Image : Colin Rodgers [Used with permission]
Alternative/Indie band Runway Lights on the soundtrack to their lives
What was the first album/single that you ever bought?
SHANE: I think the first album was OK Computer. I had borrowed it from a friend’s brother before then. I didn’t understand it at all at that stage, I just knew I was intrigued. I think the first single I ever bought was ‘The Saint’ by Orbital. Never saw the film though.
RONAN: Stereophonics – Performance and Cocktails.
OISÍN: Kid A by Radiohead was the first album I remember buying on vinyl. Snagged it at a record fair and started a mild obsession with buying records.
LOU: The very first album I ever bought was Moby – Play.
DÓNAL: Radiohead – The Bends.
What is your earliest musical memory?
SHANE: Loving ‘Autobahn’ by Kraftwerk as a very young child and referring to it as ‘car music’. I used to pester my parents to put it on and sit there in wonderment at the sounds. That and my Mam singing around the house.
RONAN: At around 10 finding a double cassette album my mum owned I think called “The greatest punk album ever” and listening to it near constantly. The title was a bit of a misnomer – it had everything from definitive punk (Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK), to sort-of-punk (The Jam’s Town Called Malice), to not-at-all-punk (XTC’s Making Plans for Nigel). I’m now considering whether such a misleadingly named album could even exist or if I’ve just mentally compiled all the songs I liked as a kid into a bafflingly titled compilation album.
OISÍN: There was always music on in the house and I can remember my older brother (now bandmate) rehearsing in the attic with his old band (featuring other current bandmates).
LOU: My earliest Musical memory is impossible to say, my dad’s been playing guitar to me since I was a bump. So my dad I guess!
DONAL: Fainting while singing at the National Children’s Choir in the Basketball Arena.
Is there a particular song/band/singer that made you want to be a musician?
SHANE: I kind of stumbled into playing music. I was given a hand-me-down nylon string guitar, probably to keep me quiet. It wasn’t until I had been mucking around for that for a while that I realised I could learn songs I actually liked. It took me a good while but I eventually managed to learn all the songs from ‘The Bends’ songbook so by that stage I was firmly hooked.
OISÍN: I happened to watch a Muse gig on MTV when I was 12 or 13. ‘New Born’ and ‘Plug In Baby’ got me hooked.
LOU: Donald Glover’s career has been amazing to watch. I’ve been a fan of his for about a decade or so and I love watching the evolution of someone who refuses to settle into being one type of “artist” and that’s something I’d like to emulate.
What song instantly reminds you of a particular person?
SHANE: There honestly are too many. I remember getting into Neil Young when I was learning guitar. My Mam would like the nice sounding songs like ‘Harvest Moon’ and ‘After The Goldrush’ and my Dad would like the edgier rock songs like ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and Cortez The Killer’. I though, this guy is managing to appeal to a wide audience, yet still be himself and make great music. That stuck with me.
RONAN: The National’s “Slow Show” (and indeed pretty much anything on Boxer) – my wife Michelle.
OISÍN: I had a big phase of listening to ‘Moya’ by Godspeed You! Black Emperor after our drummer Dónal kept telling us how great it was in rehearsals. He was dead right about it.
LOU: ‘Golden Slumbers’ By the Beatles reminds me of my Dad. He sang it to me a lot as a kid.
DONAL: Fur Elise by Beethoven reminds me of my sister.
Is there a song whose lyrics resonate with you and why so?
SHANE: I don’t always fully take in the lyrics of a song straight away. It’s the sounds that resonate with me more at first. The lyrics then come as a sort of second wave. I can’t think of anything specific, sorry!
RONAN: Possibly a bit indirectly but Richard Dawson’s “Nothing Important” is a brilliant, epic song that does an incredible job of expressing the sort of collage of half-clear memories you retain from childhood and as you get older, among other things. One of my favourite songs/lyrics of all time.
OISÍN: I don’t really pay close attention to lyrics. I’m normally listening to what the music is doing and the vocals are kind of an instrument, most of the time. I like when people can sneak surreal stuff in there. Like ‘I Am The Sun’ by Dark Star has the chorus ‘Joan of Arc was cool, but she got burned, Like I’m burning out for you, I’m centrifugal, I am the sun’. I also like what Girl Band do with lyrics. I don’t think it gets much more surreal than them at the moment.
LOU: A song that resonates with me is ‘Emily’ by Joanna Newsome. The line “Joy landlocked in bodies that don’t keep, dumbstruck with the sweetness of being ‘til we don’t be” in particular has always stayed with me as being so obvious and true that it sort of stops you in your tracks, like when someone reminds you you’re standing on a rock thats hurtling through space.
DONAL: ‘Child in You’ by Feeder.
The band/musician that you grew up listening to?
SHANE: Radiohead (I still haven’t grown up).
RONAN: Radiohead again!
OISÍN: Muse were my first love until I cheated on them with Radiohead.
LOU: I grew up listening to a loooot of music,I’d probably say the Beatles, Metallica, Rush and Garth Brooks (a wild card from my dads cowboy phase in his late 20’s), Nirvana and Manic Street Preachers from my Dad. My Mam was pretty big into The Cure, Blondie and Alice Cooper and later Muse and Garbage. They both loved classic rock, motown and all that old flower power sixties stuff. They loved crooners, and were as likely to rock out to ACDC as they were to ABBA.They gave me an education most people don’t get in their teens. I was pretty lucky.
DONAL: Green Day.
What song do you wish that you had written and why?
SHANE: There are many but ‘Shipbuilding’ springs to mind. The music was written by musician and producer Clive Langer who produced a lot of big name stuff in the 80’s and 90’s. He had the music written but didn’t like the lyrics. He played it for Elvis Costello at a party and Elvis went off and wrote the words. It’s about the Fawkland’s War and how it brought jobs and money to shipbuilding towns yet at the same time the sons of the workers were being sent off to fight in the war, some on the very ships they were making, possibly not to return (I should have answered the ‘lyrics’ question with this!). It was recorded by singer Robert Wyatt originally before Elvis Costello released his own version. The chords, melodies and structure along with the great musicianship and of course great lyrics (yes, despite what I said above!) have always drawn me in.
RONAN: “Slush” by Hot Chip – it’s just a beautiful song with that sort of mixture of joy and sadness they do so well.
OISÍN: Everything on Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. When I started getting into ambient music like Aphex Twin and Eno I got really into this idea of doing ambient music that was also really loud rock music at the same time. Turns out MBV were about 25 years ahead of me… They probably still are. Loveless was a huge album for me.
LOU: I wish I had written Something by the Beatles. Anything at all, really…. Sorry, couldn’t resist. For realsies though, ‘Something’ is my favourite Beatles song. So either that or ‘Humming One Of Your Songs’ by Ane Brun. The chords have a dreamy dissonance and the vocal beat is what drives the rhythm of the song. It’s deceptively simple, that interplay of the strumming pattern and the beat of syllables, and it’s so softly hypnotic you don’t notice yourself get sucked in. It’s a great little song.
DONAL: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – because it’s the best song ever written!!
What song transports you back in time and why?
SHANE: Louise, I swear, if you answer ‘Turn Back Time’ by Cher….. Anything from the ‘Britpop’ era, from the popular songs to the more peripheral ones. That’s the period in time when I would have really been getting into listening to music and that’s what was on the radio a lot.
RONAN: I find this only happens when you hear something you used to listen to all the time but haven’t heard in years. It can be nice when it does – ‘Tonight We Fly’ by The Divine Comedy had this effect recently, right back to 1999.
OISÍN: I went to see this psych rock band called Psychedelic Porn Crumpets a few months back and they rocked so hard I’m pretty sure I ended up going back in time or even into the future a few times! Or there’s an album called Twenty Twenty Sound by Dark Star that’s like that too.
LOU: Kids by MGMT. It reminds me of every night club in Dublin in the late 00’s. I can practically smell the alcopops, vomit and coolwater at the thought of the opening notes alone.
DONAL: Fitzcarraldo by The Frames – I had my first proper kiss while seeing them play that song in the Olympia.
Which song makes you happy when you hear it?
SHANE: Probably something that most people would call depressing! ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’ by Mogwai.
RONAN: There are 1000s of these – this week Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood”.
OISÍN: Lately I’ve started getting into The Beach Boys and God Only Knows has been really doing it for me. It’s just not fair how good of a song that is. Let Down by Radiohead does the same thing. They just make me happy because they’re unbelievable songs.
LOU: It’s impossible to be upset when listening to anything by Lemon Demon, but Really Cool Wig in particular will kick any bad mood in the ass, but my favourite song is Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton. That song is so beautiful and means so much to me that when it comes on, it feels like a big ole hug from the universe.
DONAL: Receptacle for the Respectable by Super Furry Animals
Which song makes you sad when you hear it?
SHANE: Oh snap, double whammy question. I tend not to find ‘sad’ music sad. Saying that though, sometimes you have to hold back the tears listening to the ‘Hospice’ album by The Antlers.
RONAN: Songs don’t generally make me sad, but there are many sad songs I love – at the moment Lankum’s “The Granite Gaze” gives me chills every time I listen to it.
OISÍN: Sad music doesn’t really make me sad. I tend to enjoy it more. That being said there’s this album by The Antlers called Hospice which can be a pretty rough listen emotionally. A few of us went to see them play it in full in the Sugar Club. It was wild!
LOU: ‘In the Backseat’ by Arcade Fire. I think anyone who’s ever lost someone can relate to Regine Chassagne’s agonised finishing vocal line.
DONAL: She’s Leaving Home by The Beatles
What was the first gig you went to?
SHANE: The Strokes in the Olympia in 2002. They had just blown up and the gig was a sell out. I managed to jam a ticket last minute (someone couldn’t go – I think the ticket might have been a present for them too!). The only thing was it was a seated ticket so I had to head up to The Circle by myself while my friends were standing. I was only 15 so I asked some couple if I could walk in with them. At my age now I can understand the look they gave each other before saying ok. I might have lied and said I was 16. It wouldn’t have mattered, I probably looked 12 at the most at that point. Great gig though!
RONAN: Aslan – Vicar Street, Summer 2000.
OISÍN: Muse in the 3 Arena on my 17th birthday was the first big one for me.
LOU: Honestly no idea, I’ve been my dad’s roadie since I’ve been able to lift a guitar case without skirting it off the ground. The first one I went to on purpose was Childline when I was 10. Westlife played. I remember being ****ing ecstatic.
DONAL: John Denver play The Point in 1997
What was the first song that you ever performed?
SHANE: At a gig? It would have been an original song by my first band. We played our first gig on two of our Leaving Cert results night. A week or so later we were turned away from our own gig for being under age. The venue had been done a few nights before for having underagers on the premises.
RONAN: I guess the opener at my first band’s first gig, so something by Jerome’s Law?
OISÍN: It would have been one of my first band’s Ghosts in Photographs tunes. I think the first one we did would have been Tall Smoke, which was this Wilco-esque alt rock tune where I just sort of went for it on the guitar parts. That band wasn’t together long enough to really lock in parts so the gigs we did were always a lot of fun. I would have about 80% of a part there and whatever else happened, happened.
LOU: The first song I ever performed was Gigantic by the Pixies for entry into the talent contest in secondary school when I was about 16. We didn’t get in, but we were assured that we would have had done by the teachers, but unfortunately they were into the pixies themselves knew the song was a veiled ode to large dick.
DONAL: Hash Pipe by Weezer
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