Raglans’ Stephen Kelly, Rhos Horan, Conn O'Ruanaidh and Sean O' Brien make up another great Irish band on the up and are making their mark both at home and on the international music scene.
Their debut album ‘Raglans’ has received high praise across the board and debuted at number five in the Irish album charts. The band are back from a recent support slot with The Fray on their European tour and will soon take to the stage of The Grand Social on November 15th.
I chatted to Stephen, who had just returned to Irish soil from New York, ahead of this date about recent band happenings and future plans.
You have been very busy since we last spoke. You are just fresh off the plane from New York and you also performed a recent guest appearance slot with The Fray on their European tour. How are things going and how are you finding the hectic lifestyle?
It is all going great and this is pretty much what we have been waiting for - and the opportunity to be doing something band related every day. We are doing big shows with big audiences and this is what we have been working towards. I am a little jet lagged today as I am just back from New York, but it is fine as I am off to Spain for a week tomorrow to visit the family.
How were Raglans received in New York?
New York was fantastic and exactly how I envisioned it. We were staying in a place called Williamsburg in Brooklyn in an apartment with a rooftop. We played a really cool trash bar in Brooklyn, something similar to Sweeney's here in Dublin and the place was packed out with both Irish and American audiences, they were great.
The debut album ‘Raglans’ reached number five in the Irish album charts and congratulations are due for that. October 26th saw the release of the new single White Lightning. Can you talk me through the meaning of the song?
I was seeing a girl and the song is about the difficulties of a year and a half of back and forth when she moved to England.
The video for the song is, again, by the very talented Finn Keenan. The last time we spoke, we chatted a lot about the song Digging Holes, the video of which is also directed by him. I love the fact that the sense of humour present in the video for Digging Holes is also very evident in White Lightening. It looks like it was fun to make?
He is a genius and he is very busy in the UK too. We have never worked with anyone else and that cuts out any bullshit too. Yes, he has a really great sense of humour. In Cavan, where he is from, we went to the comedy club and Kevin McGahern from Republic of Telly was doing standup. Finn says he has robbed all his humour from Kevin, but Kevin says he robbed all his from Finn.
You are about to embark on a mini national tour in November, which takes Raglans up and down the country from Cork to Belfast and many places in between, and of course to The Grand Social on November 15th. What is in store for Raglans after the tour and is there a new album coming soon?
The very next day after the national tour we are off to the UK to tour with London-based band The Temperance Movement. We will be doing fifteen to nineteen shows with them across the UK. In January we are doing The Eurosonic Festival in The Netherlands, we will be in Australia and we will also be releasing the album in Germany. When we toured with The Fray, German audiences were definitely our best audience. We are always working on new song ideas for our second album, which can be daunting, but we are embracing the blank canvas and we will be touring a lot too.
Speaking of festivals, you have done so many since we last spoke; Electric Picnic, Sea Sessions, Indiependence and Camden Rocks, to name but a few. How was your festival experience?
It’s been great and it’s great to see the cycle as a band to be playing festivals and more and more people know who we are and are singing along to our songs and getting the energy of the audiences from the stage. We find there to be a six month cycle as a band and we don’t have to win the crowd over so much now as when we first started doing them.
As well as having recently supporting The Fray, you have also been special guests to international acts such as Haim, The Courteeners and The Libertines. Is there any other artist you would particularly love to work with?
Bruce Springsteen does not have support acts, but if he did that would be definitely my dream artist, also Noel Gallagher because he is an amazing singer-songwriter.
The song Natives from the album is included in the new film Gold. What is the connection between Raglans and the film?
The director, Niall Heery, heard the song on the radio and he really liked it and he wanted it in the film and he got in touch. We thought, ‘awesome, let’s do it’. There was a limited budget for the film and it was not about the money. The song will be featured on the DVD too and we are big fans of Niall’s so we were very happy to be part of it.