If you had to describe your music/style in a sentence, what would you say?
Breezy, low-key, romantic alt-pop.
Have you always wanted to create music? How did you get into it?
I’ve always taken a lot of satisfaction in creating my own art from a young age. When I was learning piano as a kid, I hated reading the sheet music, I just wanted to play by ear and feel the notes. I love the vastness of coming up with your own stuff. There are no rules or restrictions in music and art and I’ve never really liked doing things by the book. At weekend, me and my brother used to busk in Belfast as teenagers for pocket money. He would play guitar and we tried playing covers and got bored of it, but very quickly got hooked on writing our own tunes.
Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
The Trainspotting soundtrack was like my ‘beginners guide to cool’ as a kid. I was also hooked on Glory Box by Portishead and the cover of Teardrop by Massive Attack. Beth Gibbons and Elizabeth Fraser are big inspirations for me vocally.
Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform? What does it say about you?
My own track Big Hands, which hasn’t been released yet, is probably my favourite to play live. It’s got quite an earthy undertone to it and it means a lot me. I wrote it about the planet and the safety in knowing where you come from. I also do a cover of Roy’s Tune by Fontaine’s DC – that track really gets to me. I love the dead pan emotion in Grian Chatten’s voice.
What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
Mostly, I’ll go through phases of being inspired by a song or album. I have a habit of getting really obsessed with one track and playing it on repeat until I eventually write something inspired by it.
I go on my emotions and my mood when I’m writing. Ironically my best, most uplifting songs I’ve written have been the ones when I’ve been feeling at my worst and need to somehow make sense of it.
If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?
Just going on what I’m listening to at the minute, I’d say Fontaines DC and Kurt Vile, maybe? But if it could be anyone on the planet, maybe Stevie Nicks or Neil Young too.
Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what makes it special?
I love the Olympia Theatre in Dublin and the Ulster Hall in Belfast. Both beautiful old venues with loads of history. I never fail to have a great gig at either of those venues and the backstage areas are awesome.
Why is music important to you?
I honestly couldn’t imagine a day in my life when I don’t have music playing in my ears one way or another. It makes me feel human. There’s definitely an album or tune to enhance practically every situation in life.
Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito! readers might not have heard?
The American Analog Set – Know By Heart and Malojian – Let Your Weirdness Carry You Home.
Can’t Escape is out now on Modern Sky/Run On Records.