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Dundalk’s Redtwelve are taking a stand for homegrown music from beyond the pale.
Phil Udell, 24 Jul 2003
Dundalk rockers Redtwelve think the Irish music business sucks but they’re not without hope, as lead vocalist Ciaran Boylan explains.
“For a start there’s the whole Louis Walsh thing and there’s no point even debating that. It’s also very much a singer songwriter country, not that we’ve got anything against that but we’re very much into the rock stuff”.
So is this whole resurgence of Irish music thing simply a false dawn?
“No, I don’t think so at all. There’s no smoke without fire, if there’s all these bands coming out there’s got to be one or two that are kicking up a bit of a fuss. The more that’s encouraged the better, that’s how we see it. You shouldn’t be suppressing original music in any shape or form so more power.”
Nor should we underestimate the amount of effort that bands such as Redtwelve put in simply to follow their vocation. “It is very hard work,” says Ciaran. “It’s hard to get noticed, especially if you’re not from Dublin. You have to try a wee bit harder to get into the venues. If you’re not from Dublin, who gives a fuck? We’re hoping to change that. You should go round the country, Dublin isn’t the be all and end all.”
“The Dubs have the mentality of, why should I travel when they can come to me? The problem is then that you’re missing out seeing bands at their best. There are some great venues around the country that most people haven’t seen. The Spirit Store in Dundalk is one of my personal favourites, it’s a real warm atmosphere. There are plenty like that around the country but they’re few and far between in Dublin.
One recent trip to the capital that did meet with Ciaran’s approval was as part of the recent IMRO showcase tour, which culminated with a show at the Village. This surely must have been a help? “Definitely, any sort of exposure is going to be good for us. To play on a big with good sound to a decent crowd of people, you have to be sounding your best and that’s going to help you an awful lot. We seem to have made a few friends in IMRO who are willing to help us out, it’s been a good experience”.
The band also feel a certain kinship with some of their contemporaries.
“We’ve played with some great bands. Turn have been really good to us. We’ve also played with Bell X1 and Relish, Josh Ritter – so even though we don’t like the singer songwriter thing we’ll still play with them”.
The problem, in fact, often comes more from the audience themselves – who would often rather listen to American and British rock bands than ones from their own backyard.
“That’s just the way it is, just one of those things. People think that you can’t be that good if you come from here, it has to be an import. There’s plenty of bands who are playing around the country at the moment who are from Ireland and are just as good as people who are coming in to gigs at the Ambassador or the Olympia”. With bands like Redtwelve on the rise, he might just be right.