RSAG to Riches

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 Without Drumsticks

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”.


Check out those drums

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.


One response to this post.

  1. You need to post new stuff


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