Nights In

Interview: hermitage green

LQ: Hello guys, thank you for meeting here with me today. You were formed in July 2010, tell me how that came about?
 
Dan: Well we’re all friends through childhood really, through sport and that, and myself and Barry are brothers. We started meeting up at the Curragower in Limerick, our brother’s bar, and had jamming sessions in there every week, it kind of started from there then.
 
LQ: And what were you all doing beforehand?
 
Dan: Well I had only just graduated, I was trying to get into radio production, Dermot was finishing college, Barry was a rugby player, Darragh was a sprinter doing his PhD and Darragh Griffin was a teacher.
 
LQ: So you went a little off course so?
 
Dan: Yeah just a little! Barry retiring from the rugby was kind of the catalyst for the band. We were all kind of going through a transitional phase anyways. Darragh was just about to start a Masters Degree in Trad Music.
 
Darragh Griffin: I still deal with children every day so it’s all good!
 
LQ: You’ve done very well for a band that’s unsigned, was that intentional or?
 
Dan: Well, being independent isn’t really that big of a deal anymore. I mean, the Coronas were independent up until this year where they signed a massive record deal. The industry has changed now, you don’t need a massive record label. It helps, especially for international stuff, but for what we’re doing we haven’t really needed it.
 
LQ: Your debut EP ‘The Gathering’ came out and went straight to no.1 on iTunes, what was your reaction to that?
 
Dan: No, it wasn’t expected it all. That was class. 
 
Dermot: Yes, I expected it… (laughs)
 
Darragh Griffin: That was very humbling, but then again it gave us a lot of confidence and I didn’t expect it to do that.
 
LQ: Do you think that drove you on even further?
 
Darragh Griffin: Definitely. A lot of it is confidence. You have to keep setting bars for yourself. I hadn’t it set in my mind at first, but then when you get to number 1 it raises your expectations of yourself and makes you want to do more.
 
LQ: And how would you describe your sound because it is very unique.
 
Barry: I don’t know, It’s a very hard question. I mean, I wouldn’t actually know how to describe our sound. It’s quite organic, we try to keep it acoustic without needing loads of effects. So if we wanted to break out in song right now we could do it without having to go home and get a pedal-board. We all play a lot of different instruments.
 
LQ: And who writes all of your songs?
 
Darragh Griffin: Well I used to do a lot of writing, I still do, I would have written years ago. But since then, we try to get into a room together and write as a band.
 
LQ: Is there a particular message that you’re trying to give with your music?
 
Darragh Griffin: Not really, no. Every song is different and if you’re inspired by something that’s where it usually comes from.
 
LQ: So life events would be where most inspiration comes from for your music?
 
Darragh Griffin: I would say so yes.
 
LQ: Any events in particular?
 
Darragh Griffin: I’ve written about people who have died, homelessness, struggles, music and collectively we’ve written about fictional stories, one or two about girls, some love songs.
 
LQ: Have you any favourites?
 
Darragh Graham: It’s always the last one that we’ve written! We’ve about three new songs at the moment and every time they come up on set I’m really excited to play them because they’re new.
 
LQ: If you were to record with another artist who would it be?
 
Dan: We all love The Staves (British acoustic folk rock female trio). To combine female and male vocals is a really nice contrast. 
 
Dermot: They’re pretty too! 
 
LQ: I know you’ve a busy month ahead now with 13 tour dates, is there any of them you’re looking forward to in particular?
 
Dan: The Button Factory in Dublin is the one we’re all really looking forward to, that’s a big one for us with members of the Trinity Orchestra, so we’re all really excited for that one. We’re also looking forward to going back home to Limerick and performing there as well. We’re doing a seated gig in Dolan’s too so it’s like a massive social event at home. When we play there it’s really a social gathering with the lads.
 
LQ: Was there ever a stand-out moment where it all kind of hit you just how far you’ve come?
 
Darragh Griffin: There’s a few actually yeah. We played at the Cannes Film Festival, and Electric Picnic would be a great memory as well. 
 
Dan: Actually we were playing in a town in the Czech Republic last April in the maddest town you’ve ever seen. The bars close when the last person falls out the door really and I just have this memory of Darragh Graham just appearing on the other side of the bar with this piece of paper stuck to his forehead with the words ‘I love our job!’ written across it and we fell around the place laughing. 
 
LQ: Brilliant! You have an album coming out next year, but aside from that is there a dream or a milestone you’re aiming to hit or one you’re specifically working towards?
 
Barry: We’d like to play in the states and the U.K a lot more. We’d like a lot more radio play, we’re quite underground still but I think that will come with the live album. 
 
LQ: Would you have any advice for new singers/songwriters or bands looking to make it in the industry now?
 
Dan: Facebook and YouTube is all you need nowadays. We’ve been incredibly lucky with what we’ve been able to do. We organised a whole tour in Australia just through Facebook alone. 
 
Dermot: You can’t beat gigging as well. Trying out new songs and new audiences, you really learn a lot about your music and why you play music as well which is very important. It’s also one of the last sacred things available to musicians, because you’re not going to make music selling your CD’s anymore.
 
LQ: Would you prefer to be doing intimate gigs or massive sell out concerts?
 
Dermot: Good question. You can’t really choose between the two, there’s a completely different buzz about playing the two. In an intimate gig you get a great sense of satisfaction because you feel like the audience really enjoyed the content of your song because you’re so exposed. In terms of a big gig, Electric Picnic would have been that for us last year where there already existed a collective energy. 
 
Dan: It’s far more nerve-wracking to play in front of 30 people that are giving you their undivided attention than it is to play in front of 30,000.
 
Darragh Graham: But you get a greater sense of satisfaction out of it if you nail it. You get a great feeling from the big ones anyways because the energy is already there.
 
LQ: Sounds great. Thanks a million for meeting me today lads and best of luck with the tour!

To purchase tickets for Hermitage Green’s Irish Tour, click on the link here.

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Photo: Leanne Quinn