Campus contributor Miriam Doona spoke to guitarist Dan Murphy ahead of the band’s March gig in the Academy, Dublin.
Miriam Doona: How did Hermitage Green come together?
Dan: We were all mates living in Limerick, although not from Limerick. We got together as a band two years ago. It all really started with us jamming in my brother's pub, also in Limerick, and it has escalated from there really.
MD: Who does what in the band, creatively speaking?
Dan: Darragh writes the songs and lyrics. The creative aspect is a really natural process. Darragh has written so many songs, and it has often transpired that sometimes we have found that our weakest song suddenly becomes our strongest, just by tweaking them during jam sessions.
MD: You are just back from a six-week tour of Australia. How were your travels?
Dan: Australia was such a great experience and we did a gig in Cape Town last week so we are all pretty much catching up with ourselves at the moment. In Perth, we unfortunately had to turn away about 100 people as the venue was full to capacity. So we ended up playing an acoustic session on the street afterwards for all those who missed it. We loved doing it as we are most at home as a live band, jamming together.
MD: Your vocalist, Barry is a bit of a rugby player, by all accounts. I believe the Irish team requested a performance from Hermitage Green to their match against Argentina. That must have been a proud moment?
Dan: Yes, it was a bit surreal. Barry played centre wing for the Munster squad has been awarded many caps for Ireland, scoring fifteen tries. Unfortunately he had to retire from the sport early due to injury. We headed down to the Irish camp before the match, by invitation from the team and there was great banter between us and the lads. We played a nice acoustic session and Barry knew them well from his days with the team. There was a fair bit of slagging going on between us and the team. It was really enjoyable experience for us. The team had to turn in early prior to the match, but we stayed up having a few pints and the private joke is that the Irish team owe their victory to Hermitage Green!
MD: How would you define your sound and who are your influences?
Dan: We try not to generalise a definition of our sound. We all have different musical influences and tastes but we are definitely rooted in acoustic folk-rock. We jammed in Dolan's recently with Mumford and Sons, which was a tremendous night. The two Darraghs [Darragh Griffin and Darragh Graham] are very familiar and well -seasoned in the trad circuit. Dermot is a bodhran player. We are all into bluegrass and flamenco music too, and Florence and the Machine is also a big influence on us.
MD: You headlined a very successful gig in Whelan's [Dublin] in December and you are playing The Academy, next month. Are you looking forward to the night? And what is on the cards for Hermitage Green after that?
Dan: We honestly can't wait for the night as it will be our biggest gig to date and we have a very good Dublin fan base too. After that we are playing Abu Dhabi on St Patrick's Day, heading to France in April and have many gigs lined up here on Irish soil too, and of course we will be working on an album, regardless of it being an independent one or one signed to a label.
Hermitage Green play the Academy, Dublin on March 22.