2014 has been a phenomenal year for music, particularly Irish, which is the reason that exactly half of our favourite interviews of the year are from homegrown acts.
It was tough trying to dwindle it down to just 12 but here are our favourite music interviews of 2014.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the name Lucius, we promise that after this you’ll be thanking us for bestowing their authentic musical genius upon you. Hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as “the best band you may not have heard of yet”, Lucius is without a doubt one group that you definitely will not be forgetting in a hurry.
Two phenomenally talented ladies from Brooklyn, Jesse Wolfe and Holly Laessig, front this quintet and we had the pleasure of catching up with Jesse twice this year – the first, ahead of their headlining Easter gig at the The Workman’s Club, Dublin to chat about the group’s distinctive image, not doing things “by the book”, the European crowd and of course that amazing Rolling Stones review. The interview can be read in full here – “Spirited. Soulful. Honest.”
The second, when the band made their return to Ireland as part of their European tour. Jesse chatted about festival life, the European crowd, new material and the exploitation of females in the music industry. The interview can be read in full here – “We’re Not Anything Like Those People, It’s Such A Different Game”
2. George Ezra
George Ezra joined The Sunday Sessions in The Vintage room of The Workman’s Club, Dublin and chatted with our girl Grace about Bob Dylan, his Miley Cyrus infatuation and winning an Oscar.
To watch Ezra’s acoustic performance of his track ‘Blame It On Me’ click here.
3. The Staves
As the old saying goes ‘three is the magic number’ and when it comes to British folk group The Staves, that phrase was never truer. The Staves is made up of three sisters Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Staveley-Taylor who have garnered interest from music fans all over the globe since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Dead & Born & Grown’ back in 2012.
We caught up with youngest of the three, Camilla, ahead of their Irish tour dates to discuss new material, “the sister thing”, the connection with Irish crowds and her discomfort with the term ‘recording artist’.
To check out the interview in full click here. For more information you can check out the sisters on Twitter, Facebook and thestaves.com. The Staves released their brand new EP Blood Is Bled in October and performed a captivating rendition of the title track for The Sunday Sessions (above).
4. The Academic
The Academic chat about songwriting, new material, being the finest thing to come from Mullingar since Joe Dolan and the other potential band names in their first ever recorded interview, which is without doubt one of our absolute favourites.
The Academic performed a special acoustic rendition of debut track ‘Bear Claws‘, which you can watch by clicking here.
5. Marc O’ Reilly
Marc, who hails from Co. Waterford, first came to attention back in 2011 following the release of his critically acclaimed debut record, ‘My Friend Marx.’ This year he was back with another musical offering that rivals its predecessor.
What is striking about Marc is his unbelievable humility, which bubbles through his entire album. Any music lover will admit that it is a rare occasion to pick up a record these days and listen to it in its entirety without skipping at least one song, however that was the case with Marc’s album. With his husky vocals and razor sharp guitar style, down-to-earth attitude and genuine sound, if there’s one album you invest in this year, make it this.
We caught up Marc ahead of his home gigs in Cork and Dublin in Spring and sat down to chat about his new album, ‘sheepeople’, intimate crowds, other Irish artists and share our mutual appreciation for Fleetwood Mac.
6. Vance Joy
Vance Joy joined The Sunday Sessions and sits down with Grace ahead of his sell-out gig at The Academy, Dublin, to chat about songwriting, his alias and being a huge Savage Garden fan.
To watch Vance perform an acoustic version of his latest track ‘Mess Is Mine’ for The Sunday Sessions, click here.
7. Mama Kin
Part raconteur and all-out entertainer Mama Kin is an Australian songstress, a mother and a purveyor of foot-stomping bass lines and ballads of open-hearted tenderness. Nominated for ARIA and AIR awards in her native Australia, she has shared stages nationally and internationally with the likes of Ani di Franco, The Cat Empire, The Waifs and her husband, John Butler Trio.
Ahead of the release of her album, The Magician’s Daughter, we caught up with Mama Kin earlier in the year to chat about songwriting, motherhood in the music industry, nerves and her lack of ‘filter’ on stage.
To read the interview in full click here. Mama Kin’s phenomenal album (we couldn’t sell it to you enough – it’s incredible), The Magician’s Daughter, can downloaded now from iTunes. For more info check out MamaKin.com, or follow all updates on the official Facebook page and Twitter.
8. James Bay
British vocal sensation James Bay chats to Grace about his year in music, touring with Hozier and album plans.
James performed a beautiful acoustic rendition of track ‘Hold Back The River’, which you can watch here.
9. Leaders Of Men
Dublin quintet Leaders Of Men have been an honest breath of fresh air to the indie rock scene since first gathering together in 2011. The five-piece includes frontman Brian Ashe, Gavin Glynn on guitar and vocals, lead guitarist Ed Porter, drummer Dean Byrne, and Darren Lindsey on bass.
In 2013, legendary music manager, Jazz Summers, signed the Dubliners to his London-based publishing company ‘Big Life’ which is home to acts like The Verve, Snow Patrol and Scissor Sisters. On Valentine’s Day Leaders Of Men released their first official debut single, ‘For Want Of A Better Word’, from their EP Alexandra House – a tip of the cap to the Tallaght apartment blocks where the lads once lived.
We caught up with the band in February ahead of a gig at Dublin’s musical haunt, Whelan’s, to discuss love rats, song lyrics, Twink, and the launch of their EP. To read the interview in full click here. For more info and all of the band’s updates check out their official Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube channel. ‘For Want Of A Better Word’ and Alexandra House EP can be bought here on iTunes.
10. Gavin James
The nicest man in music a.k.a. Gavin James joined The Sunday Sessions at Dublin’s Workman’s Club to chat about songwriting, future plans and his famous fan Ed Sheeran.
Watch Gavin perform a gorgeous stripped back version of ‘‘Til The Sun Comes Up‘ by clicking here.
11. Big September
Big September is made up by five school friends from Bray, Co. Wicklow, that made their first mark on the Irish music scene early last year.
The five-piece includes charismatic frontman Scotty O’Neill, Dave Butler on guitar and vocals, blues boy Cillian Duane as lead guitarist, Dan Smith, a pounding drummer who will make you thankful you’re not on the other end of the sticks, and old charmer Graham ‘Naylor’ O’Neill on bass. Big September is one group that come with the classic unpredictability live and the ability to grab a crowd by the scruff of the neck.
With their debut album ‘Ballroom Addicts’ completed and unleashed at a launch at Dublin’s Academy in May, we caught up with the man responsible for the anthems, chief songwriter and bassist, Naylor, to talk about lyrics, egos, attitudes, AA and being “really fucking handsome”. To read the interview in full click here.
12. Wyvern Lingo
Wyvern Lingo sat down to chat about new material, the pressures of songwriting, Twitter fans, and the great ‘expozier’ that comes with being a part of their good friend Hozier’s band.
The Bray trio also performed beautiful acapella rendition of ‘Used‘, which you can watch here.
To watch eight of our most unforgettable tracks recorded for The Sunday Sessions, click here.