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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
While Odlum undoubtedly deserves some of the credit, in the end the album is a triumph for Ham Sandwich. With Niamh and Podge sharing vocals, they have an unique balance, and a sensibility which is utterly their own.
“We did this album in record time," Niamh says. "Everything from writing and recording to getting the CD done up and mastered, in three months. The recording time was tough towards the end and everybody’s brain was melted. There were a lot of tears on my part.”
Speaking of tears, Farrell has hit the headlines a couple of times for non-music related activities. In June 2008, unaware even that she was pregnant, she gave birth to a baby boy. It was an extraordinary story, but one with a happy ending. “Oscar’s great," she tells me. "He’s really into music. He has all these little tiny guitars and stuff. When I’m going out the door to play a gig, he always goes, ‘Mama singing! Mama singing!’”
Somewhat less happily, later that same year she was arrested and ultimately tried on charges of stealing €14.000 over a period of time from her former employers at BT2. Fortunately, she came through it all relatively unscathed – and far wiser.
“I made a huge mistake,” she admits. “It’s something that I think about every day. And I’m very, very lucky to have the family and friends that I have around me. They helped me through it. All credit to them, especially the lads in the band. They were unbelievable – and they still are.
“Once it was out there, it was a real weight off my shoulders because I could finally talk to people about it. And people could help me. I’d been carrying it all myself and it was unbelievably stressful.
“Everybody makes mistakes," she adds, "whether it’s a small one or a bloody gigantic one. But at the end of the day, you’ve only got one life and you have to get on with it. I now know that if I ever need somebody to talk to or anything, that somebody’s gonna be there for me. That’s an amazing thing to have.”