Saturday, 17 February 2018

Interview / Photos: Hatchlings

Hatchlings Interview
All Photos: Remy Connolly

Info: On a chilly Valentine's evening I met up with Maynooth multi-faceted band Hatchlings ahead of their headline show in Whelan's with support from hip-hop duo NEOMADiC. After a quick line-check we took ourselves downstairs to the cosy environs of Bourke's pub which, for the purposes of the interview, we thankfully had to ourselves.

After wishing each other a happy day of romance and love we got down to the business of chatting about the greatest love of all, music. The five-piece comprise of two Donegal natives, Conor Cunningham & Eamon Travers, Niall Quinn from Tyrone, Jamie Bishop (Monaghan) and Peter Kelly (Roscommon). After regularly bumping into each other at the open mic Live Sessions held at The Loft in Maynooth, the quintet eventually got together to form Hatchlings in 2015.

Remy: On your new EP Montessori the three tracks cover a lot of the genres you dabble in, with latest single 'Sexy B' having a lo-fi slacker feel, 'Divinity' is a bit more alt-folk and finally 'Workin'' has a jazzy turned country rock style. Are there common influences between you all or is just something that comes out on it's own when writing.

Hatchlings: Good song-writers are the common denominators, that covers everything from Stevie Wonder to Bob Dylan, we like groove as well but mainly song-writers. With Conor and Eamon it's more instrumental than what Jamie and Eamon are into, we listen to a lot of jazz, people like Chet Baker, but then we also all centre around people like Jeff Buckley and D'Angelo.

In the internet age a lot of just have so many influences constantly, too much music that we love to really talk about between us. There are a hell of a lot of good Irish bands as well, so, so many, we'd be mainly influenced by those as well.

Remy: That brings me to my next question, it's well established over the last few years how high the standard of the Irish music scene is and I did get an impression of that from Montessori, it definitely felt like an 'Irish' EP, a tiny bit of Glen Hansard's style of song-writing particularly on 'Divinity', rather than his sound itself, does local music permeate your writing?

Hatchlings: I think Villagers would be a big influence on me (Jamie), Conor O'Brien is amazing, we love Girl Band as well, and there's recent bands we've come on to like THUMPER who are class and Joey Gavin who is deadly who we played with recently, and also Planet Parade who are brilliant. The list is endless, I suppose the bottom line for influence is going to gigs, seeing how great acts are on stage and being inspired by how good everyone is.

Remy: When it comes to going to local gigs do you prefer to go in dark and not really knowing the line-up apart from say the headliner?

Hatchlings: We go to quite a few gigs, we all do, usually Conor will go, discover something great and then tell us we have to go see certain acts afterwards and we'll all head together. The jazz in Sin É is class, we go there a lot, as well as the CrowClub, or the Window Seat Sessions as it's called now is also great.

Hatchlings Whelan's

Remy: So obviously you guys are playing here in Whelan's tonight and I'm interested to hear more about your support act, NEOMADiC, they have a very solid hip-hop sound and are a tight outfit from what I've been listening to over the last few days, how did you link up with them?

Hatchlings: (Jamie) I used to work with Diarmuid's brother in Maynooth, he showed me their tunes and I thought they were great, we've wanted to gig with them for over a year now so we're quite excited about tonight. (Conor) We were thinking about a lot of support acts, and I'm really glad we went them, as much we were talking about the great Irish music earlier, the support is always relatively similar to the main act, but this is so starkly different it's going to give the audience something different we hope. It's as much about the audience experience on the night as it is the acts, and opening up people to different avenues. 

NEOMADiC Whelan's
NEOMADiC on stage on Wednesday night

Remy: You guys played Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, and Vantastival last year, as well shows in Manchester and France. Are there any other Irish festivals you really want to play, because in a way Electric Picnic can kind of be the peak and where do you go from there?

Hatchlings: (Peter) For us Body & Soul last year was probably the most amount of fun we had, and we're going to do that again this year on the Arbutus Yarns stage where we'll be the house band. We were lucky enough to curate the open mic stage last year for the whole weekend playing non-stop for the three days which is definitely are favourite thing to be doing. We got to play with so many musicians of a really high standard and it opened up a lot of doors for us, including meeting our drummer Niall which was great! (Conor) Arcadian Field in Dundalk is also a really cool festival where we've played the last two years, it's only about 5-600 people, the grounds and the old stately house which is the focal point make it quite special and unique. SwellFest in Donegal and Knockanstockan are another two we haven't played previously and we'd love to do both.

Hatchlings Whelan's 2018

Remy: To wrap up, I know the EP isn't long out, but what's the plan for the next while, and to tack on to that question, do you guys ever discuss the long-term future of Hatchlings when you're in between shows and practice etc.?

Hatchlings: (Conor) Yes, we talk about the future quite a lot, for the meantime we're recording our next EP, and we'll also be heading over to The States, spending our first month around California, based on a ranch in a town called Parkfield, and from there we travel to New Orleans and New York for the month of April. (Jamie) We have a lot of material that's lying around, there are four of us that write, so it's had to narrow it down to just one EP, we're mulling over how to release the music, either a number of EP's or an album, we'll take that decision over the next few months. We all want to do this long-term, we have the songs to do that and the drive too. 

(Conor) It's so hard to know these days, how to go about releasing music in the internet age, do you take the Mac DeMarco route and throw everything out at once, or do you really try and craft something that you're very passionate about, and just release something once a year? But then people mightn't listen to it as much if you don't have loads of songs on Spotify for example.

Remy: It's very tricky, and I'm guilty of it as well with the album thing, I could spend two months only listening to the first 4 or 5 songs on an album that I really love, an example for was Tame Impala's Currents, it took a long while for me to get fully get to the second half. Some people recommend lots of singles and a paired video a month later to keep it fresh, it's hard to know what really works.

Hatchlings: (Jamie) Quantity is great once the quality is there, I often think of King Gizzard, who put out albums all the time and the quality just seems to get better and better. Quantity is kind of the way to go in this day and age, but you're conscience of people not getting bored also.

Remy: Finally, finally, any other news from the world of Hatchlings?

Hatchlings: That's it we think, apart from Happy Valentines Day again Remy, and we forgot to mention that we are at the early stages of planning to be the first band to play on the Moon.


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