Image : Loreana Rushe [Used with permission]
Donna from dreamwave/indie/shoegaze/synth act A Ritual Sea on the soundtrack to her life
What was the first album/single that you ever bought?
First album I bought was ‘Heart – Bad Animals’ which I learned every word to as a kid. The title track is full of 80s synth, huge drums, massive vocals. It came out the same year as the Lost Boys film. The opening lyrics: “They walk into the lobby. The pack in black. Heads are turning. But they don’t look back” – my little goth heart was sold.
What is your earliest musical memory?
My parents were disco fans and I was named after Donna Summer (ha!), my mum was a big soul fan as well, and I remember we had Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will survive’ single in the house. I’ve a really early memory of singing that at the top of my voice walking to school (I must have been about five at the time).
Is there a particular song/band/singer that made you want to be a musician?
Loads of them. I was really into Depeche Mode, the Stranglers, Front 242, but then also got really into 60s music and artists like the Small Faces and Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) – anything really that had a strong emotional kick, whether in the lyrics, vocal delivery or just overall sound.
What song instantly reminds you of a particular person?
Fever Ray’s ‘Dry and Dusty’ instantly transports me back to when I met Flo (my other half and Ritual Sea’r). We were in a long distance relationship between France and Ireland and only able to see each other once a month for the best part of two years which was tough – music was a way to stay connected and express how you felt when you couldn’t find words.
Is there a song whose lyrics resonate with you and why so?
An extremely hard question to answer, and to pick one thing.
Angel Olsen’s ‘Sister’ is an incredibly emotional song. I’ve no idea what the real meaning of the lyrics are from her point of view, and that of course is the beauty of it. You find your own meaning. But it makes me think of my sister and our childhood. The sound is nostalgic, like summer memories. It captures something about the depth and rawness of a shared history. The video is incredible, brave and vulnerable.
The band/musician that you grew up listening to?
Our house was always full of music and our cousins and neighbours who babysat us were all also massive music nerds. I went from obsessing over one thing to another. As a kid it was the Doors, Motown, the Beatles, to Adam and the Ants. As a teen, alternative, indie music like the Sugarcubes, Pixes, Depeche Mode, Stranglers, Icicle Works. That progressed to an obsession with mod culture. Britpop was fun too. I was particularly obsessed with Pulp. Kitchen sink drama lyrics!
Pulp – Razzamatazz
What song do you wish that you had written and why?
Well, that should probably be Bowie, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell or something of that ilk, but John Martyn’s Solid Air is so graceful and seductive. It feels like there is something new to hear in it, every time you listen.
What song transports you back in time and why?
Any decent northern soul track reminds me of my best friend Nic, we’ve had good nights dancing to this one:
Sam Dees – Lonely for you Baby –
Which song makes you happy when you hear it?
Probably anything by Roxy Music, but especially Bryan Ferry solo – Don’t stop the Dance makes me think of me and Flo drunk dancing in the kitchen.
Which song makes you sad when you hear it?
I can’t really listen to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’ – it’s hard to get through it. It reminds of a certain era, my mates will feel the same. We lost a friend to suicide and somehow our pals got up and played and sang this at his funeral. I don’t know how they managed to do it. Wherever any of us are when that song is played, we’re back there.
What was the first gig you went to?
EMF in the SFX around 1991, closely followed I think by the Beastie Boys in the RDS and then Henry Rollins in the SFX again – a weird mix. Dublin is sorely missing the SFX. Check out the bands that played there …. unreal… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SFX_Hall,_Dublin
What was the first song that you ever performed?
First proper band I played with was Hi.Rise back in the 90s, which was enormous fun, an education! My son kept nagging me to stick a song up on YouTube, so here is one, starts off a bit ambient/chill and progresses into a sub bass swell.
A Ritual Sea – Donna – Playlist On Spotify
A Ritual Sea – Social Media