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O'Rourke on the wild side
Twelve months ago, Declan O'Rourke was almost unheard of. Since then, his record has acheived platinum status. On the eve of his biggest tour ever, O'Rourke talks about a year in the maelstrom.
John Walshe, 24 Oct 2005
Declan O’Rourke has enjoyed a tremendous 2005, with platinum sales for his debut album, Since Kyabram, sell-out concerts, radio-play and television appearances. In fact, it would seem to many that, since late last year, O’Rourke has literally arrived from nowhere.
This is not so, however. The soft-spoken singer has, for years, been ploughing his own musical furrow, honing his sound until he was ready to release it to the world.
He could, in fact, have put out a record much sooner than 2005. Instead, he held back until “everything felt right."
The masterplan worked. O’Rourke’s debut single, ‘Galileo’, struck a chord with both the public and the media, garnering a Single of the Fortnight gong in this very organ.
Today FM’s Tom Dunne also picked up on the track, playing it solidly for two weeks. Such acclaim “got the ball rolling”, he says. Looking back, though, ‘Galileo’ was an unusual choice, not representative of O’Rourke’s sound.
“I never thought it would be a single myself,” he admits. “When I was writing it, I thought it was a bit stupid and throw-away, but I was just amusing myself and people seem to like it.”
Like it, they certainly do. ‘Galileo’ was the first step in a remarkable year for O’Rourke. During that time, he has played a huge number of concerts, to ever-widening audiences. The culmination was a fine set at Electric Picnic. Recently, the hard work paid off with an international record deal with V2, which will see Since Kyabram released in the UK next February. Presumably, plans for a follow-up have been shelved for the immediate future.
“It’s probably going to be at least another year,” he admits. “Because I’m writing a lot of stuff at the minute, I’m really starting to think about it. I feel like I’m almost ready, which is a good position to be in ‘cos a lot of people get stuck on the second album.
“But at the same time, if this record is doing well, I’d like to promote it in other places. However, that will give me more time to write songs, so I’ll have more choice for the next album.”
O’Rourke shares a house with kindred spirit Paddy Casey. Do they ever bounce ideas off each other? Apparently not.
“We approach songwriting in very different ways,” Declan says. “I write songs sometimes over a couple of years. I just kind of let it fester. But Paddy reckons he writes them in a day, sometimes he’ll say, ‘I wrote three songs today’ and I’ll go, ‘Nice one. I’m working on six for the last two years’. It’s a totally different method but it comes in different ways to different people.”
They've considered collaborating but have yet to go about it seriously.
“We almost wrote a couple of songs together," O'Rourke concludes. "We started but it’s very hard to collaborate on something. You have your own ideas and want it to go a certain way. To work with anyone else, you have to compromise. Some people are good at that, but not me!"