Photo: Stephen Doyle
Participant - Your Better
Info: Participant is Stephen Tiernan, a songwriter and producer from Dublin, Ireland. At its core, Participant is fragile and emotionally direct songwriting, wrapped within a sonic armour of layered samples and textures. After emerging in winter 2014 with his debut EP, 'Bit Slow', Tiernan has become known for his considered recordings, stunning music videos, and experimental live performances.
'Your Better' is the latest single taken from his second EP 'Content', a slow-building, atmospheric take on rejection and family framed as a failing romance. The accompanying video, by award-winning director Bob Gallagher (Girl Band / SOAK / Saint Sister), visualises these themes through the life of a young male prostitute, exploring intimacy, isolation, and disappointment, perfectly complimenting Tiernan’s moody aesthetic.
When his EP Content was released, 'Your Better' was definitively the standout track for me, and when I saw Participant in the middle of last year upstairs in Whelan's performing it live, that feeling was accentuated, it was a low-key and exposed rendition of the track, which lent to it's impact in all the right ways. It's whispered opening accompanied by single note progressions, and the repeated chant of 'you teach me I'm your better', giving the song a haunting and mood-filled expression.
The video itself, directed and produced by the hugely talented Bob Gallagher, captures the theme of the unrequited early stages of love amidst the maelstrom of empty and enforced sexual encounters.
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