Ballymena artist Lilla Vargen (the name means Little Wolf in Swedish) really came into her own last year with the songs ‘Hold On’ and a cover of Majical Cloudz’ ‘Downtown’.

For her first song of 2018, ‘Believe Me’ addresses a messed-up relationship that happened at the wrong time in her life but had a lasting effect on the songwriter. “I never really sung before until I sung about you,” she sings.

The song is a confident step forward for a developing artist. It was written in West Cork with Nick Rayner.

“It was inspired by a friendship that was quite complicated. I let that person down before and I was determined not to do it again. The only way I could explain myself, to let
them know I was ready to let my guard down, was to put my words down on paper, and post the letter.”

Lilla Vargen plays the Nialler9 and Feel Good Lost showcase at The Duke Of York at Output in Belfast on Thursday February 8th along with Mmode, Bad Bones and Molly Sterling.

Lilla Vargen tour dates

Feb 01: Kings Head Members Club, London (Mahogany Horizons)
Feb 08: Output, Belfast
Feb 09: Where’s The Music, Sweden

Posted on January 30th, 2018


Northern Irish singer-songwriter Lilla Vargen has shared a live video of ‘Hold On’, performed with Ryn Vail. The song was featured on Nialler9’s top Irish songs of 2017.

The video was recorded at Attic Studios in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal directed by Brendan Canty with cinematography by Colm Hogan and Roman Bugovski.

Posted on December 20th, 2017


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Northern Irish artist Lilla Vargen has this past few months, burst into life with her live performances and a debut single. It has been a most welcome activity as the song and shows have resonated and she’s not ready to stop there.

Majical Cloudz’s ‘Downtown’ is already a devastatingly effective song in the hand’s of the now defunct Canadian duo. Lilla Vargen’s version doesn’t change much of the original’s as it doesn’t need much work. Instead, she heightens the song’s backing arrangements and sings the song in her own way.

Lilla Vargen on Downtown:

“I think it’s one of the most honest love songs I have ever heard. When I listened to it first, I just understood it straight away. The simplicity of the song speaks volumes. I heard it again on that show The OA recently and I just sort of knew I wanted to cover it. I wasn’t sure how it would sound but when I got to the studio with Nick and we started to plan it out, it all came together really quickly.”

Lilla Vargen’s Hold On EP is out on Feel Good Lost on Friday and she plays our next Future Proof night on November 9th alongside Jafaris and Sleep Thieves.

Posted on October 26th, 2017

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Lilla Vargen is an Northern Irish artist who appeared with some interesting demos a couple of years ago and who played at Hard Working Class Heroes in 2015, but who has taken the time to develop her songwriting and music over the last while.

She plays HWCH once more this Friday at the Tara Building this weekend, and as such it’s the perfect time to share some music she’s been working on.

‘Hold On’ is an emotionally resonant song written as a caution to a close friend not to get too carried away in new love and produced by Nick Raynor.

‘Hold On’ released via Feel Good Lost – on Friday September 29, with her debut EP to follow soon after.

Posted on September 26th, 2017


This year’s Hard Working Class Heroes lineup of new bands is a tough one. Primarily because there are so many new bands to see for the first time and secondly, because the quality of those unseen is greater than in previous years. This year, the tracks on the Breaking Tunes profiles are well-produced and suggest that there are more bands and artists more clued in to How Music Works than ever.

So for three days, from Thursday to Saturday, HWCH returns to seven venues featuring 100 bands playing to music fans and industry delegates.  There are free daytime gigs, a convention in the Liberties featuring speed sessions, panels, talks and more. There’s a special Banter with Pitchfork’s Jessica Hopper on the Sunday. There’s also a special Nialler9-curated afterparty with Dublin Theatre Festival in The Grand Social on Saturday night late with the debut live performance of R.S.A.G. and French producer Cosmo Vitelli as Teleoke.

Here are 20 new bands to see this weekend, I capped it at 6 bands per day. Some of last year’s picks are also playing the festival for further investigation so they weren’t featured here (Rusangano Family / Dear Desert  / Buffalo Woman and more).

Thursday | Friday | Saturday

1. Hare Squead


These Dublin rap soul pop dudes are just getting better.

Thursday October 1 – 10.15pm @ The Academy

It was only last year at the festival where Hare Squead really became known at their Meeting House Square gig. Since then, the Dublin trio have been expanding their sound of rap, R&B, soul and pop music with a full live band show that’s really starting to hit home and gel. With a couple of years more experience, these guys could be huge. On a similiar style-tip, Stay Gold in the same venue are a band following a similar path. 

2. 13


Years & Years style-pop

Thursday October 1 – 8.15pm @ The Academy

A new Kildare duo,  David “Monty” Montgomery and Conor Cuffe only formed less than a year ago but with a tropical dance track called Waiting hanging around, they are doing something decidedly more pop than a lot on this list and are worthy of further investigation.

3. Tiz McNamara


Cork/Liverpool singer-songwriter with atmosphere

Thursday Oct 1 – 8:50pm @ The Grand Social

With over 90,000 plays on Spotify for just two songs, the Cork-born, Liverpool-based singer-songwriter has the metrics on his side. It’s the songs that matter though and his most recent single ‘Take It In’ impresses with its production by Scandinavian duo Boxes that takes a singer-songwriter style in a more atmospheric direction.


4. Saint Sister


Self-proclaimed atmosfolk duo

Thursday Oct 1 – 9.20pm @ The Workman’s Club

Celtic-influenced harmony folk world or “atmosfolk” as Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre call it. Their debut EP is released next month and the music so far has had a pleasing ethereality to it with harmonies to the fore alongside harp tones.

5. Maud in Cahoots


Thursday Oct 1  – 10.50pm @ The Grand Social

The kind of sophisticated pop music that Maud In Cahoots make has a lot in common with Scandinavian pop music, The sisters Maud and Zoe Ní Riordáin and band have also showed some interesting initiative by placing their songs in a theatrical show context. The new single ‘Cure For The Crazy’ is their career best track.

6. Elephant


Dundalk singer-songwriter

Thursday Oct 1 – 7:30pm @ The Grand Social

Dundalk musician Shane Clarke’s sweet vocal tones are what makes his elemental guitar and keys music work so well, lending his songs a delicate disposition. A debut album is on the way shortly.

Thursday | Friday | Saturday

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Posted on September 28th, 2015


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