not a member? click here to sign up
Shortly before HAM SANDWICH were due to go into the studio to record their second album their beloved manager and mentor Derek Nally passed away suddenly. As if that wasn’t enough drama, singer Niamh Farrell was still coming to terms with motherhood and an unpleasant brush with the law. Out of this period of strife, however, the band have emerged with their best LP yet.
Olaf Tyaransen, 16 Nov 2010
“Are my eyes different colours?” laughs Ham Sandwich singer Niamh Farrell in a manner that suggests she’s heard this question several thousand times before. “Yeah, one’s green and the other’s brown. I’ve got a bit of a David Bowie thing going on!”
She does indeed. Sipping iced water in the Heuston Station bar where we meet, the black-haired, elfin 27-year-old is in good form. “It’s a real mixed bag,” she says of the Meath band’s just-released, and as it happens very fine, sophomore album, White Fox. “Podge (McNamee) and I did most of the lyrics together. It’s great because we almost understand where the other one is coming from.
“Like on the song ‘Ants’, Podge wrote that specifically about something that happened to him, and I wrote the words to the chorus (“Dealing in confined emotions/ I can’t breathe/ You hope to start over/ You hope to survive”). And almost immediately he said, ‘This fits perfectly with what I was trying to say’. We’ve known each other so long that we have that connection.”
The band began recording White Fox almost immediately after the untimely death of their manager Derek Nally last July. They heard the devastating news from their PR man Stevo Berube. “We were on the way to rehearsals when Stevo rang and said, ‘I’ve some really bad news’. It was the last thing we expected. We were all in complete shock. It was just so sudden. Before Derek passed away we had booked into this studio to start recording, and straight after his funeral we went into studio. It was really tough for the first few days. We were waiting for him to ring. He was unbelievable for us.”
Three months earlier, bassist John Moore had departed the fold. “He left to concentrate on other things. It was a bit of a shock – but after he left we released the single ‘The Naturist’ in early May, and we just thought, ‘We have to do this album, it’s now or never!’"
Although they currently have a temporary bassist for live shows, producer Karl Odlum played on the album. “He was producing and he’s an amazing bass player as well, so it made sense. He produced our first album (Carry The Meek) and knows us so well at this stage. He’s not afraid to come up with ideas and he knows when to take a step back. It was great having his input."