- 11 Feb 15
Fresh from opening this year's Whelan’s Ones To Watch festival, Aoife Underwater talks her first solo EP, songwriting and the similarities between Spotify and selfie sticks.
Having enjoyed past success with Fair Verona and The Blonde Majority, Aoife Cleary is back as the ethereal and electronica-inspired Aoife Underwater.
“I’m a total water baby," she says of her new guise. "I love being underwater. I like the darkness. You’re completely alone and I wanted my music to reflect that. I also wanted my name to be a ‘visual’: it’s immediately atmospheric.”
The Dubliner made her solo bow in 2011, and then faltered somewhat before technology gave her a new lease of life.
“I released ‘Us And The US’ as a taster. I recorded it with Tom and Shane from The Minutes, and we got some really good feedback. I didn’t have the motivation though to continue at the time. Then I discovered Garageband: that changed everything. Before that, I’d recorded all my music on a Yamaha digital recorder, a 16-track, which is cool because you get these amazing sounds. I’d play bass and it’d make me sound like the best bass-player ever! Discovering Garageband was when I really developed as an artist, because I realised I could put down synths and all kinds of things that I couldn’t have done before.
“I’ve always written my own songs. It’s one of the things I’m good at, so it’s nice that I can do it and get a good response. Songwriting for me usually starts with a phrase: for example with ‘You Didn’t Break’, I was reading a book and the character was listening to the Beach Boys and it said 'it didn’t break his heart enough'. I just thought, 'That’s the most amazing line'. So I went from there.”
One of Aoife’s first solo gigs was a 2014 fundraiser for Irish marriage equality where she shared the stage with fellow Irish acts Nanu Nanu and Planet Parade.
“That was a great night, and for such an important cause. Gigs that raise awareness for different charities and organisations create so many positive vibes by bringing people together. Needless to say, I'm 100% in support of a 'yes' vote.”
With a new EP under her belt, what’s next for Aoife Underwater?
“The plan for 2015 is just to play loads of gigs. We’ve also lined up another single to release when we feel like it – we’re very much into our own buzz, we live in our own little bubble.”
World domination is, for now, off the agenda.
“We know the music industry is tough. It’s just the way things are. I was talking to my boyfriend yesterday about selfie sticks – it’s crazy that someone will go out and buy a selfie stick but not an album. It’s cool if you want to and it makes you happy. But there’s Spotify and there’s selfie sticks and that’s the way the world is heading. They’re both as scary as each other! Actually, no, it was a belfie stick, for your butt! So you can take a butt selfie, because apparently that’s a thing? I heard it on the radio, so I’ve ordered two of them (laughs). It does contribute to that feeling of dread about where the world is going to end up. I guess you just have to embrace new things and take that chance, just maybe not with the belfie stick!”