- 24 Nov 21
Growing up in Letterkenny, Aaron Shaw (aka Arn.) has a penchant for writing infectious pop hooks. His borderless aesthetic is challenging any preconceived notions of what it means to be an artist from rural Ireland.
Up-and-coming Irish artist Arn. has revealed a deep dive into his introspective thoughts on the need for love with new single 'Always' - premiered below by Hot Press.
Growing up, the indie-pop act always felt out of place and came to realise that catering to different people’s personality traits allowed him to cope with various social situations. This eased the burden, but he hated these facets of who he was. In his late teens, Arn. found someone he could let his guard down with and truly be himself. The foundations of ‘Always’ were laid at this point in his life.
'Always' has layer upon layer of sonic textures; harmonies and beautiful melodies to burn. Arn.'s rich vocals reflect the meaning behind the song, which accentuates the desire to act like someone else to get by in life. When you finally feel comfortable with another person, it's like opening Pandora's box of emotions. The track has warped backing instrumentals that echo the likes of Peach Pit, Clairo and Wallows.
Having been raised on a diet of classic rock and The Dubliners as a child, he inhaled hundreds of hours of seminal records on family road trips to Waterford. Later, he fed his fascination for anthemic pop hits through looping VCR clips of Enrique Iglesias as a child at the weekends.
As his taste developed and the challenges of adolescence unfolded, Arn. found solace in the recommendations of his brother. Blaring Slipknot, Wu-Tang Clan, Korn and early pop-punk heroes like Paramore through his bedroom speakers; Arn. was able to channel his teenage angst into visceral and emotive records that would come to inform his heart-on-his-sleeve songwriting. Subsequently, the rising act has developed a unique way of borrowing from music before his time and transforming it into future nostalgia indie earworms.
Coupled with a modest but growing discography, Arn. is developing a reputation as an act crafting infectious cuts on his own terms. The approach was highlighted on ‘White Nikes’ and ‘Alive’, where vulnerable lyricism showcased his ability to seamlessly marry disparate elements into full focus.
“My surroundings informed what I’m doing now, because I didn’t want to do country. I didn’t want my music to be a direct association of where I’m from. It was the things that weren’t from where I’m from that moulded my taste of music,” Arn. says, explaining how he became emboldened by the homogenous and limited pub scene of local musicians.
Arn. has become accustomed to fighting against the backdrop of a small-town mentality that shuns progressive art and the isolating experience of creating forward facing music in rural Ireland. A national lockdown presumably worsened this experience. However, not to be discouraged by conditions out of his control, Arn. took the extra time granted in 2020 to up his game and fine tune his sound.
'White Nikes', 'Hard To Believe', 'Month of May', 'We're Not Here To Be Alone', 'Anxiety', 'Unpredictable', 'Hindsight', 'Landed', 'Better in Time', 'I Know', 'Alive' and 'Some Time' were the result.
“I was releasing a song every two weeks at the start of 2021. I made about 11 - that was me on overdrive. It was fun, the creative flow never lapsed but I had no time to do any other music content like videos. I had to stop then to focus on the bigger picture.”
With a number of singles under his belt and an appetite to bring Letterkenny to the world, Arn. is gearing up to be next up on Ireland’s conveyor belt of DIY trailblazers.
Listen to indie gem 'Always' below: