the advent of internet radio and podcasting has brought about a rock steady recovery for alternative stations. Dublin is once again all ears.

Dublin Digital Radio (DDR) launched as “a platform for groups that are underrepresented in current mainstream media”. With a diverse, sturdy schedule, consistently promoted via killer illustrated artwork (by Aoife Davis), they are on a musical mission to “break the mold with the medium of radio” and 9 months in,  have succeeded in acquiring audiences and harnessing diverse hosts.

DDR does not want to be a clique, a boy’s club or to be stifled by genres or bureaucracy. The station was founded by four but is maintained by the solid gold volunteers who continuously contribute valuable time and manpower.

We sat down with DDR founders Brian, Simon, Sean, and Breen and some of their regular hosts at Jigsaw (DDR’s physical and spiritual home) to hear more about the Dublin Digital Radio story.

Beginnings

The station has evolved into a very different beast to what we originally thought it was going to be –  in a great way. We started broadcasting in October 2016 but wheels started to get in motion in early June  – that’s when we really started to talk about it… it was an idea for years before that.

Together is Better

The whole idea from the start was to get different people from various music scenes together, that’s definitely been my favorite thing  – meeting people who I never knew existed. You meet someone who plays Dub in a bar on a Sunday, you never knew that before and all of a sudden he’s doing a show here.

We wouldn’t have gotten going without building a community around us early on. At the start we were asking people do you know where we can get a desktop computer or a mixer or do you know anyone that might be interested in a radio show, or do you know where we can get a space? So by talking to people and delving out into our own communities, we were able to build it – it was very much a word of mouth.

Programming wise the only things we say no to are things that there is already an abundance of, no one wants a station of just house and techno. But other than that –  we are always an open book and open door.

Our House, Our Home

We were really lucky, all we need is a space the size of a cupboard to operate the studio in. However, having our studio in Jigsaw allows us to operate both online and to meet our community through regular DDR events and parties in their downstairs space, here you can bring everyone together. We are so lucky, it’s so central, there are no time or noise limits.

The hardest thing we are continuing to deal with is finance, the only thing that’s holding us back from doing most things like buying better gear is having cash. Every party is a fundraiser, no one makes any money from this, every cent we earn goes back into the station.  

Let’s Get Political

One of the days that got the best feedback was the day Cathy organised for International Women’s Day (Strike 4 Repeal). Dj’s like Kate Butler, Aoife Nic Canna, Dandelion took part – they are all pirate radio heads who were dying to get back on. Listening to it that morning, it felt like an outlet for something that’s happening in Dublin….they are not going to get coverage on RTE or coverage anywhere else  – which it didn’t.

Lots of other media platforms are scared to piss someone off, whereas you have the freedom here to do whatever you want to do which is the best thing.  

Social Responsibility

I would hope that inspired other women to get involved with radio. For example, The Gash Collective workshops that we facilitated a few months ago (offering women vinyl, CJD and production workshops) were full within a couple of days – it was all women doing the workshops and on the after-party lineup in Wigwam.

Future

Future plans? To keep going as we are going and see where it takes us. You see these pirate radio stations that do a couple of years and then they fall to the wayside, so I think longevity itself is a goal. I think how you do that is consistent quality radio, good organization, and getting fresh faces involved every now and again to stay relevant.

The worst thing in the world would be if Jigsaw closed, it would be hard to find another home that would be as accommodating, it wouldn’t have the same atmosphere.

Jill Woodnutt

* I’m Jill Woodnutt from Dublin – my show is Staxx Lyrical. I play old school, underground & independent hip-hop along with some jazz, soul, downtempo and R&B.

* DDR is an inclusive platform for people to share their tastes, ideas and opinions. It gives full creative freedom to all the show hosts which is what I enjoy about it. DDR is important because it lets listeners hear uncensored discussions and music that might not otherwise get played on Irish radio. It’s ran by people who volunteer their time and effort to let listeners hear what is genuinely exciting to them and I feel listeners really connect to that. DDR also runs different events to interact with the community – like the recent DDR X GASH Collective female music workshops.  

* The station has been growing nicely since it started and I hope it continues to do that ..I’ve started to do more interviews and discussions which has been fun – I’m currently lining up some more guests for the coming months.

Emily Carson

* I’m Emily Carson from Dublin. Each week on my show ‘Vocal‘ I pick a famous female artist (usually one that was at her peak in the 80s/90s) and do a retrospective of their music, why they caught the public’s imagination so much and what issues faced them as women during the period they became famous.

*It’s been an amazing experience to meet so many new people and collaborate. Cathy Flynn (host of Getting Away With It) organised a full 24 hours of female-led programming for International Women’s Day in aid of Strike4Repeal and it was both radical in its content and was a worthwhile opportunity to work together with other women. The day turned out great and I was really proud to be a part of it, the buzz in the studio on the night was also deadly.

* Seeing DDR come together so quickly, with such a swell of support from people who are all giving their time and expertise for free is a really positive reflection on Dublin. While there’s been so much discussion in the media of bias or the bizarre requirement for ‘balance’ in some debates it’s really refreshing to see a space where new and unheard voices can shine, unfettered by outside influences or parameters.

* I’d love to see the station get more subscriber support through their Patreon and for the studio to get equipment donations etc so the broadcast quality is as high as possible. The founders have great ambitions and a great ethos and I really hope the whole thing goes from strength to strength. I’ve really enjoyed researching and working on my show it but I’m going to give it a few month’s rest while my day job gets a bit mad for festival season. I’m planning to return to it in July – maybe with an entirely new concept.

Gib Cassidy

* I’m Gib Cassidy – originally from Wexford, but living in Dublin 6 for many years.

* During The Elastic Witch Show I play a fairly broad range of stuff – I guess the show is primarily known for 80s post-punk, minimal synth, coldwave and all the stuff that those genres have influenced.

* DRR is a vital, much needed and true underground/DIY radio station. I never listen to commercial radio but I listen to loads of other shows on DDR.

* I think all cities benefit from having a DIY radio station. You’ll find great local radio stations in cities all over Europe – why not Dublin? There’s quite a considerable community vibe, pretty solid political element and above all though, is the music! So much great stuff that would never be played on commercial, playlisted radio.

* I’m going to keep plugging along every second Monday afternoon.. I’d eventually like to get more guests in,  I’ve had a few already and it’s always been good fun. My 75-year-old Mum even texted me one time to say she was listening in and enjoying the show down in Wexford. I was playing fairly banging techno at the time!

Cathy Flynn

* I’m Cathy Flynn from Swords, Co Dublin, now living in Phibsborough,.

* My show is ‘Getting Away With It’, is every second Saturday 3-4pm. I play Indie/Alternative, post-punk, 80s and 90s one-hit wonders, Manchester bands, acid house, psych, synth…(whatever I want). My show has been described as “great music to clean to house to”.

* DDR is a great example of collective organising, and is a real alternative voice in Dublin’s music scene and media landscape – there is so many different kinds of music and shows and people. The sheer amount of variety in DDR is what is best about it to me. On a personal level, I am delighted to finally have an opportunity to be involved in running a radio station.

* I hope DDR continues to grow and be interesting. I also hope we get to throw more parties & host some gigs. I also hope to support other organisations & movements like we did with Strike 4 Repeal with our 24 Hours of Women’s Voice’s  day. Personally, I would like to start djing parties/nightclubs, which I haven’t done since a brief dalliance back in the day. I would also like to produce some documentary shows.

Brian Mc Namara

* I’m Brian McNamara-  originally from Glasnevin, Dublin but moved to Galway when I was around five years old, returning to the bright lights of the big shmoke at the tender age of eighteen.

* I usually DJ under the name ‘Breen’ and my show on DDR is called ‘Beneath The Bricks w/Breen

*My show usually has a bit of everything from ambient, jazz, soul, afrobeat, highlife to some more heavier bits but in general I use the radio show to play stuff I don’t really get a chance to play in da cloob.

* My favourite thing about DDR is that it’s grown into a platform and a space for all different types of people to hang out, exchange music, give advice, discuss ideas and all that. There are people from different music scenes all hanging out together now which is great. It’s also been nice to see people get gigs off the back of starting a show and seeing people with DDR beside their names on the gig posters. Without sounding like a massive dickhead, it does have that community/family feel, at least for me it does anyway.

* Hopefully DDR is providing something different to Dublin in terms of giving a platform to people, music, cultures etc. that otherwise wouldn’t have had a platform to showcase their talents. I think (hope) we are contributing to the scene we have going here and if not we’re trying our best anyway. We also throw the odd party so I think that counts for something.

* I’d like to see the station continue to grow the way it has been for the last eight months and increase the diversity of shows on offer. We are trying to increase our listenership, the broadcasting quality and the equipment we have but these things take time and money. Hopefully, we can convince more people we are doing something worthwhile. Most importantly I’d like the station to continue delivering consistent quality radio to all the listeners. In terms of my show, I just want to keep sharing all the great music I find. Simple as that.

You too can be part of Dublin Digital Radio’s community. Listen live, listen back on their website or do contribute to their Patreon which helps cover basic costs. Every cent will help sustain and support this much needed Dublin station.

This article originally appeared on thelocals.ie

Pics by Killian Broderick & Greg Purcell

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New Jackson’s City

David Kitt has always immersed himself in all genres of music, which can be heard on releases under his own name. But following ‘The Nightsaver’ in 2009, Kitt realised he had to alter his artistic outputs. He found that merging all his musical influences into one channel was creatively exhausting so he sidestepped to a new project he would call New Jackson. This new avenue allowed Kitt to focus his love for electronic music on New Jackson, while his singer-songwriter work remained under his David Kitt flag. Ironically, by separating the two, he created unity – and has never been busier, with this year seeing the release of ‘Yous’ under David Kitt and ‘From Night To Night’ his debut New Jackson LP.

From the cosmic chaos of Found The One, the subtle smash from Blaze All Day, the intriguing and enchanting Of A Thousand Leaves and the comforting rhythms of the title track, he doesn’t just channel this creativity, he completely owns it.

Key to creating the New Jackson sound was the purchase of an SP 1200 sampler. Kitt explains “It’s a sound I’ve tried to get close to for almost half my life now and the only way to really nail it was to get the machine itself. It’s featured on so many of my favourite records by the likes of Premier, RZA, MF Doom, Daft Punk, Moodyman and Theo Parrish”

I sat down with Kitt to talk creativity, staying focused and what Dublin means to him ahead of his album launch in Dublin on the May Bank Holiday Weekend.

On the New Jackson sound

It’s been a gradual movement since day one, my first release was an instrumental, primarily electronic release and that is nearly 20 years ago, so it’s always been there. If you listen to The Nightsaver, it’s fairly obvious the signpost leading to this album. There are one or two songs in particular that could almost be on the New Jackson album, and there are a couple of songs on New Jackson that could be on The Nightsaver.

Why he’s most creative at night time

I’m just a bit of a vampire – a vocational insomniac. I remember Leonard Cohen saying something like not wanting the day to do down in debt, where you reach that point where you still haven’t got anything from the day and refuse to be beaten.

Overcoming creative blocks and staying motivated

I find that exercise helps you with procrastination, that you run it out of you, you get through the noise. When you come back you have dealt with some of the stuff, rather than having 4 hours of sitting looking at something. It’s a balance.

Even younger people asking me ‘do you have any advice’, it’s just about showing up really. I put in 50-60 hours a week to music most weeks, and that’s really all it is – just showing up. 

His creative process

It’s both structured and playful, there is a thing that Seamus Heaney said about writing poems, that you write your way into something, and then you write your way out of it. And I always find that the more you get on the way in, the better – the easier your job is. I spend a lot of time trying to think of ways to where I will get as much as possible on the way in, because the way in is the initial rush, excitement, the creativity of the eureka moment – when you can kinda see it, but then, actually finishing it…if you don’t get enough on the way in finishing it can be very difficult because it’s not as fun, playful or exciting..and it can take months to finish.

Discovering new sounds and influences

Right now is as good a time for new and old music as I have ever known. They are just reissuing all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff from the past. Undiscovered stuff, and all manner of amazing stuff that maybe wouldn’t have found an audience in its time. With that you have a lot of really exciting new music, like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, that really blew me away. Having All City as a record shop is a good one for going in, they know your taste and they can recommend stuff. Do I dig in shops or online? It’s a bit of both. I have a couple of sites and blogs that I go to regularly, but you can’t beat going into a record shop, it’s still the best way.

On his studio

It’s a combination of new and old – it’s mainly hardware like old drum machines and samplers, and then some newer modular bits, bits of electron stuff and a lot of old synths and some more modern digital stuff. It’s a hybrid of new and old really and I’m trying to bring some newer sequencing approaches to older equipment, and ultimately trying to make as much of it bespoke and have as much of your personality in it as possible.

On Dublin Bay being the backdrop to his studio

I remember when I was 16 or 17 being in Sandymount and thinking “one day”. My parents were always slagging me saying “you haven’t made a penny but you yet have managed to live in Sandymount”. It was a really, really magical time. Just felt so lucky to be staring at the sea and across Dublin Bay. I think ultimately, everything about the house, my housemates were big music fans, there were records everywhere, you would be working on a track and you would come down and someone would be playing a jazz record that was in the same key and you would think I’ve to sample that. You would be straight back up, and there was this amazing library of music and a constant flow of interesting people coming through the house. And then the view itself, I had a listen back to some of the David Kitt stuff that I did when I was there, songy stuff and you can really hear it lyrically.

What Dublin means to him

With the city, it’s a love/hate thing – it’s where you are from and as soon as you are away from it even for more than a month you miss it so bad. Sometimes when you are here it can be too small, and you can’t get away from yourself or your history or your ghosts on every second corner, but I think the overriding feeling is one of massive love. It’s an amazing place, and you appreciate it more as you get older.

When he finally got that SP 1200 sampler

It was a very big moment, I borrowed one …I’ve always heard it on records and thought “oh my god how do you get that sound” and tried to get it with sample banks that you buy for Ableton or different filters and plugins and stuff like that. It was an aesthetic that really influenced my work but I never quite nailed it because I didn’t have the actual machine itself. I borrowed one from Paudi Ahern, just to make sure because I wasn’t going to buy one because they are quite expensive, I wasn’t going to buy it just on spec. And literally the first day it did exactly what I hoped it would do. I use it every day and it just brings me great joy.

On his other influences for ‘From Night to Night’

It’s a long journey, it goes back all the way to being an 18-year-old going to see Billy Scurry in the Temple of Sound…It’s not like it’s a retro record or anything, it’s a fresh take on some stuff that’s been with me a long time.

Why ‘From Night To Night’ was chosen and the title track

It just summed up the album as a whole. It came right in the middle of making the record, it was after my first time playing in Panorama Bar and there were a lot of friends over for it and my girlfriend and stuff, and it was just one of those magical weekends that kinda sticks out.

I suppose there are certain things with New Jackson that I already feel like I’ve kinda ticked a few boxes, that I wasn’t expecting to ever tick. I’m playing there for the third time in a few weeks, and there is a part of me that wonders how long I can sustain the nocturnal approach, and so and also I kinda was very aware that this is going to be my last time living in a house with a bunch of music freaks. I thought it was a good title – from the night shift to the night people, to my fellow vampires and to the night itself.

The album’s artwork

I bought that picture from an exhibition of Rich Gilligan’s about 8/9 years ago, it’s a polaroid actually of his wife’s parents house in West Kerry. I was struggling a bit with the artwork and I was just sitting at home one day and I just thought that’s it..that’s the cover. And Donal Thornton did this thing with the design that really lifts it as well. It’s a lovely collaboration between everyone. Rich has just done a video for Anya’s Piano, and he’s someone that I’ve been working with for a long time, he did the cover of The Nightsaver too. I’m just really happy for it to be him. It’s one of those things that wasn’t that difficult in the end.

 

On approaching All City Records

I’d been trying to get Olan (All City label boss) to release something of mine for a while, so I was like “ok I really have to make my case” and I think Olan really thought I was giving him stuff in a really willy-nilly way – him and maybe 8 other labels, and seeing what stuck. But it was actually genuinely head and shoulders above any other labels that I wanted to work with and a lot of that is just instinct really. So when you actually start working with someone that’s when you see what it’s all about and it’s been a very fruitful relationship.

It’s actually the first time I think in my whole time working within the music business where I have been more or less left to my own devices and completely trusted as an artist. And there is a level of respect between both people that makes things simple and fruitful; and we actually got quite a few releases planned for David Kitt stuff, New Jackson stuff and another new project that I’m working on. The Lock In is me and Tim Wheeler from Ash and an old friend of mine Conor Creaney, it’s a lot of synths kinda stuff that we did about 3 or 4 years ago that I’ve been sitting on that I just sent to Olan, he really loved it we are going to be releasing some of it on All City Records soon.

Thanks to Sarah Doyle for the fantastic images

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This article originally appeared on www.thelocals.ie

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