Anthony Donnelly’s Floor Staff went quiet for a while there but it was the arrival of ‘Saviour’ that suggested something significant had changed.
On Friday, the Convictions EP will be released and it marks a leap in ambition, craft and production. Lyrically, it addresses bereavement, fidelity and self-esteem.
Opener ‘Choice’ makes that step clear with its dynamic shifts and big falsetto vocals, coming across like Perfume Genius in its scope.
It’s an EP that has much going for it – ‘A Love Sublime’ is akin to Floor Staff’s first big impressive song in 2014 – ‘The Guest’, ‘Saviour’ shares a comfortable DNA with Bell X1 both vocally and in its arrangements and the Peter Gabriel ’80s style ballad ‘Mold’.
Floor Staff’s new EP elevates his alternative pop style. Listen here:
The EP was recorded in Ailfionn recording studio, with Christopher Barr and no-one else but Barr and Donnelly were allowed into the studio with the exception of violinst Katie Lynn, and that was a result of the songwriting process.
“The music didn’t flow as easily this time, it wasn’t like the first EP where recording something original and hearing it back was enough of a thrill to inspire more. Tackling heavier subject matter took more strict self-examination. The stuff I wanted to express was less primal and immediate so it was difficult to access. As well as that the possibility of people hearing the music was impossible to ignore initially, and it affected my ability to write. Extended periods of time went by were nothing would fall into place. Eventually with strict and regimented writing sessions I was able to unlock what I’d been grappling with and the songs came.”
“We played and recorded various random objects, not necessarily to capture how they sounded, but to evoke a particular type of emotion or to work as metaphors for lyrical content. This included scraping kitchen knives together, playing portable radiators as snare drums and playing a bicycle wheel using a hard copy of the previous EP. In a way that was kind of cathartic for the recording process in that damaging the old EP helped to highlight the irrelevance of previous work compared to what I was trying to achieve then and there. Stuff like that helped focus my attention on the present moment.
“I wanted a particular type of groove for this EP. The drums needed to be just off the grid in the style of QuestLove and his playing with D’Angelo, who is a big musical influence. Investigating new ideas and influences like this developed the production style and helped to free me up in a lot of ways.”
Anthony Donnelly’s band Floor Staff have released some fine tracks in the melodic indie atmospheric vein, including the one that has the freaky baby video by Bob Gallagher.
In the above video, performed at Elektra Records in Temple Bar, the band perform one of the songs on the recent split single release, ‘Gift Horse’, a song which firther establishes the project’s low-end emotional state.
Hard Working Class Heroes today unveiled 100+ artists who will play the festival’s 12th year in Dublin from Thursday October 2nd – Sunday October 4th. This year the festival is sponsored by HMV Ireland and as is now established will feature a conference taking in mentoring, panels, advice and involvement from the tech space.
500 bands applied for the festival this year and they were judged by music people at home and abroad (including me).
Here is the list of bands that will play this year. Deeper delving into the lineup will commence here in September.
A Lazarus Soul
Carried By Waves
Cloud Castle Lake
Death In The Sickroom
God Knows + mynameisjOhn
His New Atlas
I have a tribe
I’m Your Vinyl
little xs for eyes
Maud in Cahoots
Me & My Dog
Me Auld Flower
Red Queen Contest
Sleep Mc Evox
Tell No Foxx
The Black Sea Fleet
The Boxing Plot
The Hard Ground
The Late David Turpin
The Loafing Heroes
The Run Ons
The Shaker Hymn
The Button Factory, The Workmans Club, The Mercantile, The Twisted Pepper, Bad Bobs, The Grand Social, Meeting House Square.
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.”
The Nialler9 TXFM show airs every Thursday night at 10pm for two hours. You can listen live on 105.2FM, online, the TXFM app or if you missed it, on the listen back function on the site. The show starts six minutes in, right after the news in each hour.
So I thought it’d be fun (yes, this counts as one of my definitions of fun) to write about 12 bands playing the festival I’ve never featured before. So I trawled through the entire list of bands, including the 70 first-timers and this is what I came up with. Also, I’ll be DJing the afterparty at Meeting House Square on Saturday about half past midnight FYI.