Ethan Scally’s songs have a strong protest feel, with lyrics rooted in political injustices and tragedies. “I wrote a song last week about the Manchester bombing, so I’ll be taking that one on tour,” he says of his latest work. “It’s just called ‘Manchester’. I recorded an acoustic version of it and put it on my page and it’s got about 3,000 views already.”
For Scally, songwriting is a necessary form of activism. “A lot of my songs are a little more rock and roll,” he notes, “but my inspiration comes from darker subject matter. For example, how the world kind of turns its back on places in humanitarian crisis. Just look at the refugee situation, where you have people washed up on the shore. And then I turned to the Manchester bombing. Writing about it breaks my heart, but it feels like something you’ve just got to do. I can’t write without feeling passionate about something.”
As an artist who combines music with activism, Scally admires those who have successfully done the same, but he’s still looking for a stronger revolutionary message on the airwaves. “You’ve got Glen Hansard and what he did last year with Apollo House,” he says. “That was a great project. And you’ve got bands writing those anti-establishment songs against Trump. But sometimes it seems like that kind of stuff has been pushed aside. You don’t hear it anymore on the radio, and it’s harder to get that message out there. Music should serve the people, and it’s not serving the people if commercial pop music is all that’s on offer. There’s a place for that, but we need rock and roll with a strong message about the world we’re living in.”
See: Scally plays the Workman’s Club, Dublin on July 14.
Hear: His single ‘The 7th Commandment’ is available now.
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