Dublin singer-songwriter Naoise Roo’s new single ‘Whore’ follows in the tradition of PJ Harvey in the scornful yet human rock song stakes. It’s a song that seeks control and craves release in no uncertain terms.
The video by acclaimed director Bob Gallagher (Girl Band / Myles Manley/ Spies) takes the idea further and places it in an ecclesiastical context. The relationship between a person and their god is one of submission and it’s an idea that’s tackled in this simple yet effective video featuring Aron Hegarty shot at St Peters, Church of Ireland Drumconrath, Co. Meath. It was inspired by Mary Magdelene and ideas of devotion.
“Religion and sexuality have had centuries of conflict and in Ireland we know this all too well. But at the root of it sexuality and sexual energy are the essence of being human. I’ve often wondered where that energy goes, what that inner conflict looks like”
Of the video, Gallagher says:
“The title of the song is quite striking and provocative, so I started thinking about why that word has such power and where the dynamic of that word changes from being something slanderous or negative to something aspirational. I thought of Mary Magdalene as someone who is revered and respected by the church, even though her profession is paradoxically derided by it. I sat down with Naoise and I think I pitched it as ‘what if a priest loved Jesus so much that he was jealous of Mary Magdelene’. She actually laughed for a good minute but then when we talked about it we discussed the parallels of devoting yourself to someone else and how that changes the value you place on yourself. That happens in relationships and it happens in religious vocation. I liked the idea of seeing someone express the energy of that devotion privately in a discourse with Jesus, and the song becomes a sort of prayer for a character who wants to devote himself entirely to faith and is struggling with it.
I find a lot of religious language is very sexual, and there’s a transference of repressed sexual energy into this intense devotion. The Passion of Joan of Arc by Carl Dreyer was a big reference for us, and it’s interesting that we use the language of passion around extreme demonstrations of piety, and jesus becomes this untouchable sexual figure in that . Another inspiration came from St. John the long-suffering, who was plagued by sexual desire: O Lord my God and my Savior! Why have You forsaken me? Have mercy upon me, only Lover of Mankind; deliver me from my foul iniquity!. At the same time he wants God to shield him from his desires while also acknowledging that Jesus is the only worthy lover. It’s a fascinating struggle between heavenly aspiration and carnal reality”
If you caught Girl Band’s main stage performance at Body&Soul, it was yet another reminder that no-one in Ireland or otherwise is making rock music like this: that pulverises the audience with sonics, that uses a guitar to sound like industrial chains, that switches up rhythms and howls with guttural approval. The only pity was not enough of the festival goers were there on Friday night.
Nevermind, Girl Band may remain a curio to most but they are one of the best bands around right now. ‘In Plastic’ from their debut Holding Hands With Jamie, is the latest song to receive a Bob Gallagher video. – this time around a tense dystopian security check is the backdrop for the song.
“I think I pitched the idea to the band as the fever dream Kafka might have if he ever read 1984. It’s not set in a particular place or period. Some of the references and inspirations are historical and some are quite recent. It’s a mish-mash of influences, and a lot of it was shaped by conversations with the band. The video is obviously totally ridiculous in many ways, but it touches on themes of surveillance, paranoia, and how arbitrary the construct of a border can seem, which are all very contemporary anxieties. When I see clips of Donald Trump talking about deporting people and building walls I have to remind myself that I’m not watching an absurd alternate reality.“
This woozy track from Dublin rapper Emzee A is suitably matched to the title of the song – being caught between a world imagined and the real. It was inspired by Emzee’s friend who experienced sleep paralysis and insomnia.
That interest lead Emzee to the book Dreams by Carl Gustav Jung and the production by Omito Beats has some of that Clams Casino/ kush atmosphere as a result. The video was brought to live by Bob Gallagher.
Girl Band’s visceral cover of Blawan’s techno tune ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’ which first appeared on Quompilation #3 has got a second life as part of a cheekily-titled U.S. release called The Early Years, out on April 21st which will be used to promote the band’s upcoming SXSW/North American gigs.
What does that mean for you, he diligent collector of the band’s early EPs on Any Other City, I hear you ask? Well, the prolific Bob Gallagher has only gone and directed a new video for the Blawan cover filmed in a studio with the prop help of Staffords funeral home. Linking to a funeral home Niall, that’s a first.
March US tour dates:
12 – Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right
13 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
14 – Philadelphia, PA – MilkBoy
15 – Washington, DC – Black Cat Backstage
18-21 – Austin, TX – SXSW
26 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
27 – San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
29 – Santa Ana, CA – Burgerama
The Early Years Tracklist:
2) De Bom Bom
3) I Love You (Beat Happening cover)
4) Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage? (Blawan cover)
5) The Cha Cha Cha
Participant is a new project from the bassist from Dublin band Heritage Centre which has moved from a solo bedroom concern to a production/songwriter duo to a four-piece live band. Stephen Tiernan is the driver of the project and the band’s debut EP Bit Slow has been released now, showing off an atmospheric indie style that is anchored by Tiernan’s delicate voice and produced by Paul O’Hare (of the band WOB!).
The band play Hard Working Class Heroes tonight at 8pm in the Workman’s Club. Director Bob Gallagher has put together a stunning video featuring two snails (conversing in subtitles) who are struggling to get along for the EP track ‘Shelter’.
Dublin rock band Spies have been on a roll impressing left, right and centre with greatsingles and live shows with conviction, as demonstrated at Electric Picnic recently. Mining the indie-rock of the past, they successfully translate that mood to a new time.
Their new video directed by Bob Gallagher, manages to do the same, by taking an old technique I haven’t seen in a while by presenting the dancers Michael Burns & Kate Finegan without their features and in only their clothing.
‘Moosehead’ is available on 7″ through on Bandcamp. The band’s next show is at HWCH.
Anthony Donnelly is the man behind the alternative pop project Floor Staff, a Dublin-based band that swells according to possibilities and calendars. ‘The Guest’ is the song he released last year online that got me hooked, so much so that the song’s chorus has found a near permanent place in my skull.
For the video for ‘The Guest’, directed by Bob Gallagher, a couple (Michael Power, Lesley Conroy) must face the fact that their child is going to be a musician, a concept which has an interesting apparently-true backstory.
Bob Gallagher on the concept: “The idea itself was the result of a subconscious process rather than a literal one. So it became an interpretation of the tone and the feel of the song as opposed to a literal visual translation of Anthony’s lyrics. It actually came about during an interaction I had with a shaman where I took part in an ayahuasca ritual. It’s a powerful hallucinogen that lasts for a few hours. I had a lot of different experiences during that time but at one point I remember hearing ‘The Guest’ and at another point I remember experiencing my own birth. I experienced it from the perspective of both parents and child. Those two things stuck out to me as having a connection with one another and for some reason that made sense to Anthony when I explained it to him.”
Elaine Mai’s‘EDC’ is a sweet aural dedication to a partner so it makes sense then for the video, made by Bob Gallagher to focus on that human bond. It’s not necessarily about romantic lovers, as the people featured in the video range from those who are that level of relationship, to family, to close friends, old friends and man’s best friend.
Elaine and Bob told Elaine Buckley some of the background of the video too:
Q: What inspired the concept for the video? They lyrics obviously lend themselves very well to it – but, was their something from ‘the wider world’ that triggered the idea?
Bob: Elaine had initially approached me looking to do the EDC video and the brief was to do something simple, and she had come up with the idea of having couples write thoughts on a board for the camera. After talking about it a bit we broadened it out to be about relationships where the people involved weren’t necessarily couples, but people who were important to each other, and who would have a degree of intimacy in their interactions. The boards then became more of a reveal for what each relationship was, and the idea would be that the interactions would keep you guessing. To me the song is a very sincere and honest declaration of love, and having someone important in your life, and I think people find that love or that comfort in all different types of relationships.
Elaine M: The song itself is about relationships, the value of them, the people in our lives and what they mean to us, so I wanted to make a video that echoed this and I think Bob really hit the nail on the head. In terms of the wider world, I think nowadays we can be so busy and caught up that it’s easy to forget how amazing it is to have someone important to us in our lives, to meet up with or come home to. I think the video manages to capture intimate moments between people who clearly mean a lot to each other. It’s feel good and I think we can always do with a bit of that.
Q: Personally, I love the simplicity of the video – a battered old couch, a backdrop of fairy lights, handwritten messages on blackboards. In an age of constant connectivity it’s refreshing to see a ‘back to basics’ example of people interacting & sharing stories face-to-face – less is definitely more. Is this something that you think is important?
Bob: I think physical interaction is very important in all relationships. Since a lot of our day to day communication now can be quite removed and disconnected, seeing that physical interaction in motion makes you consider the importance of it that little bit more. The decision to shoot at 100 frames a second was to try and capture as much as possible of the fleeting, complex communication going on underneath every conversation. With people who have an intimate relationship there’s an awful lot of communication that’s done through body language, looks and gestures, the kinds of things you need to watch closely to really appreciate the significance of. When you’re the ones in the relationship of course you’ve established your own codes and you know how to read each others signals very instinctively, but as an observer you need to pay more attention to really read the situation. The video has a back to basics approach in the sense that there’s a simplicity to having two people talking face to face, but I also think that even in the digital age, the empathy you see in real life interaction is still the most sophisticated form of communication we have.