I wrote this article last year for Kilkenny’s “Kats Eye” magazine, and have decided to put it here. It’s a bit old but he’s a great artist so I’m posting it.
Back in the good old days Kilkenny was seen as a home to great music. Engine Alley were indie darlings, Kerbdog were tearing up stages and My Little Funhouse were trailing Axel Rose on an international tour. The Newpark Inn was the centre piece for any discerning music fan, and bands from all over Ireland were chalking down our fair city as a regular date on any tour. But it was during this time that a native was putting together a demo that would see Kilkenny’s place reappearing on the map over a decade later.
Rarely Seen Above Ground, Jeremy Hickey’s multilayered one man band, has been knocking up the accolades over the past year with his stunning album Organic Sampler. But it all started a long time ago. “I actually did my first demo back in ’96. I did give it around to a few friends and they were kind of into it,” says Jeremy on his first foray into his musical career. “It was around the time of DJ Shadows first album, you’re talking daft punk, you’re talking Moby, all these kind of people were coming out and making albums that had a certain sound”. And so Blue Ghost was born, Hickey’s first incarnation.
Now, in 2009 Hickey’s album has been gaining a lot of attention. Critically the album has been slated the “album of the year category” more often than not. “People like Jim Carroll of the Irish Times did a lot for me”, he notes on the influence of the media on his current standing, “he’s a very experienced man, a lot of people don’t actually realise the work he’s been doing over the years both here and over in London and elsewhere and he’s actually worked with a lot of people”. But it doesn’t stop there. His album strikes the right chord with most of the music media, garnering rave reviews across the industry.
Earlier this year RSAG was nominated for the coveted Choice Music Prize, an award that see’s the best of Irish talent vie for the prestigious title. While he didn’t win he did realise the scale of the nomination. “I think that the fact that the people that were there enjoyed it but also it went live as well was great for me”. His performance was a highlight of the night, and the audience’s reaction unequalled. “It was nice to hear that reaction. It was good to know that I was going out and doing something that I was enjoying anyway and that other people were getting into as well”.
Not just happy with playing live on national radio, Hickey has also played on the cream of Irish television shows. A hugely impressive set on RTE’s The View showed RSAG’s capability to put a drummer to the fore with the use of multimedia screens, which has always been a huge visual impact of his live act. “It was a really good experience. Because of the way they had the screens set up was a multi layered thing” he says of his performance. This, along with another great performance on RTE’s superb Other Voices has seen RSAG push its fan base even larger. “Every little thing that I’ve been doing, every little thing that I’ve been involved in in the last year has helped to build up the profile”. It seems to have worked.
Then came the Raw Sessions, an RTE venture that saw Irish acts slog it out to write a full track in under 12 hours. “I got a call from the presenter and was asked are you interested in doing it and I said yes. I didn’t know it was a competition on the first one and thought it was a program on a musician, his story and how he creates his stuff. Then after the first one I found out that it was a competition. It actually worked out well in the way of publicity. For me it didn’t actually matter that I didn’t win. It was just the fact that the publicity, that you’re getting to people that you wouldn’t normally know who I am. In that way it’s been great”. Not only did it cement RSAG further into the minds of the public, it opened doors in the music industry. “I actually got to work with a producer called Leo Pearson, and I’m recording my 2nd album with him right now”.
In terms of influence Hickey has been tied to numerous acts. “I’ve gotten everything from Ian Curtis, David Byrne, Nick Cave and maybe one or two people saying Tom Waits”. Hard acts to follow but when pressed on whether or not these acts are part of the writing process Hickey added, “I think it’s just my style of music, I just try and kind of incorporate as many kind of different things as I can. I just go with whatever I’m feeling. But no I never consciously think about anybody when I’m actually recording, it’s just one of those things that happens.”
RSAG is now recording his second album and hopes to have it released by September or October of this year. “I don’t know whether I’m rushing it or not I just feel I just need to get something else out. I don’t know why, it’s kind of a drive”. And perhaps trying to conquer foreign fields. “I’m kind of working on that at the minute, it’s just one of those things, you just need to go. I’m just going to have to go over there to actually slog it out, I mean that’s why it’s brilliant, I actually appreciate everything that’s happened and I feel very very lucky the way things have happened here but I also know I have to do it in a different country. When I start there it’s going to going from scratch again, you just have to keep positive about things.”
RSAG’s second album, Be It Right orWrong is out now, and yet again is garnering highly positive reviews. With two great albums in the bag it can only be right for RSAG’s future.
I’m not in the habit of promotion, and haven’t posted in eons, but my sister has a new blog on her massage business, Heaven Sent. Check it out, she’s very good.
Sorry folks, its been ages since I’ve posted. I’ve been working on my other passion, movies. I have a new blog at barnavillefilmreview.wordpress.com. It only has a few reviews at the moment, but there’s loads more to come. Check it out and you may win a prize in my opening competition*.
*There is no competition, but it might make you want to look.
It happened at midnight, midweek. The law overnight turned a portion of the population into dope fiends, the scourge of society who were trying to get our youth addicted to the most evil force to face us since Hitler’s band of racially insane Nazi’s. Duffyites rejoiced across Facebook fan pages and in letters and calls to the media. Jobs were lost, sacrificed to cleanse our nation of the evils of head shops. It’s a precedent, protest enough and the government will enact new laws, giving power back to the people. It could be on RTE One at 6:30 on a Sunday evening. “This week on Ban Something we have Condoms, the most immoral thing to hit this country since bastard children, and Football, a game invented by a country that gave us 800 years of occupation! Lines are open, vote now! The winner will be outlawed by midnight!”
So, when push comes to shove, what should we ban? What is failing the public, affecting their mental and physical health, and possibly causing death? Get your placards ready, its time to force the government into doing what we want.
The most evil thing to hit planet earth since the Black Plague has to be Facebook. I have spent too many hours arguing rubbish points with someone I’ve never met over things as trivial as the best way to cook lamb chops. In the real world it leads you to distraction, blanking real people while you think of your next witty reply, hoping that someone will hit the thumbs up “like” button, and possibly reply with a bit of support. It is a completely pointless activity, a waste of brain power that could be better put to use cooking a few lamb chops. Possibly the best way to get Facebook banned would be to start a “get Facebook banned” Facebook fan page. It got Rage Against the Machine to number one at Christmas, it nearly got a replay with France when Mr Henri decided to thump the ball in the back of the net using his hand and it decided that over 1 million people prefered a sausage roll to Cheryl Cole (they actually prefered a picture of a sausage roll, if it was real it would be a fairly putrid piece of meat surrounded by stinking pastry) Of course there have been cases of people actually coming to harm from Facebook use. One mother of four was stabbed to death by the fiance she met on the site. He stabbed her twice in the back of the head before throwing himself on some railway tracks. Another girl, who was an aspiring model and television presenter, had acid thrown in her face, scarring her permanently with horrific injuries. This website needs to be banned.
Surely one the most evil things to grace our streets are streets. Yes, roads are lethal. 239 people died on the roads last year, so its time they were gone. How can something that allows a large chunk of metal hurl headlong into your face be considered safe. Ban them now, or our teenagers will never be safe. Since air travel is considered to be the safest method of travel we could all build runways in our back gardens, and fly to work every morning. It would be like Back to the Future. “Roads, where we’re going we don’t need roads”, uttered by the Doc, it could be the mantra for the future.
We all learned a harsh lesson last winter. Freezing weather needs to get the axe. Yes, ban going out in cold weather. Thousands died across Europe in the last cold snap, not being told not to go outside in plummeting temperatures. How can you expect people not to go outside if you don’t force them not to go outside. Ban it, ban it, ban it. For the sake of the children, ban it. Unless of course you had a flying car, in which case going out in the cold might be a little easier.
Putting our restauranteurs, supermarkets and green grocers out of business may seem a tad harsh, but if it saves just one kids life it will be worth it. Yes folks, ban food. Thousands of people have allergies to different foods, how can we expect them not to eat them without a ban? In America there are on average 76 million poisonings from food every year, with 5,000 deaths. It’s hardly a safe product, and with a ban we could all enjoy government approved gruel out of silver bags knowing that we will always be safe. Yummy! Add to that the risk of choking and you get something more dangerous than playing golf with a ball of semtex. Why hasn’t it been banned already?
If our society is to flourish, we all need to get on the phones to Joe Duffy as soon as possible. The power is in our hands, and we need to use it. Unless the state protects our youth, our youth are is lost. How can we be expected to decide whats good for us and whats not? Banning everything maybe? Possibly, if it stops the risk of death, let me rephrase, the perception of death, its worth it. I need to be nannied, and I want the state to tell me what to do. Hopefully they will also introduce censorship, and then you will won’t have to read this article in the first place.
I’m very ignorant of Twitter, but I’m trying. http://twitter.com/barnavillesblog is where I’ll announce new posts. Amongst other place’s, you can follow my stuff there.