Why donít you have some sense?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Brendan Murphy spoke with the passion and vigour of a man who's creative fires have been re-stoked regarding the future and bristling with excitement over the 25th Anniversary gig at Newry Town Hall, on the September 25 with the original members of The 4 Of Us.
Buzzing with enthusiasm at the prospect of a new record on the horizon and a big homecoming gig to look forward to, there's a sense of a band being revitalised, of the artist having rediscovered their muse, as he spoke with the fervour of a musician making their first album and on the cusp of the first flush of success, not as a seasoned veteran with a quarter of a century in the business behind him.
Brendan said; "We're obviously all looking forward to the gigs as they're in our home town, it's our 25th anniversary and it will obviously be an emotional experience going back to where it all began, it will evoke a lot of really good memories for the band as a hometown gig is always special.
“Our parents are still in Newry as are all of our friends, and this adds something pretty special and we expect it to be a momentous night with a unique atmosphere, and in a way, it almost feels that we're coming full-circle with this as the songs on the new album are what I would call 'story songs', songs that hark back to the beginning."
As most artists will acknowledge, it gets much more difficult to re-invent your sound and identity with the passage of time, although, when discussing their new material, Murphy speaks with a vibrancy and emanates the type of infectious confidence you'd love to have brought to an ill-fated parent-teacher meeting back in the day.
“I feel really confident in this album and the songs I think really capture us as a band, with songs about our upbringing, our environment and our youth. At the minute we're busy on the new album and think that it should be ready by the end of the year or the beginning of next year," he said.
In a sweeping interview that covered a range of issues, he spoke of the seismic changes in the music industry, about embracing technology and seeing it as an opportunity, and not a foe, and lamented over the closure of the iconic Carlin records after 50 years of business.
“With the technology that is available at the minute, it is much easier for a young band to get their stuff out there, however, there's more competition to try and separate yourself from, but basically, if you've access to a laptop and a guitar, you can create a reasonably polished sounding demo, whereas to get anything recorded when we started was quite expensive. I think the age-old gatekeepers, ie the record labels, are no longer essential to make it, and you only need to look at the number of internet sensations to see that," he said.
Speaking of the closure of Carlin Records he said; "I have to say I shed a tear when I heard that Carlins was closing as it was such a huge part of growing up for us, where we'd scour the new releases and got most of our record collections from. It's really a sign of the times as I think the day of the record shops has passed, as most kids can get it online, the whole idea of a physical product is going to be erased from their heads. I don't think that kids today love music any less, just think that the record industry needs to adapt and embrace the age that we live in."
When asked about young musicians trying to 'make-it' he stressed that the quality of the material is the key. "Ostensibly, it's still about the song. The song and the performance, as if you've a great song, you'll always have a chance, but if you can perform it in a unique way, then that is a very strong proposition and stands a great chance of bursting through." said Brendan.
It's hard to disagree with those sentiments as, even in this instant-noodle-micro-nano-attention-span universe, you'd like to have faith in humanity and believe that if a young Lennon/McCartney, Dylan or Buddy Holly were to walk through the door, that they'd still burst through and have the same incendiary impact on popular culture. If not, would somebody please turn out the lights?
The 4 of Us play Newry Town Hall on September 25 at 8.00pm.

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